Coming from the Limburg country, drinking alcohol was nothing strange to me. It was a habit and part of my daily rhythm.
Alcohol, especially beer and wine, were a regular part of my daily routine.
I drank alcohol a lot:
– at the end of the day, at the end of a hard day’s work at school
– when eating, for topping up a meal
– in the course of the evening with a cheese or chips as a regular evening ritual
I found drinking a pleasant habit and often led to a different (happier) mood. I could escape the thoughts in my head and the fatigue in my body.
However, as I started to experience more stress, my craving for alcohol (and especially the different mood) started to increase. I liked the slightly anesthetic effect. My mind calmed down and the worries I had seemed to diminish. Drinking more also led to a better night’s sleep (unfortunately for my wife, I did start snoring, so that was not pleasant for her).
As with smoking, drinking had the function of a softener. It eased the worries and stress in my head. In fact, the drinking made me calm down.
A link began to emerge between stress, fatigue and alcohol as a distractor.
The BALANCE began to shift. I started to take the drink more and more easily. In the end, I just drank a few glasses one evening.
The effects on my body became clearer. It took my body a lot of energy to break down the alcohol. Sometimes I really had problems in the morning from the night before. In combination with the fatigue and the permanent restlessness in my body, a recipe for misery and the first signs of burnout-like complaints.
I had to get the drinking under control. To do that, I had to examine the stressors, taper off drinking, and eventually stop.
I couldn’t do that on my own, I needed the help of those around me. Bringing a BALANCE to my alcohol use together and tackling the stressors together.
With my family, we started to tackle this. Actually, we did that in steps.
We started by not drinking after dinner. The cozy bottle of beer with chips was replaced by tea with chips. That took some getting used to. The taste of tea is different from that of a fresh beer.
We also stopped drinking wine with dinner. Here we replaced the glass of wine with water. That also took some getting used to. Water instead of wine. well…
If we do go out for a night out, to the movies or with friends or something, I always choose alcohol-free. It doesn’t make much difference to the taste and experience. But you don’t have the effect of the alcohol.
Finally, we no longer have alcohol in the house. The temptation to take it is too great.
All these simple adjustments, I found easy to implement. It was easier than I thought.
Not using the alcohol anymore seems to have a very pleasant effect on my body and mind. I am calmer, much clearer and can see things in proportion better.
I also have a clearer idea of where stressors are that I can address. I am growing into someone who used alcohol as an escape, into someone who has a (sober) picture of the situation.
I’m sharper, more observant, and feel like I’ve grown from victim to owner of the problem.
Quitting alcohol has made me look at my stressors in a more mature way.
I can think much more clearly, which allows me to make better (less emotional) decisions.
The confidence that this gives is very high. I feel that I am back in charge of the situation.
I still have a drink every now and then, but it’s not an escape now but a choice….A choice that I can handle and that makes me sharper in life.
Be sharper on stressors.