Wednesday, January 30, 2008

why alcohol IS poison

Something's happened to me. It's most extraordinary. I NEVER anticipated this in a million years.

I've been off the bottle for one month. And I think all these changes have everything to do with it.

The good changes:
1)I am so happy. That annoying, believes everything-is-simply-splendid-happy.

2)I'm stable. Almost worryingly so. I don't get shaky angry or maddeningly depressed anymore. It's like everything has just....calmed down. If I cause my own chaos, I really mean to do it. It wasn't a mistake. And I gave it lots of thought before impulsively causing chaos for no apparent reason. When I'm upset or angry, I know it's rational.

3)The clarity. The clarity. Everything was a fuzz back in the days of compulsive bingeing. I spoke to a teetotaling mate about this so-called “clarity,” and how everything is just...sharper. And he told me to wait until 3 months, and when the clarity kicks in, it's crazy as fuck. I think that's already happened to me, but maybe there's more coming.

4)You really get to know others around you all over again. You connect them them on a new level, and at first it's quite difficult. There are no barriers, or social-numbing through Bacardi Breezer. I have got to know 747, my friends and my family on a whole new level.

5)One of the original goals of my stopping drinking for a while has kicked in: Get to know myself again. And most importantly, address my hang ups and issues. Without the numbing of anything else. It's literally helped me to take a long hard look in the mirror. I'm dealing with stuff now that I've been pushing aside for YEARS. Going back nine whole years – and one big thing, is getting around trust and my parent's divorce.

6)Learning to be comfortable in my own shell. I thought I was a confident person, and I am most of the time. But I also suffer deep-seated self-esteem and anxiety issues that I've denied forever, which I'm finally working through.

7)Creativity. This was a tough one, because I thought without my after-work-glass-of-wine, I wouldn't be able to churn out more stories. Or think up grand ideas to take over the world. Well, actually, it's been quite the opposite. When you assess everything with a clear-head, you also start to find new things to keep you going. And it wasn't crack, surprisingly. I'm finding new, weird stuff with which to entertain myself all the time.

8)Coffee outings really excite me. Like how tequila used to excite me.

9)I never want to be in the place I was 31 December 2007 ever again. I fear getting back onto the boozewagon may just fling me right back there. If I don't give up booze forever - and I'm considering it - from March onwards the alcohol I do drink, will be very few and far between. Benders will only be for VERY special occasions.

10)There is no loser's complex. Ever. And I can't remember what a hangover feels like. Or even what it feels like to be drunk, come to think of it.

11)Mr 747 came along for the booze-free ride. I told him 1 January I was giving up booze for two months. I didn't ever expect him to do this with me. I did it believing I'd be on my own. He decided to do it too. And I can't tell you how much easier it's been having him along on the journey. We've got to know each other very well over the last month. And now we're onto Month 2.
The bad changes:
(I'm not sure if these are even bad. Perhaps they just take getting used to.)

1)A new kind of introversion. I'm no introvert by anyone's standards. And perhaps I haven't given myself a chance to be “party me” yet. I have been avoiding watering holes, clubs, and massive parties for a month now. I'll go, only to chat to people before they can't string a sentence together. Once people start getting loud and idiotic, I leave. Sober people can't handle drunk people until they've really got used to it. So I've been leaving places early, and enjoying a lot of me-time in front of the telly, with a book, going on long drives, etc etc. Stuff losers do, basically. I love it.

2)Sifting through my trust issues isn't just going to take two months of teetotaling. I'm considering therapy, as well as lots of hard work, and reminding myself not to panic.

3)It's hard when your mates are going out all the time, doing their usual thing. Things you were very much a part of every weekend. I go, but I'm there for a third of the time, not drinking, and just trying to feel normal as I do it. It still doesn't feel normal. I don't want my friends to think I'm boring. Or think I have suddenly become a different me. I don't think that's the case, but yes, I am a bit different now. Hopefully booze hasn't taken away my entire personality altogether. I don't think so.


Gold digger said...

Wow! Well done. I don't think I could do it. That glass of wine might become a craving so strong I'd struggle to focus on anything else. That's really cool, good for you...

kyknoord said...

Welcome to the dark side, young Guystalker.

Peas on Toast said...

Gold digger - I really really didn't think I could do it hey. I've never tried before this year. But certain events made me determined to just stick it the fuck out. Perhaps it takes something big. I dunno.

Kyknoord - Guystalker? Just who am I stalking (besides you of course?)
Also, tell me what else do I have to look forward to with this no drinking Kyk - I wanna hear it from the pro.

boldly benny said...

Hey Peas, it is difficult (re the friends and going out bit) but weirdly enough it does get easier. My sister hasn't had a drop of booze for years and she can totally go out with people who drink. She said there are times when she gets a bit frustrated but generally she handles it and laughs at it. But she hit a transitional phase where she picked her moments.

Even I can say, having kicked the juice a couple of times, there are times when I can tolerate other people's wild and drunken antics and laugh them off and there other times when I can't and it's often great then to just leave.

I totally agree that when you give up booze you get to know your partner and you enjoy doing stuff together like car trips or picnics at the zoo.

Finally as for the therapy. I recommend it. I know there is such a thing as being overtherapied, but last year I had a bit of an emotional meltdown and started facing alot of issues I had been pushing aside. I went into therapy and learnt certain life skills and reconnected with myself. I was so positive going into this year and have better coping mechanisms. If I think about it, I never want to be where I was on 1 January 2007! Good luck with your journey sweets ;-)

Peas on Toast said...

Hi Boldly - thanks for your words of encouragement doll. Yip, I think it does get easier going out and shenaniganning with drunk people. Already it's getting easier. The first weekend was crazy tough, now it's getting better.
As for therapy, yip, I think it definitely wouldn't hurt. Perhaps even to just help get a better perspective on trust and divorce etc.
Thanks my dear!

Jam said...

Being a fellow alcohol free traveller with you this month has been fantastic - and I think that the conclusions we have both reached through the experience are the same. which says a huge amount about the impact of alcohol on our psyche.
I'm trying to find reasons to drink now and there just don't seem to be any good ones any longer.
Well done!!

ClayOne said...

Ive chucked off a kilo so far this month and im managing to actually get to gym so this no alcohol thing may actually be healthy after all.

Going camping this weekend and i fear that is going to throw a major spanner in the works.

Champagne Heathen said...

Thanks for sharing that & all the best to you!!

I touched on it in my post now - that it isn't easy to share this type of stuff, especially in this type of public forum, but it does mean many readers in similar situations are at least feeling they have company through their own similar shite. That's why the thank you.

Fkc. I think I am having a sentimental moment. Gawd. Pass the chocolate & coffee rather please.

Peas on Toast said...

Jam - oh yes babe, absolutely! Having you share your anecdotes and experiences with me has also helped so much. It reminds me how alcohol has affected my pysche. (I mean, I didn't do this for the detox/health thing, but because of my state of mind), and having you with me has been fantastic! xx

ClayOne - Come to think of it, I think I have lost weight too. I should probably check that out. :) Good luck with the camping!

Champs - Usually it wasn't easy to share this sort of stuff at all, but after this month I've found it easier to share stuff, stuff that isn't so great about myself at any rate. So thanks :) I figure, what the hell, I'm not perfect, and well, that's ok too. Thanks for your kind words. :)

Anonymous said...

You know what they say Peas...
You can have fun without drinking -but why take the chance.

Peas on Toast said...

Anon - hey, I agree. Not boozing is a risky business. What can I say, I'm a risky sorta woman.


Sunrise said...

Nice one Peas, I on the other hand took a leaf out of your former life, I got horribly plugged up on booze last night. I shall carry your torch...I had too, just had, I started gym.

Peas on Toast said...

Sunrise - I'd be honoured if you carried my torch fella, thanks! :)

And good luck with the gym. If only I could haul ass and be so inspired by exercise....alas.

The Divine Miss M said...

I'm so glad it's working out Peas :) I now reached the point where I have a couple of drinks but don't do the binging except every so often for - as you said - a special occaison ;)

I agree with you on the one negative thing though, your friends and going out. I also would go home early etc and them being drunk would just be irritating. However now one of my good friend doesn't include me in any of the invites out - he says we can do other things together. But I end up feeling very left out and that he doesn't think I'm fun anymore. That does suck. But hey, I'll get over it!

Peas on Toast said...

Miss M - I sincerely hope I can incorprate "moderation" into my semi-drinking regime as well as you do babe, well done!

As for your mate: that does suck. Look, the way I see it, if I'm being left out of something, well then, it can't be that great. He shouldn't mock Sobriety Club, is all I'm sayin'. :) Well done girl!

Champagne Heathen said...

I think Binge Drinking is a defining trait of our generation. Not to say others didn't/ aren't going to do it. But I sometimes wonder if our generation has not taken it to the next level.

And then I have to wonder...where to next? The next level of boozing to an unbelievable level, for no real reason but for drinking's sake - or a pull back as our younger bros/sisters or our own offspring reckon how ridiculous it all is.

Between watching Hallmark movies popping up about this, SKY news had a whole day dedicated to it, and the folks & their friends all saying how shocking our generation's drinking habits are... It's made me wonder.

Is it that we have nothing better to do & no chaos to struggle from (or rather, in some cases, the chaos is too overwhelming) - so let's get fkced and see what 'mild' chaos we can create to then struggle from.

Or that the past generation was the limbo between stiff "skeletons-in-the-closet" conservative families that were our grandparents - kids were silent & sent to boarding schools asap, parents never expressed emotions etc. To our generation that expresses EVERYTHING, and publicly, less issues than ever before being stuffed into the "sacred closet". Our folks didn't know how to teach us the skills of expressing though - so we express via the booze.

Yeah...slow day in this thinking all the way into left fields...

Peas on Toast said...

Champs - valid points indeed, and I've thought about this too. (No pub time, therefore more time to analyse the state of the nation. So to speak.)

I think the drinking has everything to do with boredom, not enough to do, habit, dysfunctional relationships (family problems, divorce, etc etc), and a big one: stress. We all work pretty darn hard. The easiest and quickest way to wind down (legally) is to pop open a beer.

The Blonde Blogshell said...

I take my hat off to you...seriously! To be able to admit what you're going through is incredible! Well done! I'm going to join your brigade...mainly because I need to lose kilo's and because I'm really tired of drinking just for the hell of it!!
Thanks for the motivation x

Goblin said...

Well done Peas!! Some of those good points are really awesome.

Peas on Toast said...

Blogshell - Hayzoos, I am honoured, thanks my girl! If I can inspire people to join Sobriety Club (Pty) Ltd then it can't be all bad eh? ;)

Let me know how it goes! xx

Goblin - thanks dearie! x

roundabout said...

I absolutely relate to how hard it is to deal with drunk people when you first stop drinking. I stopped when I fell pregnant and even after my son was born I never really started drinking again. The habit was broken and I let hubby have a good time while I got to be designated parent!

I used to get so very frustrated, especially when people get completely trashed when it's not really that kind of party. You're not on the same level anymore and having a conversation becomes so hard.

It's scary because you really get to see how alcohol effects peoples' behaviour when you're a completely sober observer.

Good luck!

Uncle E said...

YOU lick her, you brought her!

Great post, Peas!

Tryin' to give up the demon juice meself, but find it harder than anticipated, especially my tanqueray and tonic!

Uncle E said...

YOU lick her, you brought her!

Great post, Peas!

Tryin' to give up the demon juice meself, but find it harder than anticipated, especially my tanqueray and tonic!

Uncle E said...

YOU lick her, you brought her!

Great post, Peas!

Tryin' to give up the demon juice meself, but find it harder than anticipated, especially my tanqueray and tonic!

Peas on Toast said...

roundabout - oh I hear you! The thing with being the sober person, the great thing is you can just...leave. Whenever you like. a) They won't remember what time you left and b) you start craving the reality channel on TV.

It's a whole lifestyle change, hey. :)

Uncle E - thank you! Good luck with giving up the juice - it isn't easy, that's for certain. Nowadas I order tonic water without the gin. Sure the waitron looks at me funny, but it still tastes like an alcoholic drink.

Olga, the Traveling Bra said...

Been there Done that. Still doing it...and I'm a much better bra'wd because of it. Give it time & you'll find that it's true what they say - your worst day sober is still better than your best day drunk!

Way to go - I whole-heartedly support you!

SoberSannie said...

Hi Peas - been sober more thatn 84 days now, it sucked in the beginning but blogging helps - follow me on

Leora Yang said...

Nice. It's really good to appraise certain restrains by staying informed about the consequences and effects of alcoholism. Hope you've been keeping it up. Cheers!

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