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At the end of 2017, there were so many changes that occurred in my life. I experienced a hard breakup, picked up a million little pieces from my apartment floor, moved away, and decided to pursue a full-time career in writing. Many people applauded my courage and resilience, and I felt good about my decision to relocate and pursue my passion.
Truth is, I did all of this, drunk.
There was absolutely nothing easy about uprooting my life of 10 years. To curb my depression, second-guessing, negative self-talk, and lack of confidence I masked my feelings with alcohol and parties. I avoided the career talk. I avoided the relationship talk, and quite frankly any talks about my future.
[bctt tweet=”Omg, why are you being so serious? I’ll be fine. Let’s do shots, I could hear myself say.” username=”ladylauraco”]
Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe I have an issue with drinking, but I was right on the cusp of self-concern once I realized I was drinking every night. I was in a fog and didn’t know it. I created my best, most romantic, most thoughtful content all while in the comfort of a slight buzz. Some would say, “it works for you”, but my mental health is one of the most important things in life to me.
Do I have a drinking problem? No.
Could I have a drinking problem? I think anyone could without mindfulness.
After I felt myself losing clarity, forgetting to pray, and only getting excited for days that I could party. I knew I needed to put a halt to my drinking. This was a way to realign myself with my goals and evaluate my spirit. Although drinking was a huge part of my 21-day “detox”, there were other key objectives to accomplish. I was seeking a clean lens. I needed 21 days to focus on my mind, body, and soul.
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My body metabolizes alcohol quite differently than most of my friends. It takes me a long time to recover from a night of drinking. No matter how much or little I drink the night before, I almost always sleep through the next day. “Such a waste of time,” I thought. I prefer enjoying the cool smell of morning dew, sitting on the porch, and reading poetry that inspires me. I wanted to approach conversations with true thoughtfulness, and not word vomit. I wanted to fall asleep at peace with my soul.
When I stopped drinking I began to feel my feelings again. I wasn’t numb to genuine human interaction anymore. I was seeing the world for exactly what it is. I’m not sure if people really know the residual effects of alcohol, but I realized that I didn’t necessarily have to be drunk to still feel amiss. If you have ever unintentionally stopped drinking you may not notice, but I was actively paying attention and evaluating my feelings and my mind. I desperately needed to feel again.
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The move was hard on my routine. I started working from home, my eating habits changed and so did my physical activity. All of that mixed with my drinking habits made me gain about 30lbs. [bctt tweet=”Drinking is a social activity that encourages participation and indulgence. I caved into my cravings.” username=”ladylauraco”] I started to feel self-conscious about my changing body which in turn perpetuated my drinking cycle. The minute I figured this out was when I realized there was no way I’d lose the weight without putting the drink down.
I received a bike for my birthday last year. It was something I’ve always wanted, and I was super excited to have another way to exercise and be active. Although I was initially excited about the bike, it sat in my living room for months after I got it. I decided to dedicate my mornings to riding. This was a good way to exercise, increase my endorphins, see the world, and increase my creativity. It all worked. After 21 days of cycling and gaining control of my diet, I lost 7lbs and it’s only been down from there.
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I stopped investing in my soul. I stopped praying. I was exhausted from my terrible sleeping patterns caused by drinking and a bad diet. I would fall asleep before reflecting on my day. That was a big “no-no” for me. I needed downtime to sort out my thoughts. [bctt tweet=”My mind was like a desk full of papers and no filing system. Prayer helps me create folders for my thoughts.” username=”ladylauraco”] Some thoughts need to go into the inspiration folder, while others go into the recycling bin and most importantly trash.
Prayer is something that has allowed me to be grateful. I thank God every day for the biggest and minimal things I encounter. The fact that I live with hot water, and I’ve always had a bed to sleep in at night don’t even begin to reach the amount of gratitude I have in my heart. I will never take it for granted. [bctt tweet=”Prayer is the reason I can forgive and find love in the most trivial things. I am nothing without it.” username=”ladylauraco”]
So here I am 21 days later… what I hope you will take away from my experience is that self-awareness is essential to growth and most importantly change. If you are not able to be honest with yourself and take a step back you can create irreversible damage to your mind, body, and soul.
I decided that my drinking patterns were becoming toxic. This is not to say that I’ll never pick up a drink again, but I will definitely be hyper-aware of what I’m consuming. I’m not afraid of myself, and I’ll remove anything from my life that I feel is chipping away at my spirit and self-confidence.
What are some toxic habits you realize are hindering your growth?