I downloaded and read Laura McKowen’s free “love on a hard day” pdf that @sobermiracle posted yesterday (here’s the opt-in) which was like a bear hug for my delicate newly sober soul. If you need a good comfort read, go get it.
It occurred to me as I read the last section (“We are the luckiest”) that there’s a silver lining to having been a regular bottle-of-wine-a-night (at least) drinker for the last year and a half. It makes the problem real and it makes it necessary to find another way.
Here’s what I mean. My friend (let’s call her Betty) shares a bottle of wine most nights with her husband. She laments that she drinks too much and thinks it contributes to her depression and weight struggles, but — it’s only a half bottle and not every night, so she doesn’t see it as a problem big enough to cause her to stop drinking forever. She wants to moderate or cut back.
For all but the rare unicorn among us, moderation and cutting back simply do NOT work. Furthermore, most of us know that there are ZERO ZIP ZILCH health benefits to drinking, even a little bit, even only occasionally.
When my drinking escalated and I admitted it was a big problem, that was actually the best thing that could have happened, because I knew (even though I didn’t want to) that quitting was the only answer. I didn’t get stuck in “I can moderate” land for long, though I did stop there for a bit.
Betty is stuck in moderation land. Betty is wearing a weighted vest that she thinks she doesn’t want to take off. I was wearing cement boots and knew I HAD to take them off (in this analogy I can somehow get my feet out of the boots… stay with me…).
I am on the road to a free, peaceful, lightweight life. Betty is stuck slightly weighted, slightly down, slightly discontented. And Betty thinks that’s normal because society says that regular drinking is normal, and she doesn’t want to give that up. She doesn’t associate a bunch of other complaints in her life with her drinking and twists herself in knots finding other solutions that don’t end up working.
So, the silver lining of regularly drinking to excess: addiction meant a faster road to happiness. For me, at least. If it had never gotten so bad, maybe I’d never have considered giving it up. Maybe I’d still be stuck in a mediocre brain space, confused about how to ever get out.