As soon as I learned that “romanticizing” was a thing I was so relieved. When I first read the word I instantly understood that this is something that I do. I think I did it with a lot of things (not just alcohol) which may be why I lacked fulfillment (but that’s a story for another post).
Regardless of how far I’ve come I still find myself doing this at times. For the whole first year that I was AF I wondered if I would drink again. I thought that maybe once I got far enough away from this whole thing (whatever that means) that I might be able to just “enjoy” a few drinks. I would envision myself in wine country having a glass of wine in the vineyards. Or I would set up a scene where I would have a toast of champagne at a fancy rooftop bar.
Spring and summer are also huge triggers. At the first sight of sun I envision myself drinking on a patio or sipping a mojito while wearing a bikini on the boat. Ironically, I’ve never had a mojito and I don’t wear bikinis.
I have learned that even though it’s fun to daydream I need to combat these thoughts with truth. For starters, the last time I was on a boat drinking was an absolute nightmare. And “fun in the sun” usually ended in me feeling like complete hell.
I have this memory of one of the last times I drank. We were sitting at home on a beautiful evening and I had the thought that we should “drink on the patio.” I drank a couple of high ABV IPAs.
I instantly felt exhaustion wash over me. I now had a buzz but we still had the mundane tasks of dinner, baths, and bedtime routine. Suddenly, I didn’t see how I could get through it. I was irritable with the kids because obviously I was “trying to relax” and they were telling me how hungry they were. I remembered that I forgot to flip the laundry and I was supposed to call someone back. It all felt completely impossible now. Everything felt so heavy. I became angry and resentful.
So when I start making up ideas of how fun it would be to go out back and throw down a few drinks-I have to remember the truth behind that. Sure, there were plenty of fun times drinking. But most of those were followed by very dark days when my friends were no longer there and the sunny day had moved on. It’s just like that for me.
So I stop romanticizing. As I write this I am in sunny California having just come back from the pool. I laid in my chair and soaked up the absolute deprivation of the sun that my body and soul so desperately need. I thought about the universe, love, and happiness. I felt really good. Nothing at all would have added to this moment. But the constant seeking of something “more” would have definitely taken away.
It’s not that I can’t drink. It’s that I really don’t f’ing want to. These thoughts I have about “how fun” it is to drink are really just telling me that maybe something else is going on. Maybe I am trying to escape because I feel too overwhelmed with life right now? Maybe I need a break from the kids? Maybe I need some self care that doesn’t involve a book that blows my mind so much it keeps me awake at night? Maybe I need a walk or a smoothie to nourish my body? Maybe I need a date night with Drew? And, most importantly-maybe I need nothing. Maybe the happiness is right in front of me but I am too busy thinking about what I don’t have to notice it.
I don’t need a drink just like I don’t need an appendectomy. That’s an idea that is is much closer to the truth.