10 months. What I’ve gained & lost by quitting alcohol

EmilysQuotes.Com-hard-past-begin-inspirational-motivational-life-amazing-great-encouraging-Jack-Kornfield-500x209 10 months. What I've gained & lost by quitting alcohol

LOSSES

  • I’ve lost the illusion that alcohol is a harmless substance.
  • I lost a bit of the illusion ‘friendship’, because often friendships are glued by alcohol or revolve around using when together. It’s a shame  one can’t be him/herself when around friends.  Not often do friends who meet drink a Coke or water.  That’s just my perspective, from what I’ve seen so far and, I know, my world may still be small.
  • Depression (I do feel down from time to time but not like before and I can cope with it.  I won’t numb it anymore. I’m off anti-depressants and I don’t want to die anymore)
  • Social life as I knew it
  • I feel ‘lonely’ in this journey, I truly am the only adult person I know that doesn’t drink alcohol and it makes me a pariah. Even a leper, an outcast.
  • ‘Connection’ with other people. I’m a weirdo and a bit social incapable but I’m mostly cool with it. It’s something alcohol helped me with but it’s also not who I am. I just have to learn to connect with people when I’m sober now and luckily it is something you can learn.
  • 4 kg = 8.8 pound
  • Will to speak. I was very loud ( rude and obnoxious. And maybe funny between my 3rd and 5th drink) when I was tanked. I just found out I’m actually shy and very much aware of myself, aware of the irrelevancy of small talk. It’s hard to keep a conversation going because I’m not convinced that a lot of things need to be discussed or that my opinion really matters. Or that what I want to say is interesting to people.  And I came to realize, people hear what they want to hear, so in the end it doesn’t matter if you share your thought.  Some people aren’t willing to listen or discuss. They want to give their opinion, advice or just want to hear themselves speak.
    While changing your point of view is refreshing. Looking at things from another perspective and having to adjust your vision to it after somebody else’s opinion, that makes sense, is refreshing.
  • Hating the birds waking me up the morning.
  • Hating the sun shining through the curtains.
  • Hating ‘ordinary’ people.
  • That cotton ball in my head at morning.
  • Thinking that the hedonist lifestyle is the way to go.
    No, I don’t believe we only live once and no, I don’t believe you live a fuller life by dazing yourself. YOLO my ass.
  • The belief that drinking/eating/living unhealthy is ‘really enjoying your life’ . It’s not. You’ll feel bad from eating bad, you’ll look bad and your health will get bad. Treating myself with a healthy lifestyle has worked miracles
  • Belief that people who don’t drink or do drugs are boring.
  • The belief that an experience is much more ‘real’ when you’re drunk/high. It may feel more intense, but it’s fake. It’s an illusion.
  • Self-doubt. I still feel very insecure, but not overwhelming anymore.
  • Probably a lot of situations where I would have made a fool of myself.
  • Enjoying a night out, after a certain hour (or a certain amount of drinks) people get uncoordinated, loud, repetitive, …
  • A preoccupied mind about alcohol
  • Self hate. I can still remember the intense self loath, shame and embarrassment. It pierced to the bone.
  • My oldest brother who died a few years ago at 40. We’ll neve know what killed him but I guess we all know deep down.

GAINS

  • I’ve gained self-respect and selflove.
  • I gained a better bond with my partner, kids, family
  • Family who start to question their drinking habits and drink less
  • Burning ambition.
  • Much better health.
  • Time
  • Stability
  • Respect
  • Nice perspective in almost every aspect of my life
  • The will to live
  • Money and less weight to carry from the shop
  • Interest in nature and the world around me. How things work.
  • I love to learn. Always did but that wasn’t ‘cool’ 🙂
  • Loving the simple life.
  • Self acceptance and getting to know myself
  • Love to exercise, therefore a firmer healthy body almost as before my pregnancys but this time not by drinking or snorting c, forgetting to eat and dance for 3 days.

 

