Yesterday I mentioned I wasn’t successful in quitting smoking and had decided I wasn’t going to attempt it for the foreseeable future.
I have realised smoking doesn’t actually hinder me or stop my growth and so I would keep this addiction on the backburner for a while whilst I concentrated on being happy, especially now I have found a way to reduce the cost of this “filthy habit”.
I realise I may pay for that decision later, however if I do, I will just have to handle it.
My life has changed dramatically though since quitting the addiction that is drinking alcohol and I am conscious I wrote an entry previously leaving some realisations yet to be shared.
Now that I have quit for five months, I have had time to reflect on the effect it has had in my life and so I thought I would try and share my realisations on the subject.
More and more recently I have found myself in situations where I have thought how lucky I am to be free from this poison. This legal, socially accepted, if not pushed, poison.
The reason why I felt so lucky is because I know, now that I have decided never to touch a drop again, alcohol will never cloud my thoughts, feelings and perception ever again.
I know I am not free from being clouded, however, it will not be due to alcohol which, to me, is the best way to lose control, even if for a minute, and which can affect you the day following a heavy drinking night, where your body is still under the influence of its intake and your mind is somewhat still fuzzy and your thoughts not clear, or the rest of your life.
Since quitting, I have been forced to handle my emotions head on.
No more hiding behind the veil of a fuzzy mind, inhibitions lifted by dutch courage intake.
No more feeling embarrassed about something I said or ashamed of my behaviour, putting it down to drinking too much as my excuse to be forgiven by others.
No more troubled thoughts going around and around in circle, being revisited time and time again and yet never addressed.
From now on, I am as much in control of who I am as I can be. My thoughts are purely conscious, everything I feel is as a direct result of my clear consciousness, no longer being escaped or hidden.
Every fear, anxiety, low point, excitement, happiness or love is felt and processed as I go along as I am no longer escaping myself with the “help” of this particular drug.
I can no longer have a drink to “relax” when I go home after a tough day at work.
I no longer blurt out unprocessed thoughts when I should be quiet instead.
I no longer wake up wondering how I came across the previous night.
I no longer numb the fear or the passion within.
I now listen fully to my emotions and try and understand them. “Am I feeling stressed at work? ok, how do I change that?”, “this person’s comment has made me defensive, why is it?”, “I feel anxious about this situation, what is making me feel this?”.
Facing emotions heads on is such a liberating feeling 🙂
Although I wasn’t an alcoholic, I have now realised how much I have used alcohol to numb my emotions and thoughts in the past 20 years.
I think this is a reason why we all drink: wanting to escape ourselves.
Turns out, my Self is actually a pretty cool person to get to know. And living with her is great fun 🙂 And since all I am is a standard basic human being, which we all are, I am sure you would find that too, about your Self, if you gave it a chance.
Saturday was my first outing as a non-drinker at a big social event, my best friend’s wedding.
The beauty of not drinking is you can drive yourself to such events – it is a priceless bonus as it means you are free – free to leave when you are ready. I have always made sure since starting this journey that I had an escape plan. If ever I am in a situation I am not feeling comfortable, I need to know I can just leave before I decide to attend. Being able to drive allows for this.
I wasn’t anxious to attend as I had it all planned -planning is a great way to crush anxiety I have found – and it was my best friend’s wedding, a day I was excited to attend. The party after not so much but I would leave whenever I was ready.
It started well enough, I was lucky to sit at the “rowdy” table, no kids at the table and a few dear acquaintances, people I felt really relaxed with and with whom I had partied before, plus a new lovely girl, whom my best friend had asked me to keep an eye on as she was anxious being at the wedding unaccompanied. I had great fun 🙂
The rowdy table of course being a synonym for the drinking one, and they were all very pleased they had a non-drinker at the table, joking it would be more booze for them. I felt happy they took me in, the “boring non-drinker”, very easily and happily.
It was all fun and games for a couple of hours before I started to notice some changes in people’s behaviour which changed the dynamics, for me anyway as they became blissfully unaware of their behaviour, I guess the intended outcome of drinking.
As it got rowdier rowdier, at times embarrassing, and more wine was being brought as it was being request, it became less fun, alcohol became the centre piece of our table. Even going as far as “making friends” with the waiting staff to ensure we were in their good books and would ensure our wine wouldn’t run out.
Conversations became louder as each was desperate to be heard over the others and no-one was really listening. It became hard work to follow, let alone to contribute.
At that stage luckily there was to be a break in the proceedings between the day party and the night one, and I set off to go and check in with my B and B.
When I got back the evening side had started.
A friend of mine, a non-drinker out of personal choice too incidentally, was there and I pretty much spent the evening chatting with him, tucked away on some comfy chairs we found, away from the action, checking in occasionally on my table buddies who had moved on to a garden table, ensuring the bottles collected during the afternoon reception came with them (and possibly a few they may have collected left over from the tables around), when I would go for a smoke.
This is where the “fun” started for me.
From a quiet distance, I was able to observe what I used to be like at parties/social events. And I got to fully appreciate where I am now.
I also developed an immense sense of compassion watching my drunk friends. I hadn’t expected that. All their insecurities were laid bare in front of me. Very insightful.
I also enjoyed some fun and interesting conversations with other guests who weren’t so much into drinking. Including one with the MC who had been intrigued and wanted to talk to me more about this non-drinking thing of mine, whilst sipping some white wine, “I’m just allowing myself a glass now as it is the end of the evening” he felt the need to justify to me when I hadn’t even cared.
I think I decided to go when one of my drunk friends’ new boyfriend was giving me clear, in a drunk kind of way, signals he fancied me. There are some touches that tells everything. I felt so grateful of my decision at that point. He was absolutely gorgeous, just the type of man the old drunk me wouldn’t have been able to resist under the influence.
Incidentally, I had had my doubts whether this chap was the right one for her before I met him, through conversations I had had with my friend when sober at the hen weekend, that night I found whole new reasons why this was the case.
So off I left, glad to see a bed, it had been a tiresome (and good) week.
The problem I have with alcohol and people is I believe people should take responsibility for themselves. Alcohol gives them an excuse to act like kids.
I am an adult now, and although I regularly enjoy child like activities, I am fully aware I have responsibilities as an adult to behave like one. That means facing myself.
I have developed little patience for people who haven’t realised that yet. And I care not to be involved in their debauchery or maladjustment.
I want to connect with people who are not afraid of who they are and who can communicate freely without needing their inhibitions lifted.
Inhibitions are there for a reason: they define boundaries.
Understanding and respecting boundaries provides you personal freedom, safe in the knowledge that your freedom will not infringe on others’.