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Not one drink. No matter what.
I’m a stubborn woman at times. Shocking, right? Well, it’s a blessing and a curse. When it comes to sobriety, it has been a blessing. I once heard somebody say that she was too stubborn to start drinking again, and it resonated with me. I made a decision, I put that decision out there to enough people, and then I simply dug in my heels.
Of course, I did a lot of work, and still do, to stay sober. But it all started with the decision. Whether you’re a 12-stepper like me or not, it usually starts with a decision.
One thing I don’t do much, if at all, anymore is question that decision. For some, myself included, it was a decision to simply not drink. For others, also myself included, it’s a full surrender to a higher power of some kind. That still looks different for everybody, and it isn’t necessary to start this path.
My life had become unmanageable. I tried so hard, bless my heart, I really did, but it was too exhausting.
I don’t often wonder if I can handle just one drink. Believe it or not, I actually believe and kind of know that I could go “handle” just one drink right now. One time. Maybe. Maybe even twice. Three times? Nope. I’d bump it to 2, or 7, or more. The mental obsession would take hold, and I’d be back to counting down the days, the hours. Wondering if I could get away with bringing a flask into a kids’ birthday party. Blacking out at a business conference and ending up who knows where.
Yeah, I’ve been down that road many times.
This is how it sounds when I start questioning my decision to quit drinking:
- Maybe I’m not really an alcoholic, maybe I was just dealing with trauma.
- I drank the most with my ex, maybe I only learned it from him or did it to please him.
- Maybe I’m only codependent, and alcohol is another way I took on somebody else’s mess. I’m sure I’d be fine now.
- I’ve done a lot of soul searching. Maybe I’m mature enough to drink moderately now.
- I can drink like a normal person if I set my mind to it. Mind over matter.
It’s easier for me in the long run to just nip that in the bud.
Maybe I could have a drink or two, but so what? What good would those drinks do for me?
“Can we pause for one second before we crack open the Rosé and think, Where am I going with this? Closer to life or further away? Why? Is this what it means to be alive?” – Laura McKowen
I love this so much (and the whole post that goes with it in that link), I want to put it up everywhere. I want to tattoo it on my body. Am I moving closer to life or further away?
Is that what it means to be alive? Numbing out, running away, or altering my brain chemistry to have more “fun”? Is that really what this is all about? I know I’m here for a purpose, and most of that purpose is in service. How can I possibly serve to the fullest extent if I am numbing myself with a substance? What good can I be to anybody?
What would my children learn if they saw Mommy reach for the rum or the wine or the whatever as a self-medication tool?
Is it really self-care to run away from yourself?
I have a lot of questions, I know. And of course, not everybody who drinks is running away, or numbing out. But I was. I know I was, even when I tried to pretend that I was just doing what everybody else does, and drinking to relax a tiny bit.
In all honesty, I didn’t really drink to relax. I drank to escape. There is a very real difference, and even after I realized it, I accepted it as just part of who I am for way too long.
But I have choices. There is no law that dictates that we have to pour ourselves a glass of alcohol to relax.
So no, I don’t question the decision anymore. I’d like to think that I never will again, but I know better. It’s been a long time, but you never know. Even when I’ve struggled and been close to relapse, I knew better than to think that I could handle a drink or two. I knew I couldn’t, so even while contemplating my relapse, I was planning a full-blown event. No little drink for me, no. Thankfully I didn’t have to go through with that, I had tools and a way out. There is always, always a way out.
We have choices.
We can choose a better life every day, every moment. If I start to question the decision to not drink (no matter what), and end up dabbling with it again, I cut my feet off where I stand.
It’s easy to want to dive into the research, the statistics, maneuver around and figure out some way that I’m the exception, or everybody’s wrong, or somebody else is to blame. I can’t afford to do that, though. Again – been there, done that. Got the t-shirt and the mysterious bruises and the pounding headache. I’m much happier with the decision to keep moving forward. I hope you can say the same.
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Hi! I'm Ashley, and my sobriety date is May 6, 2015. I write to share my experience, strength, and hope in recovery. On any given day, you can find me developing websites, writing, or chauffeuring kids around. Read my story...
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