The day I stopped drinking for good, I left behind all of my failed attempts. Something clicked. I knew that all I had wanted was to stop feeling the heaviness of my heart each morning when I woke up, knowing I was not living true to my intentions.
On my final drinking day, I was dared into quitting. While I didn’t want to give up the comfort of the numbness that I drank in each glass of cool rosé, grenache, or zinfandel, I couldn’t really stand myself anymore. I chose to leave that self hatred behind in that dare.
I left behind the romance of the vineyards, the fun of an afternoon drink in the park or hidden at the beach in a red Solo cup. I also left behind the shame.
I was hiding from myself. In my last months of drinking, I started visiting different stores to buy my bottles of wine. I kept thinking I would quit tomorrow, so I bought one bottle at a time. I visited the liquor store, the CVS, Cost Plus, 7 Eleven, my usual grocery store once each day on a kind of rotating schedule…or whatever was most convenient. I made excuses to stop at the store. I started ordering alcohol one bottle at a time through apps that deliver (is that just a Silicon Valley thing?). I was so ashamed of the fact that I kept drinking, and I really wanted to stop. So this once a day ritual was my way of hiding from the truth.
Recently when I was at the park for my daughter’s second grade summer goodbye party, some of the moms gathered around a separate cooler, red cups in hand. I sat far away. But the earthy, musty, bar floor smell of their drinks wafted over to me. I remembered the enjoyment of being together in a moment of relaxation – a raised Solo cup to toast the camaraderie of drinking together. I thought about how easy it would be to jump right back in.
All it took for me to continue sipping my water was the memory of what I left behind. I celebrate that sweet victory again today.