It was a Sunday. I didn’t know the day before would be my last day of drinking, but it was.
I felt sick until Tuesday and I knew I was done with alcohol forever. I had been through too many drinking stops and restarts and I knew I had come to the end of my drinking road.
On Monday (day two of quitting for good) I was driving down the highway and I still felt queasy and nauseous, I think I was still half drunk and definitely still hung over. I was having the all-important conversation with myself that I mentioned in the opening of my TEDx talk.
That conversation went like this.
“But what about if/when I get married? Am I seriously not going to drink at my own wedding?”
“What about a romantic holiday in Italy?”
“What if there’s a devastating phone call that comes at 3 am?”
Those what if scenarios moved through my mind as fast as my car moved down the highway.
This was what I told myself and it remains true today, “It doesn’t matter what happens or doesn’t happen in the future. Alcohol is no longer an option.”
Lots of good has happened and some bad has happened in the last three years, but here I am, still alcohol-free.
In the early days of not drinking a few people said:
“Can’t you just have one drink?” As they rolled their eyes.
“Guys will think it’s weird you don’t drink and they won’t want to date you.”
“You’re just depriving yourself. First, it was gluten, now it’s alcohol.”
But they didn’t see what was silently happening within me as a result of drinking, they only saw my life from the outside, which looked ‘fine.’
I knew I couldn’t continue drinking the way I was drinking throughout the rest of my 40’s, into my 50’s and beyond. It took time to make this alcohol-free decision and it was not a cavalier, nonchalant decision.
Do I miss having a glass of red?
When I get really frustrated and want to mentally run away from whatever is happening or if I feel hurt or afraid about work, money, relationships, I think about the temporarily numb and anesthetizing effect that wine had on me. But it’s a fleeting thought; a thought I don’t want to follow through on.
Today, (December 14, 2017) marks three years since I had that silent, yet very important conversation with myself.
I haven’t had a drop, sip or drink of alcohol since that day!
Whoa! & Booyah!
For more on this topic: Listen to Episode 25, Other People’s Opinions on the “Editing Our Drinking and Our Lives” Podcast with Aidan Donnelley Rowley and Jolene Park.