Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reclaiming Your Soul from Alcohol Addiction

When we’re hurting, our natural tendency is to will it away, to suppress it, to tamp it down and bury it away. A lot of times we can turn to alcohol to ‘numb’ these feelings so that we can find happiness. However, this type of ‘happiness’ is only an illusion.  While we might notice a more positive attitude develop within us--at first--alcohol actually has the opposite long-term effect.

Trust me when I share this article with you. I am pulling from my own life experience. In a past post, I mentioned three things that would make me happy as an individual. They were eating fish, exercising, and limiting alcohol.  I took the challenge to heart and the results have been life-changing.

Somewhere in the midst of cutting back on alcohol, I’ve found that I don’t need it, like I used to think I did. Sadly, it took reaching a very low point for me to come to this conclusion and the experience actually changed my view of drinking.

I’ve always enjoyed a nice glass, or two, of an alcoholic beverage. With my personal heartbreak, it became more than a glass or two. Instead of drinking for fun, or as a social endeavor, I was using it to escape. How much could I drink?

What a dangerous downhill slide I was on. At my lowest point, I remember breaking down about the pain I was in. I heard myself crying, heard the words I was saying, and in the back of my mind, it was as if I were a spectator. I didn’t want to feel this way ever again. No one has the right to make me hurt this badly.  From that point, I realized how alcohol affected my balance in life. In fact, it tilted it so far off balance that if I didn’t get a handle on it, I wouldn’t accomplish my life’s goals.

So what did I do?  Well, I had been thinking about the effects of alcohol on me for a while. I started recording how I felt after I drank. I found that in most cases, I was more negative in the days following than when I abstained from alcohol. I also found that hard alcohol vs. wine affected me differently. Whiskey, vodka, and liquors brought me down. When I started listening to my body, the results were immediate. With wine, beer, or cider, I found that I didn’t have the downward pull. Most importantly, I couldn’t mix my alcohol or overindulge without paying for it with a negative spirit--the opposite direction of where I wanted to go.

I gave myself a challenge--one week, no alcohol.  During the week I made notes of how I was feeling. Wow! What a difference!  The negative emotions in me were transformed into positive thinking. Ideas came to me. I had a clearer vision of what I wanted out of life.

This experiment was a few months ago, and I’m proud to say that my outlook is entirely different. My view of alcohol has changed from ‘needing’ a drink, to having a small glass or two of wine, when I really want to enjoy the flavor. I don’t want to dull my senses. I have too much to live for, too much that I want to do with my life. Also, somewhere in there I found forgiveness for those who hurt me.

Let yourself shine without the dulling effects of alcohol. You’ll be more positive for it, effectively deal with any negative or hurt feelings, and reach your life’s ambitions free of being weighed down by this dangerous, life-sucking, habit.

Quick check list:
1) Record how you feel after drinking. Do you feel better, or worse emotionally?
2) Further pry into how you feel after a certain type of alcohol. You might find they all affect you negatively, or maybe only certain kinds.
3) Challenge yourself. Abstain for a week and record how you feel. Alcohol stays in the system for days after drinking it. This allows you to clean the slate as it were.
4) Bask in your clear mind and positive outlook. Realize you’re worth so much more than that amber liquid in a glass.

5) Shine like nobody else’s business!

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