On Quitting the Drink

I haven’t read it, but there is a book named “Alcohol Lied to Me”. I love the title because it holds true. The stuff is just a lie.

I’ve been meaning to blog a piece about alcohol, but I’m a newbie to sobriety and I don’t feel seasoned enough to give advice or proclaim victory. What I do know is that my life and every experience I have had has changed and I have no desire to feel the way I used to.

Tonight I’m sailing with my husband Daren. Around 4pm we both started getting hungry. Daren suggested some appetizers. He went down below and a few minutes later appeared with a gorgeous spread of cheeses, olives, crackers, pate, hummus and roasted bell peppers.

I cracked open a Diet Coke and took a bite of the manchego cheese. Oh my goodness- it was so good! It is the same brand we often purchase, but depending on the temperature and sliced thickness it always tastes somehwhat different. Tonight it was slightly nutty and had a melt in the mouth kind of consistency. I took a sip of my soda and sampled the gruyere.

It’s been a while since I’ve marveled at the fact that I experience eating in a totally different way since I’ve quit the drink. It’s been 6 months and 2 weeks since my last sip of a spirit and shocking to what was my old self 6 and a half months ago would have believed, I miss absolutely nothing about it.

I would not have even wanted appetizers if we didn’t have wine on board. Not that there was a chance akin to the possibility of an ice cube surviving in hell that I wouldn’t have ensured there was at least a month supply for a small army on board before leaving the dock.

For a long few years before I quit, there was hardly a food that I wouldn’t want without wine or beer. White wine particularly was my vice. Chilled white wine. It made EVERYTHING taste better. It soothed my nerves. It made me relaxed. It made me funnier. I didn’t have a problem. I didn’t do anything dangerous. I just really really loved wine and beer. I could quit anytime I want to. I often did. I went back because I missed the taste. My food wasn’t the same without it. I didn’t relax the same. I could quit. I could…

Right?

Haha. So wrong. So so very wrong.

I quit at least every two months or so and actually didn’t drink for a few days. But then there was a celebration, a party, a fun dinner with friends, a romantic dinner with the hubby, a stressful day. Trump said something offensive. I had a good show to kick back with. My soap opera was on. It was Tuesday.

There was always a reason. I was always wound up. I “quit” for a few days every few months but honestly I tried to quit every day. Every single night I went to bed feeling like crap and wishing I didn’t drink. Every morning I woke up feeling determined to quit. I’d meditate on it. I’d write love notes to my later day self about how good I feel and why it’s a bad idea. By 9am each day I would decide that ‘today’ would be my last day and begin planning when to start drinking for the day- when to chill the wine and what I would eat with it. It was downhill from there. It was the same sad ass story every day. By mid afternoon I wrestled with why I even felt guilty. I rationed how every single last person around me drinks daily too. I convinced myself I was normal and craving alcohol was just a normal part of life. I loved it. But I hated it.

Six months after my last gulp I am 100% in the know about how unbelievably wrong I was. Wrong about every last “good” or “normal” thing I attributed to alcohol.

Like the book I didn’t read’s title states “Alcohol Lied to Me”. Food is sooooo much better without it. I don’t even know if I had taste buds with it. I have the ability to realize I’m full and stop eating. When I drank I thought I was enjoying food and wanted more because it was so good. I believed that lie too. I already passed the honeymoon phase of realizing this. Tonight I just happened to remember and feel a bit marveled by how duped I was.

I am now way more relaxed. Somehow nothing, even stressful events bother me like they used to. Food is better. Nothing in my life has changed. I have the same life with the same good, bad and ugly parts. I just feel differently about them and can embrace whatever it is. I now have experienced what I knew before but never practiced, that all those cliche sayings comparable to “this too shall pass” or the Serenity Prayer are really true. It all passes. Like the weather in New England. If you don’t like it, just wait a few minutes. If you do, don’t be too excited. Enjoy it but be prepared for it to change without warning.

I’m in no way cuter, smarter, funnier, braver or more honest when drinking. I might be. But I slur my words, think hurtful things are funny, and lose the filter of “Is it True/Kind/Necessary” in light of ‘Being Honest”. If my mood isn’t good I could be a bitch. I make really stupid decisions and I often regret things that I would have absolutely not done if sober. Why would I put this poison in my body that turns me into a kookie alter ego?

Because alcohol lies. Because it’s a chemical that makes you crave it. It’s almost like a host body that needs more to keep the host alive. It took me as it’s servant. Everyone else is doing it too. They are actually jumping off the proverbial bridge.

A book I did read that made an enormous difference is “The Naked Mind” by Annie Grace. It inspired me to quit about a year and a half before I was ready too. A huge point the author makes is that it is easy if you look at it as a positive in your life.

I wasn’t ready to do that at the time but I understood the message. I might never have been ready unless I hit bottom the way I unwilling did this year on 2/8/21. While laying out on a gurney in the hallway for hours in the middle of the night at the ER, I knew it was time. Episodes like that one were far and few between, but one is too many. People who don’t drink would never end up in that kind of situation.

I didn’t want to be one of those people. I didn’t want to want something bad for me anymore. I didn’t want it to be that there wasn’t a snowballs chance in hell that I would leave a dock on a boat without knowing that alcohol will be with me. It seemed normal at the time, but there is absolutely, positively nothing normal about that. That feeling is the sign of a problem. It’s so common we rationalize it.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be free from the grip of believing a drink makes anything, even temporarily better. My intellect knew it, but until I did it and embraced that I wasn’t missing out on anything, I didn’t want to believe it.

I am happier. I still dance around and act like my clown self. I am missing out on NOTHING worthwhile. I am missing out on 18lbs, a lighter wallet, stupid decisions, regrets, headaches, cravings and obsession with what I will eat and drink next. Good riddance!!!

That is how I feel 6 months in. I hope to continue. I have plenty of AA people warning me to be careful. It scares me enough to not be cocky about it and stay the path. But I do want to share that it’s wonderful and if you even think for a moment you might have a problem, then you do. If you wonder if you can say goodbye to it forever and feel good about it, I’m telling you from a very little bit of experience that you can.

Alcohol lies. Sober is the new cool. I love everything about quitting the drink.