What I have learned…….
My 10 year old son said to me a few days ago, “it’s been almost 2 months since you had wine.” I hadn’t realized my Fortnite obsessed child had noticed my drinking or lack thereof.
What a sobering experience the past 2 months have been….
I always felt a little better during breaks with alcohol (sometimes it would be a few days or a week or two) but it was nothing extreme enough to make me not want to drink again. There is something that happens after 30 days. Even if you are just a “weekend drinker”, this break can really make a huge impact.
Did you know it can take up to 7 days for the body to detoxify itself? I didn’t. I thought once my body metabolized it all was good. However, our body is still trying to heal itself days, and sometimes weeks, after we consume alcohol. Until we remove it for an extended amount of time we really can’t gauge how alcohol is affecting us.
It’s no wonder it took me a good 30 days to feel as though a fog had been lifted and my senses awakened. Our bodies simply need more time to repair itself after we have fed it a poisonous substance.
Sobering fact–our bodies produce a substance more toxic than ethanol itself during the detoxification process = Acetaldehyde —FUCK!!!!!!!!! And women actually have less of the enzyme (acetaldehyde dehydrogenase) that breaks down this toxic compound…..MOTHER FUCK!!!!! In essence, we have two…TWO toxic substances circulating in our bodies after we consume an alcoholic beverage. Cheers to that…..NOT!!!
Pink fluffy clouds….
Pink Clouds? Yeah, never heard of this before either, buts its a phenomena that people experience during a recovery period. I wouldn’t classify myself as one in this state (recovery period), I am not currently in AA nor did I attend any rehab facility …. BUT there is no doubt that my body was recovering because I definitely experienced euphoric moments that envelop this “pink cloud” phenomena. I was overcome with joy & happiness…I loved everyone and everything more so than I usually do. I was even dancing in my kitchen at one point, high on life sans my wine glass. I will admit…..this FREAKED ME THE FUCK OUT.…..I thought something must be wrong with me??!! How do I feel this good without alcohol???? I was relieved to find out this is common among those that have given up this beast. This too shall pass…..
Back to reality……
And, then, so it begins….the real process….shit starts to come up to the surface. And you begin to remember why you were drinking to begin with. Life happens….ebbs and flows…the light comes in and then the dark….we must find balance and also learn to just let shit go.
I was finding it harder to deal with the realities of life….and the more I had my wine glass by my side the worse it got. Rather, than helping me it was actually causing me more pain. It was the cause of my anxiety, my depression. This of course triggered by the chemical changes that alcohol induced on me …and also because I was not able to deal with my deeper issues. I just kept swallowing them down further with each sip of wine, allowing them to fester even more.
Removing alcohol has enabled me to rationally deal with the dark moments as they flow in, now that the fog has been lifted.
What I gained by ditching the wine…
While I gained some insight on the truths about myself, which might not always be that pleasant at times, heck it can be quite frightening – this is not enough to convert me back to my old lifestyle. There are just too many positives that I have gained:
My diet is better, although the sugar tooth that I thought was non-existent is very much alive. I want cookies and cake and tea all the time….tea, I have quite the collection of these days. Note to self: must keep check on sugar intake now.
My complexion is better. My skin looks clear and hydrated and my eyes are more vibrant. I never realized how dead my eyes looked before.
I have much more energy and my workouts are more productive. I even enjoy them now-sometimes! My clothes fit better….. I lost 12 pounds. Those pesky 10 pounds that I was trying to get rid of for so long…yeah, that was the damn wine. DAMN you wine!!!!!!!
I sleep better. I actually look forward to going to bed at night…at a normal hour and I wake up earlier. Alcohol interferes with our REM cycles…we may feel like it helps us fall asleep quicker but we never get the right amount of sleep because of the chemical reactions that take place in our brains while we are metabolizing alcohol. So we find ourselves waking up in the middle of the night not being able to fall back asleep. That shit doesn’t happen anymore. I wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed.
I have less stress and anxiety and overall just feel much happier. I was experiencing too many moments of despair before, at times I felt like I no longer wanted to go on. It was the alcohol making me depressed.
My senses have heightened. Food and coffee tastes so much better nowadays- my taste buds have repaired themselves. I notice the birds chirping in the mornings…..sadly I can’t remember the last time that this sound registered with me. It’s delightful and in fact there is evidence that we respond positively to birdsong but not much is known about the psychological aspects that are at play here. Currently there is research being done on this.
My memory is getting better. We don’t realize how much of it we lose by consuming even just small amounts of alcohol…. we chalk our memory loss up to aging. Once we stop consuming alcohol our brains begin to repair themselves and within two weeks we begin to observe improvement in brain function.
Where do I go from here?
As I mentioned before, my choice is to remain alcohol free indefinitely and that has not changed. I don’t know what moderation is- I am not one of the lucky ones who were blessed with a shut off switch. So instead I will move forward into another month on this no alcohol ride. They say it just keeps getting better!