I’ve always had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. I went from binge drinking in college to “casually” drinking a couple glasses of wine five or six times a week as an adult. The negative effects my drinking habits had on my mind and body were impossible to ignore: I hardly ever slept through the night, I was constantly anxious, and I weighed more than ever. Worst of all, I was acutely aware of the damage I was doing but I couldn’t seem to stop.
I started each week telling myself I wouldn’t have a drink until the weekend but consistently fell short. There was always an excuse — a day that was too stressful, an event that I had to celebrate, or even just a dinner that would be complemented nicely by a glass of wine. In the moment of weakness, I convinced myself that it was OK, that it was just one drink, but I always regretted it.
I was so frustrated that I couldn’t control myself enough to stop. It was exhausting. I felt like I was doomed to live out my days with habits that I wasn’t strong enough to change. Earlier this year, this feeling completely overwhelmed me and I finally told myself I couldn’t make any more excuses. I had to prove to myself that I could change. I committed to being sober for an entire month.
The first week was the hardest. I inevitably started thinking about that cold glass of white wine on cue before dinner every night. But after I made it past that first week, the rest of the month seemed achievable. There were certainly days where the urge came on strong, but I was able to move past those urges more quickly each day.
I saw many changes throughout that month, but the first that I noticed and truly appreciated was I woke up each day feeling refreshed and ready to achieve instead of groggy and unmotivated. All of a sudden I had energy that allowed me to be the active, healthy person that I always thought of myself as being. Soon thereafter, I noticed I was losing weight, I was sleeping better, and my anxiety was improving. Of course, all of those physical changes were welcome, but the best part of all was that I had succeeded where I had failed so many times before. I proved to myself that I could do better and be the “me” that I wanted to be.
My sober month is over, but I reset my outlook towards alcohol. I rarely drink during the week anymore, but more importantly, I rarely crave it. I feel like I’ve taken control over something that has always controlled me.