The July 5th Hangover
I can remember the way I often felt on July 5th. It was the day after a long, fun, exhausting weekend - a weekend full of endless drinking. I usually day drank from one day to the next - never allowing my hangover to fully sink in, and it was finally on this morning that I stopped to acknowledge how truly terrible I felt. I would look in the mirror and ultimately begin the arduous task of admitting that I was drinking a bit too much at this point in the summer. I would have a difficult chat with myself and think about all the ways that I would cut back on my alcohol intake for a while. I would create a new plan for the rest of July. I perhaps would cut myself off from drinking during the rest of this week, as a reset of sorts. I would make a plan and maybe even tell my husband about it.
These little stints of moderation were short lived. The guilt, shame and self-loathing lasted a few shorts days, and while my body detoxed from the many days of poisoning myself with too much booze over the 4th, by the time the next weekend rolled around again, I was feeling much better. I was usually ready to drink again, and I always forgot about how awful I really felt only a few days before. My big plans to change my drinking patterns often were tossed aside and I went right back to binge drinking everyday soon after. I always found an excuse - a wedding, vacation or some event.
This was a vicious cycle that went on for too many years. It's amazing how manipulative our own brains can be.
Someone asked me recently - how long it took me to fully quit drinking. And the answer is complicated, because for me - it was years of this type of July 5th hangover song and dance. I spent a long time wanting to work on my drinking to then going back to my old ways. All the while, I never gave myself the option of fully stopping. Sobriety was never a choice for me. I didn't know I could be happy without alcohol.
I wish I had given sobriety a chance all those years ago. I wish I had known how freeing it could be and how trapped I truly was - especially on those mornings like July 5th, when I hated myself so deeply. I felt so low. I was lost in the darkness and despair, and I wish someone had told me that there was a way to saved. Instead of constantly be forced even further under by the force that was alcohol. This went on for too many years.
Are you feeling the darkness of the post holiday hangover? Are you feeling a heaviness this morning? Has the booze clouded your mind? Maybe you want to cut back and look at moderating? That is a great start, as that was where I began my journey, so many years ago. Please feel free to reach out to me with questions or thoughts.