Today marks my 250th alcohol-free day. When I shared this with my girlfriend on our walk this morning, she was very impressed. Good for you! she exclaimed. It felt good to hear her say that. After having gone this long without alcohol, it really doesn't feel like that huge of a deal. But, I have to recognize that it's a great accomplishment, especially considering I could barely manage 30 days without booze only one year ago.
I know this for a fact because I quit drinking alcohol last year on August 4th. I had written in my journal on August 20:
I last had an alcoholic beverage on Aug.3. As of Aug. 4, I quit drinking. It's been 16 days without a sip of alcohol and it's getting harder these days to stay strong.
On August 30, I wrote:
Been a couple of rough days not being able to drink. I have been wanting to, but will not be tempted. I remember how good it tasted and felt, letting me float away from my unease and unhappiness...
By early September, I'd completed 30 days and was feeling super proud of myself. I felt certain that I was finally in control of my drinking habit. I decided it was okay, after all, to have the odd glass of wine. My sister's wedding was the second weekend of September, and I'd decided it was a perfect opportunity to break my alcohol-free streak.
I had a few drinks that night but felt completely in control. Stopped drinking early in the evening and was fine to drive home later that night. I continued to drink sparingly from that day onward, but still would enjoy wine every weekend - often on the Sunday after my boyfriend (who doesn't drink alcohol at all) would head home. It was just a couple glasses of wine. No big deal.
One Sunday afternoon (December 2, to be exact), I visited my girlfriend for an afternoon soiree where the wine was flowing. I'd walked there to get exercise, which ended up being a perfect excuse to have a "few" since I didn't have to drive home. After all the other guests had left, I remained still enjoying my wine and feeling a little too good.
I ended up not getting home until 10 pm that night. I was pretty smashed by this time. So much so, that I woke up the next morning sick to my stomach and with a pounding headache. Although I made it to work, I had to leave after an hour, feigning a doctor's appointment so that I could crawl back into bed to grip my turning stomach.
That was December 3 - the day I quit drinking for good. I realized then, that I could not control my desire to drink. Whether that makes me an alcoholic, or not, is not really the point. I simply realized that if I wanted to stop getting drunk and hungover, I had no choice but to eliminate all booze from my life.
This meant no more debates on whether I should have a glass of wine tonight. Or whether it's okay if I just have one glass - or maybe two? I don't have to consider "exceptions" to any rules about drinking only on weekends. The decision is always the same every day. No wine. No beer. No liquor. Ever.
As I've stated in past blog posts, I do miss my wine on occasion. I still get the urge periodically to drink a couple glasses of smooth red wine. But I love how I feel now that I'm alcohol-free. And no temptation to drink is strong enough to overcome all the incredible benefits I've experienced living completely sober.
So cheers to 250 alcohol-free days! I'll drink (Perrier) to that!