“Drinking helps you relax and you deserve it.”
“Work was so stressful — I need a drink.“
“I got the job, I need a drink to celebrate!”
I hear these phrases and so many more on a daily basis. They have become extremely apparent to me after battling my own issues with alcohol. I hate that society conditions us with sentences and thinking like that. Alcohol doesn’t directly correlate to stress relief and it doesn’t always mean fun or celebration.
The first time I ever had a drink was when I was 16. It didn’t really become a huge problem until after I turned 21. At 21, you’re excited to drink. You are simply having fun, and going through a “party phase.” Some take this path of life, and some do not. For myself, it quickly became an escape.
An escape from my own reality and all of the things I didn’t know how to handle. I started working at a bar, and that turned into nightly parties. I was drinking almost every single day. Drinking was always fun. It was a way to connect with my friends and to have fun for that night. Let all my problems go.
But then the morning would come and I would be devastated with the choices I had made the prior night, the amount of alcohol I consumed, throwing up, being out of control. I had what so many people call, “drinker’s guilt.” I would spend a long time in bed, trying to manage the strength and hope to get up and start my day. It riddled me with anxiety and it was an extreme problem in my life.
My life revolved around alcohol. It became the center of dinner, lunch or really anything with friends. It became what I was always anxious to go out and do– GO TO THE BAR. It was also an act of rebellion. I would think of it as the only thing I had or did for myself. And if anyone tried to question that or tell me different, they were trying to steal my fun away.
Because of my trouble getting up out of bed and all of the anxiety I was having, I reluctantly started to make changes within myself. At this point, I was still not realizing alcohol was a huge part of the problem. I thought my negativity and the way I was treating myself was the problem. (I was correct!) So I started there. I began researching.
This is when the BEAUTIFUL and WONDERFUL idea of psychology wiggled it’s way into my life. I was sprung, simply in love with what I began reading and so I started to use psychology as a tool to debunk my mind.
Psychology became a life saver. It was a way for me to assess myself and become aware of exactly what was causing all of these problems in my life. I used this tool to begin changing my thoughts.
I began listening to my inner dialogue. Sitting with it. Paying attention to what I was thinking before anxiety hit me. This is when I realized the horrible words I was saying to myself. So I started small. I would count how many times each day I would say something awful to myself and then I would correct it and say something positive. Small steps like this made a lot of change and positivity in my life.
Through the accumulation of studying my thoughts and beginning to treat myself better, the anxiety lessened and the more I started wanting to change my life. The more I started to love myself and change these awful habits I had layered on. I was addicted to the feeling of loving myself.
I was able to create some goals to start drinking less. I started with 6 days instead of 7. And then, when I was uncomfortable there and wanted more change, I moved it down to 5 days a week. I did this all the way until I got to drinking once every other week. I made so many goals like these!! I got to a point where I even counted the amount of drinks I was having and shortened that as well.
And I’m not sure exactly how it happened. But it almost happened over night. There wasn’t a traumatic event or some major life epiphany… The night before was almost like any other, actually. I went out partying. But when I woke up the next day, I was done. This day was January 15th, 2019. And I decided to rid alcohol from my life completely as an act of self love. As a promise to myself to live a different life of health and happiness.
It has been almost 1 year and 3 months since I quit drinking. During this time, I have accomplished quitting smoking cigarettes and weed, starting a blog, changing my diet tremendously, exercising more frequently, smiling more, becoming full of confidence, and treating those around me with love and kindness.
All in all, there is never anything wrong with a drink here and there -but if you are linking it to some idea that it relieves you of your life problems or that it brings you more happiness, on any level, then you are DEPENDENT on alcohol. Even IF you’re not an alcoholic.
And furthermore, identifying what your link to alcohol is, could be the answer to making it a non issue in your life.
Do you drink because you believe it will make you less angry? Do you drink because you don’t want to be stressed? I drank, most definitely, to erase my life problems. It was the fun and escape I was in search of. And it sure did it’s job for the time I indulged in alcohol. But it was a temporary relief.
I have found a permanent solution which I know will stick with me for the rest of my life.