(I can’t believe I am) 1 year sober.
I hope I don’t alarm or disappoint anyone with this announcement:
I have come to the end of my sobriety journey, at least for now. I’ve decided that I’m going to give moderation a real shot before giving up alcohol forever.
I know I needed this year away from alcohol. It taught me a lot. I’m so thankful for the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Some of these lessons include that I am stronger than I thought I was, I don’t NEED to drink, and I shouldn’t drink to numb my feelings. And most importantly: It’s OKAY to HAVE feelings, including negative ones. That means you’re human.
I’ve discussed this decision with my therapist several times and she is supportive and believes I’ve put a lot of thought into pursuing moderation. Initially she suggested that I attend AA meetings, but I’ve been to some of those meetings and I don’t think I have a problem on the same level that others have a problem. Alcohol has never brought me close to ruining my life or relationships. I think AA is awesome and changes lives. But if I went to AA, I would have felt like a hypocrite attending meetings without the desire to give up alcohol forever. My husband is also supportive of my decision, and will be keeping a close watch on me.
Mentally, I am in a much better place than I was a year ago. Drinking was becoming a problem last year mostly because I was reeling from having my heart broken. Some of you may remember that I had a huge falling out with a family member who stopped speaking to me.
I sent him a letter several months ago, which I am told he read and gave some thought to. He feels bad about the way things happened as well. He has been struggling with his own problems and has apparently been incredibly stressed. I feel for him. I love him. However, he has not made the effort to reconnect yet. The ball is in his court now, and I leave the decision up to him. I told him in the letter that I would love him no matter what.
I don’t say all of this to splatter family drama all over my blog and social media. I share this with you because family members not speaking to each other is common (especially in families that struggle with mental illness) and it’s incredibly heartbreaking. I share this with you because maybe you can relate. I don’t share this to paint my family member as a bad person. He is a wonderful person. He is struggling and may need time to himself. Maybe he doesn’t know how to approach reconciliation. I don’t know. I am trying to have as much compassion as possible when it comes to this person.
I am still heartbroken over this situation, but time heals all wounds and I feel stronger. I know I have said what I needed to say. Now, the waiting.
There is another situation in my life I’ve been struggling with that I can’t tell you about (at least for now). I’ve been talking about it in therapy and it has been really, REALLY hard. Talking about it has been both triggering and healing for me. In the past, I drank to numb my feelings surrounding this as well. This year, I feel less depressed and conflicted about this situation since I’ve been talking about it in therapy and with close friends. I know that drinking heavily won’t make the haunting memories from this experience go away. It will only make me feel worse.
I also think I am FINALLY in a good place in regards to my medication. I recently rid myself of Latuda, which was giving me awful anxiety. I am now taking Zyprexa and weaning off of Seroquel. The Zyprexa is like Seroquel, but not nearly as sedating. So I still have energy and motivation while experiencing much less anxiety. Weaning off of Seroquel has made me somewhat depressed, but I think this will pass.
Now I begin my moderation journey. I have several motivating factors, which I’ve discussed with my therapist and husband. They are:
1. I ‘m currently on two different medications that one should not drink heavily on while taking: Accutane and Zyprexa.
2. I’ve decided that I am DONE with hangovers FOR LIFE. I don’t miss feeling sick and depressed the day after drinking and spending the entire day recovering.
3. I’ve worked hard to lose about 30 lbs. over the course of the last year. I recognize that it tends to be my pattern to fluctuate in regards to my weight (perhaps mimicking bipolar cycles). I am done with this as well. I am comfortable and happy with my body now. I feel happy, healthy, and strong.
4. I no longer want to question whether or not I’m “good” to drive home.
5. I don’t want to give up drinking forever! Not because it makes me feel better (I know that feeling is temporary), but because I like trying new craft beers with friends, having a glass of wine with dinner, and having a fruity cocktail while relaxing on vacation.
I hope this is the right decision for me. If not, I will give up drinking forever.
I think I’m doing well so far, because I passed my anniversary date without “celebrating” by immediately drinking. Even though I was with friends this Saturday and Sunday who were trying different beers and cocktails, I didn’t partake. I didn’t NEED to.
I would like to thank my husband, my family, my friends, and my sweet fur baby Sandy for being so supportive of me during my sobriety journey. I couldn’t have made it through this year without all of you cheering me on. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. I love you.
Cheers (while holding up my hot chocolate),