I don’t drink every day. So taking one day off, isn’t really tough for me. And when I feel little low or hungover, I can easily take the day off from the booze.
My problem is when I do drink, I often go all in and drink way too much. OR I decide to drink, even though intellectually I know it isn’t helping my situation or me. I don’t want to be told “no.” I am rebellious even unto myself. The problem is not last night or today. The problem will come two weeks from now when I forget how miserable I felt yesterday and forget why it is important for me to do this. I will think “I work hard… I had a tough day… I’m a full adult, goddamnit, I can have a fucking beer if I want to.” I cuss a lot, angry me cusses even more.
Currently I am going through the end of a marriage. This requires a lot of energy to devote time and attention to details, paperwork. In addition to this, is the emotional toll of disappointment of what is, and failure of what was, and addressing my culpability in that is very heavy and sometimes I just want to walk away from it. I am not the first person to go through this, and certainly will not be the last. But if you have been through it, then you know it is stressful even under the most amicable of conditions. Amicable would NOT describe my current state of separation. Going through this big life change requires me to focus on things I would rather not. Alcohol allows me to remove that focus for a moment. HOWEVER……
What I also understand, after reading This Naked Mind and The Sober Diaries, (both I HIGHLY recommend), is that I am so much better when sober. When sober I am able to deal with what needs to be dealt with. I am stronger. I have more focus and acuity. I am more mentally agile – I can see around things without the avoidance I maintain through drinking or the fog that results from a hangover.
I also so suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. Alcohol does NOTHING to help anxiety – except for a very brief moment. After the buzz, alcohol actually creates a rebound effect. My anxiety is worse after drinking than if I had never drank at all. If I had sat on the couch and binge watched Netflix, I would have been still behind, but better off. I didn’t erase the things I was worried about – they are still there, I’m just more behind. Instead of losing one evening to a Netflix binge, I lost two. One from being drunk and the next day from being hungover. Not only did I avoid the Big-ticket-items that I needed to work on, but also the small, mundane things that are of little or no effort when feeling 100%.
I saw this slow moving train wreck in my own life recently.
I started drinking more over the past 6 months. I did this I think to avoid doing the BIG things that are scary and will take a lot of time and energy. The things that make me nervous (like handling taxes, handling dissolution paperwork, tackling big projects at work). In addition, because I was drinking at night (when I normally do my housework, etc.), I was also avoiding doing the small things. Not all at first, but little by little, household tasks became less important. I love a clean house. I stopped spot cleaning every day, so the dust / small messes got bigger. Bigger messes require more time and energy and are more tempting for me to avoid. These became bigger messes just got bigger the longer I avoided them. I stopped doing my laundry as frequently and so the laundry piled up and became a “big” job instead of a small one and I would avoid it until I absolutely had to address it. I looked around my house one day and thought “WOW!” Now bear in mind, I am not a hoarder and my house is not “dirty,” but it was also in no way “clean.” This was my moment. Seeing my dirty house. Feeling like shit. Going to work foggy-headed. Still having not addressed my elephant-in-the-room (divorce). Knowing it was going to require effort to get my house in order (figuratively and literally) and knowing that I definitely did not have the energy for such fuckery at the present moment.
So that’s how I came to “Day Zero” and I hope to come back to this and read this in two weeks when I really, really want a drink because I have had a hard day, I’m celebrating with friends, or I’m and adult goddamnit and I can have a beer (or bottle of wine) if I want to.
Remember where you are today. Remember that you feel good today. You got a lot accomplished today. You looked that elephant straight in his beady little eye today and at least pulled out your knife and fork. You are better without it.