Imagine becoming the person that you drank to become but without the negative aspects of drinking. Imagine being that person. A person who you like being. With confidence and strength. Integrity and self-respect. Imagine setting a goal and achieving it. Imagine standing at the finish line and looking back and think holy shit I did it. Imagine a life untethered by addiction. Unbound by the servitude of use. Free to explore new avenues. A gateway to the soul. A connection to the self and the ability to connect with people with boundaries.
Picture the world as a playground, resplendent with opportunity and vibrancy. Not darkness and scarcity. No longer fighting the clock for time. The ability to be present for your loved ones. To be a useful family member. Imagine imagining and then achieving goals.
That is what I got from quitting drinking. It’s as simple as that. Yes, I have to do things I don’t enjoy. Yes, I have bills to pay. But I no longer trudge through life downbeat and downtrodden. I no longer feel the shame that used seep from my pores with the alcohol from the previous night. Together they clung to my skin like the adhesive that kept my mask of positivity in place. Yet inside I was dying.
What did I want more than death by alcoholism? LIFE. I wanted life. I wanted to live and explore and adventure and love and experience life. Life beyond the walls I had created for myself. The routines were so ingrained that I thought change was impossible. I couldn’t imagine living without drinking. Now I can’t imagine living with it.
It took time to get to this point;
PATIENCE is not a virtue I had. I wanted more sobriety like I wanted more alcohol. It didn’t work that way. I learned to wait. I learned to do the things I used alcohol to do. I learned to fail and I learned to learn.
RESPONSIBILITY was something I avoided in my drinking days. If there was a problem it definitely wasn’t my fault and my health was certainly not my fault. My health was negatively impacted by my alcohol consumption. My alcohol consumption was due to other peoples actions. Someone might have annoyed me or said something to me that had caused me to need a drink. Slowly, after quitting I came to realise that my health was my responsibility. When I took ownership of my well being it became more manageable. It’s almost as if the people who I had been blaming my problems on had no idea they were responsible for my well being. This victim mentality had to end. I could no longer spend my life expecting the world to conform to my expectations as this approach constantly left me disappointed. I had to take stock and work through my problems. I had to take ownership and face up to some hard facts. It was scary. It was hard work. But the pathway to liberation is full of hardships. The trails I overcame have been the building blocks for the person I am today. Those scars on my soul are a badge of honour. A reminder of the strength I never thought I possessed.
A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.James Allen
HABITS had to change. The old ones had to die. I am a creature of habits. We all are. We imagine ourselves to be free-thinking individuals with a penchant for spontaneity but in reality, we are dictated by our habits. Changing habits is hard enough but throw addiction into the mix and it is even trickier. So it is important to seek more fulfilling activities.
Habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it.Horace Mann
When I realised I was responsible for my life I realised that I was also responsible for how I used my time. Sitting in the pub would lead me to drink again. I had to replace the old habits with new, healthier ones. But it didn’t happen overnight. I wrote a list of all the things I had wanted to do in life and picked the ones that were realistic. As I ticked them off I realised that my outlook had been holding me back because they were all realistic.
RELIEF is what I felt when I realised it was over. When the conflict that had been raging inside of my mind finally fell silent. It was one of the most liberating and joyous experiences of my life. I remember thinking oh I haven’t thought about drinking for a while. It was amazing. I never thought that I could live that way. I had achieved the impossible. Everything I have achieved after that point is a bonus.
A day of serenity seemed impossible. Now, it is the norm.