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The Struggle is Only as Real as You Make It

It was four years ago yesterday that i shared a bottle of wine with a good friend and said, 'this is it.' I remember the moment vividly. the way you might remember the last time you were intimate with an old lover knowing it was the last. the same way you blocked out all the heartache and arguments you shared before giving them one last kiss goodbye.

I have spent the past four years struggling to surrender to my life without alcohol, to the point is has brought me to pause.

how am i different today than the day i chose to quit drinking?

what in my life has changed?

because i continue to struggle with the idea that me having a drink couldn't really be that bad of idea.

that 4 years ago was just a hard time all around...

besides.

life isn't actually a piece of cake. i could use a drink.

and it dawned on me,

i don't just struggle with not drinking.

i struggle in general.

with everything.

I made a choice not to drink, because it wasn't fun anymore.

As a matter of fact, i was literally on my knees having an anxiety attack and wanted to die.

what's amazing to me is that i had blocked that memory, along with years of anxiety attacks and breakdowns that occurred after a night of drinking. 

the current thoughts have consisted of

how much i miss wining and dining, 

that festivals don't feel the same,

the morning after texts laughing about last nights mishaps.

it wasn't until i mentioned to another good friend that i was considering drinking again, that she sent me a documentary on Elizabeth Vargas opening up about alcoholism.

it was alarming how quickly i was reminded of that anxiety and how real it was.

the foggy mornings combined with hangovers

 the fear that my kids might know i’m not 100%

the decision making and the things i would say…

how could i forget that feeling of my world crashing in?

and how can i find myself lost in thoughts like,

'why can't i?'

rather than,

'i'm choosing not to.’

i believe i can actually answer my own question;

because my brain is hardwired to think this way.

the same way it's been wired to self medicate as a solution to struggle.

i can still see the behavior in my daily life;

i'll fixate on having a bowl of ice cream

obsess over a pair of shoes that will complete my closet

and once i act on the thought, i immediately start beating myself up.

'you should be saving money'

'you're fat'

and i scratch at the scab until it bleeds.

this is the struggle i'm referring to.

it's not only about having a drink.

it's about the thought process in general.

i torture myself mentally with obsessive, compulsive thinking.

in a way, i believe i am more comfortable in this mental state...

anxious & worried.

<it's really all i've known>

with that said, i can say wholeheartedly, that some of my patterns have re-wired themselves or simply changed, for lack of better terms.

emotionally speaking, life has become way less,

'why me?' to 'what needs to be done?’

the frantic, 'how am i going to do this?’ to

'let's do this one foot in front of the other and pivot.'

i am far more compassionate for others today then i knew possible.

i have a strong belief that things will, and always do, work themselves out the way they are suppose to.

this is not to say that i don't cry, panic and self soothe with Justin's peanut butter cups.

we all have our things.

however today, the first day of 4 years without drinking, is going to be one that i remind myself not only am i choosing to not drink, i'm happier without it.

the next 364 is going to be spent working mindfully on the different things that trigger my addictive behavior and finding ways to soothe without encouraging more struggle.

today, i will be grateful for who i am, how i'm wired, and that we can change for the better.

if we are willing to.

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