What Will I Lose?

What will I lose if I quit drinking? What is it that I’m so afraid to lose? I think part of it is fun. The break from routine. An insurance against “being boring.” Or maybe it’s not really a fear of losing something, but more a fear of the time that I’ll gain. If I’m not wasting my time being distracted, socializing and throwing back a few, then I’ll have these extra pockets of time. Time that I’ve been claiming I want to pursue and do the things I want to do…but, clearly, I don’t want it that badly since I control all my time and I keep reallocating it to other activities. When I really think about it, I mostly reallocate my time to waste. To just wasting it away…on TV, on Snapchat and Instagram, on mindless nights out with friends I don’t even really revere. Sometimes I spend over thirty minutes just scrolling through Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime because there’s nothing I want to watch. There is nothing I want to watch, and yet, I sit there, scrolling endlessly looking for something that will do. This means that whatever I end up choosing, I’m settling for. That sounds like TV is my priority. TV is what I want to be doing. And don’t get me wrong, I love TV. I truly love it. But, I do believe that there are better uses I could be making with my time. So, why aren’t I making them?

Is it just habit? I acknowledge that a part of my resistance to splitting up with alcohol is my addiction. There is definitely some sort of chemical addiction there. Milld as it may be, I don’t deny its existence. But, I think there’s something else there too…my habitual tendencies. That’s what I need to reshape. I’ve been doing a lot of work on the intellectual and emotional sides. I see a therapist, I try to practice mindfulness, I regularly fill my brain with new information and reminders of how to live a meaningful life. And I’ve come a long way. I still have a long road ahead of me…I think this kind of work is something you have to practice for the rest of your life. You don’t just one day get it and wake up transformed. But, I have definitely made a lot of progress. I don’t obsess over things the way I used to. I’m not consumed with self deprecation when I make mistakes. Sometimes, I can even catch myself before I react and actually hold my tongue.

I think I’m ready…but I can’t seem to escape the grip of these habits. I’m comfortable here. These are the behaviors I’ve become used to and even though I’m not happy with a lot of their consequences, they’re familiar. I know what to expect and regardless of how shitty some of them might make me feel, I know I’ll survive them. I have no idea what truly living up to my potential feels like. I’ve been using alcohol as not only my coping mechanism, but my main form of leisure since I was 14. I don’t know what a completely sober life feels like. And my gut reaction is that I won’t like it. My brows are furrowed and my mouth is twisted in aversion just as I think about. But, what will I really be losing? And what could I have to gain?

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2 thoughts on “What Will I Lose?

  1. You are on the right track by seeing a therapist and practising mindfulness. I had a severe addiction to alcohol and cocaine I was using both for 22 hours a day. My career collapsed as I was too strung out to work and my family forced me to go into treatment. Recovery has not been easy as I have had serious mental health problems since the age of 7. I have had a nervous breakdown and four psychiatric relapses in recovery but still I never relapsed. And now I can say that after 11 years clean and a lot of therapy all my addictions and mental health problems are in recovery and I am happier and more peaceful than I have ever been in my life. I feel like my life is really just beginning now! And my life is SO much better without alcohol, without the negative changes in my personality, the constant humiliations, I hope I never drink again.

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