There are some things in life I just don’t do anymore, and I am fine with that.
For example, I won’t be having any more babies. It was a special time in my life (albeit very tiring) but that time is over. Another example, I don’t do gymnastics. It was fun to do back handsprings as a kid, but that will never happen again for this spine. Here’s another thing I won’t do again: drink alcohol. It served a purpose for me at various times in my life, but the my relationship with alcohol turned bad. My drinking days are over.
In life we learn to accept that certain things will come and go. We expect to go through a number of stages and we appreciate our experiences along the way. When one experience ends, we make space to embrace the next thing. So why is it, when it we realize the time has come to put an end to drinking, we just can’t seem to let it go? We hold onto it like a an old football star who constantly relives his glory days, or a prom queen who wears her tiara to the grocery store. We deny the reality that those days are done. We keep thinking we can go back for one last ‘hurrah’.
Sobriety requires acceptance and understanding. The acceptance is about letting go of the past. The understanding is about knowing yourself and your addiction and learning to love your life right now and plan for an awesome future.
When we relapse, it has a lot to do with the belief that we can go back in time to a romantic moment with alcohol. My romantic moment is always about the first drink. I see myself sipping a glass of wine in this fun or relaxing scenario or that, never fast-fowarding to the second or third or forth glass. My trick for avoiding relapse is to play that tape forward. How does it all work out after the fourth glass? Not well of course.
* This trick only works if you can be really honest with yourself. Ask yourself: When was the last time I had just one drink and stopped there - really?
Everyone has problems. As much as it may seem that the people around you are “lucky’ because they can still drink, your perception may be very skewed. Perhaps the people you see drinking do not have a drinking problem, or perhaps they do and have yet to determine their relationship with booze. You can never know what is going on for them in their lives with any real understanding; you can only know what is true for you - your truth being that drinking is no longer a part of your life.
Once you have decided you are no longer a drinker, the angst of making the decision is over. Few!
You can go out into the world an embrace new things. You will realize that life is enjoyable and exciting and there is so much more out there to rock your world, now that you don’t numb your brain with booze. Work on a mindset that appreciates your personal insight and maturity and rolls with it. You are evolving and making yourself open to greatness!
Quitting drinking is not something to lament over or grieve for any length of time. I invite you to tell yourself “I don’t drink, and I am fine with that” and move on with your day. In the beginning this little ‘mantra’ may feel kind of weird, especially if you identify as a drinker.
The prom queen need no longer tell herself ‘I am a prom queen’. Her tiara does not define her. She might call herself the …CEO, friend, mom, volunteer, activist, or whatever it is that she has become. Don’t define yourself by what you were - rather embrace who you are now and who you are becoming.