This marks the completion of my first week without alcohol and I think it’s funny that it’s been one of my most social weeks in a long time. Also one of my loneliest.
My husband has been out of town for fourteen days and, as a solopreneur, I’ve only had my sweet dog to talk to.
This week surprised me for a few reasons…
One, I experienced some unexpected withdrawal symptoms. The first few days were full of cravings and irritability. I actually woke up on the second morning feeling worse than if I had been experiencing an actual hangover! I hadn’t realized the hold that alcohol had on my brain. I felt a profound sense of loneliness and listlessness. What would I have with dinner? How would I fill the empty hours of the evening? Would I ever have fun again? What will my friends and family think? Is there a way for me to not drink without them noticing?
That last question really stuck with me. I am a bona fide people pleaser. I’ve also learned from experience that it makes people uncomfortable when you don’t drink. I hate this, but it’s true. I myself have been that person in the past.
Honestly, I want to forego all the bullshit of having to explain myself to people. I don’t want people to act weird around me. I don’t want to make people feel bad for drinking (this is also something I have zero control over). I wish I had never had a drink in the first place and was known to everyone in my life as a non-drinker. Hum. A little too late for that now.
Two, my brain stopped working. I don’t know why, probably something to do with detoxification and healing, but I literally couldn’t think all week.
Three, I have had a few of the best experiences I’ve had in a long time. I found that I was able to be more present with my friends and enjoy the little things more. I’ve felt more sensual and confident. I’ve found myself giddy and excited for no reason. I started daydreaming about roller skating and all the things I could do for fun now that I didn’t have to sit at a bar night after night. I thought about all the good food I would eat now that I wasn’t wasting calories on cocktails.
I also had moments of intense fear and loneliness. Moments when I would usually reach for a drink out of habit or comfort. As a lifelong shy person, alcohol helped me ‘be more fun’ (or so I thought). It also helped my social anxiety (or so I thought). I think what it actually did was make it so that I felt like I couldn’t meet new people without the smooth fuzziness of a buzz. It made me fear my own personality. It asked me to stay insecure and unconfident. It asked me to stay small and blend in with the masses.
At the end of week one I am overcome with excitement and also deep sadness. Excitement because I know this is the right decision for me. Sadness because I don’t want to face the social awkwardness of the non-drinker. I’m scared that I might lose some of my friends…