The Anniversary Of My Last Drink

One year ago today, I had my last drink. Me. The girl who loved all things wine. Why? Because my relationship with it became dysfunctional.

Like any great love affair that turns toxic, it was an insidious shift. For one thing, we’d started spending far too much time together, causing me to lose all sense of self and wonder how my dreams had taken a backseat. For another, most of that time had morphed into the clandestine variety, sneaking away – just the two of us – to avoid judgement or repercussion. All-in-all, grape – the friend who had accompanied most of my good times and bad – became controlling, and it was literally causing me pain. You know, the pounding variety that pulsates between temples leaving its victims couch-bound on perfectly good weekends.

Was the break-up an easy one? No, not at all. It came with all of the usual fanfare: tears, longing, loss. I don’t fit in with some of wine’s friends anymore, making them somehow feel uncomfortable in a way I hadn’t expected. And then there’s having to really experience emotion without something there to take the edge off, whether facing the loss of loved ones or simply having an awful day. But, oh the rewards.

There is that three or four month mark after a break-up when the dust begins to settle and you start to breathe again. Then there’s a phase of rediscovering the person you’d been before the dysfunction ever started. And finally comes the glorious rebirth of someone that you didn’t even know you had the strength to become. Well, I’m breathing again, my friends. Big alveoli expanding breaths of joy.

A little over a year ago, a friend whom I have the utmost respect for, posted a blog about quitting drinking. I didn’t know she’d quit or that she’d felt the need to, but that post planted a life changing seed. It then got watered by someone I hadn’t seen since high school who confessed that he’d given up alcohol, followed by, “I have no idea why I just told you that.” I knew exactly why. It was something I needed to hear.

Sometimes we don’t find the courage to escape a bad relationship without stories of those who’ve gone before us. For that reason, I’m sharing.

A great many people can be an acquaintance of alcohol’s and never give it a second thought. They manage to see each other on occasion and even have a few laughs. Others, however, commit to the relationship almost unaware and then start to feel that there’s no way out. I’m here to tell you that it’s doable, and that “fulfilling” would be a gross understatement when describing my life without it.

Quitting drinking is one of my all-time top life decisions. Do I miss it? Sometimes, but rarely. And again, like a toxic lover, seeing it may give rise to temptation and longing, but nothing is ever worth going back.

And by damn, you can find love again. Sobriety is now my knight in shining armor.

If alcohol coerced you down the aisle at some point, you’re not alone. Think annulment. Consider divorce. There is a thing called Google, and there are resources.

And THANK YOU to the people who inspired me to have the best anniversary of my life. This girl has no regrets.

 

28 Comments

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  1. I applaud you for making this decision and keeping it. Coming to that point on your own makes it all the more laudable. May you enjoy many years of strength and sobriety. I am acquainted with far too many who do not realize that their relationship with booze of all kinds is beyond healthy. Even more, I decry the cultural norm that suggests it is required at every occasion, making it so difficult to make the decision you have.

    • Thanks so much, Yvonne. And the “cultural norm” has been one of the most eye opening parts of this whole experience! I’m amazed and appalled at how much it’s encouraged and infused into our day-to-day lives. I often attend events where a non-alcoholic drink isn’t even an option. Amazing.

  2. Excited to hear about your new relationship! ❤️

  3. Congratulations. I am so proud of you for correcting a behavior that was negatively affecting you. Your words reverberated in my mind because I thought about all of the little moments I felt achievement when I quit drinking. Like you, I counted months and then a year, 2 years, 3 years, the 4 years (3 months, 2 weeks and 5 days!). I have absolutely no desire to ever drink again. At the time I had no idea how bad alcohol affected my life, I had learned I had depression and every drink made it worse. I drank to escape and because it made me feel better. However, I wasn’t the fun and charming drunk guy anymore. I was an asshole. So drinking wasn’t making me feel better. My hangovers lasted 2 days. I could go on and on about this, but for those reading this, you get the idea. Today I am truly happy and constantly smile. I have so much to live for and love life. There is not anything in this world that would make me drink again; nothing!!!

    • Gregg, thanks for sharing and for your honesty. And THANK YOU for being that guy who watered the seed. GRATITUDE!!!

  4. Awesome!!! Thank you for sharing as it will be inspiring to others. Enjoy your new found freedom

  5. MES FÉLICITATIONS Leana!! I’m very proud of you! I Thought about this also many times……still do! One day I may succeed! Cheers my friend! LOVE YOU,

  6. Very moving to read, Leana, and being so far away I was not even aware. I love you and adore you. It’s a great journey of discoveries, this life we live. xoxox

  7. Beautifully written Leana. I felt every word. My struggles over the years caused me and my loved ones so much pain. After having 9 years I had found my way back to it..after the loss of my mom..And spent the next 6 and one half years in an agony I didn’t know existed. I am coming up to 8 years this November and truly feel a freedom I never knew existed. Thank you for sharing. You truly are an inspiration. love Deb

    • Deb, I saw a post on FB about one of your anniversaries, and that inspired me, as well. Thank you for being public about it and helping others – like me. YOU are an inspiration. xo

  8. Good for you Leanna! You made a difficult choice and are stronger for that decision. You saw you overcame , you conquered ( just to borrow from Juli). Enjoy your freedom.

  9. Leanna you always know how to say it just right. It is amazing the freedom you feel when you wake up rather than come to. The first year for me was the longest year of my life but today the years fly by one day at a time. I am coming up on 9 years on 17 May. It has been a journey that has seen its ups and downs but today I can honestly say I do not need a drink to get through the rough times. Congratulations on finding a new way of life and I wish you all the best in your sober future.

  10. Once again. You never cease to amaze me with your strength. I too do not drink for many reasons but most especially to show my 17 year old daughter that alcohol is not necessary to have a good time. Cheers to water tea whatever

    • I can’t think of a better reason not to drink than your daughter. You rock! We’ll toast with Red Rose when I see you next. 😉 Hugs!

  11. Christine Beverley

    April 17, 2017 — 12:40 pm

    Wonderfully written and congratulations! You are inspiring.

  12. Congratulations on your anniverisity. It took me 25yrs to get rid of my boyfriend called cigarettes. He took my money and left me unhealthy. After our separation 6 yrs ago I had to relearn how to cope with day to day life. It is still a work in progress, but like yourself it is completely worth it!

    • Ah, that guy. I dated him for several years, too, when I was younger. Put a whole new meaning to the expression, “He took my breath away.” And . . . GOOD FOR YOU!!

  13. Wow, very nicely written. Congratulations on your success, you have inspired me, I’ve been thinking along the same lines.

  14. 1/12/2000 – I remember the day well, even though it’s in vignettes. Who knew what life had in store once the once invisible shackles were turned loose?

    Congratulations Leana – you’ve been given a gift that many wish they could but want, let alone receive. Cherish the perspective, and know that you are the best example, in whatever shape, on whatever day, that those who struggle as we have, may ever see.

    In love, and service,
    -bruce

    • Thanks, Bruce. I really appreciate the comment. And so glad that you’ve ditched the shackles, too! Life just keeps getting better. 🙂

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