This is a question I have frequently asked myself over the last few weeks. There are two “whats” and a million “whys.”
The first what: quitting drinking.
I quit drinking 32 days ago because:
- I never want to be hung over, ever again.
- I was tired of feeling disappointed in myself for trying to moderate and failing.
- I was drinking every day and enjoying it less and less (if at all).
- I drank to ease my social anxiety, but the drinking only exacerbated all of my anxieties.
- My parents, siblings, and multiple other family members are alcoholics (this label is still something I am not comfortable with, but I have not yet found a suitable replacement).
- I suffered traumas in my childhood and adolescence and I drank to numb the feelings resulting from these traumas.
- I felt constantly heartsick. My emotional hang overs always exceeded any physical hang overs.
- I was embarrassed by my behavior while drinking and could not predict when I would drink to the point of blacking out.
- Self-actualization did not seem possible with alcohol in my life.
And the list could go on forever, I suppose. After reading This Naked Mind I have come to understand that I’ve been experiencing cognitive dissonance for the last four years. Basically, I knew in my heart that alcohol was poisoning my body and my dreams, but I couldn’t seem to make myself just stop drinking. EVERYONE in my life drinks. Even the people who have been to rehab and had years long stints of sobriety. Even the pregnant women enjoy a glass of wine at social events where everyone else is drinking. For my family, friends, and professional colleagues, drinking is a way of life. Which brings me to:
The second what: writing a blog about my recovery journey.
Even calling it a recovery journey makes me feel nervous. In fact, I have only told my friends and family that I am “taking a break from drinking.” I add, when asked, “indefinitely.” It’s mostly true. Truth-y. I am still building my resolve to be totally alcohol free. I am fully convinced of the real truth about alcohol: it is killing me, I cannot control how it affects me, and it makes me deeply unhappy. I also know, from past experience, that there is no “regular” drinking for me. I am emotionally vulnerable because of my past experiences and the fact is that alcohol is too powerful of a drug for me to take.
That being said, I live in a drinking culture and it is scary to go out on this limb, seemingly alone. This time (believe me, this isn’t the first time I have attempted to quit the booze) I am more open with my husband about quitting and he is extremely supportive. I have also been up front with my friends about not drinking over the last 30+ days, in that truth-y way. I even survived an out-of-state bachelorette weekend in my first two weeks of sobriety, where I was offered about three thousand drinks and I was actually happy, especially by the end of the weekend, to politely decline them all.
But I need to talk about the things I am reading, remembering, feeling, realizing, and healing. I have used journaling as a form of catharsis and therapy in the past, but this time I need it to keep me accountable too. I am making this blog a record of how I am changing and what I am learning. I want it to remind me of why I am doing this.