What Quitting Drinking Taught Me (While it Lasted)
Three years ago, I quit drinking because I was an idiot. I’m not an alcoholic. I don’t need alcohol. I just enjoy having a drink. But I had to go through this process to learn that.
A buddy of mine and I finished off a full bottle of whiskey in less than two hours while our wives chatted and the kids played. I don’t remember the ride home, just the next day when my wife told me that I was the biggest asshole the world had ever known.
A month later at a family bar-b-que, I drank so much scotch on a Sunday that I got a migraine headache. Then I decided to shock my liver by slamming 1000 mgs of Tylenol. I awoke an hour later on my parents’ couch and realized I was thirsty. I made a drink and sat down on the back porch with everyone. They asked how I was feeling. I laughed and said I was ready for another drink. I noticed my wife and my dad and my brother give each other furtive, nervous glances. Even in my haze that moment was extremely embarrassing.
In the summer of 2015, I quit drinking. I thought it was for life. I lasted 20 months. I chose to start again, albeit very differently. I’ll tell you why under the Top Ten below.
If you’re thinking about quitting drinking or you have recently quit drinking, read this post.
I’m not a mental health professional, I’m not a counselor, I’m not a recovery specialist. I’m just a dude that didn’t drink for a long damn time and learned some valuable stuff.
Also, IF (that’s a big damn “IF”) you are in SERIOUS trouble or recovery or have alcohol substance abuse issues, don’t rely on this post alone. PLEASE get the right treatment and keep doing the aftercare, AA/NA, groups, sponsor, all of it. Society wants to see you succeed.
What did I learn? Here’s my Top Ten in random order:
With all these benefits, why did I start back up? Look at the last bullet-point again. In February of 2017, I was sitting at Valentine’s dinner with my wife. She ordered a big fruity alcoholic drink. I ordered my virgin drink and then wondered to myself, “Why have I self-imposed this prison?”
I just want to sit here and enjoy a drink with my wife. And because of my own proclamation, I can’t.
That’s when I knew that I was ready. Abstaining from alcohol taught me how to control myself. How? Because I knew that if I could go 20 months without a drop, I could drink a few drinks without overdoing it.
Shortly before my 40thbirthday, I made my first drink in 20 months. It was an old-fashioned, done up Don Draper-style. I stared at it for 20 minutes until it was watered down. Then I poured it out.
Five minutes later I made another one and drained it instantly. It’s been a year. I haven’t had any more drunk episodes that resulted in anyone being upset with me or me forgetting what I did. Pretty smooth sailing in that regard.
Maybe you need to quit forever. Maybe your journey is to walk away from alcohol and never look back again.
That wasn’t my journey. Quitting alcohol for 20 months taught me that I don’t need to drink to be me. I don’t need to drink to have a good time.
I enjoy drinking responsibly.
What does your journey look like? What sort of questions do you need to be asking yourself?
Thank you for stopping in.
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