2001-2014. 13 years without a drink. Not one, single drink. Yes, I went cold turkey.
Let’s just say that when I decide to do something I definitely don’t do it by halves. I go all the way. In fact, that’s the way I’ve always been. If I’m going to throw myself into something, I jump right in wholeheartedly and go for it. Marathon running, eating disorder, drinking… all of these things I took to the extreme.
My philosophy has always been: why drink one glass of wine when you could drink the bottle? To me, why bother wrecking your health with one glass? Go the whole hog and get shitfaced. Then at least you’ve done it properly.
After living in Japan and seeing how people here drink, I realize that yes, the Japanese often drink to excess, but they enjoy the taste, they savor the drink and unlike me, they don’t necessarily drink like there’s going to be a drought.
I know myself very well and I know my triggers. If I feel stressed, especially when I’m trying to suppress my feelings, I go shopping. I buy and buy and buy and only then do I feel better but of course, that’s only temporary. Some people’s poison is alcohol, for others it’s drugs or smoking. I honestly believe that everything is fine in moderation, but some of us just don’t know when to stop.
I used to really, really enjoy drinking. I liked the feeling it gave me, the way it made me feel as though I had lost all my inhibitions. But really, when you think about it, all those inhibitions are just ones you’ve created yourself in your mind. Once you conquer that (and I’m not saying this is an easy task! Believe me, it’s not!), you realize you have the ability to do anything.
Last night I went to a party and yes I drank, but at the end of the night I thought, hmm, something is different. It was then I realized for perhaps the first time in my life, I didn’t have fun drinking.
Normally I do, but last night it hit me like a ton of bricks: Jack, the reason you drink is because when you drink, you are the person you think you can’t be without it. The funny and slightly ironic thing is, I AM the person without it. Alcohol doesn’t do anything to make me different. In fact, recently I’ve noticed the lines between my behavior when I’m drunk and when I’m sober are beginning to blur. Just the other day I was asked if I was sober because I was laughing at something. I was just being myself. Even without drinking, I’ve found that people here like me. They really really like me… for me.
The revelation that I don’t need alcohol to be anyone else but myself is big. Yep, I’m actually happy in my own skin. That’s something that many people never get to experience. I guess, it’s also the the start of something new and exciting. The real me: exposed, raw, faults and all. Love me, or fuck off. 🙂