3 months

Two times I slipped at 3 months. I thought I was cured or wanted to believe that I was.   I could’t be an alcoholic because I didn’t drank all day every day and I was able to quit for 3 months! That went well.. For 2-3 times and I relapsed, the same shit feeling all over again only now even worse. The times I could handle my drink, I felt frustrated that I couldn’t do more.  So that felt shitty too.  Than I fucked it up completely and there came the next chance (their wil always be new chances. Do not give up on yourself). So I quit, this time for real. I was determined. I never ever want to feel like that again.
When I hit that magical 3 months for the 3rd time I knew that If I could make it passed that, I could make it anywhere. And it does till now. I was so scared that I would fuck up again because at 3 months, you start to forget why you quit in the first place. You may start to lie to yourself (again) that you can have or deserve that drink and you may start to feel sorry for yourself.  Maybe a party is coming up or it is a hot day, you feel left out etc..
You may get insubordinate and start a war in yourself that you may lose if you can’t see the bigger picture anymore. Because normal life resumes and there is no medal for you giving up drinking or daily praise. This is when you should realize you do this for you and you can remember and relive again how you felt in your worst moment. Who you have harmed.  You can easily find a reason to pick up a drink again but I’m sure there are more reasons why you must continue your sobriety. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Give yourself time, realize what you feel and find out why you feel this way. Constantly ask why and go deeper into your desire. “I want a drink” why? “because I feel this or that” why? “because this happened/didn’t happen” Why does that feeling triggers me so much? Why? Why etc.  and ask yourself, is alcohol going to solve it? Is it going to make it all go away?

SHAIR-iTunes-1024x1024 10 months. What I've gained & lost by quitting alcohol

9-10 months

You may feel lonely in this, especially if you don’t attend meetings like I do. There are great communities on line (I love the Shair podcast and find great wisdom in podcasts from the Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, I listen daily to a podcast of my interest). Yet I do feel alone from time to time.

I’ve changed so much and it seems that the world around me stands still or even worsens. I know that it is from my perspective as a sober person now, it’s remarkable how much praise alcohol gets.  I did it too. Yet we get confronted with daily news about the wreckage it causes, but you can’t get into that. It’s an epidemic but gets treated like the elephant in the room.   Alcohol is untouchable. You really can’t bash on alcohol or you’ll lose a lot of credit.  Alcohol is fun, relaxing, healthy, tasty and that’s the end to that, amen! Now shut up and let us talk about that time we were drunk and how that wine tasted etc. 😊 Ah well..
I’m still trying to find my way around myself. And I don’t really have a sounding board because everybody drinks and I don’t want to sound snotty, arrogant or confronter. But I am, by merely ordering/holding a glass of water.

So,  I just do what is good for me and my family and hope that one day at a time I’m working on a better future. Which will hopefully be with meaningful relations and a job I can put my teeth in and give me much gratification. Those ‘left out’ feelings are an illusion. I can’t be alone in this, I know. And I shouldn’t let it muddle my mood. I just have to practice faith and patience, which is something I hardly had but that’s how it goes. We have to learn what we don’t master.

 


Nederlands

10 maand nuchter, wat ik verloren en gewonnen heb door te stoppen met alcohol drinken

LOSSES

Verliezen

  • Ik verloor de illusie dat alcohol een onschadelijk iets is
  • Ik verloor een beetje de illusie van ‘vriendschap’, want de meeste zijn gesmeed in en rond alcohol en samen alcohol gebruiken.
  • Ik voel mij nog wel down van tijd tot tijd maar ik kan er beter mee om en ik heb niet meer de zin om het te verdoven. Ik ben van anti depressiva af en de wil om te sterven is weg.
  • Ik voel me eenzaam in deze journey. Ik ben echt werkelijk de enige volwassen persoon die ik ken die geen alcohol drinkt en ik voel mij een pariah, een lepra lijder, een zonderling.
  • ‘connectie’ met andere mensen. Ik ben eigenaardig en een beetje sociaal incapabel, maar kan er eindelijk mee leven. Alcohol hielp mij hiermee, maar het is niet wie ik ben. Ik moet gewoon leren contact te maken met mensen in nuchtere toestand en gelukkig is dat te leren, sociaal zijn.
  • 4 kg (tot nu)
  • Zin om te spreken. Ik was erg luid (en onbeleefd/onaangenaam. En vantijd eens grappig denk ik) als ik dronken was. Maar eigenlijk ben ik verlegen en bewust van de irrelevantie van small talk. Ik kan moeilijk een gesprek gaande houden want ik ben er niet van overtuigd dat veel dingen besproken moeten worden of interessant genoeg zijn om te bespreken.  Of dat mijn mening er toe doet of interessant is. Ik heb ook ontdekt dat mensen horen wat ze willen horen, dus uiteindelijk maakt het niet uit of je je mening geeft want bijna niemand is geïnteresseerd in luisteren of discuteren, maar zoeken eerder een klankbord. Men wil het in de groep smijten en zichzelf horen praten. Terwijl veranderen en uitwisselen van mening net een gesprek interessant maakt voor mij. Ik vind het verhelderend een steekhoudend nieuw argument aan te horen of een andere visie, zodat ik de mijne kan bijschaven en weer iets bijgeleerd kan hebben.
  • Sociaal leven zoals ik het kende
  • De vogels haten die mij ’s ochtends wakker maken
  • De zon haten die door de gordijnen schijnt
  • ‘Gewone’ mensen haten
  • De watten in mijn kop
  • Denken dat de hedonistische levensstijl die zo geprezen wordt, dé manier van leven is. Nee, ik geloof niet dat we maar 1x leven en dan maar moeten opdoen en nee ik geloof niet meer dat je een voller leven leidt door verdooft door het leven te gaan. YOLO mijn gat.
  • Het geloof dat ongezond drinken/eten en leven ‘genieten van het leven’ is, want het is net een mooi geschenk aan mezelf van eindelijk goed te zijn voor mij en te geven wat mijn lichaam en geest écht vragen. Echte voeding.
  • Het geloof dat mensen die niet drinken of drugs gebruiken saai zijn.
  • Het geloof dat een ervaring échter is als ge dronken bent. Het voelt misschien intenser maar het is gewoon fake, een illusie.
  • Twijfelen aan mezelf. Ik voel mij nog onzeker, maar niet meer zo overweldigend.
  • Waarschijnlijk meerdere situaties waarin ik een clown van mezelf had gemaakt.
  • Genieten van een lange avond uit, na een bepaalde tijd (of na een bepaald aantal drankjes) worden mensen ongecoordineerd, luid, repetitief, ..
  • Zelfhaat

