May 7, 2023, was the 4 year anniversary of my life without alcohol. I have learned a lot in these 4 years, about myself, and about life without alcohol. Perhaps my lessons can be of benefit to someone else.
On May 7, 2019, I decided to stop drinking alcohol. I made the decision mainly to lose weight. While I had been trying to lose weight for a while, I had refused to give up alcohol as one way to do that. Many times I said, “I am not giving up my Chardonnay!” Chardonnay was my alcohol of choice. While I had an occasional Appletini or Lemon Drop Martini, and a few other drinks on occasion, Chardonnay was definitely my drink of choice. I knew I was drinking too much, although it was rare for that to be obvious to others. I rarely drank before 5pm, except for an occasional glass of wine when out to lunch. But I had gotten into the habit of more glasses of Chardonnay in the evenings than I knew were good for me.
I do not have a clear picture of why on that day, May 7, 2019, I made the decision to stop drinking alcohol, or even more importantly, once I made the decision, how I was able to stick with it. Yes, I wanted to lose weight, and that was all I really had not yet tried to accomplish. But I do not know why then, when I had not done so previously. And I have no idea why I was able to be successful. But I was. For that, I am so very grateful.
When I decided to stop drinking alcohol, I did not determine how long this decision would last. I did not decide at that point to stop drinking alcohol completely, for forever. As I have lived with this choice, it became clear to me that not drinking alcohol again was the best decision for me.
I did lose the weight I wanted to lose, actually, I lost more than I planned to lose, 57 pounds. I do not think that eliminating alcohol from my life was the change that made this happen. I also got serious about Weight Watchers and worked that plan, and that is the key to the weight loss. However, I do believe that not drinking alcohol certainly eliminated unnecessary calories from my diet.
Without alcohol I sleep better, feel better physically, and feel better about myself. Having grown up with an alcoholic mother, and having many other alcoholic family members, I knew I needed to be careful with alcohol. I knew the fact that I would drink more than I knew I should at times meant I had a tendency toward alcohol abuse. While I had been able to keep my alcohol consumption in check most of the time, I knew that could change at any time, and why take that risk? I knew there was nothing good about alcohol, other than the socialization aspect, and I decided that alone was not a good enough reason to risk having a larger problem with it. Stopping completely was the absolute best decision for me. The longer I was without alcohol the clearer it became to me that this should be a lifetime plan.
I still go to bars with my husband and others, and restaurants where others are drinking alcohol. While I still go and usually drink half and half iced tea while others are drinking alcohol, I do not enjoy those outings. But I am clear that my plan does not have to be anyone else’s, and that if others I care about are drinking and I am not and I want to be with them, then my choice is clear. I do not expect others to not drink because I am not. We all have to make our own decisions about our choices, and alcohol is only one of those.
I am so glad that I do not have to worry if I should really be driving after having wine with dinner. I am glad that I am always available as a DD, and usually insist on driving if others I have been with have had more than one alcoholic drink, even when I am told, “I am fine to drive!” Why take the risk when it isn’t necessary?
I would be less than honest if I failed to admit that I miss Chardonnay and the socializing aspect of drinking with others. I do get lonely at times and feel left out when others are drinking and I am nursing my iced tea. But I do not miss behaving like some of those people behave when they have had too much alcohol. And I do not miss wondering some mornings if I said or did anything to embarrass myself. If I have those concerns now, alcohol is not to blame!
If you wonder if alcohol is something you should consider giving up, it probably is. Think about it, why should we continue to put something into our bodies that has no redeeming value? Is socializing with others around alcohol really worth alcohol’s negative effects?
Not for me. And maybe not for you. But you will have to make your own decision about that. I made my decision, and I am so glad that I did.
I am so very proud of you, my friend. Love and hugs.
Thank you, dear friend. I am so glad that I made this change.