Ex-Boozer Chronicles: Letting go

When I started this blog series I was trying to work my way through sobriety, and I felt like writing would help, and it did. Now I’m eight months into the journey, and I feel more settled in this new phase of my life. I’m not saying it’s easy now, as it’s definitely not. I still have occasions when I wish I could drink normally, like the other day when I was up in Cairns, and my brother and I went to a brewery, at my suggestion. I use to love going to breweries and ordering a tasting paddle. When my brother arrived back at the table with his paddle I couldn’t help but feel a longing for days gone when I too would have partaken and rated each beer. However, it doesn’t take long for that feeling to pass, and get back into a neutral head space.

What I have learnt in the last 8 months is that I am going to get rattled and stressed and want to drink, I’m going to feel nostalgic for the good times and want to drink, and sometimes I’m just going to want to get completely pie-eyed because I want to get out of my head. But, the big BUT here is, I’m going to accept those feelings, sit with them for a bit, then show them the door, without reaching for a glass of sav blanc.

I feel like I’ve reached a point where it has become a manageable aspect of my life, and now I’m ready to move on, not let my sobriety define me as a person as I’m so much more than that. There are plenty of amazing people out there that have based their lives around finding sobriety, and shared what they have learnt with others but I guess I’m not willing to put all my eggs in one basket. I don’t want to be labelled the ‘sober chick’ forever as then I think it’s turning it into a bigger element of my life than I want it to be. I almost feel that some people get so obsessed with being sober that they’ve turned their addiction of booze into an addiction about talking about not boozing, and in my mind, it’s like the alcohol is still ruling their existence. I don’t want that. I will always be honest about my experience but I’m releasing its hold over me completely.

Maybe giving up alcohol is like the stages of grief, and now I’m finally at the acceptance part. It would make sense, alcohol was in my life for longer than a fair few of my friends, and definitely more than past boyfriends. If you look at it this way it’s understandable it would take time to get over it and reach calmer waters. I guess it’s like when anything ends, you always think about all the good times you’ve shared: the parties where you sat up until 4 in the morning talking rubbish with a group of strangers, or the nights you stayed out dancing to pop music with your buddies until the sun came up, or the outrageous cocktails you drank whilst on overseas holidays and ended up in karaoke bars until the underground trains started running again.

And these memories are great memories that will always make me smile but to have these memories I also have to carry the ones that aren’t so great. The ones that make me feel small and unworthy, the memories I wish didn’t exist. However, these ones also have a purpose. They make me see clarity when those good memories start to try to nudge me into a delusional state. They are the ones that keep me focused. The end goal would be to have no emotional attachment to either, just see them as what they are: experiences that don’t define me or my actions anymore.

The other day I saw a moth in my bathroom, and other than thinking ‘gah! does this portent some kind of evil??’, I also thought it symbolised a transformation. I know that I’m going to be okay, and I’m going to let it all go, the good and the bad memories, and I’m just going to be who I want to be, without trying to fit into the labels we feel we have to place on everything all the time. With this last blog, I’m going to leave you for now, and I’m also bidding a final adieu to the role alcohol had in my life, and the importance I continued to place on it, even once I stopped drinking it. Goodbye old friend. You have been a reassuring ally at times, and a formidable foe others but I no longer have space in my life for you.

For everyone else on the journey, I wish you all the luck in the world from the bottom of my heart. There’s no destination in the quest for sobriety but I hope the process leads you to your freedom.

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