Originally Published on 4/8/19
I wasn’t ever an alcoholic, just a social drinker. Happy hour every now and then, maybe go out to a bar on the weekend once a…quarter? Drinking was never a problem for me in the sense that I wasn’t dependent on alcohol. It was a problem, though, because of how it made me feel.
After Jason died I was desperate to feel better. I was stuck under this weight of shock, depression, sadness and anger all rolled into one massive behemoth. I tried everything I could think of to just feel a little better. I thought this was the key to moving forward. The first thing I did was make an effort to get plenty of sleep each night. I quickly realized I could not function with little to no sleep like I used to. I exercised – not for weight loss as it’s been in the past, but for the mental boost. I juiced celery and other greens. I drank more water. I went out with friends. I painted every day. I started taking daily multivitamins. I drank alcohol. I ate magic brownies (like twice, calm down. And the only reason it was twice is because I had leftovers). I tried everything to feel better.
Spoiler alert: nothing really worked aside from time passing and developing a new normal. The things that took me out of my reality, like drinking, made my reality crash down that much harder when I sobered up. They say nights are the hardest when your spouse dies, but for me it was mornings. It was waking up to face it again and again. Think about being tipsy or drunk, and then as the party ends and you start to sober up, your reality creeps back in and you’re no longer having fun, you have to be an adult and do responsible things like taxes and parent your children. Except multiply that feeling times a billion, and that’s where I was. The negative outweighed the positive by a landslide.
Not only that, but alcohol started to affect me differently. I wouldn’t feel hungover, per se, but I would have massive brain fog for a couple of days after drinking. As a person who makes her living by being creative, this is did not work for me on many levels. I don’t know why the brain fog happened or why it lasted for so long, but I decided drinking wasn’t worth it. Not to mention all of the normal negative side effects were still there – extra calories, bloating, etc.
So I stopped.
I never went on a drunken bender or anything. I didn’t even drink that often – maybe once a week I’d have a couple drinks. When your life is suddenly halted and flipped on its ass, you tend to become a bit more introspective and in tune with your own damn self. It’s basic survival. I made a choice that has ultimately been healthier both mentally and physically for me.
I’ll admit, it’s hard for some people to understand. I would equate it to being a vegetarian. People don’t really know how to accommodate you and would generally feel more comfortable if you were like them instead of doing what’s best for you. But you know what? You do you because you’re the only you and only you know what’s best for you. (How very Dr. Seuss of me.) Aka, fuck ’em. (But did Dr. Seuss ever say that?) Your real friends will be happy that you’re making healthy choices and the other people can mind their own. I don’t care if you drink alcohol, go vegan or do keto. You’re doing you and I’m doing me and we can all still be friends.
Will I stick with it forever? Probably not. I’m sure I’ll have a drink again one day, because my issue with alcohol is not addiction-based, it’s because of how it makes me feel. Until I get to a point where I feel like I can enjoy it more than the negative side effects, I’ll stick with La Croix and green juice like a basic b. Catch me poolside with a sparkling water all. summer. long.
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