It's easy to fall into a routine or habit, and for me, that habit was drinking alcohol. I had been drinking for years, but it had become a problem. I was desperate to find a way out, and so I decided to quit. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life, but it was also the most rewarding.
I stopped drinking 13 years ago, and it has changed my life in so many ways. I didn't realize how important alcohol was to me until I quit. Quitting requires a lot of mental energy and willpower, and my alcoholic brain was too shrewd to convince me otherwise. I have a family history of alcoholism, including both parents and relatives who have died from alcoholism on both sides of the family.
At 19, I realized that alcohol was not doing anything to change how I felt, so now I don't spend any money on it. I have found that any form of moderation requires a lot of psychic energy. For the 10% of the time it's difficult, I remind myself why I don't drink. I love waking up without a hangover and replacing alcohol with an elegant non-alcoholic drink such as kombucha, mineral water or a non-alcoholic cocktail.
Around 6 months old, I realized that I'm not socially awkward and that I don't need alcohol to help me interact with others. Alcohol has been shown to cause cancer, heart disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, and other major, life-threatening health problems. One of the most amazing benefits of quitting alcohol is that I now enjoy the inner peace and comfort that I once thought could be found in alcohol. Quitting smoking could be good for me because I feel unmotivated and sometimes don't put any effort into anything.
I decided to spend an October sober (well, sober in California - I smoke marijuana and have a healthy relationship with it) and a week later I had broken up my October sober to go have a drink with a friend. Nowadays, I take small steps in periods of sobriety as quitting smoking “for good” or even for a year seems too difficult. Before quitting smoking, I would have a couple of cocktails most days of the week in the evenings and usually a LOT on Saturdays just hanging out with friends. I spend a lot of mental energy thinking about drinking, wishing I could stop drinking so much and focusing on consuming enough alcohol every day.
It prevents me from doing the things I want to do during the hours I drink (nighttime movies, for example) if there is no alcohol, because it has become a physical necessity. Quitting alcohol has been one of the best decisions of my life. It has changed my life in so many ways - from improved physical health to increased mental clarity - and it has given me back control over my life. If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, know that you are not alone and there is help available.