A sneak preview of the book I'm writing, "50 Things I learned in 50 Days of Sobriety"
When I had the epiphany moment where everything clicked, I could not believe it. I can almost identify the exact moment where I knew I would never drink again. It changed for me when I was able to exploit the fact that I always did whatever I wanted. In retrospect, it seems so simple. To give up drinking, I didn’t have to convince myself to deprive myself of alcohol… I had to convince myself that I wasn’t “giving up” alcohol- I was going alcohol-free. That’s right. I was freeing myself. Not depriving myself. So for me, the key to having a completely changed mindset was that going alcohol-free had to be what I wanted. Not just a tiny whisper at the back of my head. But really to the core.
The first few days, or even week, of going alcohol-free was one of the strangest periods I’ve ever experienced. I felt numerous emotions and they were all very intense. On the one hand, I felt such an incredible amount of pride in my decision. Despite it only being the first few days, I already knew in my heart that this shift was here to stay. I felt amazingly free. I was taught to think of alcohol as something that was trapping me, and it’s true- it was. To know that I had finally freed myself was such an amazing feeling.
I really, truly believed that when I stopped drinking, all of my other problems would just disappear. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Freeing myself from alcohol was actually the easy part- reshaping the other habits I had formed as a result of my drinking was the real challenge. Overall, I did maintain many good habits despite my drinking, but there were some habits I had formed that were getting in the way of my greater goals. It only took a few days of no alcohol for my energy levels to surge- it was incredible, yet unfamiliar and it was overwhelming to try to apply the energy.
After over a decade of drinking, my spirit, soul, and self esteem had all taken devastating damage. As a drinker, there were some things that I was good at, but it seemed like there was nothing I was great at. I was able to capture some opportunities as a drinker, but on many occasions, I wasn’t able to apply myself to the fullest of my ability. This is where one of the biggest impacts on my mental health came into play. I was able to acquire the potential for big opportunities. When I say potential, I mean things like job interviews, or speechcompetitions.
This was one of the most adorable, heart-warming outcomes. In a way, it felt like I had picked up where I left off before I ever had my first drink in the 9thgrade. Suddenly, I became interested in video games again- something that I lovedwhen I was growing up. As a drinker, I still bought the latest consoles, always promising myself that I would get back into gaming, but I never truly did. I would always be out and about, too tired, too drunk. I never would have expected this small resurrection to have had such a profound impact on my mental health. I really felt happy when I would load a video game up, and I would get into it again.
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