Thursday, April 5, 2012

Three Years Of Living Life Without Alcohol

Today marks three years of living life without alcohol.  To some, that doesn't seem like a big deal but for me three years ago, it was something I didn't think I could do.

In some ways, three years went by pretty quickly but there were days when it felt that time slowed down so much that I could hear the seconds tick in my head.  I am grateful for the life I have today and wouldn't trade it for anything.  I am very fortunate to be healthy and have friends and family that love and support me.  I wrote about why I quit in the first place on this blog which seems like such a long time ago.  Looking back, I do wish that I journaled more about how I was feeling and what thoughts popped in my head.  Mostly for me, drinking was a way to escape a problem or it was used as a reward that quickly turned into a habit.  What do you do when you get together with friends?  Drink.  How about when someone gets married, you land a promotion, or you get a divorce?  Most likely, there is drinking involved.  I would say that in my social circle, alcohol was included in every gathering.  I didn't have any friends who didn't drink.  I'm sure if I did, I would question why they weren't drinking.

I am a few years out of my "firsts" and I have to say that I've changed a lot since then.  It's not just about having soda or water instead of a cocktail.  It's an entirely different thought process you have and one that doesn't change quickly.  I used to plan my life around alcohol.  Meaning, I would be sure that I wasn't driving or that I was staying the night if I planned to have cocktails.  It might seem hard to believe but I am a shy person.  A lot of the drinking was to have a couple of glasses of wine to take the social anxiety edge off so I wouldn't be so nervous and afraid to make chit chat because of my insecurities.  My brain thought that I would be boring or not fun to be around if I wasn't laughing and cracking jokes all of the time and being the one who entertained.

To me, life is so much more fulfilling when you're not spending most of your time drinking, thinking of when you are going to drink or numbing out in some fashion.  When I first quit drinking, I had to figure out what to do with all of the time I spent during happy hour or the hours the next morning trying to forget the pain, or trying to remember conversations.  It was during this time when I picked up a camera and I haven't looked back since.  Now it's a rare occasion when a day passes by when I don't take a photograph.  I am still a bit hard on myself and my personality is still the same, it's just that my head is clear now. I am not perfect, it's just that I am now living life the best I know how while working on being a better person in the process.

I write about my experiences with photography, travel and even alcohol because it's just my story.  Everyone has their own path and I wanted to be honest about mine so people understand that things can be possible if you want to make a change in your life, no matter what it is.  Sometimes with great challenges come great rewards.  I dont want to sound corny, but I know that to be true for me.

If you are searching, I hope you make a change or a decision that will change your life for the better.  It might not feel like it right away, or even for months but small steps do count.  If you stick with it (whatever it is) long enough the rewards will come.  For me, that decision I made for myself was 1,096 days ago and each day I am thankful that I made it.

Earlier blogs about what it was like to quit:
The first 150 days
One year of living life without alcohol


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