Gewonnen

  • Zelfrespect en eigenliefde
  • Een betere band met mijn man en kinderen
  • Brandende ambitie
  • Een veel betere gezondheid
  • Tijd
  • Stabiliteit
  • Respect
  • Perspectief in mijn leven
  • De wil om te leven
  • Geld en minder gewicht te sleuren van en naar de winkel
  • Interesse in de natuur en de wereld rondom mij. Hoe dingen werken
  • Liefde voor leren. Heb ik altijd gehad maar dat is niet ‘cool’ 😊
  • Liefde voor een simpel leven
  • Nood aan beweging en lichte sport en zodoende terug een gezond en strak lichaam, bijna als voor mijn bevallingen maar deze x verkregen op een normale manier. Dus niet door drinken en snuiven en vergeten te eten een paar dagen en te dansen een weekend lang

3 Maanden

Twee x ben ik op de 3 maanden grens hervallen. Ik dacht dat ik genezen was, of wou dat graag geloven. De derde x was ik bang van die 3 maanden grens, maar wist dat als ik daarover kon geraken, ik ver kon raken. En dat is zo.
Bij 3 maand kan je beginnen vergeten waarom je weer gestopt was. Je kan jezelf gaan voorliegen (weeral) dat je nu toch wel weer een drankje kan en zelfs verdiend hebt. Je kan gaan zwelgen in zelfmedelijden. Je kan situaties gaan bedenken waarom je vindt dat daar wel een drankje bij hoort. Je kan je uitgesloten gaan voelen. Je kan opstandig worden en een oorlog starten in jezelf dat je gaat verliezen als je het groter geheel niet kan zien.  Want het normale leven hervat zich en er staat vreemd genoeg geen bloemenmeisje met een medaile te zwaaien omdat je gestopt bent met drinken of er zijn geen dagelijkse lofzangen aan uw adres.
Dat is het moment dat je zou moeten realiseren dat ge dit voor uzelf doet. En probeer terug te grijpen naar het misselijkmakende gevoel van waarom je gestopt bent. Herbeleef de kater, wie je kwaad hebt berokkend,.. Je kan makkelijk een reden vinden om terug te drinken, maar je kan evengoed redenen bedenken waarom je wil volhouden. Veranderingen gebeuren niet op een ik en een gij. Geef uzelf tijd, realiseer en ga in op uw gevoel. Vanwaar komt het? Vraag u constant af waarom. Ik wil een drankske, waarom. Omdat ik mij zo voel. Waarom? Omdat er dit gebeurd is of gezegd. Waarom? En wat gaat alcohol drinken daaraan verhelpen?

