Here I am, sitting on the couch at midnight, scrolling, and watching everyone’s Instagram Stories, when an ad pops up.
The first thing I notice is a fancy glass with ice in it and someone is pouring a milky liquid into it. I look at the label and in bold letters, it says Almond Milk. As I look at the brand on the bottle it becomes clear to me that it was a bottle of alcohol. I usually would skip, but for some reason, I noticed my body freezing as I continued to watch. My heart started racing as if I were on a roller coaster.
But why? And what do I even do with that? The video couldn’t have lasted more than 15 seconds yet it made my body go into a state of panic. As I write this I’ve been sober for 6 years yet something so minuscule can still affect me. After being sober for the first couple of years I thought that I had made it through the hard times. I’m not supposed to be tempted anymore or feel anything when confronted with a drink. So then, why did I?
Throughout the years I spent with alcohol I built relationships with my drinks. I cared for them, I enjoyed their company, and I even talked about them to my other friends. I and alcohol were good buddies. But I started taking advantage of alcohol and leaning on it for comfort. I would abuse alcohol to make myself feel better. You could easily say that I wasn’t a very good friend.
The relationship between alcohol and I grew to become very toxic. We had to part ways for good.
But just like any other falling out, when you burn a bridge you are left with a gap. The feeling of separation kicks in and it almost feels easier to just build a new bridge. As time passes you find different paths to travel down and can sometimes forget about the past. But the moment there’s a picture or even something as small as a scent that reminds you of what used to be. Immediately it brings you back to that gap, and you feel like you're about to fall off the edge.
That’s when the heart racing kicks in. Adrenaline begins shooting off threw your body, and now craving what you can’t have. All the while, you tell yourself that, "you really don’t want to get back together with your ex. You and alcohol became exes for a reason."
During times like these, I stop what I’m doing and focus on my body.
- What is my heart doing?
- How do my fingers feel?
- Are my eyes heavy?
I then begin doing a little self-examination of my emotions.
- Did something stressful happen today?
- Am I feeling tired or overworked?
- When was the last time I focused on God?
(If I can, I write out the answers to these questions in a journal.)
Lastly, I end by praying over the challenges that I face at the same time as thanking God for giving me strength as I move forward with healing.
- What is something that you struggle with? It could be alcohol, drugs, porn, or it might be inflicting self-harm, over-eating, under-eating, isolating yourself, keeping too busy… etc
- Have you broken up an unhealthy relationship?
- What is another path you could take that would guide you to live a healthier, happier life?
Above is a picture of me in the midst of of my relationship with alcohol next to the picture of me 7 years sober. Today, I can say that I really feel everything. It might not be fun to feel upset or angry, but as strongly as I might feel a "negative" emotion I also strongly feel the positive emotions. Joy, happiness, peace... instead of being numb I get to experience life, and it is wonderful!
Recovery and true happiness is possible!
If any of this resinates with you, please reach out to someone! Share what you are feeling and thinking. Take that next step in the right directing so that you can live a healthier tomorrow.
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