Earlier I talked about the two primary keys for me to reaching a year without alcohol: 1) taking one day at a time; and 2) having someone to report to every day that I was not drinking. Here I want to talk more about why I am doing this.
Looking back on my earliest blog entries, deciding to remove alcohol from my life was part of a larger plan to live a healthier life. Why? I want to live as long as possible. I want to watch my children get older and hopefully meet my grandchildren. If I die young, before this happens, I do not want it to be because of alcohol – simply put. I don’t want to die an accidental death because I was intoxicated. Nor do I want to die a death caused by organs damaged by years of alcohol use. And while I could certainly eat better and exercise more, two areas I am also striving to improve in, taking alcohol out of the equation finally made so much sense to me. And it still makes a ton of sense to me.
In my March entry here, I talked about how I was getting really scared. Alcoholism is a problem in my family. Was this really happening to me? How did I reach the point where I was drinking wine on a daily basis?
For probably 4 years prior to last May (it’s hard to pinpoint when it became a daily habit), I was drinking wine pretty much every night. Why? I have been asking myself this a lot the last few months. How did it it come to that? I think I was drinking wine nightly for various reasons at various times: 1) as a reward for all that I may have accomplished that day; 2) because it had become part of my routine, a habit seemingly harmless at first to have a glass of wine with dinner, and then a few to follow; 3) to attempt to relieve worry and stress; 4) to avoid thinking about all that I had to do the next day; 5) to drown an underlying sadness in me which had grown in recent years because I and people I love had suffered some tragic losses. I am a very empathetic person, and losing my Dad at a young age, led me to really feel for others when they suffered great losses in their families. And in late 2012, I lost someone too – someone I was very close with – and it shook me to the core. I still find it hard to accept his death. I am working on this but it is very hard. If I ever started AA, he would be my Higher Power.
In the past year before I quit drinking though, the hangovers were really getting worse. My headaches and upset stomach were really affecting my productivity the following day. My sleep was not sound. I was losing patience with my kids in the mornings and they could not understand why. For the first time in my life, I was starting to really dislike myself. And I started to feel like I was not being honest with family and friends. Nobody knew I drank every day except my husband. I had a growing feeling of doom in my gut. I felt alone, until I discovered the sober blogs I mentioned. And then, last April and May, despite the faltering in April and early May, which also taught that this was going to be hard, I also started to feel optimistic. Maybe I could do this, like Unpickled, Mrs. D, and Belle. I related so much to them. And I honestly felt like my Dad, and my other loved ones in heaven were talking to me, telling me it was time.
Something had to be changed. I needed to stop this pattern or it was going to end badly. I can’t recall where I read it, perhaps at the Soberistas blog, but somewhere I read about “deal-breaker moments” and never wanting to repeat certain episodes that one most regretted. I started thinking about deal-breaker moments. I have several of those. But I narrowed them down to 3 for myself. When times are toughest for me, and I really want to have a glass of wine, I think about 1, 2 or all 3 “deal-breaker episodes.” I have not been able to bring myself to write about them here; but they are engrained in my heart and mind. Really, they are typical drinking/blackout stories, but I know they could have ended very badly with me dying. And I cannot imagine leaving my husband and kids that way, dying because I drank too much wine. So in times of my greatest temptations in the past year, thinking about the deal-breaker moments has kept me from picking up a drink again.
I know this entry is pretty glum but I felt the desire to write it. I was scared and that motivated me. I decided to address this problem, and I am grateful that I would be probably be categorized as having a high bottom. I am grateful I stopped when I did one year ago.