Updated: Sep 2, 2021
One of the greatest benefits that I have found in the last 5 weeks is that my sleep has improved drastically. I was always someone who struggled with sleep, falling asleep or staying asleep, for the last ten years or so. I experimented with all kids of sleep aids from over the counter to prescription drugs, but always ended up using wine to soothe me to sleep in the end.
I know that my sleep issues really began when I had children. I certainly was never the easiest person to sleep next to and I am a bed hog, ask anyone that knows me. I toss and turn a decent amount and get up to pee a lot in the night. This has been the case since college. But, I never needed help falling asleep as much as I did until I had children. The sleepless nights nursing a newborn (3 kids pretty close together) contributed to an inconsistent sleep routine for years. Years of little tiny humans keeping me up at all hours of the night, and then the only way I would find that release at the end of the day and way to fall asleep I discovered was a relaxing glass of wine. Which eventually turned into two glasses. We all know the rest of the story.
It is not to say that motherhood was the start of my drinking habits. Absolutely not. As discussed, these issues began long before. In my blood, brought on by traumas from my past, high school and college behaviors. Whatever. So were my sleep issues a result of drinking so much? Or was my drinking a result of sleep problems brought on by motherhood?
Also, another question to consider - was the anxiety induced by motherhood or brought on by the drinking?
Over the years, the problem was always keeping myself sleeping through the duration of the night. Falling asleep was sometimes easy with the wine, but I couldn't keep myself asleep for more than a few hours. Often times, anxiety and panic would grip me at 3AM. This began when the kids were babies, and I would have visions of them dying, getting kidnapped, horrible thoughts. This never ended. This continued on for the last decade and never subsided. I would lay staring at the ceiling listening to my husband snore for hours, tossing and turning. All of this has stopped now. My mind has finally quieted. The anxiety is no longer keeping me awake in a paralyzed, frightened state for hours on end.
Ultimately, I just never thought that when I stopped drinking that I, of all people, would be able to sleep as well as I have been. I thought I was doomed to a life of terrible sleep, even sober. Now, I fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly for a solid seven to eight hours. I wake for bathroom breaks, but the quality of sleep I am getting is something I haven't felt since maybe I was a teenager. It is incredible. And it is reassuring to read that most other people within the sober community experience this as well, and it isn't going anywhere. So this is another huge reason I am beyond happy to be on this side. It is so much better over here.