Today marks one year since I decided to stop drinking alcohol. I can’t say I really planned to get here. It started out as an experiment to see how abstaining would affect my health. I figured that I would probably sleep better and feel batter about my health if I stopped drinking. I was not a heavy drinker. I usually stopped at one drink and can’t remember a recent time where it was ever more than two. Still, I had gotten into the habit of having one drink in the evening and that over time would add up.
One thing I asked myself is why I was drinking. I recognized that alcohol often gives one freedom to shift blame for one’s own behavior. “Blame it on the booze.” I was never one to act crazy, regardless, but I decided it is better to own my behavior at all times.
There are also some people who drink because they aren’t happy with their lives. While my life does have its challenges (just like everyone else’s), again I would own my behavior and accept my situation, whatever it may be. I want to always be clear-eyed.
So, an initial two week trial period soon became a month. A month became six months. Six months became a year. I attended many parties, social events, and company meals where drinks were consumed by others but not by me. Previous attempts to stop drinking always seemed awkward when I would be out somewhere and the only one not drinking. Not this time around! I have learned that I can still have fun, be myself, entertain, and not drink. I feel no compulsion now whatsoever to drink.
It’s been an investment in my health, both physical and mental. I have lost weight and gotten rid of my gut. I sleep better now and remember my dreams far better than I once did. My mood is better. Most of all, I take pride in who I am and don’t feel the need to cede my power to alcohol.
As my streak continued, I debated whether I would have a celebratory drink on my one-year anniversary. In light of the improvements that this choice has brought me, I don’t feel the need for any celebratory drink. This is a path that has proven worthy of following. I think I will see where it leads.