I woke up this morning, 10 days sober, like a kid on Christmas morning.
Excited, full of energy, and full of anticipation for the day ahead.
Who am I and what the hell happened…?
I’m just scratching the surface of this Alcohol Free life, but everything is already a far cry from rolling off the couch with the hangover-to-end-all-hangovers just 10 mornings ago, unsure if I was already dead or just wanting to die.
I don’t want to feel like that anymore.
Breaking free from the cycle of drinking & withdrawal, for me, has been a slow process of waking up. It’s as though I’ve been under a mountain of blankets in bed, keeping me warm every cold dark night for the last 20 plus years.
I never noticed I was sleeping on a bed of snakes.
Each sober day under my belt is lifting a blanket from me, and I’m slowly waking up – seeing everything for what it actually it is.
It’s never really been a safe, warm place – being drunk.
It’s been a trap, and I laid myself down willingly, day after day after day, sleeping with snakes. I was so used to it, I stopped noticing them writhing around me, taking grip and keeping me there, stuck.
The more I strip away the lies about alcohol that I’ve grown to believe as absolute truth, the more I’m revealing soft spots of understanding that I hope to harden with experience, one day at a time.
It feels a lot like mourning.
If you’ve ever lost someone, you will understand how you can wake up in the morning, forgetting they are gone. And for a split second, everything is as it was.
Until you remember.
Then it all comes rushing back, the scab is ripped raw, and you truly wake up. Then, you have to come to terms – again, and again, and again – with your loss.
It’s basically Groundhog Day for Grief.
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been feeling like my good friend just died. I’ve been looking at this process as “giving up alcohol” – and therein lies the actual problem.
It’s not a sacrifice. I haven’t given up anything. The only thing I’ve lost are those pain stricken mornings, the regret, the shame, and the daily abuse I put myself through.
Perhaps it makes more sense for us to start saying “I’m getting rid of alcohol” – because that’s what you do with things you no longer need and that are no longer serving you.
You get rid of them.
This morning is the first one since going alcohol free that I can recognize myself in the mirror. Actually, that’s not entirely true. This morning is the first one since going alcohol free that I am willing to actually look at myself in the mirror. I’d avoid it as though I was the Elephant Man every day until I was drunk enough to not care what I looked like or how I felt.
Like clockwork, it seems the actual poison has officially left the building, alcohol taking 7 to 10 days to fully leave your bloodstream. I feel like today is the official beginning of the new normal. Every challenge and struggle I’ve pushed through over the last 10 days, every painful, uncomfortable moment I’ve survived, has been one of those blankets I’ve spent so long beneath – folded up, and put away.
It feels fantastic to be awake.
And I’m never crawling into that bed again.