5:00 on a Saturday night, tips for getting through it without drinking...
Updated: May 14, 2022
It is not at all lost on me that in the past, I would have loved the fact that we were snowed in on a Saturday night. There is nothing cozier than what we have going on right now. Sitting by the fire, a brisket in the oven, having just been snow shoeing and playing outside in the 20+ inches of snow.
There is a comfort in knowing that I will go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow without a hangover. I will not wake with crippling anxiety. Or the headaches. The sadness. The darkness that always settled in after a night of heavy drinking. The regret. The disappointment. The feelings of - you can do better, Kim. You should have had one less drink. Why did you open that last bottle? Why did you text that person? Why did you say what you said? This happened when I drank alone or with others. That's how it was by the end, and no one knew how I felt.
I will instead wake up fresh and energized, bright at early. I will feel rested. Content. Happy. For now, tonight, during happy hour - the time when I used to say to myself on days like today, I'm done with parenting. I would say to the kids, go watch TV and play Xbox or tell Evan to put them to bed. I would put on my jacket and trudge through the snow just to drink with a friend and get away from my kids. I would lose myself in alcohol. Numb away the pain of the day and the mistakes I may have made. Not tonight. Not ever again. I am not falling into the black hole of drinking ever again.
Overall, today was a good day. I was present and spent time doing things for myself and being there for my children. We water colored and we cooked. We baked and we played outside. We did mad libs and origami and watched movies. We folded laundry. We argued. We cried. We made up. We played in every room of the house. We felt bored at times. But we made it through the day. And I never once thought about wanting to drink or escape from it all, which is a wonderful change from where I used to be.
The shift in mindset is incredible. And it is worth it. There is nothing more freeing than knowing you don't need alcohol to make yourself feel better. To know that you can find relief in other ways. You can find your escape in a brisk walk in the cold. Instead of retreating into a glass of wine, I find myself here, writing, by the fire. Snuggled up and breathing deeply and feeling a contentment unlike anything I ever could have experienced before when alcohol was present in my life. Back when I was drinking, there was always an emptiness. A hollowness that I was constantly looking to fill. And I could never quite figure out why I always continued to feel so damn empty.
I am grateful to be released from that awful cycle. Freedom is good.