Before I quit drinking I armed myself with a list of reasons why I needed to quit. It started off including things like being tired of embarrassing myself, tired of getting into meaningless arguments with my spouse, tired of wasting weekends away by drinking too much and not having energy to do anything but drink. After I quit (many times) I added things to the list that, prior to quitting, I had no idea were related to alcohol. Things like body pain, chronic depression, and dry hair.
Somebody said to me recently that they felt bad that I couldn’t drink. Huh. I don’t think of it that way. I explained that I would feel bad too if I didn’t feel so good but that it’s really been more of a blessing than anything. For the record, trying to explain that to someone who actively drinks is like trying to tell them the Lochness Monster exists. Not only do they not believe you but they also look at you like you’re crazy. It got me thinking though. How would I feel if someone told me today that I had to give up my sobriety?
When I first quit drinking I was terrified. If I had to quit sobriety I can’t say I’d be terrified. No, that’s not the word to describe it. I would be deeply saddened. Heartsick. Sobriety has become my best friend. It’s become a place to call home. It’s the soft place to land when everything else blows up. I never imagined it would be this way. Sobriety didn’t just meet my expectations, it exceeded them. There is an infinite list of things I would miss about sobriety but if I had to pick my top three, this would be them. They are in no particular order of preference.
Sleep – Not just any old sleep. Deep sleep. The kind that truly allows you to forget about everything for a while. I used to have the worst sleep. Restless leg syndrome, night sweats, waking up at 3am for water, and in the morning I’d wake up remembering so many dreams. If I had to go back to that, then yes, I guess that would terrify me. As would those dreadful sleep lines on my face that I used to wake up with.
Confidence – The version of me when I was struggling with drinking compared to me today is night and day. They say confidence is the sexiest thing a person can wear and I can attest to that. I stand taller. I make eye contact. I’m not afraid to speak. I have a better feeling of who I am and I like her! There’s something very powerful about being sober. I walk like a queen and I feel like I queen. I’ve earned that. I make no apologies for it. *double snap*
Tea Time – If someone asked me how I take my tea I’d reply “Seriously. Very seriously”. I have time dedicated to it every night. After dinner I make a blend of Yogi Egyptian and Yogi Peppermint tea with seeping fennel seeds. Devine! I know if I had to give up my sobriety that would mean swapping out my tea for wine. That’s soooooo sad. Tea for me isn’t just something amazingly delicious to enjoy at the end of the day. It’s symbolic of my daily decision to stay sober. It’s a gift I give to myself for putting me first. I do things with tea that I never did with wine; such as writing out birthday cards, calling family to say hello, or making cupcakes for the little kids in my life.
My heart is free sober. To be told I had to give it up would be like being told I could no longer be free. That would be devastating. I’m so thankful that I get to make this decision for myself every day. I get to chose to be the best version of myself and that’s a pretty damn amazing. I’ll close this out with one of my favorite quotes as I think it’s relevant.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. “ – Marianne Williamson