Super-quick message. I was celebrating my first birthday without alcohol yesterday evening – and, as I sat during intermission, holding my partner’s double Pinot Grigio while he went to the bathroom – I thought… “I believed some crazy stuff when I was drinking”. For example, I believed I was “giving up” something good when I thought about stopping drinking. I thought… “Alcohol gives me so much… relaxation, connection, fun, confidence… that I’m going to be miserable once it’s gone.” Ha!
What I realized is that alcohol actually creates the misery that it then SAVES you from. For example, my life is wonderful without heroin. But if I started doing heroin… there’d be times when my brain would start to make me tense and restless and craving heroin – because OF the heroin. And I’d think… “OMG, if I don’t have heroin, I’m going to be miserable”. And then when I did heroin, that tension and stress would go away. And I’d think… “Whew. Thank goodness for heroin! I can’t imagine my life without it. Would I ever be able to enjoy myself again or cope without heroin?!?” And then I’d think… “OMG, I bet my life would be so empty… so joyless… without heroin.”
But it’s the drug… the heroin, the alcohol, whatever… that creates the misery in the first place (the tension, the unease, the discomfort, the stress, the urge, the anxiety, etc.) that you then SOLVE with the drug. Once you do the work… and the drug stops sending you little tensions and cravings… there’s zero desire FOR the drug. The drug no longer solves anything. There’s no need for it.
I had a wonderful birthday dinner and saw a hilarious “Second City” performance with my partner (who happily drank pinot grigio through both) – and I felt happier, more stress free, more myself, more connected to my partner and others, and just more joyous altogether – than I ever felt WITH alcohol. For so long I believed the “illusion” that I was going to be miserable – because I’d be “forever giving up something that felt good and brought me happiness”… but that’s all it was. An illusion. The truth is that once you do the work – and alcohol stops giving you the triggers and discomfort in the first place – THAT’S when your life levels up and you finally GET that you’re not missing out. You’re not deprived. And your life IS more full without it than with it.
I know this sounds crazy if you’re in the process now. It’s been 10 months – but I still remember how I thought “I’m sure I will still SOMETIMES want a drink. How could I stop forever?!? That has to be impossible.” But holding my partners wine last night (when that used to be a trigger for me to chug it) and really feeling freedom from any feelings about it … that made me happier than any drink has made me. Because it no longer causes me discomfort – that I then have to solve by drinking it. It’s now just “someone else’s beverage”.
SO — If you’re still scared of stopping… scared of “giving it up”… scared that you’ll miss it and there’ll be this big hole in your life where alcohol used to be… let me reassure you: A happier, richer, more fulfilling life fills up that spot – and you honestly never, ever miss it. If you do Brooke’s work, the joy and freedom you’ll feel on the other side will give you the “Ah ha” moment: I honestly do not miss alcohol. I didn’t give anything up.
THEN the fun part begins! What DO I want? What AM I going to create? WHO do I want to be? HOW will I show up? All of the deliciousness of life shows up – and you never think of the drink again.
I just know I was workin’ hard on my own drinking habit this time last year – so I wanted to share that it’s so, SO much better on the other side. Especially if you give up believing the mind’s made-up story that you’re losing something or giving something up that you need. I was the poster child for “I need alcohol! My life will be EMPTY and SCARY and TENSE without it!!!” But it was all a lie. An illusion made up by a brain that simply had a very strong desire to drink – that I created.
Once I un-created it and the urges went away (by committing to feel discomfort today for freedom tomorrow) … I realized that alcohol is a crafty little liar. And it’s a liar I know no longer listen to.
If you’re still working on stopping, keep on working! Because life IS so amazing once you’re on the other side! 🙂