February 3rd (this year). I woke up in the morning, with yet another hangover. We had friends over for dinner last night and we all drank quite a bit. Again, as usual. I had been contemplating trying a break from alcohol, but I’ve tried countless times before and I could only make it 3 or 4 days, or maybe 1!! I had heard somewhere that 45 days gives the liver the amount of time to completely recover from alcohol. Whether it’s true or not, I thought to myself, heck I can do anything for 45 days! In fact, my motto in life has always been that “I can do anything for X amount of days”. When my husband and I lost our jobs while living in Northern California, a job came up for me as a year contract employee with Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. I thought, I can do that for a year and then see what happens. As it were, I got the position and I ended up getting a permanent position with the VA in Las Vegas and we’ve been here now 11 years.
So back to the morning of the 3rd. I was in the kitchen, cleaning up from the night before, my head pounding, my mouth dry as the desert, thinking I think this is the day I’m going to start. My husband got up and I told him what I was going to do. He said he’d join me. I immediately had a thought that, shoot, we’re going over to some friends for dinner next week, they drink, they know we drink, how am I going to handle that?? But I reminded myself that there’s always going to be excuses, always going to be some occasion or dinner or whatever, but if I’m going to try the 45 days of alcohol free, I’ve got to start somewhere.
I texted my friend, whom we were going to go to dinner, that I was taking a break from alcohol. She knows how much I love wine, and I know she’d have a nice bottle (or two) waiting for us when we arrived. I knew (but she didn’t know I knew) that her son had trouble with alcohol. So when I told her I wasn’t drinking, she said she’d join me. When we arrived to their home, she almost immediately broached the subject, “why have you decided to take a break?” I’m now on day 7 and feeling okay. I hadn’t had terrible cravings, but I remember feeling depressed. Not deprived (like I usually did when I’d try to cut back). Maybe just the realization that because I was taking a break from alcohol, that maybe I really did have a problem. This was the first time I had to explain to someone (other than my husband) why I was taking a break. I said my drinking was just getting to be too much for me. I was drinking more and more and I’d tried multiple times to stop, but couldn’t. I told her the 45 day thing felt achievable to me. That I didn’t think I’d have to stop forever. She shared about her son and about her and her husband and that they, too, have struggled. That is when she gave me the biggest gift, she told me about the author Annie Grace and her book This Naked Mind. I downloaded this book on my kindle and my true journey began.
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