Over the past couple of days, I have been kind of craving alcohol. It didn’t last long, but it happened. I know that it’s totally normal to have these feelings from time to time, but a couple of thoughts that crossed my mind were: “can I ever drink socially again?” “I’m so young, how am I supposed to live a sober lifestyle forever?!” “If I just have one, that can’t be bad… right?” and lastly, “I’ve been sober for a while, do I really have a problem?”
I had to pump the brakes REAL quick. The unfortunate truth is that I will not be able to socially drink again. A recent study showed that when an alcoholic has even a sip of an alcoholic beverage, it triggers chemicals in the brain that mimic a reaction to when an individual shoots up heroin. And then I thought, how many times have I thought that I could have “just one?”
The answer to that question is a big, fat, NO. I can’t remember a single time that I could have one alcoholic beverage and be done. Social drinkers can be one and done and go on with their lives. Alcoholics can’t. Sure, I could have one or two drinks at a social event, but I would leave early so that I could get more. I have to remind myself that this is a chemical imbalance and I need to treat it like any other disease. For example, I have had hypothyroidism since I was in the 4th grade. I have to take Synthroid every single morning so that I get a thyroid hormone in my system that my body is not making on its own. If I don’t take that medication, I will gain water weight, lose my hair, feel exhausted 24/7.. the list goes on and on. If I abstain from taking my Synthroid for a long period of time, I could develop thyroid cancer. Same analogy goes for alcohol. If I have “just one” drink, one drink becomes 6, and before you know it, my life is spiraling out of control. If I drank like I used to, I would slowly die- just like if I did not take my thyroid hormone.
And the answer to “if I really have a problem” is a big, fat, YES. I will be completely open about this- when I drink to excess, my world slowly falls apart. Emotionally, physically, and I hurt others around me. I turn into a person and do things that I would never do when I’m sober.
Then, the anxiety of “never drinking again” came to mind. I’m pretty young for deciding to be sober and I (hopefully!) have many years ahead of me. I’m 23 years old and the majority of people in their mid 20’s are still going out to the bars and drinking on the weekends. I mean, you just don’t see many 23 year old’s who abstain from alcohol completely. More often than not, I am the youngest person in the room when I go to my AA meetings. But, when I have this “stinkin’ thinkin'”, my automatic reaction is to call my sponsor, spend time with my sober supports, read AA literature, or distract myself with doing something fun, or bless your eyes with a blog post ( You’re welcome! 😉 ). If anything, getting sober at a young age is literally a lifesaver.
I guess the moral of this post is that it’s normal to miss the aspects of alcohol that were once pleasureable– that rush of euphoria, the feeling of relaxation, the feeling of numbness of all negative emotions… With the help of outside support and Alcoholics Anonymous, I have learned the tools to not only let these emotions come in, but to also always have a “plan B.” Instead of slowly dying by the bottle, I am rebuilding myself with the gift of sobriety. As beautiful, talented, gorgeous Leonardo DiCaprio said in Titanic, “Life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it.” As always, One Day at A Time.