I’m writing this for me and for anyone reading this that may have been sober long enough to forget the horrible side effects of boozing. Personally, I keep staying sober for weeks (and loving it!), but then deciding to drink again for a while before hopping back on the wagon. It isn’t terrible, I suppose, EXCEPT that it seems to be getting easier and easier to give in to the temptation. And I’m afraid there WILL come a time when I don’t want to stop. I’m also fairly sure now that I’m sabotaging my long-term health and wellness goals. Also, drinking now that I’ve been sober for a period of time is often not as much fun as I remember. Wow. So many reasons. And, yet, I keep doing it even though I also want to keep the sobriety going and have a real fear of returning to my past. Which brings me to more reasons not to drink:
Broken sleep and insomnia were my constant companions during the last few years I was drinking too much wine nearly every night. For a while, I woke up at 3 a.m. on the dot at least three or four times every week, and I could only rarely go right back to sleep (after guzzling water and ibuprofen, of course). More often, I was awake for hours until I finally got tired enough to sleep again. If luck was with me, I would get a couple of hours of rest before I had to get up to go to work. Occasionally, I would have to call in sick to work because I was never able to go back to sleep at all. I am a person that just can’t function without enough sleep. Then, as explained in my last post, I also started to turn to alcohol to put me back to sleep. When I think about it now, I can see how crazy that is.
When I was in my teens, twenties, and early thirties, I never had any trouble sleeping (even after I started drinking booze), but sometime in my mid-to-late thirties, everything changed. At first, it seemed the inevitable byproduct of having an incredibly stressful job. Then (after finally getting pregnant and quitting the job), it was having a child who was a difficult sleeper and being a mom with (sometimes debilitating) postpartum anxiety. After I stopped breastfeeding and my daughter started (finally!) sleeping through the night, I could start up my wine habit in earnest again. And the insomnia and middle-of-the-night wakings just got worse. Even though I wondered if maybe it was just part of getting older, I suspected it was really the booze that was the culprit — a suspicion that was confirmed when I finally quit drinking and started sleeping.
When I woke at 3 a.m. on the morning of my latest (and hopefully last) day one, it all came rushing back. With a fierce hangover, I was exhausted but unable to sleep. Misery!
OK. My most recent trip off the wagon began when I had something happened at work that really triggered my insecurities and anxiety. For the first time in a long while, I was very, very anxious and couldn’t figure out what to do with myself. Now, my neighbor and close friend had asked me a few days before if I would PLEASE drink some wine with her, and I said I didn’t want to, but … it got the old booze wheels turning in my head. So, primed, when my partner asked me several times if he could get me some wine to help me stop the horrible anxiety stress party in my head, I finally said yes, And, you know what? It did help. Briefly and for a few hours only. Then, in the morning, I was still anxious and also felt shitty.
I know this isn’t a healthy way to deal with my anxiety. I am on meds for this, and they really help. But, I know I need some way to deal with the rare sneak attacks that just send me spinning. Alcohol is a crappy way to self-medicate. I could get some other doctor-approved drug for the emergency times. I suppose I feel like I should be strong enough to wait it out or exercise it away or something. No real answers here, yet. But I do know alcohol isn’t the answer.
Making bad situations worse!
There are many more terrible side effects, of course, but the last one I recently remembered was that alcohol tends to make bad situations worse. Especially misunderstandings with friends and family. There is no argument that is properly resolved when at least one party involved is drunk. And many more that are needlessly started. There is no ex-boyfriend that can’t be embarrassingly flirted with if alcohol is involved. If it always remained fun and friendly (and with proper boundaries!) when people are boozing, maybe the hangovers would be worth it (once in a while!). But, we all know it doesn’t.
One other thing I know is that I was happy to wake up sober this morning, and I’m not going to drink today.
With love and support to all of you.