Originally Posted by COcamper
Once again, I'm quoting myself as I check in here...
Today is 1 year without alcohol. Wow, that feels really good and yet really weird to say/type. I'll share a few things I have learned over the past year with the hopes that maybe, just maybe it will help one person.
Let me preface it by saying: I am no expert on this, I have not received any professional help, hell, I haven't even really had a person to lean on when things got tough. In other words, I created this problem and I am determined to fix it. That WILL not work for everyone, it might not work for anyone, but it's working for me so I'm running with it.
I feel no need to share how much I used to drink, or for how long I had been drinking that much. That will serve no purpose except someone might twist it to their benefit, i.e. "well, I'm not as bad off as xxx, so I must be good..."
If you are reading this thread, I'm betting you aren't reading it for the entertainment value, if so, sorry to disappoint. Something got you to at least think about your drinking and to take a look in this thread. I have no clue what that was- Maybe it was hoping to see that you aren't as bad off as some, maybe you are looking for that golden nugget of wisdom that makes all your problems go away, maybe its hoping there is that one person that says "I quit drinking and it was the worst thing I ever did". Whatever your reason for wandering into this thread may be, I feel pretty confident in saying you won't find your answer here, but you will find a bunch of people that will lend you an ear, offer advice, and share their experiences. To me, that has been more valuable than anything else.
Sorry for the rambling, with all of that said, here are a few things I learned over the past 12 months:
- It's difficult, and that is a huge understatement! You can read and apply all of the acronyms or quotes you want, but I think it really does come down to just getting through one "thing" at a time. What that "thing" is will vary greatly. It may be the next hour, the next day, a birthday party, a Friday afternoon, a Sunday brunch, etc. The point is- set a short term goal- I will not have a drink for the next hour, rinse and repeat.
- You will find a sweet tooth that will make you want to fight a class room full of six year olds for their Halloween bucket! That's ok, enjoy your new found excitement over a bowl of ice cream, the hangover is much more enjoyable!
- Find something to occupy your time. I had to keep busy, especially during the "drinking hours", which for me was any time I wasn't working. This was actually pretty easy at the beginning and it felt good to see progress on projects. If you don't have something to occupy your time, now is a great time to pick up a new hobby, and it can be as simple as reading a book you have wanted to read or coloring a page in a coloring book. For me I cleaned my garage from top to bottom for the first time in 14+ years. That kept me busy for a lot of evenings and weekends, and there was, and still is, a fridge full of beer in the garage. Did I reach for that fridge on more than one occasion? Of course I did, but I wouldn't allow myself to open it, I would refocus on the task at hand and get through that "thing" without a drink, then start on the next "thing"...
- I kept a calendar (the real paper kind) and I looked forward to every morning that I could put another check mark on the previous day. Over the course of a year I can look back with fondness on different milestones that I in no way planned. The one that will stick with me for a long time- day 250 just happened to be on my daughters 20th birthday. Seriously, I can't make that shit up and it was just another one of many "moments" that reinforced to me that I was making strides in the right direction.
- Sleep- I did not think it was possible to get a good nights sleep without alcohol. The first week will only reinforce this notion. I can honestly say, sober sleep is fawkin awesome. You'll have to trust me on that one until you experience it...
Sorry for the long winded post.
Thanks to everyone that has offered support and shared their stories. If I can be of any help, please don't hesitate to reach out.