 

9-10 Maanden

Je kan je erg eenzaam gaan voelen, zeker als je geen vergaderingen bijwoont, zoals ik. Er zijn echter online goeie groepen waar je je ei kwijt kan (ik ben momenteel verknocht aan the Shair podcast en vind veel wijsheid in de podcasts van de boeddhistische leraar Jack Kornfield, dagelijks luister ik wel naar een inspirerende podcast). En toch, ik voel mij best eenzaam. Ik ben zo hard veranderd en het lijkt wel f de wereld rond mij is blijven stilstaan of verergerd is. Ik moet mijn draai nog met mezelf vinden en ik heb niet echt een klankbord want iedereen iedereen iedereen drinkt. En ik wil niet te veel uit de hoogte klinken, of arrogant of wijsneuzerig. Ik ben geen anti-alcohol advocaat geworden die op de barricade wil staan.  Als iemand rijp is om te stoppen en vragen heeft sta ik ter beschikking en ik zal het niet nalaten te zeggen waarom ik niet drink, maar meer niet. En plus, alcohol is untouchable.  Je mag niet afgeven op alcohol tenzij ge sociale zelfmoord wil plegen. Alcohol is fun, relax, gezellig, gezond, lekker en dat is dat, amen. 😊

Dus ja, ik doe maar wat goed is voor mij en mijn familie, dag per dag. En ik hoop dat ik werk aan een betere toekomst waarin hopelijk diepe en betekenisvolle relaties in’t verschiet liggen en een job waarin ik mijn tanden kan zetten en die mij veel voldoening schenkt. Die desolate gevoelens zijn uiteindelijk een illusie en ik weet vanwaar ze komt. Ze zijn een illusie want ik weet dat ik hierin niet alleen ben en het moet mijn gemoed niet vertroebelen. Ik moet gewoon geduld en vertrouwen oefenen, wat net iets is wat ik niet heb. Maar zo gaat dat dus, we moeten leren waarin we niet uitblinken.

23 05 2017

What a news to wake up to. Again. I have two little girls.. I can only imagine what a waking nightmare parents and family, who’s kids got to the concert in Manchester, are living.  This is so cowardish, sick and low that I’m going back in misanthropy modus.
And it were such promising days, the weather is fine, vacation coming in a few weeks.. Those poor souls will never get to enjoy. RIP

The kids and we had a great weekend, we set it in tired because dad took mom to the soccer game of Anderlecht Thursday evening.  They played champion and since husband is a rather big fan, I tagged along.  Having a designated driver comes in handy from time to time. And I was persuaded by the thought of a party. There would be a DJ etc.

2017-05-18-21.28.37-768x1024 23 05 2017

Little did I know, but suspected, that the DJ would play the same old same old kind of soccerish, heroic, champion type of music that has been played since the days of yore.  But it was all good, they won. Husband happy, I was happy. You get sucked into the enthousiasm.  I do love soccer but I don’t get the idolizing.

I must say, I’ve never smelled so much brewy armpit sweat in years from all the bystanders.
After the game we went to a pub where they were aware of modern day music.
Mom and dad got to bed at 2.30. Needless to say I was tired throughout  friday and a piece of saterurday. And we had to attend the baby shower of my little nephew that day.

It was nice to see so many people from the past. We all got older, our kids have grown, some had greyer hair, some had thinning hair, some had more yellow teeth. And so on.  There was  bouncy castle for the kids and other toys (and candy) and I haven’t seen them all day!

I was talking to people and of course the no/stopped drinking came up, with one admitting to me he has a problem (a serious) but who am I to judge or convert.  I’m not a Jehova’s withness.  I do am a firm believer of achieving change in your life when you are ready for it.  And he didn’t seem ready for it, was to wasted anyway.  But maybe I planted a seed. Another one said he actually didn’t like beer that much and just taught himself to drink and now he drinks daily.  My uncle, who also (had to) give up drinking was there. Man what a transformation.  He looked better than he ever did.
That made me think of how I looked, the last time I drank. Which is also a metamorphosis. I’ll post a before and after when I hit the first birthday. It encouraged me. That saturday, it was my 280th day of being sober.
He looked so empowered, healthy and happy. Everybody was complimenting him.

And as the hours passed by and the beers went in, the talks went from entertaining to louder and wearisome.  So we went home with the promise that everybody was to attend a party in a village nearby later on.  Turning out to be just a few of us, which was a bummer for my husband because now he was the only guy in the group.

At that party I spotted my neighbour from my previous home, drunk/wasted.. Not very ladylike to be using an eufemism. On crutches. How that happened? I was afraid to ask because she was just too drunk.  Fakingly having ‘fun’ and wielding those bad boys above her head (and almost taking an eyeballs from innocent bystanders). My friend told me she and her husband are splitting up and she’s on a rampage.  I could see from miles away that she was lost. It looked so misserable, sad and piteous..  I hope she gets it together. My friend said she’s trying to win their mutual friends over to ‘her side’.  If that’s how? She’s going to attrackt the wrong persons.
Then she came sluring in to my ear… Look, I like to go out and enjoy a nice evening but when you are sober, it’s not that fun.  It’s not “not” fun because you can’t drink, no it’s not fun because you see people around you change, you don’t understand them anymore or it is just plain not interesting what they are about to say (for the 10th time), and this was the case with her.

