It’s Wednesday evening and my last drink was late Friday night, technically Saturday morning. Not that long ago. But the mental work I have done on Sunday and again on my day off on Tuesday has made it feel like so long ago, like 2 or 3 weeks ago. It’s exciting, but I write my cautionary tale. I haven’t even been through a whole week, let alone the first month. I remember that first month being so difficult: so many automatic mental responses of “I need a drink!” Calm down, says me to me. But it feels like I've been sober forever!
But I truly am delighted to be back on this side of the line. I have missed so much about sobriety. One thing particularly is never waking up and immediately thinking: am I hungover? When I wake up tired I really know it’s because I’m fatigued, not because of what I did to myself with booze the night before. I hope it will quiet internal battle of if, when, and how much.
I have a WeChat group with some colleagues called “Mission Slimpossible” where we cheer each other on as we try to reach our personal health goals (ie. How much weight people wanted to lose over a certain period of time). On May 1, I asked if any one wanted to join me for a “Mental Clarity Month of May” by not drinking the whole month. It was amazing to read all the different excuses people had of why they “couldn’t do it” in May: Mother’s Day, birthdays, graduation (yes they serve wine at school events….there was wine tasting last week in the Principal’s office for graduation), going away parties. You name it! One women even tried to tell me why I should wait to do it another month. It was a reminder of how “sacred” alcohol is to people. Untouchable. It was once that way to me: drinking through elimination diets, extremes of exercise and diet but never cutting back or eliminating alcohol.
So no one is joining me from that group, fine. But what I did accomplish was public declaration of a month long pause in my drinking. That will help navigate in the upcoming events where booze will be present but I will not being partaking: graduation, accreditation team visit social, celebration after accreditation, and countless end of year celebrations. So much acceptable drinking at work!
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. I like myself better for it and have a full life because of it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp