Sometimes it seems like we are afraid to admit that there is a loss in giving up alcohol. I sense this in myself for sure. We want to quit drinking and we also want to live happily ever after. So we try to focus on the bright side, the benefits of living sober. In the earliest days, I refused to even think about wine, let alone allow myself to contemplate any feelings of loss around giving it up. I was afraid if I allowed even a little sadness to creep in, I would lose my resolve and go right back to drinking. I told myself I could think about it later. And hoped that in the meantime my feelings would change.
I’m at the point now where I feel like I can begin to acknowledge a little loss around giving up wine. It was a big part of my life for a long time. And there were lots of good times before the bad ones started to take over. I enjoyed it for years, and then I didn’t. And I cheerfully tolerated the hangovers for a long time, until they became no longer worth it.
The truth is we all go through changes like this in life. We experience growth that brings gains but also losses.
- We exit the teen years and celebrate our newfound independence, confidence and knowledge of the world. But we lose a bit of our idealism, not to mention that youthful glow.
- Or maybe we get married and gain the joy of having a life partner and all that comes with it. But we also accept that we’ll never again have a first kiss, a first date.
- Many of us see our last baby grow and we’re happy to retire the bottles and diapers. But it’s bittersweet to know you’ll never again be the parent of a newborn.
And, the truth is, we choose how we respond to these changes. There is loss in each of them. And I think it’s ok to acknowledge that loss. But if you choose to stare at it or dwell on it for too long, then you will be miserable. If you choose to look for, enjoy, and capitalize on the gains, you will experience growth. And you will have a happy life.
Happy Sober Sunday,