How Do I Stop?
This morning, someone posted the following question on a sobriety chat board I belong to:
"Does anyone have any tips for stopping. I have a daily wine habit that has been ongoing for many years."
Something compelled me to put aside my morning chores and instead I sat down and quickly replied, before heading up to wake up my son for school. This was my reply:
Yes. Just stop.
Haha if only it were that easy! Simple, yes. Easy, no. Honestly, I wanted to stop for a few years. Well, parts of me wanted to stop - the good mom, the good coach, good wife, the responsible and healthy and rational parts of me wanted to stop. Meanwhile, my other parts wanted to hold on - my party girl, my life-of-the-party part, my carefree, spontaneous, wild part. My rebellious part. Whenever my Good Girl shouted, STOP! She would win for a few days, but then my other more fun-loving, naughty parts would rebel and take over.
So how did I stop?
I started to read a lot about recovery. Blog entries and news articles by lushes who stopped. I envied and admired them. I read books on how to move through addiction with mindfulness. I reached out now and then to sober friends and asked how they were doing. I tried cutting back. I did the Whole 30 (which means no drinking for 30 days).
One day I hit my bottom. Nothing dramatic, thank God, just basically felt intense self-loathing, especially because I hated how much I had just hurt (verbally) my 11 year old son. And while I was sober, I knew that my words were not mine, they were from a woman whose insides were toxic, who was exhausted from poor sleep and mindless living. I decided to take a break from alcohol for a few days. That was a Sunday. On Friday, having not drank all week, I decided to continue through the weekend. This was mid-December. So then I decided, go the rest of the month. On Jan 1, I decided, another month. Then I extended another month. By now I had stepped into some 12-step recovery meetings, and checked out other community-based options. I was listening to recovery podcasts, reading the Big Book, talking to others as I was now public about my efforts through my blog. I was helping others do what I did and do.
It has now been six months, one week since my last drink. My inner rebel is now and then pouting but is generally really happy. Because she now sees that NOT drinking is actually the greatest act of rebellion in a culture that reveres alcohol and pushes it left and right. When I finish a race, my healthy part revels in how good I feel now when I run, and my rebel part says f--- you to the beer tent. I think it's about perception. I went from thinking I was going to have to sacrifice and miss out, to now realizing I am much more available - to my family, my friends, my work, my self, my life.
I hope this is helpful. If you need some book recommendations or want to chat, I'm here for you. The fact you reached out at all is the first big step.
Wellness coach, athlete, mom, entrepreneur. I love helping people mindfully reboot their health & joy.