Is it an addiction? An addiction to what? There are so many facets to what I was about to conquer and finding out along the way was the lesson that I had to learn.
“It’s never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy with yesterday, try something different today. Don’t stay stuck. Do better.”
So I started my journey! From picking myself up too many times off the ground. Too many drunken nights, too many nights forgotten, hurt loved ones, actions and words not remembered.
“Is this me?” I’d ask myself.
Fighting many demons in my head. I kept falling down. Each time I’d try to understand why; what the cause is or the trigger? Each time the solution to the answer seemed the same.
My regret, my bruised ego, led me to make promises. These I would, with the utmost intention try to fulfil.
I fall again…
This tumultuous journey has been long. Up and down, but I get up each time and learn from it. Sometimes it may not seem that way to others / loved ones. The demons inside never let me act on my learnings.
Along with all the hurt I’ve caused, the lies. I have tried to take from it what was needed.
Silently in my head, I knew what needed to be done.
I saw the inspirational signs of fellow musicians being sober 1 yr., 3 yrs., these are people just like me struggling to maintain the high we get from a single night’s performance.
We want more, we want it to last.
It does. It can, it doesn’t last.
I look up to these guys. I want to be like them. It’s where my heart knows I need to be.
Success, power, health, wealth and general wellbeing. I look at people who own these attributes and I see they have one thing in common: They don’t drink! These signs followed me around, I asked questions? Why don’t you drink? What made you stop?
One answer that stuck with me was: “what is it worth to you, to stop?
This made sense, my life is worth it, my integrity, and my wellbeing. I don’t have kids but I imagine for a lot of people the answer to this would be their kids.
This is it, its ME… when I have a better me, you will have the best of me.
So I started again.
DAY 1 of 97...
Seemed easy enough, I’ve done this before. I told myself. A good friend joined me a week later. I think that my support toward her swayed my focus from myself and made it a little easier. Almost like a gym partner that gets you up at 5am. I had someone to report my feelings to without judgment.
I also make use of an APP that lets me check in every day to a community of people on the same path. It’s like an AA of the ages, you get to post you daily feelings, questions, or simply ask for motivation. It’s quite incredible the support you get. There are people from different ages, race, and sex. Also, some who are on DAY1 some DAY 756. All the same. Everyone needing a push, a place to go to where everyone shares the same focus and fears.
Put it this way it wasn’t easy, within these 97 days I have had a birthday, gigs, hockey fines meetings, work functions, and year-end parties. These events would normally entail A LOT OF TEQUILA. You ask how I did it. Gosh, I’m not sure.
Actually, I do know.
Every day I would state my intention for the day, I would prepare myself for the day’s events mentally. If I had a braai, I would make sure that I have my TOOLS, I had enough Alcohol free beer and cool drink. I would never finish what I would bring, however, should I have an empty hand to cheers with I would always have my toolbox of choice. This is VERY important. BE PREPARED. Also if you’re going out to an event or a club. Know what you are going to order when someone asks you, “what you drinking?” It needs to be an immediate answer. No time to be swayed. Also, have your reason you’re doing this written down on a note on your phone or a piece of paper in your wallet. Constant reminders of why you’re on this journey and what caused you to do this. It’s a daily reminder to yourself. One step at a time.
Then you ask yourself, I have cravings. How do I combat them?
It pretty much follows the above steps, but what I also found useful is when the onset of the carving sets in, distract yourself by pouring a glass of your favourite cold drink. Or a cuppa tea or coffee. Once you’ve had your first sip you’ve forgotten all about that craving. Look, this might be different for everyone else. This is just my take on this.
The key is distraction.
How do I feel being sober? What has changed?
A lot, I feel in control, like I am achieving something I have set my mind to. I also feel very chilled. My energy levels are up. I can see clearer. I wake up early every morning. I don’t eat unhealthy 3 am sober me up pies, and I also don’t have the bad ass hangover munchies the next day. These are great, I’m loving the new sensation of feeling alive! My mind is working, it is alive.
There IS a FLIP side to all this sensitivity. The emotions are REAL. I am going through a break up in the middle of this. It’s NOT easy. The days when you would normally numb your emotions with a tequila or 6, are gone. You have to suck it up and face them. They are raw. It’s a whole new thing for me. Actually dealing with stuff. It’s a good and bad thing I suppose.
Going to braais isn’t the same, I don’t get invited to as many gatherings anymore. I’m not the joker of the party anymore. I don’t have the same staying power as I used to. I get tired earlier in the eve. When the alcohol levels have risen in everyone else, my levels of tolerating the silliness has lowered. I’m just not on their vibe. It’s different. But they and I have to get used to this.