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Giving Up Alcohol By Taking My Inventory

I’ve been drinking two to three alcoholic beverages every day for about ten years. Sometimes it’s wine, sometimes it’s vodka with a splash of something. Sometimes I feel very little effect, sometimes I definitely get buzzed.

I’m sure my kids notice I get happier. I’m sure my entirely sober husband notices I seem disconnected or distant because of it.

I could keep going the way I have without dire consequences in my relationships.

But, I don’t like the extra weight from the empty calories and who knows what kind of health issues might crop up in the future.

I’ve been incredibly stubborn about looking at my drinking and guard it like a tantruming child guards her Halloween candy.

When I weighed in the other day, it was my Vanity that said, “Alright fat mamacita, enough’s enough.” And I decided to go on an alcohol hiatus.

But, how to do so without rebelling or giving in to triggers? I stomped over to my 12-Step literature and skeptically read the steps. (And I paraphrase)

Step One: – Admitted I had a problem and was powerless over alcohol. Done.

Step Two: – Came to believe a Higher Power could help. Sure, why not?

Step Three: Made a decision to turn my relationship with alcohol over to the care of a Higher Power of my own understanding. This is where I got stuck.

How do I turn my daily habit of drinking (addiction to alcohol?) over to a Higher Power?

  • Do I pray and ask Him to take it.
  • Do I meditate on getting him to take it?
  • Do I write the word “alcohol” on a slip of paper and put it in a God Box?

How does someone do Step Three in a concrete, measurable, practical, non-whackadoodle way?

Then I had a thought. Or an inspiration?

It was simple: Take Step Four. Make a “searching and fearless inventory” of myself around alcohol.

Inventories are things that can be written down. They’re tangible.

giving up alcohol

So I sat down and wrote a brief Fourth Step on my drinking. I asked and answered this question.

Why do you drink? 

I wrote, “It relaxes me. It’s my reward at the end of the day. It’s … it’s … it’s …”

Okay, this smacked of laziness. I realized I had to dig deeper

Why do you drink?

This is what instantly came out of my pen: “It numbs the pain of feeling like a failure.”

Holy Shit. Now that’s something real.

Along with coaching, I’m a screenwriter. While I’ve had success other people might admire, I’ve never had the success think I should have.

And it hurts.

It’s deep stuff, as there are still people in my life I want to prove myself to, and impress. 

After writing that down, I dug for more. 

Why do you drink?

“Because when alcohol is in my system I feel less bored with the predictable patterns of childrearing. I feel creative and funny and interesting and like a badass who could do anything. It’s my cape.”

Okay. That’s a pretty good explanation of why alcohol is so important to me and why giving it up is unappealing.

I asked myself again. 

Why do you drink?

“To reward my inner child for all the work I make her do day in, day out, to reach that success I so badly want. I whip her like the horse in Gone with the Wind and a cranberry vodka makes her, if not happy, then mollified.”

I can’t explain what happened. But understanding why I drink daily made me feel … sober.

On day three of skipping wine or vodka I’m oddly calm. The urgency to “relax” and “disconnect” is quieter.

I put some water, doused with cranberry, in a wine glass last night. I had three glasses of that before bed and felt … okay.

It isn’t huge. It doesn’t need a parade. I haven’t committed to permanent abstinence.

But, I’ve committed to skipping alcohol one day at a time, so I can remove the substance that’s standing in the way of more self-awareness, self-love and self-acceptance.

giving up alcohol
That stuff is the gold of life. Thanks for letting me share and I hope my story might be of help in some unexpected way. xo S

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