The following is a note I wrote to myself after a night of drinking. Although it’s very specific to my own issues and experience with alcohol, perhaps it will be a helpful to someone else who might be feeling tempted to have “just one” drink today.
You’ve managed to ruin another perfectly good sober day. You could pretend that it was a momentary lapse, but the truth is, this was premeditated. You knew your husband was going to be gone for most of the weekend and since you ended up not pregnant after last month, you figured, why the hell not?
Welp. I have a few reasons why the hell not anymore. Let’s begin with a summary of your Thursday afternoon drinking. You bought two packs of cigarettes and a bottle of whiskey. Immediately, the chain smoking and binge began. Did you remember to eat? Never mind that you JUST got over the flu. No, you plopped your ass on the dusty balcony outside and drank and smoke and drank and smoke, watching old episodes of the UK X Factor on your phone. Why? What good did this do you?
Your husband came home after you’d already had your first vomit and saw what you were up to. He made you a grilled cheese sandwich, which you could barely stomach, and then you passed out on the couch. For the rest of the night, you tossed and turned with stomach pains. You had to force yourself to throw up again (gross) just to get back to sleep, and got up no fewer than 10 times (according to your FitBit) to use the bathroom and drink water in order to nurse that intense headache you gave yourself. Because you can’t process alcohol like other people, predictably, you woke up with a racing chest and had to take a Xanax to calm back down after thirty minutes of mindful breathing failed to offer relief. Fun, right!
Aside from that, I’ve created a list to serve as a friendly reminder (in case you get any bright ideas in the future) about why drinking and smoking is a bad idea for you.
1. You will wake up the next day with the aftertaste of cigarettes and vomit on your breath and no matter how many times you brush your teeth and rinse with mouthwash, it will not go away for at least 24 hours. Lovely.
2. Speaking of cigarettes, that heavy, toxic, sluggish feeling in your chest will remain for the next several days. It’s also likely that you will randomly have to fight those pesky little cravings that pop up again, so have fun with that.
3. The anxiety problems you wake up to are going to affect you for the rest of the day. Your mood will bounce from antsy and unsettled to apathetic. You will be incapable of doing anything other than binge watching Netflix and ordering bad takeout. This will likely send your mind racing in ways that make you feel unbalanced.
4. It never fails. Getting out of bed, you’ll be faced with seeing the wreckage of your night: messy living room, left out food, stale ash tray scent in the air, spill stains on the counter top from where you missed. You have to clean that up now and there have got to be better things to do. Besides, you have zero energy for this.
5. Check Facebook. Who knows what kind of wreckage you left on there. Actually, check What’sApp too, just in case. You have never had a conversation while drinking that didn’t bother you, if only slightly, the following day. Keep that in mind.
6. When you decide to break your sobriety, you inevitably delay any fitness plans you made for the rest of the weekend because it will take a few days for your body to stabilize. Those lungs you just shocked with chemicals and nicotine are not going to be up for extra activity for the next 4-5 days and that sets your goals back even further. Time to reset that fitness app – again.
7. You always feel a need to go hard. Sure, the first drink or two and couple of cigarettes are pleasant enough. Nostalgic, really. But then you carry on until you’re in throw up, coughing, out of control mode. You start to get ideas and feel compelled to express your opinion in places you wouldn’t normally. Sometimes you’re mostly fine, and other times your brain races with thoughts that can scare you and since there’s no way to tell which of these scenarios will be true for you today, why take the risk? Sobriety feels better, even if you forget that at times.
8. People are rooting for you and want you to be well. Your sober self is one of those people, so whatever urge is pestering you, do not let it win. Sure, it’s easy to say, “Well I used to do this every day, so only indulging once every couple of weeks isn’t THAT bad.” But you know that’s not true and you know this is how it starts because you felt like Superwoman one year ago, the first time you ruined your sobriety, and it took 8 months of binge drinking and smoking and depression to get back on track. You really want to go down that path again?
9. This is too important to mess up.
10. You aren’t a 1-2 glass of alcohol type of girl. Stop torturing yourself with ideas of moderating your problem.
Now, this drinking episode wasn’t too bad. The one before it wasn’t either, but girl, the potential is there to get very dark and very ugly again. It’s not for you. You’ve come a long way. There’s no need to beat yourself up, but let this be a reminder to get your shit together and get back on track. Sobriety is the most beautiful thing you’ve created in your adult life. Take better care of it. Drinking ain’t for you, Love.
Your Sober Self Who Mostly Knows Better