Don’t worry, the number of days is not referencing how long we have been social distancing. I am not counting the days of social distancing. I don’t see the point because I have no control over when life returns to normalcy. I am focusing on the things that I can control.
Today marks what I can control. Today is the 127th day that I have been alcohol-free.
For those that may have read yesterday’s blog, I wrote about fear. Fear of being myself. And how I have been miserable and unhappy my entire life because of that fear. How was I coping with that unhappiness? Since I was thirteen, alcohol has been my back-seat driver. I drank a lot. I tried to fill a void. I thought that alcohol was the answer to everything wrong in my life.
It wasn’t that my life was wrong; it was that alcohol was wrong in my life. I did not figure that out until recently. After I figured out that alcohol was causing more problems than it was fixing, I didn’t quit right away. It took me months to decide to walk away. Since I am a planner, I picked a day (December 31, 2019) as the beginning of alcohol-free me. And yes, I chose New Year’s Eve to jump headfirst into a sober life. I decided on that date because I didn’t feel like being around people. I missed my husband, and I couldn’t handle it, so I stayed home.
I am not going to lie and tell you that it was the best New Year’s Eve of my entire life because I was sober. It sucked. It will go down in my history as the worst New Year’s Eve ever. I was alone and sober. My husband was so far away and in a different time zone. His New Year’s had come and gone by the time I was “celebrating” mine. I gave up and went to bed at 10:30. Happy New Year’s to me.
I had been telling my friends that I would be taking that step into the non-alcohol world. I am a proponent of managing people’s expectations so it wouldn’t be a surprise. Most importantly, I needed their support. Sure, they had the usual questions, but there was one that I didn’t, no, I couldn’t answer right away. That question was if I would drink again. I gave non-committal answers because I didn’t know.
No, that is not true; I knew I didn’t want to drink again. I wasn’t ready to admit that, out loud, yet. At that point, I couldn’t fathom my existence without alcohol. Nothing would be fun ever again. Ugh. My life would suck. What would I do at home by myself every single night? I would have to face myself. I didn’t know who I was or am. I was afraid.
I was so afraid of what or who I would find once I stripped away the liquid armor. What if I didn’t like the person that I would find after alcohol was no longer covering that person up? Without knowing what would find, I was not going to commit to never drinking again. If I didn’t like that person, then I could start drinking, again and again, fill in that void, and no one would be the wiser. Problem solved.
Well, except for me, I would know. Then I would go down that rabbit hole of alcohol coming back into my life. I would use to not only cover my tracks but to forget those tracks. I knew myself well enough to know that I would drink more. And still, I wasn’t ready to close that door. I may still need it. It had been my constant companion, my partner in crime for so long. How could I leave my best bud behind?
It turns out I can leave my best bud behind. I am never going to drink again. I have slammed that door shut, and locks installed, and furniture piled high because that door is CLOSED. For good. Because it turns out, I like me. I am pretty awesome. Okay, well, the pieces of me that have resurfaced because now alcohol isn’t filling up that space is pretty cool. For one, I am writing again (as you may have noticed). I am using my power for good. I am still afraid, but fear is a great motivator. I will use that fear to continue to push myself forward.
Even now, writing that last paragraph, after I finished editing, all of this is hard to admit. It is going to be harder to post this. Every fiber in my being is telling me not to. No one would know, my fear whispers to me; you can still hide.
Well, you know what I decided.