Why does it have to be all or nothing?
First off - Chase is doing great! He is home, post surgery and a total champ. A complete rockstar patient.
I mentioned in our first episode of the podcast this week, that I didn't have a rock bottom. By this I meant, I didn't have a moment where I was suddenly woken up by my awful behavior by the cops or an accident. Although, maybe I should have been after all the stupid things I did and conversations I had with my husband. Regardless, I hung out in the gray area for a long time. I did think to myself - is this drinking okay? I wondered and worried. I didn't like the way it made me feel when I was hungover, and it fueled my anxiety. It made me irritable around the kids and that made me feel guilty. I was less productive than I wanted to be, and it just wasn't good for me. I knew it, but I kept drinking. And that was worrisome. I even read some quit-lit books, but didn't finish them because they scared me too much. I always said - 'oh I'm not that bad!' There were SO many contributing factors that built up over time though that eventually made me realize - the booze had to go.
I always drank between two extremes. There was no "normal" drinking. I sometimes went out to dinner and allowed myself one glass of wine to prove to my husband I was on good behavior, but then obsessed over it. Then the next time I went out with friends I got drunk. There was no normal drinking. The fact that I couldn't just always have a couple drinks and NOT get drunk was not normal.
Because I was not the kind of person that only drank one glass of wine twice a year at big events or the person with the DUI - I flew under the radar. And in Needham, a lot of people drink like me. The amount of people that have said to me, "I had no idea you were struggling!" is astonishing! I also have a decent amount of people that aren't surprised as well - ha! But for the most part, the behavior of getting drunk at holiday parties or other events - is completely acceptable. Perhaps encouraged!
I attempted Dry January and Sober October. Those worked for a while, but I could never ever stay stopped for good. I always needed to go back to booze. I always found a reason - a birthday party, an event, a wedding. Some reason to have a few drinks. And it was a slippery slope. I always fell back into it.
I bounced back and forth between ignoring that voice inside my head that told me I should be worried and then just letting loose telling myself "it's the weekend!" or "all my friends are drinking tonight!" I could always squash the voice with enough excuses if I tried.
I think so many people hear that someone is sober and assume that they are a severe alcoholic - but the truth is, many of us are just hanging out in the gray area, living really unhealthy relationships with alcohol. By the very end, my drinking was bad, I will admit. But if anyone is even worried about their consumption and attempting to moderate at all, in my book, that would be concerning. It shows a hyper focus. I am not trying to point a finger, just simply trying to help others see that it doesn't have to be this way. Why devote so much energy to something that is just a prison. It traps you and pulls you down. Slowly sucking the joy out of life. Alcohol simply does nothing good for you.
I can even hear it in my own husband's voice - he sometimes says, "I don't have a problem, I can control it," in a way that says to me, I am the one with the issue. By the end, maybe alcohol took over my life. I let myself get out of control. The problem is alcohol though, and that no one is immune to it. No one is safe. So if you are hanging out in the gray area of drinking just as I was for so many years, please reconsider that perhaps there is a much better way to live.
So others may think, typically, gray area drinkers may ask - why does it have to be all or nothing? Why do you have to quit drinking completely? It isn't that it HAS to be all or nothing. It can be something else entirely. You can choose to release yourself from the clutches of alcohol completely and walk away. Only then will you understand how it feels to climb this mountain and feel a release, a freedom unlike anything you have ever experienced. By walking away from alcohol, you might realize it is the most gratifying, self-empowering feeling in the world.
For more info: https://www.thetemper.com/gray-area-drinking/