Day 3 again, and Day 3 is usually when I convince myself to have a drink (or 10). Not today, not gonna happen. I have had several triggers and risky situations and close calls in the past 2 days so I truly am lucky to have made it to this point. When I drink I feel awesome for, oh, I’d say about 2 hours. Then I get lazy, lethargic, and usually eat some crappy food. Then I go to bed, pass out, and hit the snooze button three times the next morning (my phone is set to only let me hit snooze 3 times, otherwise it would probably be more). But when I’m not drinking, at least in the early days, I will usually be agitated and irritable but will at least eat a healthy dinner, work out, go to bed at a decent time and read, wake up somewhat refreshed and sometimes even go for an early morning run (hey, it’s happened). I spend the rest of the day in a productive fury, actually doing the job that I am paid to do and being damned good at it. The benefits to being sober outweigh the benefits to being drunk or hungover ten times over!
But. Buuuuuut. It’s effin’ hard. It’s hard because, since I entered university, alcohol has been my #1 go to coping mechanism. It’s how I dealt with stress, or with the breakup of a relationship, or a shitty grade on my Poli Sci report (why did I ever even consider that politics were a thing for me?). It’s also how I handled positive things. Thursday through Saturday bar crawling with my friends, celebrating a new job, weddings, concerts, family reunions, holidays. Alcohol has just always been there, and somewhere along the lines I slipped from regular, social drinker, to problem drinker or alcoholic.
So I need to train myself to cope in other ways. Fill my life with plenty of other options, of things I can do or foods I can eat or people I can talk to, so that when any of the above situations come up I don’t flounder and end up drinking because it’s the only thing I know.
Aside from alcohol, my second biggest addiction is sushi. I could live, eat and breathe sushi. It is my second most expensive habit, so much so that I’ve got my local sushi restaurants on speed dial and they call me by name when they see my number show up on their call display. Yesterday I was having a particularly crummy day and was feeling like I wanted to run out and buy my usual coping mechanism, but instead decided to dial up the restaurant closest to my place of work. Wrong number. Tried again, wrong number. Checked their website and facebook page to confirm the number, and it was still wrong. Googled their name in the news. FIRE. The place caught fire and is CLOSED. I feel like a toddler retelling this story, but if I could have laid on the floor and kicked my feet and pounded my fists I would have. I work in a bit of a rough area, and sushi restaurants are absolutely not common around here. In fact – and I did my research – this restaurant is the only one I would have been able to get to and back and eat my lunch in the 30 minutes I’m allotted each day. I was at a loss yesterday and totally down because I couldn’t have either of my two favourite things in the world. I’ll be honest, if a co-worker hadn’t cornered me at the end of the work day, in the 10 minute gap that I have to sneak out and get to the liquor store and still get home to my kids on time, I would have drank last night. I was furious with her in the moment, but woke up thankful for her intervention.
So, sober warriors, how do YOU cope? What do you do when you’ve had a particularly bad or good day? How do you arm yourself when going to events or gatherings where alcohol would have otherwise been your go to?