Challenges, Health, Living, sober

Waking Up with a Clear Head: Eight Weeks of Sobriety

This morning is apparently winter’s last hurrah in our little part of the world. The snow falling is really fine and dainty, but it’s being whipped into a frenzy by strong winds and temperatures are hovering around -4 (a very big deal for us who don’t know how to have a proper winter). As such I’m tucked away under several blankets, frantically making a pot of coffee before our power goes out (in hefty wind storms it does this with some regularity) and thinking about how things in my life have drastically changed after only eight weeks.

Eight weeks ago today I had my last drink, and like a lot of things I had taken it completely over the top. We were having a Zoom quiz with our friends in Scotland and had been day drinking for six hours straight. I had pounded back nearly a dozen Nudes in this time and was desperately looking for more alcohol to keep my buzz going, because I knew as soon as I stopped I would feel like shit. My husband ended up ordering delivery food and booze, but it came after our call ended. We were suddenly left with all these beautifully presented cocktails in fancy jars, and just the two of us feeling kind of sad. Despite the pouring rain I told my husband I wanted to go for a long walk and as we were getting soaked I opened up. I told him how for months I had been feeling out of control, unable and unwilling to stop pickling my liver almost every night, despite the illusion I presented that I was totally fine. I told him I had been drinking on days where I didn’t tell him, that I used drinking to cheer myself whenever I was bored, and that it was becoming very evident (to me) that I was an alcoholic. We immediately returned and poured every drop of booze we had down the sink, and I haven’t looked back since.

I had started writing in my journal very consistently at this point in time – I continue to do so now. It’s a way I hold myself accountable. Looking back on those entries I can see I had a rough first few days (it didn’t help that I was also giving up junk food at the same time) but very quickly things picked up. In multiple entries I talked about how amazing it was to wake up with a clear head. I’m thinking about that now as I type this. I vividly remember waking up after drinking, even if it was only one glass, and doing a careful internal probe of how I felt. If there was no headache, I had won that round. If I had a mild headache, I knew a workout would sort it out. Rarely, but perhaps getting a little bit more common, I would be out for the whole day, wallowing in self-pity and oozing alcoholic fumes out of my pores. Not for the past eight weeks. I look forward to the mornings, drinking my coffee, reading blog posts and thinking about the day ahead. My thoughts are completely freed up to go in any direction they want to, because they are not concentrating on how shitty I feel or making me feel guilty or ashamed.

I now text friends at night who I want to text, saying things I want to say, and knowing in the morning there will be no horrified scroll through to see what idiotic message I had sent. I can do coursework in the mornings because my brain is fired up, or I can write and write and write some more in my journal about how good I feel. Alternatively I can go and set another PR in the squats and deadlifts because my body is ready for it and not trying to get toxins out of my bloodstream. It’s only been two months, and I have never felt better, more in control, more able to meet my potential than I do now.

Is this a sobriety honeymoon period? Maybe. All I know is that I have no temptations to go back to my old alcoholic ways. I have support from my husband and my immediate family, which has made all the difference in the world. I’ve not told my friends yet because I don’t want them to feel guilty or nonchalant about my choices, but truthfully they haven’t noticed in the slightest. I’m learning to (online) socialize without using booze as a social crutch, and I’m realizing that I am the same person as before, just maybe a little more thoughtful and a lot less sloppy. I am the same obnoxious extroverted woman I have been since my early 20s, and I am so grateful to be learning that my personality does not come from a bottle.

These past eight weeks have shown me how I want to live, and that I want to always wake up with my head completely clear.

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