Monday, December 13, 2010

One Year.

One year ago today I made a rash and life changing decision to never have alcohol again. When I made this decision I had no idea how it was going to work out, if I would really stick to it, and if it would make a difference in my life...and I most certainly did not expect to learn any of the things I did about myself. I will say that whatever your idea of quitting drinking is is incorrect. Yes I am sure you can all picture your life without alcohol and can imagine that it would be difficult, maybe boring, maybe impossible, maybe stupid, and maybe some of you think it would be easy. But the things that I have realized about myself, about my friends, about society as a whole, I never would have expected and I do not believe anyone can understand these things until they are in my shoes. The act of drinking now completely fascinates me (instead of controlling me)...the rationale behind it, the fact that it is the focal point of all social gatherings/celebrations/vacations/stress relief/etc etc. And please don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with it...but it is so interesting that across the entire world, all nationalities, all ages, and all social economic statuses...drinking alcohol is a part of your life. And because of that (the fact that it is so hugely ingrained in all cultures) it is quite tragic that I have cut it out of my life...but...I am sure that I am not the only person that shouldn't drink and I wonder if more people sat back and looked at drinking and why they do it and what it does to and for them, if this social/religious/celebratory activity would change. But anyways...less about my deep thoughts on the world and alcohol...and more about ME (that is why you read, right? haha...kidding...sort of.)

This past year has been life-changing. I know I say it all the time, but I cannot think of a better way to describe it. Recently I have realized that some of these profound developments and new feelings/actions are also derived from simple I believe that the combination of maturity (not "getting old"...but rather- "maturity"...note that.) and sobriety have created the strong willed, confident, and happy girl you see before you (virtually, if you will). I have realized that I defined myself socially by alcohol...and this may be in my own head, but I believe if you asked some surface level friends about me (a year ago), they would have said I was a small girl that would try to drink you under the table. And I find it incredibly interesting that I have completely changed that persona that I created...and hopefully now, the persona that I have created actually has some substance, something more than a drinking buddy or a crazy party girl. I am interested to run into some people back in the day who knew me strictly as a partier and see how confused/surprised they are. I will say this has been the best year of my life...enlightening, positive, productive, holistic, and empowering.

So far this year I have attended (and most importantly, enjoyed!) parties, concerts, bachelorette parties, weddings, vacations, and holidays sober. Most recently I was in Jamaica on an all inclusive trip where (again) I realized how drinking is a commonality across all nationalities and to not drink is weird and can be socially isolating. I even had a bartender tell me I should drink and question why I didn't (which stung...I won't lie). But at the end of the day I have to remember everyone is different and what makes others happy isn't what makes me happy. And fortunately, and most importantly, my social network supports my decisions and is always there when I start to doubt myself or feel alone/weird/lame. Having someone (specifically my amazing boyfriend) tell you they are proud of you and support you and don't judge you makes all the mental dissonance go away...and helps you stay confident and at peace. I will say that is another huge point I have realized over the past year...the value of the people you keep in your life when times get tough. Those that stick by you when you are going through hard times are crucial, those that support you when you do something they may not completely believe in are valuable, and those that love you for the authentic/moody/quirky/sober you are irreplaceable.

Me and alcohol broke up one year ago and I'm still reminded of him from time to time and I still have some of his things in my home and my friends are still friends with him...but I'm better of without him...we are still friends and I feel no resentment towards him. I don't care if another friend wants to date him ....but he was never good for me...I deserve a better life and he deserves someone who will appreciate and not abuse him.

Last point- everyone (including random people in line at the grocery store) would always tell me I looked sad and ask me what was wrong and tell me to smile...and I realized the other day that that has decreased immensely recently. I can't actually remember the last time a random person told me I looked sad. That is priceless. Finally, (this is so cheesy but I am saying it anyways...) my inner beauty has poked its little head out :)

And so my friends...I started this blog one year ago...telling you that I made a decision to change my life. I am sure most of you doubted me (hell, I doubted me), but here I sit. I only hope that while you have read my blogs you have taken some insight out of it that could pertain to your own life...I hope that you have been able to feel my happiness and experience my changes with me, because I have felt your support. And I hope that you will continue checking in on me :)

Raise a glass (preferably of water, diet soda, lemonade, or sparkling cider) and toast with me...toast to health, happiness, change, reflection, inner peace, friends, family, and strength.

All my love.

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