How I found a life without alcohol.
My relationship with alcohol was toxic, but it wasn’t all bad.
There were a lot of good times, and I have a lot of great memories. The bad didn’t necessarily outweigh the good, but it didn’t have to. The good just stopped being good enough to keep going.
Alcohol stopped working.
It’s okay to enjoy something and also decide that it can no longer take up space in your life. It can be confusing, and that’s also okay.
I had this thing in my life that had given me so much happiness, that brought so many people and opportunities into my life. This thing had been there for me. It cared for me, soothed me. It made me feel good inside. It made me happy.
But deep down, I knew it had to go.
Like I said, there were good times.
My group of friends met when we were in our 20s. Back then, our favorite pastime was to drink alcohol. Whatever we did, alcohol was involved. If it wasn’t, we ensured it was included, and we had a blast doing it. I suffered many negative consequences due to drinking, but I don’t regret that part of my life. I have those times to thank for shaping me into the person I am today.
I met my husband in a bar because that’s where I spent a lot of my time. It only made sense that it’d be where I’d meet the love of my life. I’m so thankful that he stuck with me through the next seven years—before I decided to quit drinking.
Eventually, alcohol stopped making me happy.
As I got older, I felt like my drinking had changed. I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I wasn’t in college anymore, and I had new responsibilities. Society told me that I needed it to fit in, to be happy, and to be a perfect parent. I was lied to.
I was living in an unhealthy cycle, and I deserved more.
I worked all week and drank on weekends. I usually drank more than I intended to. I usually blacked out. I got a hangover almost every time I drank, and I always regretted doing it. I lived in shame, wondering what I did or said, or if I had started a fight with my husband. I lived this way for a long time.
One day, I was hungover again, and I realized that enough was enough. It was that day that I started my alcohol-free journey. I haven’t looked back since.
Sometimes, I miss drinking, and that’s okay.
I miss the good times, but I also try to remember the bad. I have to remember why I chose an alcohol-free life, and I know that I am far better off without it. I can be a more present parent, partner, and friend. I can make better decisions while feeling good about myself, both physically and mentally.
If you are considering life without alcohol or already living one, you are doing it for a reason. Whatever that reason is, keep going.
If you’re unsure, ask yourself these questions:
Are the good times worth it?
Do I want to continue living this way?
Am I living the life I deserve?
Am I happy?
My answers to these questions helped me decide to go alcohol-free in 2018.
Don’t think of not drinking as a punishment. Think of this moment as an opportunity. Be excited about your future. This is your chance to build a new, better life for yourself. This is your chance to be happy.