I came across an article recently that I wanted to share with you.
The article is titled How I Quit Drinking In A World That Wants Me Drunk and inspired me to recap how I quit drinking myself - and tell you about it.
I quit drinking slowly over the course of several years, and then once and almost for all when I got pregnant.
I say almost, because I went on a one week long vacation to Germany this July, where I met with old friends and during which I drank frequently, but little.
(With the exception of a wedding reception, where I drank a little more, but still responsibly and hangover-free!)
After I came back to Toronto, I had one last beer over dinner with friends, and that was it.
In spite of this handful of exceptions, I consider myself sober since January 1st, 2016. Indeed: I consider myself sober, even though I had a few drinks on six out of those 1013 days, because the way I drank before January 1st, 2016, and the way I drank this summer are entirely incomparable, and because I believe that some of us can be in recovery and still have a few responsible drinks.
That said, I don't believe that I could have kept drinking responsibly over time had I stayed in Germany longer, but with a clear distinction between my old lifestyle there and my new lifestyle here, the switch back to zero was surprisingly easy overall; it goes to show, too, that our drinking habits really are often dependent on who we spend time with, and that there are circumstantial triggers like weddings and old drinking settings that make abstaining harder.
But anyway, you are probably most interested in how I managed to put my sanity first and stop partying in the unhealthy ways that I used to.
Here is my very abbreviated personal recipe for sobriety:
This recipe worked for me, and while I am not saying that the following pieces will seal the deal for everyone, I do think there is something to be said for their effectiveness in recovery - hence the way that I work.
I will list my "steps", if you want to call them that, in order of chronological appearance:
3. Realizing that nonalcoholic beer and tea are drink menu items
4. Asking: "Why am I doing this to myself?"
5. Understanding that meaningful connections only happen sober
6. Planning a future (dropping dead any minute seemed likely before)
7. Getting pregnant and understanding my role in that context
That was it in a nutshell, and I am happy to elaborate on any of these steps in my small and exclusive upcoming relapse prevention workshop in Toronto this Saturday, or in the upcoming Relapse Prevention 101 online support group starting at the end of the month, if you are interested.
And if you are wondering what all they did for me, here are just the first few of the benefits that sobriety delivered for me:
Fewer mood swings, improved mood, making less of an ass of myself in public, less anger, fewer arguments, better friendships, better connections, less injuries, better choices in life overall, more in control of my fate, less waste of time, better decision making, no hangovers ever, more in touch with my emotions, better health, ...
I could go on for a while, but I'll let you get back to doing your thing.
And if you want to talk about that thing, you know where to find me. ;)