Why would someone willingly cut fun out of their life, you ask? I had the idea to stop drinking when I woke up yet another morning feel so super crappy. Even on days that I’m not drinking alcohol I feel hungover. It’s so hard for me to properly hydrate, and I feel like my body has been working over time trying to keep me healthy. I’m more important than the booze. I’m giving myself 30 days to try and reset my mind and body by quitting alcohol.
The biggest fear going into this: my anxiety.
I am a big-time introvert and a glass of Pinot Grigio always helps me to soften a bit. I’ve taken notice recently, that I’m drinking because I need it for one reason or another. Sure, there are times when I want a nice glass of red wine on date night, but as soon as my anxiety picks up, I need a glass of whiskey. But what would happen if I didn’t need to depend on any substance to relax and feel comfortable?
Typing that sentence just now, using the words depend on any substance is pretty scary. Rewind a minute. My Dad died in 2012 as a result of his addiction to alcohol. Just this morning, I read a journal entry of mine from back when he passed, and the breath was sucked right out of my chest. I wrote, “I’m sorry that you loved alcohol more than you loved your family.” Without getting too deep into the situation, my Dad was an alcoholic my entire life. My parents divorced because of it when I was in the fifth grade, and I didn’t see much of him after that. I don’t want to ever come close to getting to that point. I don’t want it to ever be an option. But I digress.
What if I had all of the tools to cope with a stressful or anxiety-inducing situation without the aid of a mind-altering substance?
I often ask myself why I need to consume alcohol to have a good time. I listened to a great podcast a while ago where Mary Beth LaRue talks about not being a drinker. There is no reason at all why you need to be drinking in a social situation if you don’t want to. For me, as I said above, I am so anxious and the alcohol is my crutch. I never allow myself to sit with the feeling of anxiety, and I never get through it on my own. I never face my fears alone. The moment alcohol consumption went from I want a drink to I need a drink, I knew it was time for a change.
On the surface, there are definitely benefits to quitting booze.
Some of the negatives associated with long-term drinking include:
- Increased cancer risk
- Digestive and stomach problems
- Heart problems and cardiovascular issues
- Increased risk of stroke
- Higher chance of depression and anxiety
- Dementia and other degenerative disorders
Luckily, quitting drinking can reverse a lot of those symptoms and can provide some really great benefits:
- Increases your body’s ability absorb crucial vitamins and minerals
- Speed up and restore your metabolism
- Decreased levels of stress
- Reduction of blood pressure and associated stoke and heart attack risks
- A decrease in mental fogginess and increase in mental performance
- Faster immune response and increased healing from injury and illness
My gut reaction is that in 30 days, I will be happier, suffer from way less anxiety, have a brighter complexion, no more dizzy spells, and finally, I will have conquered a big fear.
On that note, I’m signing off, head held high in hopes of a booze-free evening with my husband and dog-child.