“To change a person, it is necessary to change the way they think about themselves.” ~Abraham Maslow
A few years ago, I decided to quit alcohol, but I also decided that I would probably spend my days alone, miserable, and bored while I quit drinking.
I was so affected by social conditioning that I was convinced that if you didn’t drink, you either had no friends, you were in deep rock bottom, or you weren’t having fun. I was worried because I didn’t know if I could find happiness or even satisfaction on the other side of my drinking career.
I started examining my thoughts and feelings about drinking and focused more on my behavior. What led me to…
Awareness (of one’s drinking habits)
Looking back now, I can clearly see that I was a gray zone drinker for a long time.
Gray zone drinkers are those who fall somewhere between non-drinkers and physical alcoholics.
Society tends to judge problem drinking as black or white. “You’re an alcoholic and need to be cured, otherwise you’re not an alcoholic and you’ll be fine.” Well, I think it’s more subtle than that. There’s a range between rock bottom and occasional drinking, and it’s long.
Gray zone drinkers may consume a few glasses of wine each night, may be heavy drinkers on weekends, or may be sober for a month at a time to prove they are okay. there is.
I was capable of any of those actions, and in retrospect, I fit the gray zone drinker description very well. I wasn’t physically addicted to alcohol, but maybe I was mentally addicted. I have used it regularly to change my state of mind to relax/enjoy.
This can be confusing when you first start perceiving alcohol as what it is. I’d say, “But I’m not hurting anybody. I’m going to put some glasses of wine on the couch before I go to bed. What’s wrong with that?”
It used to move along grayscale. Different ages, different friend groups, different jobs, different situations, different seasons, and different living environments all led to different drinking patterns. I never really chose to stay away from alcohol for an extended period of time (more than 30 days), except during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
acceptance (wanting something different)
I realized that the more I moved along the grayscale, the more or less colorful other areas of my life became. If my joy is a rainbow, that rainbow glow fades or shines brighter depending on how much I drink.
I didn’t want anyone to label me as having a problem, so I put off changing my drinking habits for a long time.
It’s easy to think from watching movies that the end of a drinking life should be a dramatic ending, like family intervention or rock bottom, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
What if you chose to end your drinking day with a quiet drink instead of a big firework or big drama? That was my case.
My gray-zone drinking changed shades of gray over the years, and by the time I was ready to try the alcohol-free living experiment, I drank less and never drank more than two drinks at a time. . But shades of gray no longer felt good and I wanted a full technicolor rainbow. And I knew that to get one, I had to give up the other, so I did.
The gray clouds broke away and all the other areas of my life that hadn’t been very enjoyable before began to shine a little brighter.
Action (Take a step towards the next thing)
After deciding to quit drinking for a year, I took action to increase my chances of doing so.
I choose the time frame I want to work on, educate myself about the harm of alcohol, download apps that help me stay focused, and have other exciting things already doing what I want. Seeking people and asking questions set them up for success. For support where you need it.
I thought that once I decided to stop drinking, it would be easy to do, but I was surprised that it wasn’t. He now realizes that this is one of the reasons why there are so many wonderful, humble communities out there. We need each other and want to look to those who can serve.
I was so focused on my morning routine that supported my needs, reading more books, listening to podcasts, and using distraction techniques than ever before that the early days of sobriety constituted a full-time job. They were joking. initial. But really, it wasn’t a full-time job. It was simply learning a new way of life.
Harmony (and a sense of contentment and peace)
Now that I’m sober, I have to face some truths. Some of them were comfortable. Some have become more comfortable over time, while others are still uncomfortable.
I had a bit of an identity crisis when I decided to stay sober for a year. I had little trouble changing my home drinking identity, but I really struggled with my social identity. Sharing my drinking experience was a big part of my life and who I was or thought I was.
In the end, I slowly built up a new identity over time. I thought about not only who I was, but also who I wanted to be in the future. I spent time exploring the things I enjoyed and began to consciously distance myself from activities that I no longer enjoyed.
I also observed my relationships more carefully. Who did you want to see more of, who did you need to leave for a while? Some of the most amazing support has come from unexpected places.
For too long, chaos has been the default position, and I find tranquility all too unfamiliar. First, I had to slowly move towards the identity I wanted. I have accepted that some friendships have changed and some have stayed the same. After quitting drinking and becoming a business owner, I made new friends.
Who am I sober? I’m just a person who chooses not to drink. I hope it’s the least interesting thing for me.
Who am I sober? I am an improved version of myself, more relaxed, more peaceful, more patient, kinder, more content. These weren’t words I would use to describe myself when I was drinking. Internal turmoil reigned.
Who am I sober? Well, perhaps the most surprising thing for me was finding myself working as a coach. I spent his 12 years as a youth worker and most of that time was spent talking to young people about their drug use without ever thinking about their own drug use. When I cooled down and completed my coaching training and certification, I couldn’t believe what I had achieved. Not long ago, none of this seemed possible.
Now the “wow, let me lead the charge to the pub/bar/dance floor” part of my personality seemed extroverted, but in reality, I dealt with situations that weren’t. I realized that I was an introvert who used alcohol as a means. Not comfortable.
I am really happy that I can now claim a more introverted personality. We want you to have fun, in pairs or small groups please, morning or afternoon please, and can we go home? Will you lie down after that? thank you!
If you’re having trouble imagining or thinking about who you really are, follow good role models for inspiration, read books, listen to podcasts, and take action. If you’re thinking of following someone’s advice, think about whether that person is currently in the situation you want. Have you seen them act with compassion and kindness toward others who are in a similar situation to you right now and they are helping?
For me, sobriety is not a “one and done” experience. It’s been a process over the last few years and I’m very grateful to admit that it’s still a work in progress, as I believe we all are.
Focusing on awareness, acceptance, action and alignment may make things a little easier.