8 days ago, I woke up around 3AM like I often do, and popped some ibuprofen for the throbbing headache I had. I chugged a glass of water and then tossed and turned for about an hour until I started feeling better and fell back asleep until my alarm went off at 6:00. I hit snooze quite a few times and finally dragged myself out of bed, threw on an outfit from my pile of laundry that was not wrinkled, tossed my hair in a bun and dashed out the door so I could get to work just barely on time.
That is a common morning/night for me on a physical level, which is bad enough, but what’s worse is the commonality of what is going on inside my head. That time during which I am awake and hungover I am usually berating myself heavily. I hate myself for drinking again. I feel a sense of shame so strong I am convinced I am the worst person on the planet. I’m pathetic. I convince myself that is the LAST time and I am going to give drinking a break. And then I go about my day as usual and by the time I am done work and am home and ready to unwind, I have justified to myself that one more night is fine.
I mentioned this happened 8 days ago because that was in fact the last time I drank. It was finally enough. I cried that morning (a Wednesday) on my drive to work knowing that I had hit a breaking point and I couldn’t continue the same path. When I got to work I texted my roommates who are also my two best friends and told them I was giving up drinking indefinitely. I had hinted to them before this might be an area of my life I am unhappy with but I really let them know that I was at my point break. Obviously I had their support, but just putting this weight I had been carrying out in the open was a crucial first step. So far, the turmoil I had felt was entirely in my head.
That afternoon I spent some time Googling information. This is the reason I am writing this post. I had no idea where to turn or to begin. I have known one or two people that have been to AA, but it just didn’t sound right for me. So my question was, were there other groups like that? Were there books? Blogs? I realized there is a shockingly small amount of resources available to people just looking too figure it out. I didn’t get a DUI or a public intoxication ticket, or do something to hurt my career, and for the most part I have incredibly healthy friendships. I just wanted to figure out how to drink less, not check myself into rehab. For me, it’s a big enough problem to take action, but not enough to make me turn my life upside down.
I started with books. There are so many that I really didn’t know how to choose one. I finally honed in on one particular book that focused on the science behind addiction and the psychology of alcohol in society. I am about halfway through reading it so I won’t mention it yet, but let me just say that so far, it may be the best thing I have ever discovered. Since I have no comparison, maybe there are plenty of books that are as helpful as this one, or maybe fate stepped in and I found THE book, the one that would help me the most, first. I’ll be sure to update on that in a near future post.
The reason I was moved to write this post was because in the first part of the book, the writer tells a similar story to mine. I had NO idea that anyone else in the world actually felt the same things I had been feeling. That sounds silly to say, that I felt as if I really was the only person in the world with this set of thoughts and feelings and experiences. And that, my friends is why I think this is a topic that really needs to be talked about more. If there was more conversation about drinking, particularly amongst young people (who are experiencing tons of changes, and just trying to figure out life let alone acceptable drinking habits), someone else may not have to reach such a low point before deciding to make a change.
So far, I feel awesome. I haven’t gone 8 days without a sip of alcohol in quite sometime, and definitely not 8 days with little to no intention of continuing again. I want to keep writing about this, and I hope someone reads it and can relate. If not, it’s still part of my healthy journey and will definitely contribute to the fitness I am trying to achieve!