Jack, Jim and James

These three boys (along with their fair, gorgeous cousin Powers) were my constant companion for about ten years now.  I love drinking. Like, love it.  But I’m at a point now where I’ve done it so much I’m either not drunk (at drink three, four, five…) or I’m plastered (all of a sudden at drink six). Also, having hit the big 3-0, drinking now always makes me feel terrible the next day.  Feeling disgusting with no payoff?  Useless.

I’m a thinker. I subconsciously make a pros and cons list for every single thing I do in a day, and drinking had started to come up all cons.  For that first five seconds of feeling that awesome shakiness in my knees the entire day of being shut-down afterwards was totally not worth it.

I had a problem with drinking a few years ago. I was jobless in a tanking economy and finding work was a crapchute.  Sadly, it remains this way for many people like me, but I was able to find a place to put my many skills to work and I climbed my way back up out of the personal hell I’d created. By my fingernails.  I have never done anything so hard to escape something so scary.  But it was something that needed to be done so I did it incrementally.  I’ve never been a cold-turkey person…or really an all-or-nothing person either. So I’m not saying I was an alcoholic and now I’ll never drink again. That sounds too absolute.  Who knows how life will work out.  What I am saying is that I feel better and happier not drinking, so for now I’m off the sauce.  I might take a sip here and there sometime in the future, but not anytime soon.

I’d like to thank Chris Hardwick (@nerdist) for helping me to realize it’d be okay to quit drinking and still be able to be a fun-loving person that isn’t a high and mighty douche (like those damn vegans. We know you’re vegan, dude, so get you and your tofurkey the hell out of my face) trying to push all her drinking friends into AA.  I’m not in AA, basically because I’m not a joiner, don’t enjoy groups of people and I don’t like set structure.  I don’t recommend this route for everybody, like people who need emotional support, but I had already reasoned myself to a point where drinking was no longer something I needed or wanted to lean on. In my body, brain rules all.  Brain had made up its mind.

Because of Hardwick’s fine example, I realized I’d still get to see my current friends (back a few years ago I had to move away from a HUGE amount of old friends because their culture revolved around drinking) and still be a social, fun-loving girl and see live music and comedy shows if I wanted to. I’ve found out I’ve got a lot more self-control than I thought.  And I can actually be funny and nice when I haven’t had a few.  I said can.

So I don’t have a day picked out to commemorate my no-drinking success because I just stopped one day and felt strong enough to continue the fast. I’ve tried to stop many, many times before but never felt as strong as I do now because I hadn’t yet performed my mental gymnastics to justify quitting.  I see it somewhat like The Fast, where I gave up sex for a year. I got a lot of clarity on my views on relationships.  Now I’m seeing what life’s like without alcohol getting me through social functions.  It feels interesting and new.  With this venture, I think the big thing was telling my friends and family so they can help look out for me and they don’t accidentally invite me to a whisk(e)y tasting.  Whiskey is my weakness.

I’m also working on some self-improvement.  I’m an INTJ (of MBTI fame) and we’re just brutal logic generators.  Eeyores to say the least.  There aren’t many female INTJs so the whole thing makes for super awesome relationship disparities (ie: I wear the glasses AND pants in every relationship). I am better at being a Tigger than I was, via conscious effort, and I’m trying to be more positive.  I took a learned optimism assessment (reading Learned Optimism by Dr. Martin Seligman) and find I’m pretty average or even optimistic when it comes to externalizing bad moments in life and seeing them as transient states.  However I don’t internalize anything good, definitely don’t think I perpetuate any of the good in my life and think good things don’t have staying power.  And I was like…oh, yeah.  Totally true.  I feel like things are random, good or bad, so I suppose that makes sense, but seeing it laid out like that was a little bit jarring.  Oh shit, now I’m thinking this learned optimism thing might be erroneous… I mean, taking credit for random good events?  Isn’t that God’s job?  I’ll have to finish reading the book before I make any judgements.

This post was about drinking, wasn’t it?  Derailed there for a moment.  Anyway, I quit drinking.  It feels nice.  I’m going to treat myself to a vacation.

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About ckstackhouse

Author of suspense books, creative consultant, blogger on culture and publishing. www.stackhousebooks.com
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