A year ago today, I finished the five-week process of withdrawing from drinking alcohol all day, everyday, for the previous six months.
I spent that month and a half cutting back from about a third of a handle of vodka a day; something that was determined to be needed after getting black out drunk one night (something I had never done before while staying conscious), which apparently brought out a side of me I didn’t even know I had and that I’m still incredibly embarrassed over. Someone who was screaming, hitting walls and myself, and insulting and saying completely awful, untrue things to one of my best friends whom I was completely head over heels for and who later became my boyfriend. Anyone who knows me will tell you that acting that way is completely not me… It’s an entire 180 degree turn from the kind of person I am.
My boyfriend spent the next five weeks after that awful night, measuring out the shots of vodka for each drink and gently pushing me to increase the amount of time between each drink. He also spent that time counseling me, reassuring me, and keeping me calm and sane through the panic attacks, paranoia, withdrawal symptoms, waking up every two hours, and extreme irrational mood swings.
The day after my 25th birthday, we got into a fight because I had drunk a little too much on my birthday, which ended up in me being incredibly rude and disrespectful to him. The next day, I had decided I was done completely since most of my withdrawal symptoms had subsided by then. Besides, why would I want to be involved with something that would hurt a relationship that I so desperately wanted?
When the whole process began, I mostly did it because I wanted my boyfriend to be proud of me. I wanted desperately to have a healthy relationship for the first time, and to try to start a new chapter in my life with him. As I got sober, I started liking how I was feeling without alcohol in my system and my reasons for staying sober began to include doing it for myself as well. That intensely self-destructive side of me started to fade a bit and I actually became proud of myself for staying sober because even with as much guidance and motivation my boyfriend had provided, it was still ultimately my decision.
So now, a year later, I have the best job of my life so far, will be moving to Portland, OR in six weeks, have lost 40 lbs since I stopped drinking, have a more rational mind and a better ability to control my emotions, and can still have the occasional drink or two when I go out, not get wasted, still have a great time, and then… I can stop drinking after those couple of drinks. Something I could never do before.
I’ll never be able to drink like I used to and that’s okay. Because a year later, I’m far better off than I ever have been in my entire life.