I’ve debated whether or not to “out” myself on here, especially about something that is not necessarily “safer beauty” related. But for me it’s all goes together when it comes to learning how to live as a healthier version of myself and when I realize how many times I’ve searched all around the web looking for posts like these to get me through, I decided to pay it forward and do the same. So here are just a few (of many!) things I have learned in my three years without alcohol:
- I’ve gone from drama queen to emotionally healthy human being
The world doesn’t revolve around me? Who knew! I often refer to my old drinking self as a “drama drunk.” Whether it was saying something that I’d come to regret the next day, sending some horrific drunk text, or straight up intentionally causing chaos just for the sake of attention, that was the way my world turned when alcohol was in my system. Since I stopped drinking, I’ve learned how to be one of instead of the one and only. I’ve learned how to take responsibility for my actions and own my part in everything that I do as well as everything that happens TO me. I’ve learned that I don’t have to be in the center of attention to feel worthy and I don’t have to run the show to enjoy the ride. I don’t always have to react when angry or upset either. Today I have a choice and one of those choices can be to not engage in unhealthy situations. I now understand that relationships with others are about what I can give without expecting anything in return. In short, I’ve learned that my emotions don’t have to drive my actions. Like the alcohol, I used to be addicted to the crazy. Today I crave and enjoy what is simple and sane.
2. I know where all my money goes
When I was drinking, money always had it’s way of disappearing. I’d usually wake up the day after a night out dreading the inevitable damage I had done to my bank account. More often than not, I’d withdrawal and spend money that I didn’t even remember taking out. Not only that, but my ability to be responsible with my finances as a whole was shot. I lived for the moment not for my future. While there may be nothing wrong with this if you do it responsibility, when you jump on a plane and head across the country to party with some friends at the drop of a hat and are unable to pay your rent the following week as a result of this impulse, there’s a problem. I’d argue that I was probably just as addicted to spending money as I was to drinking and drama, for there was always a high followed by remorse. Today I get to enjoy things like owning a home and a car to taking regular vacations without having to go into debt because I can’t manage my finances. I also get to do things like have a stable job because I am a reliable employee today. Let’s just say when I was drinking, that wasn’t the case.
3. I get to be myself again
Before the alcohol took over, I was myself. Sure I had my struggles, my insecurities and my ups and downs but I hadn’t lost myself over them. The drinking came after college for me and up until then I had great friendships, fun experiences and a solid foundation to build a God-centered life on. When I began drinking, these parts of me began to slip away. My priorities started to change along with the types of people I sought out as friends and the things I chose to spend my time and energy on. Sure, I still had some great experiences and friendships in the drinking years. God still blessed my brokenness. But I cut myself short in so many ways by the way I was living. It was like I was only able to experience a small fraction of every blessing and even every struggle. The result was stunted spiritual growth. Things like my faith seemed so far and my actions reflected this. Once alcohol was out of the way I began to find myself again: the me that God meant for me to be. My values started to come back and my standards raised. I gained back my confidence and realized that I didn’t need alcohol to enjoy life. I was given the gift of a best friend who is now my husband that I get to live this way of life with by my side. I’ve realized now much more fun I have without alcohol because I get to be fully present for every experience along the way.
The truth is, this is only a few of the things that I’ve learned. There have been more lessons on this journey than I can count. Everything from realizing that alcohol addiction is not limited to a man under a bridge to the fact that my drinking habits were so much more then just substance abuse to the freedom I’ve found in sobriety has taught me something about myself that I can use to help others. So that is why I am sharing this. Because to me, if one person decides to try or stay in this way of life as a result, then job done. Yhese lessons I have learned are not to say that I’ve mastered anything. It’s a one day at a time thing, and though I have made progress, I am far from perfect and never will be. The difference is that today I get the best chance to be my best self. For that, I am grateful.