This year has been a year. I have been challenged more than I could ever have imagined, and trust me, I have had many challenges in my life. I am not going to go into all the details right now, but this year has definitely been difficult for me on many levels, and because of this I decided to make some changes. One pretty significant change that I made was to stop drinking. With that being said, I am in no way shaming anyone for drinking. My goal is to tell you my story and why I made this decision.
The last day I had a drink was on Friday, June 14th. I had wine with dinner, which was nothing unusual, but after which I became sick, and it wasn’t because I drank too much. If I am going to be completely transparent, I was also taking medication prescribed to me by my dermatologist, so it was probably the combination of the medication and the alcohol that made me sick. Yes, I know this was stupid, but in all honesty, I haven’t had a healthy relationship with alcohol for a long time, and this was merely one instance of stupidity. This was also a turning point for me. I needed this moment because on Saturday, June 15th I decided to give up alcohol, and I haven’t had a drink since that day.
While I do not believe I am an alcoholic, I know that I misused alcohol. To make a few things clear, I did not drink every day, and typically only had wine in the evening. I did not need alcohol but after a stressful day, I wanted a few drinks. All of this sounds pretty typical, but in my opinion, my relationship with alcohol was anything but typical. I could not just have one glass of wine. I wanted two or three, and following those glasses of wine, I would feel guilty. You see, I was not accepting of my drinking behavior. I was well aware of the unhealthy relationship I had with alcohol. I knew something was wrong, but like many people, I used alcohol as a crutch. I wanted to feel better, or in some cases, feel nothing at all. By doing this, however, I avoided what was really going on, and I was reminded that all those feelings were still there the very next morning. Rather than feeling better, I was actually feeling worse. With time, I started to realize that my drinking behavior was not aligning with my overall goal of living a healthy life, a life that is otherwise focused on health and wellness. The decision was simple. I needed to stop drinking, and honestly, it was a long time coming so it was a pretty easy thing for me to do.
I am fortunate that my husband does not drink often, and when he does it is usually one beer. I also prefer staying home most nights and found other ways to treat myself after a long week, such as a home cooked meal, or an overpriced Topo Chico. In addition, I am really appreciating all the benefits of not drinking. I suffered from acid reflux, which is practically non-existent now. I no longer wake up hungover. I am learning how to deal with my feelings rather than numb them down. And six months later, I feel so much better, both physically and mentally. I no longer feel the need to have a glass of wine to “unwind” or “feel better.” It really has made a big difference in my life.
I hope you understand that sharing all this makes me feel vulnerable, but I also believe it may help others evaluate their relationship with alcohol. Like most things in life, I believe alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle when it is used in moderation. I will encourage you to evaluate your life in its entirety and determine if the choices you are making align with the life you envision for yourself. When you do that, you will be able to be your best well self.