I was just thinking about how giving up drinking was a huge gesture of self love. And that can be so hard, loving myself. My inner critic can be mean. And unforgiving. This was especially true in the pergatory I found myself in- when I KNEW I had an escalating drinking problem and made a decision to stop drinking. A promise I made made single day. And then I failed to stop, over and over again.
So how did I finally succeed? In 2015, I had an alcohol-related disaster that snapped me right out of denial and right into a 12-step program. I stayed sober for a couple years, then convinced myself that circumstances were stacked against me, that my drinking problem was a result of medicating over truly hard life problems. So I drank again. Never mind that drinking always made things worse overall, it still obliterated the pain temporarily. Then I just had to suffer extra when I wasn’t drinking. With real hangovers. And emotional hangovers. And shame.
In early 2018 my kids called me out on acting drunk the night before. And that gave me the push I needed to stop again.
The trick is staying stopped. I’ve quit hundreds of times! But I value my life and what I can contribute to my family and community nowadays. I love myself sober. Until I got to this place, I realized I had to be brave enough to tell someone I needed help. Once it came without having to say it. On account of crashing the car.
There’s a lot of practice and planning and lying that goes into living a double life. For me, it was a relief to finally tell the truth. It helps keep me accountable. I tell the people in my life that I can’t and won’t drink. So that’s the first part. Admitting to myself and other people there’s a problem I can’t fix and I need help.
The next part is just get through another day without a drink and keep up honest relationships. I had to want to do this for me, but I really wanted to do it for my people too, especially my kids.
Even the bad days are much better now. Because if I get through a day sober, that’s something to be proud of.