Yesterday marked 14 days since I consciously gave up alcohol and started counting how many days it’s been properly thanks to Alcohol Change’s Try Dry app. I have taken sober breaks before here and there but I think this time might be for good.
Cards on the table – and some people might agree or disagree here – but I don’t think I was at the stage yet I would call myself an alcoholic. But on the path I was going, it would be very easy to slip down that slope. I was using wine more and more to suppress and cope with emotions. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not an overtly emotional person – well, at least showing them, I’m not a soulless robot.
I hadn’t learnt how to handle them – as a child I was in and out of hospital a lot as I was born with a harelip and cleft palate. Regular checkups with the orthodontist and enough operations over my life to be entitled to a frequent flyers card for the NHS. Spending that much time in hospital, you learn to bury feelings and emotions due to everything you see happening around you. At 15 or 16 I had a bone marrow transplant to recreate part of the roof of my mouth and that was my first time being on an adult ward. People died around me, machines beeped all night. It was a lot to take in at that age so I learnt to shut off how I was feeling – a skill I’ve perfected over the years though many situations.
So now when it comes to the big feelings, I’m not entirely sure how to handle them so when they start to get too much, wine was a nice and easy way to take the edge off with a glass of wine.
And then the great disaster of COVID hit. As many people probably found during lockdown, alcohol was an easy answer to coping with everything we were seeing happening around us. Drinking a glass or two of wine (or a bottle..) a day was seen as very much a normal thing as was making sure you were well stocked up with wine (or your choice of tipple) when you did make that government sanctioned trip to the supermarket.
But now I find myself 6 months into 2023 and I seem to have jumped on a path where I am starting to learn to deal with and handle my emotions in a better way – I went to my first soundbath and started doing breathwork with an amazing teacher. I’ve found a local drum circle who also hold a space for men only to meet and talk as well as the regular mixed circle where we all get together and drum. All are helping me come face to face with how I’m feeling and not run away.
Emotions aren’t something that are going to hurt me – yes I might feel a bit shit for a while, but paraphrasing Gandalf – it will pass.
There are also the added benefits that I sleep properly through the night rather than having fits and starts of insomnia. The urge to reach for the snacks that seemed to go hand in hand with a glass of wine is also not there so my waistline is starting to thank me.
The next target on my post is 21 days…. Let’s see how this journey goes.