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Like a Bad Boyfriend: Breaking Up With Alcohol

Updated: May 11

Voodoo doll labeled 'Ex' with pins in its eye and heart - breaking free from toxic relationships like alcohol.
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I recently skimmed through my journals from the beginning of my sober journey. One passage caught my attention, and I thought to myself, “Hey, that’s pretty good!” 😊 And I thought I’d share it with you. Here it is just as I wrote it with maybe one or two tweaks ...

June 9, 2020

So today marks 107 days hangover-free. I do miss the initial hit and warmth and calm that the first sip affords me. I think about that almost every night as I make a mocktail. But I know that if I have that one sip, I’ll want to chase that feeling, and that will lead me down a pitiful path. So I guess my relationship with alcohol is like thinking about an old boyfriend and only remembering the good stuff, not thinking about all the reasons that he’s an EX-boyfriend. (Read Terry's blog post about Fading Affect Bias and why we forget the bad stuff.)

Alcohol used to be my friend every night. Let’s call him my boyfriend, Al. Al wooed me every afternoon starting around 3 pm. He would tell me how pretty I am when I’m with him, how much more I’d fit in with the crowd, how extroverted and funny and likeable I’d be if only I would reach out to him. If I was feeling blue, Al knew just what to say to me: “You’ll feel so much calmer when you take my hand. You’ll forget about all your troubles and worries.” When I was happy, Al would scream, “Let’s celebrate!” When I was sad, he’d say, “I’ll comfort you.”

And let’s face the truth, Al would comfort me, make me forget, give me peace – for about 20 minutes. Then either I would start coming down from the high or start feeling anxious, so I would chase the feeling I had with that first drink and chase and chase and chase until I passed out. And then the next morning Al would be gone. And I’d vow not to see him again at least for one night. All day I’d be in control and have good intentions until about 3 pm when Al would start whispering in my ear again, and I’d start the cycle all over again.

So I’ve kicked Al out of my life for 107 days. I’ve learned a lot about Al in that time. I’ve listened to podcasts with some of his old girlfriends, and I’ve read books about him. He’s a con man. Plain and simple. He conned me just like he’s conned so many before me. He makes promises that on the surface seem true, but shining the light of day on them, they’re nothing but lies. One big con game.

I know that the road ahead is going to be hard once the world opens up again. I’m going to have to deal with a lot of peer pressure that I haven’t had to deal with at all yet. I’m hopeful that these 107 days of self-discovery will carry me through whatever the world throws at me.

Coffee, journal, and pen on an empty desk.

Today I'm over four years alcohol-free. I don't miss anything about alcohol anymore. It's become insignificant in my life. Three o'clock comes and goes without a thought. People drink in front of me, and I'm just fine and dandy with water. There's no desire or jealousy whatsoever. In fact, quite the opposite. That took time. And patience. And commitment. And connection with other like-minded women. But it's so worth it. Sobriety is absolutely the best gift I've ever given myself. I'm so glad I kicked Al to the curb where he belongs.

If you find yourself relating to my journey, know that change is within your reach. Embrace the power of knowledge through research, books, podcasts, and community programs. Fill your mind with the truth and reject the deceitful messages of big alcohol advertising. I am living proof that transformation is possible, and I believe that together, we can shift the way society views alcohol. If I can do it, you can too! Let's join forces to rewrite our stories and inspire a world where sobriety is celebrated, and alcohol's illusion is shattered. Together, we can change the narrative and find the true meaning of freedom.

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