Tag Archives: not hung over

Top five things about not drinking on a Friday night

26 Apr

8:30 am

I like to make these lists, from time to time, as you may have noticed. And, there are SO many good things about not drinking at Friday night “happy” hour, that’s it’s going to be tough to pick just five.

I’ll preface this by saying, I am sitting on the couch, feeling and hearing the ocean off my deck, at 8:15 am–sure, I’m a bit tired because I didn’t get enough sleep last night, but it is WAY better than being hung over. And, I must say, I would be hung over even after a couple glasses of wine, I know it.

I also must say, I felt ill enough from sitting all day at a training-type event that I simply could not imagine drinking at the happy hour-thingie that someone in the group was planning (jones’ing) for–even if I was still drinking. A LOT of the times when I was living and working in “the city,” I felt so office-sick after my days, I had to come home, hit the gym to sweat/detox; and ONLY THEN was I able/ready to go out and consume my shit-ton of wine. Maybe that was what helped me do it for so long, I had some preemptive metabolic support (shit, I KNEW what I was doing, but I’ll leave that for another post titled, How to prepare and maintain your body for a high-functioning alcoholic lifestyle).

Another thing: I felt SO calm, and SO not tired in the training session. I was a student my entire life, and a good one, but I was either always anxious or always tired. I thought that was “just me.” It wasn’t, it was what I did to me. In high school and college I didn’t drink, but I would only “allow” myself about six hours sleep a night; in college, it was worse, with me struggling to keep up with my pre-med studies, probably getting no more than four hours a night during most of my first two years! In grad school, I was basically either always hung over or exhausted, or both, from staying up all night drinking.

Yesterday was different, and it changed the story I’ve been telling myself all my life about myself as I relate to school: I am not inherently anxious about my abilities. Either by 40 years old, I’ve changed, or, I was simply always tired or anxious because (at least in grad school) I was always and constantly hung over.

It was a great feeling, to be the one in control, finally. If ONLY I had realized just how fucking hard I was making it on myself in grad school–how would my experience have been different had I not boozed it up every single night? If I had turned to yoga to ease my intense anxiety (the program was brutal), instead of making it WORSE by drinking?

Anyway, top five reasons to NOT drink on a Friday night:

1. No hangover on Saturday morning!

2. Feeling freedom, which is ultimately mega-empowering: I was not jones’ing for a drink at 5 o’clock. I was not “looking forward” to it during lunch, or toward the end of the training session. There was not the least bit of “running in circles” in my mind, trying to figure out where and/or IF I would drink that night, how much, with whom, or worrying about “missing out” on some shit if I didn’t go out. NONE. What a blank, wonderfully calm slate it is, a mind that is not thinking about drinking during the day.

3. Being able to work out and de-stress and detox after a long day–for real, and not for fake with a drink. All I wanted to do after this session was work out, sweat, move my body. And, I did. And, drinking–even ONE drink, even in “moderation”–would have prevented that.

4. Staying on track/maintaining momentum–this has to do with not necessarily feeling “guilty” because I drank (I wouldn’t anyway), but this feeling I have had for a while, and that just KEEPS BUILDING the longer I don’t drink on Friday (or any other) night. It’s like, an integrity, a wholeness, a circle, not a fragmented line. Doing my body good. Counting on myself. Never getting stupid, or oversharing, or being indiscrete, or being a dumb fuck. It feels GOOD to have that…long-term thing going. A sense of personal best, or satisfaction, or something. It’s taken so much mental work, but: a feeling of finally being convinced that even one drink is actually NOT better than continued sobriety. Maybe it’s called, preserving grace?

5. Plans are intact–I guess this relates to being not hung over (but that’s more of a physical thing), or to being able to count on myself (but that’s more of a feeling thing). The weekend is here, and my plans are intact, and I still “don’t need” wine. I have everything I need, and I feel free. I have some writing to do, and my part-time job to do, and packing to do (for our mini-vacay on Monday and Tuesday), and all that will get done.

Top five. The pangs still come and go, and I did still (after almost two years) feel a bit…weird, being the “sober” girl at the “happy” hour last night, but…NOT ENOUGH TO GIVE UP MY SOBRIETY, or my Friday night. Not even close.

Plugging along, but not thinking about drinking

24 Jan

2:30 pm

And, that’s pretty much it. At this point, compared to how it used to be, I rarely think that drinking would make it better. Even rarer, that I actually want a glass of wine, in the visceral sense of craving the buzz, the numbing, or the euphoria. Somehow, I don’t want that anymore; I don’t feel like I lack it enough to want to seek an outside source. My sobriety has turned into simply, well, living. And, for a while, last summer, I stopped believing I would actually “heal.” It’s unreal how things have changed since last September, which was about oh, 6 months into my second stint (I went for almost 6 months before that).

For me, not drinking has become more of a practical choice–sure, I could talk about being sober for all the other reasons that we do, but at the end of the day, my day-to-day life is practically a gazillion times better. Why?

I have no hangovers.
I can work, mainly because my reward/motivation circuitry (up there, in my brain) is healing or, at the very least, has “bounced back.”
I have no hangovers. (Did I mention that?)
I can work.
I have no hangovers. (Right, no fucking hangovers!)
I can work. (Yes, I said that.)
I can work out.
I can get up early.
I might get up early and feel tired, scared of the day (often), overwhelmed, or sad, but at least…I’m not hung over!
I don’t obsess over fucking wine, and that means: I can go to dinners, to parties, and not want to drink, not be worried about wanting to drink, not be vexed by the fact that I “can’t drink” and others “get to”–it just doesn’t mean that much to me anymore. Why?
I can more and more clearly see just how much–how very, very much–I was compromising my physical health and psychological stability by drinking the way I did. I mean, my fucking GOD, the stress I put my body under just going through one drinking episode, let alone 265 out of 365 days every year. No wonder I need–and am finally beginning to accept the “new” (old) me–nine hours of sleep a night, I have all that catching up to do!
I never say or do anything that I regret, that requires apologies, that jeopardizes my relationships. I never have to say I’m sorry for anything much anymore, because my steps are calculated and my emotions, guarded. I like this; this is how I want to be right now, how I need to be.

I can focus now, and that, my friends, is the best thing about this practical side of quitting drinking. And, it’s mainly because I have somehow come to accept that drinking is ONE way to solve my problems, but it’s not the ONLY way–I can pick another. Drinking is a way to avoid and escape–I don’t want to do that anymore, no matter how pissy I feel inside and grumpy I might come off to people. I’d just rather be…stronger. I’m better than that now. I don’t choose to “cop out” of social situations; I choose to sit there calmly, staring at you kindly (sort of) as you ramble on about shit that is completely irrelevant to my life simply because you are drunk, or as you soliloquy off into flights-of-fancy tangents that are, again, irrelevant to anyone but you. I WAS YOU, remember? I don’t want to be you anymore. And, I’m so glad that I finally can say that. I mean, that doesn’t necessarily imply that I don’t have cravings, but at the end of the day, drinking adds up to one big minus-1000 for me.

So, I’m just plugging along, but not thinking about drinking (all that much). Thinking instead (what else is new?) about work, about my next pitches, about how I’m going to make two weeks’ income in less than one. And, because I no longer have booze fucking with my sense of reality, I can take a deep breath, laugh out loud a little at my own circular thinking, and say, SHH. Quiet, bitches. This thinking is “drinkin’ thinkin’,” which has nothing to do with the real me. I’ll make it happen.

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