Let me just start off by saying I’m not doing a victory dance by any means. Also, this is not some sort of lecture to anyone else. All of my friends drink to some degree. More power to them. I had a friend come over for dinner last night and brought a bottle of wine to drink. No judgement here. Enjoy. For me, however, this non drinking stuff is hard. I have a dear friend who is a wellness coach who has graciously taken me on as a beta tester for her wellness program, including the subject of “gray area drinking” and all that comes along with that. Yesterday, we talked for a long while and she asked me what I missed about drinking and what I didn’t miss. I miss drinking period. The spontaneity, the carefree nature I would take on, the confidence, the social butterfly I’d morph into, flitting around talking to anyone and everyone, being COMFORTABLE (I’m so uncomfortable right now). I miss becoming so much bigger on the outside while shrinking on the inside with alcohol always pushing me down, down, down, and letting someone else step in and take my place. A brighter and shinier version of myself. I miss the people…definitely the people. When you decide and declare that you’re not drinking, a peculiar thing happens. Your social circle narrows and the list of social activities shortens drastically. Hmmm…had I really thought this all the way through? Maybe not, but the list of things I don’t miss, while shorter, is far greater and has made me sure I’m doing the right thing for my life right now. Still, I will tell you this, I absolutely do miss having an occasional glass of wine like I used to. I just can’t right now.

I don’t miss the extreme hangover after four glasses of wine. I don’t miss trying to act normal the following day when I really want to curl up and die. I don’t miss the weight gain after drinking and eating whatever I feel like. And I especially don’t miss the anxiety ridden days after drinking and the way I’d get overly emotional about little things that really shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of life. That’s by far the biggest thing. Still, it’s been incredibly hard and I’m very uncomfortable. That’s part of the reason I turned back to writing.

Writing was to be my catharsis, but I’ve realized that has also made me uncomfortable in a way. I believe it’s because I’m writing about things that have been buried inside for so long and digging them up has made me feel again. I’m not shoving them down anymore and that’s uncomfortable for me. Still, it’s all so very necessary for me at this time in my life. My friend has advised me to sit in that uncomfortableness and experience it. Feel it, work through it, and then change up my location or activity so I can begin to create new meaning in my life as well as new neural pathways in my brain. An example – this morning I went to the grocery to stock up on good, healing food. I was dreading it because I truly hate going to the grocery. Hate might not be a strong enough word. I was putting it off, feeling very apprehensive about it, and decided to switch it up and buy myself some flowers while I was there. It made me enjoy, well maybe enjoy is too strong a word, but it made me appreciate the experience a little bit and the fact that I was doing something to take care of me.

That’s what this whole program is about. Taking care of myself. I thought I was taking care of myself by protecting myself from all the stuff inside, all the stuff that comes up to get us when our walls are down, when we are truly vulnerable. I thought by drinking, numbing, I was protecting myself. The problem is that all of that “stuff” is still there when we choose to come back up for air. It will not go anywhere until I choose to stop anesthetizing myself and move through it. So, although I’m uncomfortable now, I know it’s all necessary to get comfortable again in a whole new light.

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