“Wow…” I scratched out in my morning voice as I dismissed my alarm and read the pop-up from my calendar. I laid back down, turned my phone face-down and smiled from ear to ear. I made it. I freakin’ MADE it!! I turned to my phone and read it again, “183 Days/6 Months”. I could not stop smiling.
That was seven(7) days ago and I’m still on cloud nine as I type this entry. :))
So, this past week I reflected. How do I feel about this decision? Am I glad I decided to do it? Any regrets so far? What’s been the best part? The Worst? Am I happier now? My Answers: I’m glad I made this decision. No, not a single regret. Best part? No longer having to decide what to drink. I get to drink EVERYTHING ELSE under God’s sun. The Worst? When people assume I must have had a problem with alcohol–and that’s the real reason behind my year-long “challenge” (more about that response in another blog). Am I happier? This one got me.
I sat with this question for a couple of days. Am I happier now that I no longer consume alcohol? Am I happier…as a person, in general? Am I happier because alcohol made me unhappy? Was I an UNhappy person, in general with or without alcohol? Did booze have any affect on my ability to experience joy–good or bad? My mind went there and beyond and then some.
My Final Answer Is This: I Feel More Grounded.
Allow me to elaborate: In one of my posts, I described having my first sober weep-a-thon. This is because I currently live with two major heartbreaks. They are on-going. Some days are better than others. I have learned that they will be a part of my life for the foreseeable future. My existence on this earth, if I’m being completely honest, has become partially defined by them due to the closeness of the subject matter. I am that person putting on a brave face, cracking jokes and trying to eek out what is socially acceptable, good behavior. Before this challenge, (on those days that were worse than others), and if I was having drinks, I would eventually ruminate on my situation. And this would lead to me having a ‘good-cry’–as I would call it. It wasn’t until I had one of these ‘good-cries’, sober, that I realize that change had, indeed, happened.
Following that sober, emotional pause that night, I actually felt better. I remember telling myself, “Wait, what?” I remember thinking, “Didn’t I always feel better after one of my good-cries??” Maybe…but not like this! Not like this at all. This time it felt like an actual shedding. If I compare it to before, I think I swirled more than shed anything. And this realization was a striking, joyous and deep revelation for me. Could I actually begin to feel better about my circumstances? Like, organically, feel better? Furthermore, I also realized that I had never allowed myself to have any emotions about my heartbreak–that only after have a few drinks, would things bubble to the surface. I could then justify my stoicism by proclaiming I “had it all under control”–that it was the alcohol that made me cry.
No. It’s my life…the hardest parts of my life…that bring up very strong emotions. And that’s called normal. When the swells hit, I can handle them. I’m so damn sober now, I see them in their entirety! And they’re not so scary. They just hurt for a moment–again, some days very much worse than others–but still just for a moment. That’s that grounded part I mentioned.
Six months into this year-long challenge…I feel stronger. I feel stabilized. I feel grounded. Not easily disturbed. I feel connected to myself. I feel present, engaged and driven. All of these elicit feelings of satisfaction, joy and yes, happiness.