I read this quote and immediately thought-yes. This is it.
For a long time I rebelled against the idea that I couldn’t drink. I was sure it was just a matter of rules and willpower. That I could figure it out and continue to enjoy (lol) my booze. Because I was not going to give in to the thought that I had to abstain completely.
But, of course, I eventually did. I decided to take a year off drinking. To prove I could.
On the day I quit alcohol I was also diagnosed with celiac disease. Finally, an explanation for the odd, annoying health issues I had. So, without too much drama, I cut gluten out of my diet. My overall health improved markedly. Eczema that has plagued me my entire life cleared up. Headaches, brain fog, stomach pain, swelling.
Of course, I also quit drinking at this time, but it was apparent to me that many of the physical symptoms I had associated with drinking too much were actually gluten related.
I didn’t spend much time in self pity for the cupcakes and bread I could no longer eat. Sometimes I looked for alternatives, but I accept that life is better gluten free, and I stick to it.
Eventually it dawned on me that I could look at alcohol the same way. Drinking had obviously been contributing to my anxiety and depression. It was making my skin look bad. It was poisoning me. And I decided to put alcohol in the same category as gluten.
It is not for me. It does something to me that makes me crave more, to drown myself in oblivion and stupor. And to do it again and again.
Accepting this has made it so much easier. I no longer wallow in the self pity that I can’t enjoy a wine tasting or do shots of tequila. I don’t look at others drinking wistfully.
Instead I look at the possibilities a sober life has opened up for me. Yoga, reiki, new friends, peace of mind, comfort in my own skin. Joy. Open eyes. Feeling.
Why cling to a handicap like addiction when the game of life has some many opportunities?
Stillness and peace
14 thoughts on “More Acceptance”
My daughter was diagnosed as celiac at age 8, Anne and I too have thought about how she has had to just move away from what she knows will make her ill. If she can do this so cheerfully at her young age, i should follow her example, alcohol-wise. Life may be different but there is a whole world of different possibilities.
It’s funny, I often wish someone had diagnosed me with a disease that would make me stop drinking. But I then wonder if I would or could have….people drink themselves to death all the time.
Such an interesting post. I have had much the same experience. At age 56, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and quickly found that cutting out carbs made it much easier to manage. So . . . no more bread, cake, cookies, ice cream, pretty much anything yummy.
Like you, I didn’t mourn these things or think it was unfair that other people could eat sweets and I couldn’t. I just gave them up, no big deal, because my life is better and easier that way.
I justified continuing to drink by saying that it didn’t impact my diabetes and it was the one “fun” thing I had left. But the truth was that I had never stopped drinking for long enough to see what effect alcohol had on me. In the past 3+ months of sobriety, I have discovered that it does, indeed, have a major effect. Along with sweets and carbs, alcohol makes my diabetes harder to manage. So it has joined the list of things that I just don’t do.
It’s no longer a matter of will power, and that is such a blessed relief!
an interesting and so true take. this stuff is bad for me, it makes me sick, therefore i dont need it and shouldnt have it. i will feel better and live longer. duhhh, why does it take us so long to realise. AND, the fresh skin and looking younger, well what a great bonus!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All I know is, if I stay away from drinking, I don’t do stupid stuff! I hate doing stupid things. It’s not so cool at my age!
My anxiety and depression is so much more manageable, that’s for sure!
Such a great quote. I think if I could just master acceptance this whole sobriety thing would be so much easier to deal with. I’ve been thinking of cutting out gluten, not for celiac but for other health reasons. But when I think of all that I would miss out on I put it in the too hard basket. You are so strong. I hope that I can be one day too. A x
Anne this is so great! You are an incredible inspiration for me, and I’m sure countless others. I like what you wrote even more than the quote!
This is a great perspective on the whole idea of “giving up” a thing. I think it’s also an important note about the role that other substances can play in our urge to self-medicate. I’m pondering this too, as I have a number of food sensitivities that mess with my mood and emotions and that I’m sure were part of what I was self-medicating (https://absorbingpeace.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/the-four-discomforts/). Foods, alcohol, gut, misery, relief. It seems to me that looking closely at effects of foods can be a really valuable next step for people quitting alcohol. How cool that you learned of your celiac so early in your process. Thanks for posting!
I agree that the food, mood and behaviour link is important.
I have other food sensitivities and IBS. Things improved going gluten free, but not completely.
My eventual plan is to try a serious elimination diet to investigate further. But I’m making changes slowly and gently for now.
This post is VERY helpful to me. You are an inspiration. Annie x
Great post. The battle between ourselves and alcohol and food (sweets, carbs etc. ) is a major one. It helps so much to read that someone is winnning against all odds.
Great quote! Making the most of my best instead of self pity and rebelling against my handicaps. I like that!
You wrote, “the possibilities a sober life has opened up for me. Yoga, reiki, new friends, peace of mind, comfort in my own skin. Joy. Open eyes. Feeling.” And all the sober girls say – AMEN Sistah!
You hit the nail on the head. I’m a little freaked out that you might have been reading my mind. You totally capture the essence of the struggle and how the simplest shifts, the tiniest changes in how we look at our “handicaps” can make our acceptance of them not just more palatable but down right delicious.
Thanks for your beautiful share.