WHY I QUIT DRINKING... FOR NOW
This is an part of an excerpt from my book 30 DAYS to self-discipline. I wrote the book while trying to do a 30 day alcohol free challenge. This was written on day 10. Since then I have decided to go alcohol free, for now and it has been over 2 months since I have had a drink. My WHY is huge. It affects my physical and mental health too much that it is not longer worth it. I am not an addict, but I have been in some times of my life. I have used alcohol to numb my feelings of shame and self-doubt and to boost my confidence and make me "more fun". I do miss a glass of wine or beer once and a while, but it is not worth it for me... at least not for now. Here is the excerpt from the "unedited" book.
If you can relate, and are interested in reading the rest of the book let me know and I can send you an early copy. This was written on day 10 of a 30 day journey to quit drinking...
DAY 10 - IDENTIFY YOUR "WHY"
Day 10 was a breakthrough as I am starting to see the effects of non drinking manifesting into my life in a profound way. I feel lifted, I am more productive, I have increased strength and motivation in the gym. I am eating better and I am more self-disciplined.
When you find the right habit to focus on EVERYTHING becomes easier.
I am at a point now where I don’t know if drinking is worth it. The small effect it has on the moment when I am doing it is starting to have less appeal.
The question is why do we do it and why should we stop?
WHY DO I DRINK?
“That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.”
WE ALL HAVE A “TYPE”
Can you relate to one of these types?
1. The Busy Mom
I am tired, kids/my job/my life is overwhelming. I have a glass of wine after the kids go to bed (or sometimes earlier). It tastes good. I feel calmer. I have another. Then I loose my ability to control my food cravings. I eat anything that I can find that is not good for me. I try to keep my house pretty clean of “bad food” but every time I drink I think “I should post on facebook that I would give $20 to anyone who will bring me cheesecake right now”. I don’t but I proceed to eat everything I can that makes me feel good (and it isn’t salad). Usually it goes like this (or any combination of these)… toast with butter, peanut butter AND honey, chocolate chips, crackers, cereal. Of course, if there is “bad” food I have been storing, it will be the first to go. I am not eating because I am hungry. I call it “filling the void”. The following day I wake up groggy, bloated and full of regret. How did that happen? I was doing so well. It all comes back to that lovely dreaded glass of wine. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, there is a period of time after consumption where I feel depressed. I call those my “Eeyore days”. “Oh Bother… life is so hard. The kids are overwhelming. I can’t get anything done.”
2. The Busy Executive
You are busy with your job all day long. Working with clients running around not having time for yourself. You come home at the end of the long day and you need to relax. Your wife or husband is nagging you to help with the kids. Or your kids are grown and you are worried about how they are doing in the world. You have a glass of wine. You feel good so you have another. It feels good to relax and not be stressed about work. For once in your day you feel relaxed.
3. The Lonely Soul
You are alone. You feel lonely. Alcohol is there for you to make you feel good. It is the friend you need right now to get you through this lonely time. It is hard to admit you are lonely so drinking makes you social. You go out and party and you are fun and spontaneous. You usually drink to excess. It helps numbs the loneliness and the shame associated with it. You are tired of the same old thing but you don’t have anything better going on so its your default mode.
4. The Fun times Charlie
This was me. I just want to have fun. In the moment I think its a GREAT IDEA. Fun fun fun fun fun. Shots… no… well… OK. SO MUCH FUN! I can’t say no to fun… Need I say more?
THE REASONS WHY I DRINK (or used to)
1. Drinking makes me fun (or at least that’s they tell me)
Ever since I was 15 an adult, alcohol has been the centre of my social life. Party’s, good times, celebrations, life events… for goodness sake my BABY SHOWER I served alcohol so it wouldn’t be BORING (I didn’t drink while I was pregnant that day). I always wondered how people who didn’t drink had fun. It brings out my fun side, my crazy side and takes away my socially awkward shyness that I experience in a dry state. The downside is that is also makes me lose my inhibitions about food, and how to behave. I do things and say things I shouldn’t say. Life is short, and I love wine but it is a crutch. I can be fun without it. I have lots some friends who don’t drink and they are fun. Come to think of it… I used to think I wouldn’t be fun if I didn’t smoke when I drank… and that was total bullshit.
Actionable item day 10 a) Find things to do that are fun which do not involve alcohol or when you do go to a social event order a fancy virgin drink and enjoy! What is something that you’ve always wanted to do? Learn a new instrument, learn to fly a plane, learn to cook. Get out of your comfort zone and sign up for something fun.
2. Social Pressure
Since I like to drink, I surround myself with people who also like to drink. I dread telling them that I won’t be drinking. Their reaction is always the same. “Really??? Come on Mia, life is too short”. Saying “I’m not going to drink” to my friends is probably worse then “I am a cannibal” or “eat my snots”… I don’t know but it is devastating. They look at me like I have been possessed by the devil.
SO WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
Don't get me wrong, not everyone needs to stop drinking all together. However, if you have ever had feelings that your drinking is getting in the way of your goals, or is being used to numb feelings or to relieve social pressure, it might be a good idea to take a break and see what happens. I can assure you a few things:
1. It will be uncomfortable
2. It won't always be easy
3. People will try to change your mind and use peer-pressure to try to get you to drink. Stay strong.
4. It will be worth it.
Actionable item day 10 b) make a statement to your friends and family about your intentions. Tell them its just for 30 days, for now, but if you can’t get though it you might need to quit for good. That might shut them down. They don’t want you to quit. If you have no intention of ever drinking again you don’t have to tell them. Ease them into the change. Here is a sample:
TO MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY
My promise to you is that at any social occasion I will ACT AS DRUNK AS POSSIBLE for your entertainment… but without the added side effects of alcohol.
Please do not offer me drinks. Please be supportive and kind as I go through this journey. I am doing this to better myself not to annoy you. I am still here even without a glass on wine in my hand. This is not extreme. I am taking care of my physical and mental state.
I have worked SO HARD to get where I am and I will not let alcohol lead me off the path. I need a mind clear of anxiety and doubt. I need to stay focused on the path that I have chosen for me. That path does not include alcohol. Not for now at least. Please understand that.
I NEED YOUR SUPPORT IN THIS JOURNEY
You don’t have to make a big deal. You don’t have to stop drinking yourself. Just support me in my efforts to get control of this part of my life.
I don''t know if I will ever drink again, (that statement still gives me the chills) but for now it is not worth it. My goals and my purpose are too big for booze to come and sabotage all my efforts. My wish is that one day I can enjoy a glass of wine in celebration but for now I will just focus on how great I feel without it.
If you are interested in reading the rest of the book please respond to this email and I will send it to you... unedited and raw...
With love and gratitude,