My Transition to Not Drinking Was Not As Easy As Turning Off a Tap
For at least four months after I made the decision to quit drinking, I found myself in a strange purgatory.
I didn’t want to be drinking. I didn’t want to not be drinking.
I wanted all the “mores” of being booze-free—more money, more time, more energy, more self-respect—but those “mores” seemed like an easier thing to do later. Like tomorrow. And I could have just this one more beer today.
I held rational thoughts (like you’d be better off without beer) and irrational thoughts (one flight of craft beer is no big deal) simultaneously.
I was sure I could have fun without drinking. I was sure I didn’t want to try it.
All the back and forth exhausted me, almost as much as the drinking had.
I’d like to tell you I had a magnificent turning point. That one day God switched on some lightbulb in my brain. Waters parted. Angels swooped down. I suddenly thought alcohol was gross and stupid.
What happened instead was I kept slogging through purgatory with this immense mental weight strapped uncomfortably to my back.
I walked away from drinking and toward not drinking, and found that it was like any other landscape change: gradual. You don’t start in a marsh and five steps later end up in the desert. There’s a transition. You must travel through that. If you don’t, you can’t get anywhere.
As I got farther away from the scenery around drinking, I started appreciating the scenery in the non-drinking landscape.
I learned to cope with things without drinking. I started to face my pain and fear instead of ignoring it. I found the fun in everything, instead of just the fun in drinking. I embraced a bigger life because I could see the whole thing more clearly.
And one day, I was finally able to say, nope. I’m good.
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Laura Rees is a writer and creative director working in Central Ohio. She’s on a mission to help people make change that sticks by showing them the benefits of living sober and meditated, and expanding what they believe they can do. Read more at her site, mantrasandmocktails.com or connect with her on Instagram @mantrasandmocktails.