Since deciding to give up alcohol for Lent I have been extremely surprised at how easy it is for me to stick to it! I didn’t let the lack of alcohol keep me away from living my life. Every Friday night my boyfriend and I still went to dinner at Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant and Winery. Instead of our usual bottle of wine he had a single glass and I had sparkling water in a wine glass! I still felt fancy but without the bloating of wine after my meal!
If you had asked me 2-3 years ago to give up alcohol for Lent I would have laughed in your face. I couldn’t even go 7 days on antibiotics without having a drink if I’m being honest. I was severely dependent on alcohol. I used it as my coping mechanism.
Happy? Have a drink.
Lonely? Have a drink.
Angry? Have a drink.
Bored? Have a drink.
Sad? Have a drink.
Any excuse to have a drink and I was there – with a drink. Usually one or two would suffice right?
I was drinking to get drunk. Every. Single. Time.
I remember thinking, “I wish I could be drunk all the time. I’m so much more carefree and outgoing. I’m so much happier when I drink.”
The truth was, I was drowning my pain. I was drowning my fears and insecurities instead of facing them head on. I thought if I could just bottle up “drunk me” and take her like a pill I would never have to face reality.
Instead of living my best life I was drowning in my worst nightmare.
That “happy” drunk I thought I was? HA. She was a hot mess. She would fall all over the place, blackout to the point where hours were lost, conversations were forgotten, wake up in places she didn’t know how she got there, and the anger! Oh my God the anger was destructible.
It took for my boyfriend to record a video of me throwing a Hulk-level tantrum in our apartment for me to realize I needed to get help. There are so many other things that happened but I’ll spare you the details…
I started seeing a therapist shortly after that and it has been over a year and I’m still learning about myself every session.
It took going to therapy for me to realize that drowning my fears in alcohol wouldn’t make them go away. I had to begin facing my fears and also learning new coping mechanisms for stress.
One thing that has been a saving grace is going to the gym. Working out my tension has been so beneficial to my anxiety. Something I haven’t shared with many people is that I was taking antidepressants for a while to deal with my depression/anxiety and I went off of it because I was healing inside and out (be sure to consult your doctor when you’re ready to go off your medication so you can wean off the dosage properly).
I got to a place where I was learning to overcome my anxiety by talking to my therapist, communicating more with my boyfriend, and going to the gym as a healthy form of stress relief. One vigorous exercise session can help alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
I was finding peace in the gym. Instead of coming home from work and bitching about my day to my boyfriend, I would head to the gym, throw my headphones on, and run like hell. Running on the treadmill really took all the stress and anxiety out of me. I was able to work through issues with a clear mind and I would often not even care anymore by the time I left the gym. When I got home to my boyfriend I was much more relaxed and we’d have a more positive conversation.
Another thing that helped me slow down my drinking was meditating. I know, I know. It sounds woowoo but it really helps!
Calm your mind. Calm your nerves. Be present.
YouTube is a great place to find videos for guided meditations. Two of my favorites are:
I love to alternate these two at night when I go to bed. It helps clear my mind focus on relaxing.
If you’re looking for app recommendations I use:
It took a lot for me to get to where I am today.
Currently: 52 days sober!
I could barely go 7 a few years ago!
I’m not sure when my next drink will be but what I am sure is that I’ve learned so much about myself over the past 52 days.
If you find you’re struggling with alcohol consumption or not sure when “too much” is too much – shoot me a message. I’d love to help any way I can.