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How My Recovery From Alcohol Dependence Became the Most Important Thing In My Life

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Editor's Note

If you or a loved one is affected by addiction, the following post could be triggering. You can contact SAMHSA’s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.

When I used to drink alcohol, I wondered if I was a “problem drinker.”

Nope, scratch that.

When I used to drink alcohol, I sought out those who drank more than me. It made me feel better about myself when I found these types of people. They had a “problem.” Not me. It made me relax and continue drinking as I did. This was also during a time when I could say: “Nope, I’m done drinking for the night. I’ll just have water now, thank you,” and I would feel proud of myself. I’d smirk to myself keeping close eye on the other drinkers who’d pass my level of intoxication. “Oh yeah, I got this, no problem,” as if I was better than them.

I really loved drinking alcohol. “Numbing out” made everything easier for me. It was my magic “forget” button. It was my “I am bored” activity. I could easily turn just about anything that happened in my life into a reason to drink. But I needed to feel like there was nothing wrong with how I drank, so I always stayed close to people who drank like me. I would hide in their presence. Nobody would notice how much I was consuming if I clung to others like myself. I would travel in their pack and blend in. I was sneaky that way.

By my late 30s, I was beyond blending in with the pack. The amount of alcohol I consumed progressed rapidly, and I was changing. I was irritated by the people who I used to count on to drink like me. I watched them slipping away into the “responsible adult world.” They could manage their alcohol consumption. They could control themselves and I resented them for it. I equally hated seeing the wobbly, word-slurring drinkers because it was like I was looking in a mirror.

When I wasn’t drinking, I was annoyed that I wasn’t drinking and obsess about when I could drink again. While I was drinking, I would tell myself “just one more” over and over. Then, as I would get to the last few sips, I told myself, “this is the last one.” It never was.

As time went on, I tried many different ways to control my drinking. It drove me “mad” that I couldn’t control my drinking. Weekends were lost to massive hangovers. Soon, weekdays were lost to massive hangovers, too.

Towards the end of my drinking career, I would wake up saying “today is the day I am going to stop.” But it never was. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I was incredibly successful at self-loathing and self-pity.

But one day I woke up and it was the last day. It was the last day because I literally gave up. I was half relieved, half pissed.

Honestly, I never wanted to get to this place. For most of my life, drinking was my security blanket. I was resentful of the fact that I could not manage my alcohol consumption like a “normal” person.

I found a recovery program that works for me, and a therapist to help me. I have been sober for nearly eight years. I never thought I would be able to live a life without drinking alcohol. I have changed in ways I never anticipated.

I am relieved that I don’t have to waste so much time figuring out when I will drink.

I am relieved that I am not a slave to the obsessive thoughts of getting drunk.

I am relieved that I get to wake up every day without a horrid hangover.

I used to be an excellent Project Manager of my alcohol consumption, but now, with the help of others, I am an excellent Project Manager of my recovery.

For me, I needed to stop drinking because it took over my entire life. Alcohol was the most important thing in my life. I don’t miss it at all. Today, my recovery is the most important thing in my life. Placing that as first priority makes everything else in my life easier. I love my life today and how I can handle the daily ups and downs of life with out drinking. I love how I have the opportunity to share the hope in recovery on my Sober Gratitudes podcast.

Have you had your fill yet? Are you tired of hiding in the pack? Are you sick of hangovers and regretful behaviors? Yeah, I was too.

There is another way to live that is more comfortable and more manageable. If you feel the way I did, recovery is possible. And you don’t have to do it alone. People are waiting to help you.

It is that simple. All you have to do is ask for help.

Follow this journey on Sober Gratitudes.

Getty image via fcscafeine.

Originally published: March 2, 2020
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