It’s Not About Time

I was out after work with two girlfriends, catching up as we hadn’t seen each other in about six weeks. They asked me, “How’s that going?”, referring to  the fact that I’d stopped drinking, and wanted to know how long it had been. I replied that I had my last drink on Feb 1st, making it just about 8 months. They, meaning well, told me about friends and people they knew who had “fallen off the wagon” around this time, because they felt “comfortable enough at this stage to think they could just have one.”

I tried to explain that for me it is not about a time frame. Its not about the number of days, or weeks, or months without alcohol. It is about what stage I am at in my understanding and acceptance of the FACT that alcohol and my body are not compatible. I explained that the way my body reacts to alcohol is similar to the way the body of someone with an allergy, say to shrimp and lobster, would react. My friends pointed out that some people with shellfish allergies still consume lobster because they love it, swollen tongues and chest pains be damned. They had a point which led me to explain further.

Aside from coming to terms with the fact that I physically react differently to alcohol than other people, quitting drinking for good is also about coming to terms with and understanding the emotional and spiritual relationship I used to have with alcohol.

“I didn’t stop drinking because I couldn’t stop drinking. I stopped drinking because it became clear to me that I had a hole in my soul that alcohol was making bigger.” Mended Musings

It is about realizing and recognizing that once the clarity sets in, (you know what I’m talking about), all those issues and challenges that drinking ‘helped’ me to run from will surface and nag me until I face, deal with and accept them.

It is about being able to, for the first time, hold myself close and repeat to myself:  “I am not alone. I am taking care of Me”, and truly loving myself now and the girl I used to be. It is about helping the girl I used to be sort through all those difficult life changing challenges she faced, and tried to deal with the wrong way, for the greater part of two decades.

While I will never underestimate the power of that escape route I chose for so long, what I have learned and gained, is worth so much more to me. That is something that cannot be explained and perhaps none of the people in my life can truly understand. But that’s okay. I love them for trying to understand but I know that they don’t have to.  Because to me, as much as it is not about time, it is also not about what I can get others to understand. It is about celebrating the second chance I’ve been given, and that I’ve given to myself and knowing deep down that I can’t take that away. This decision and this journey are about finally saying: “I am worth it. I deserve having this life that I want. I deserve to take care of myself and to treat myself well,” and meaning all of it.
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12 comments

  1. I was literally thinking this morning about how it is like an allergy, a bad reaction. Do people really risk a swollen head/tongue/ER trip for some lobster? Maybe so, but you’re right that avoiding alcohol leads to so much more. It’s hard to explain, but so very real anyway. You put it so eloquently here…the perfect read for me today. Thank you!

    1. Hi BBB. Thank you for the kind words. 🙂 It’s very true, I feel like I’ve gained so much. You know, I’ve been thinking about the allergy thing. Ales with a lot of wheat, white wines and certain red wines used to set of a sinus attack. So in preperation for an evening of drinking I would take Panadol Allergy & Sinus tablets. This happened 98% of the times I drank. I’m actually shaking my head as I write this. My poor body was trying to tell me all along. Sigh 🙂

  2. I quite on Feb 1 as well. Your thoughts on your rebel resonate with me. It has been important for me to understand my rebel. Not bury him, but give him a voice and integrate him into living alcohol free. Great writing.

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