It came to a point where I (and everybody) avoided eye contact with her, just to prevent having to talk.  And that’s sad because she was probably drinking to be able to talk easily to people, be more popular and to blend in.  Mission failed. Again, alcohol did the opposite of what it was suppose to do.

Am I an addict? Do I have an addiction?

Well as a Dutch saying goes, “to ask the question is to answer it”.
I can’t answer that question for you.

marijuana-and-dopamine-2 Am I an addict? Do I have an addiction?

For myself… Nobody saw me as an ‘addict‘, still don’t.  I just drank too much, from time to time. Who doesn’t!  No need to “stigmatize” myself like that. And like so many, I was easily reassured.  Wanted to believe that was normal.  There was nothing wrong with me, I just needed to quit after a few drinks and then there wouldn’t’ t be a problem at all.  Just learn to control myself (because that’s easy with a few drinks in your system, you know).
And yes, ok, I could be an annoying drunk but who isn’t from time to time? It’s not that I drank on a daily, that I was shivering if I didn’t drink. That I drank behind backs and lied about it.
It would be all righty if I’d stop after a few glasses and I could just continue my drinking as such.

We also have another saying in Dutch, “only solve the problem, is there is even a problem”.  Well, I felt there was and a first step was recognizing I did. It’s very hard to drink a few and stop, it’s like a mission impossible. Well, it is possible but damn, that’s fucking hard and masochistic. I’m an all or nothing person. So, I decided for myself I had a problem. Only that way I could start to heal and help myself and question the use of alcohol.

So, am I an alcoholic? That’s a matter of perception.  For me, I’ve realized that drinking got me into troubles.  So yes, if something that gets me into trouble, makes me take bad choices, makes me feel horrible about myself and has so much power over me… Plus can persuade me to do that thing again over and over by lying to myself, then yes that felt like an addiction.
I’ve felt horrible.  Too many times to neglect it.

I’ve said what everybody says after heavy drinking “never again”.  And as many times I covered it up with minimizing how I felt afterwards. I minimized how I felt and what caused it.  It was probably something else that made me feel that bad, the beginning of a cold perhaps?
What was it with alcohol that I just wanted to ignore all the bad that came out of using it.  Was it really that good and yummy?  I tried to find the good in alcohol, but couldn’t find any anymore.  I always felt bad afterwards, even when I only had one drink.  I got sick and tired of the poisoning effect it had on me, my thinking, my health, my mood, my relationships with others.   I got sick of the fakeness off it all, sick of the feeling I needed something just to deal with reality and everyday life, something to relax, something to make myself (and other people?) more interesting.
Emotionally it fucked me up (embarrassed, fights, saying stupid stuff, feeling fake and having fake conversations) and physically (falling, headache, slurring,..) I felt like I was thrown under a bus.

So, I gave it up. And I should not feel ashamed because I took care of an avoidable problem in my life. Fuck the stigma.

069824360ba3b710e2e9f7bf3fa78a9a Am I an addict? Do I have an addiction?

 

Alcohol culture on social media

Merely every other so what post on Facebook, I see people posing with alcohol, seemingly having fun and having the time of their lives.  Often just a photo of their drink.  Garanteed to have people liking it and wishing they could have that too.  By the amount off pictures of drinks, you’d think that my acquaintances are alcoholic beverages 🙂

Alcohol companies don’t need to have great marketing anymore, the users promote their product the best and in the way they always wanted it to have it promoted. With the idea that alcohol is harmless fun, a perfect reliever of stress, brings pure moments of enjoyment and a great way to bond with your friends and loved ones. With alcohol, it’s always a celebration!

What made me sad was a video I saw today on Facebook. Meant to be funny. A toddler refusing food and it’s bottle. Until dad gives him a glass of wine. The kid clears up and starts laughing! Until dad takes it away and the kid starts crying.
Haha, that’s funny! Hillarious! Genious! All for the greater good of a daily laugh from people who can relate to the kid and would like a glass of wine. That toddler knows where the fun is.

sad-evolution Alcohol culture on social media

As a recovering alcoholic and finally seeing what alcohol really is (raging havoc in health and society).. I find these things.. a hard drug as a joke.. distrubing. Minimising a class A drug as joke and getting our kids accustomed to it.. Maybe we can do that scene over again with a syringe of heroin? Or a sigarette? Would it be funny than?

Well, it isn’t. Feelings on alcohol are fake, it’s carcinogenic, its an unhealthy escape from reality and it doesn’t contribute to life. So please, keep it away from kids and stop normalising drugs use to them.