The Truth of Quitting Alcohol
Guest Post by “Anonymous” on Quitting Alcohol for a period of time. My congratulation’s and utmost respect to this Lady. This is her TRUTH!
I’ve always had an addictive nature and alcohol has without doubt been the strongest and longest love affair of any addictive substance I have used over the many years.
It’s a problem, a problem that I have purposefully ignored, because when I’ve started my day at 5:30am and landed home at 5:30pm, that glass of chilled white wine is all I am thinking of. The reason I’ve ignored addressing the problem, is that firstly I like wine; secondly, I love wine! If I could stop after a glass I would – but I can’t. I physically can’t just have one glass. A bottle and a half on a work night is (shamefully) more like it. If I wake up and see slightly over half of a bottle left in the fridge, I’m pleased with myself.
Weekends – two bottles every Friday and Saturday night without fail. And I’m embarrassed, embarrassed acknowledging this in print, rather than keeping it as the sordid secret love affair, with which I liaise with every evening, behind closed doors.
I hadn’t planned to attempt dry January, it had crossed my mind fleetingly, but I took care not to think too hard about it. (Read the above). 2020 was going to continue as all the previous years, and I’d get around to tackling the drinking by cutting down at some point, but not right now as damn, it’s been a long day.
Yet New Year’s eve hit, by the time I’d taken my daughter to bed I’d already downed a bottle of fizz, I started on the second, finished that more quickly than intended, and saw a half bottle of wine lurking at the back of the fridge. Sod it, I’ll drink that now (seeing as the fizz was a relatively low percentage of 11%!) I wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve by getting drunk, and so down that 13% half a bottle of wine went.
I awoke early feeling sick, being sick and with heart palpitations. Panic hit, anxiety levels rose until I was in full panic attack mode. All I could do to calm myself was hold my (blissfully unaware) daughter until the anxiety and the palpitations lessened and eventually ceased.
The foreboding and terrifying feeling of imminent death that had struck so hard and powerfully during the height of my anxiety attack, took root and I knew there and then that I was in for the dry January. It had shaken me to the core.
I was hungover and anxious for the remainder of the day, and to be honest was unfazed by the thought of abstaining that evening. Yet evening hit, and with wondrous synchronicity and harmony, so did the craving for my trusted and time old habit.
I powered through that craving determined to be able to go at least one night, I focused on how I had felt that morning, holding onto my beloved daughter and just about holding onto what felt like my sanity.
I went to bed and slept badly, if really at all. I couldn’t fall asleep. My mind and body didn’t know how to carry out this most basic of bodily functions without alcohol to render me unconscious. I suffered twitching in my legs, which kept jerking me awake from a jumbled semi-consciousness. I sweated profusely (unlike the adage of ladies’ glow, men perspire, and horses sweat)!
It was a long night, however morning broke and I’d done it…I’d had a night with zero alcohol and despite being horrifically sleep deprived I felt ok, in fact I felt a bit more than ok, I felt like I could do this again, so I did.
So here we are on day 9 (day 9 ladies and gents !!) I’m sure there are people who would baulk and laugh at this so-called achievement. But for me, I could happily tell Joe Bloggs down the street that I’m doing dry January and that I’m proud of myself! It may well be only 9 days without alcohol, but this is the longest time I have ever been without a drink (excluding my pregnancy and the subsequent months of breast feeding).
Some nights have been easier than the others’, I had a nightmare of a journey home last night and desperately wanted to pick up a bottle of wine on my way home, but I chose not to.
I CHOSE NOT TO. There is a great sense of power and ownership in that sentence.
I’m beginning to recognise the excuses I’ve always created to justify my having a drink, an argument with my husband, a difficult day with the kids, a long day at work. I’m working on re-wiring that thought process, to manipulate the neurons into creating a new neurological path, whereby a couple of biscuits with a strong cup of tea is the ‘fix’.
I’m beginning to sleep and fall asleep soundly. I’m waking refreshed and elated that I’ve managed another night.
I’ve wanted to cry, a lot. I’m not sure even as to why. I have a storm of tumultuous emotions that carry the threat of downpour, yet I’m not fearful of these feelings, they are remnant memories of a past that need somehow to find reconciliation with the future.
I don’t yet know what my goal following dry January will be. To eventually limit drinking to a weekend, to only drink on a night out, or to become alcohol free for life. What I do know is that I have a long way to go to the end of January….and for now I’m focusing on that.
This is my story to date, my tale to tell, and this is my truth.
Since writing this post, this lady has enjoyed most of January alcohol free and is now more mindful about the effects of alcohol. I salute you and thank you for sharing this with me
All the best…. Darren