It’s been eight days since I’ve had a drink. I’m feeling pretty good. Shaky here and there–fighting off a craving–but for the most part, pretty strong. Solid in my decision. When I have contemplated drinking, I’ve made myself “play it forward” to later in the night. I’ve pictured myself waking up around 3:00 AM with a headache, an upset stomach, and a litany of hateful words running through my brain. The internal scolding, the empty promises, the shame, the guilt, the anger, the fear, the sadness and despair; I force myself to envision this.
I don’t want to feel like that anymore. I don’t want to be disappointed in myself. I don’t want to feel weak, hopeless, alone, afraid, frustrated, hurt, depressed, irritated. I want to feel happiness. Hope. Strength. Resilient. Trust-worthy. I want my kids to look up to me. I want to be proud of myself. Really like who I am.
I want to be physically fit. Feel heathy in my mind, body, and spirit. I want loads of energy. I want determination, ambition, drive, to live my life with purpose, to take advantage of EVERY SINGLE DAY–instead of sludging along in a world of numbing “blah.” I want to laugh, really laugh. I want to sincerely smile, LIVE more sincerely. Be true to myself, to the nature in which God made me. I want to feel everything, be in touch with all my senses, not crawling by with 50% or less. I want to treasure each and every day I get with my children living in my same house. Treasure my good health, my youth while I have it. Treasure my children’s youth. My husband’s.
I need to see myself as different from the adults who continue to imbibe, to block out the world, to numb out their evenings and their weekend nights. I should feel sorry for them, that they’re missing out on making ever-lasting, crystal-clear memories. I should feel sorry for Robert. Not angry. He is still trapped. He’s standing firmly in the Pitcher Plant and doesn’t have a clue, even though he’s read This Naked Mind; he’s chosen to believe it’s for someone else, not him, that he doesn’t have a problem…. But he does. I see it in the way he reaches for a drink as his only way to unwind after work. I see it in how he MUST have 4 – 5 cocktails per day every Friday through Sunday. He truly believes that alcohol is a requirement for fun, is a requirement in order to relax. He is not going to change, unless a health diagnosis forces him to. My needs are not his, my wants. It won’t ever matter what I see happening to him; it will only matter when he does.
So, I have to let it go.
I have to focus on me.
Things that have helped? As I already wrote about, “Playing it forward,” for sure. That’s a big one. The flip side of it, or I guess I should say, what walks along hand-in-hand with it, is ALSO picturing playing it forward when I DON’T drink. Picturing myself–late night–curled up on the couch with a cozy blanket, having freshly showered and put on good-smelling lotion, watching a movie in the dark with just candles lit or the fireplace going, and hanging out with the kids and dogs. Then follow this image with me climbing into bed later, fully sober, reading and looking forward to a good night’s sleep without having to use ANY sleep meds. Getting up early the next morning to go work out.
My brain can be my worst enemy–the “Wine Witch” voice that tries to get me drink–but can also be my closest ally. I’ve found that I am such a visual person. The more I can “see” in my head, the stronger I become at fighting off unwanted thoughts. I can picture other, healthier coping mechanisms than tipping back the bottle. I can picture myself taking a hot bath, doing a puzzle at the kitchen table, watching a really good movie on Netflix, cozying up in bed with a great book, going for an evening stroll with the kids and dogs on a beautiful Autumn night. I can picture myself waking up early the next morning and going straight to work out.
Like this morning. This morning–because I didn’t drink last night–I woke up feeling refreshed. Revived. I had energy in my step. I went to the gym and put in a good work out. I showered and took the time to look nice for work. I even managed to do some chores around the house before I left. Last night, I cleaned the entire home! I took advantage of a free couple of hours, where before I would’ve been a sludge on the couch, drinking. Robert was that sludge. He did nothing besides watch the football game and pound drinks at his face. Drinking when he was still getting over an illness he’s had all week. I mean, really? What’s the point of getting a buzz while you’re homebound and sick? But I digress…
So, “Where I’m at?” is the title of this journal entry, and I can honestly say, I’m sick and tired of what my life looks like when I’m drinking. I’m not able to moderate in a healthy manner for very long. Eventually I fall back into old patterns. But I’m also unable to commit to not drinking forever. Where I currently am, is that I want to get to my birthday without having had a drink. I have a physical on the 25th, and I want to tell Dr. B that I haven’t had a single drop of alcohol in 25 days. At which time, I will reassess. But what I’m thinking…. what I’m thinking is that I’d like to go longer, keep stretching my “time off” further and further out.
We shall see.