Mostly, I am content and life is good. But I often have to remind myself of this because to get where I am at today in just over a year’s time has required a LOT of sacrifices. So far, on this blog, I have not focused on them because I truly want to encourage people and show that anyone can change their life if they are seriously committed. But, in all fairness I would like to share some naked truths .
When I started what I call my “Life Recovery” back in November of 2018, I knew it had to begin with quitting alcohol for good and as I continued adding my other goals , here are some of the things I went through:
-I had to sacrifice breads, pasta, rice potatoes and almost ALL sweets 75% of the time, and I mean immediately. When I read some of the recovery information I expected to lose all kinds of weight when in fact the opposite is true at least for women. Most of those reporting large amounts of weight loss are men and even some men gain weight. This is usually because we start substituting junk/comfort food for alcohol. I met many women in AA in this situation. With quitting cigarettes , both male & female typically gain weight . Be prepared to accept the weight gain or fight it hard. I have felt like I am deprived and/or starving much of the time.
- I still felt hungover sometimes when I woke up for the a few weeks. Sure, I had my good energy days, but be aware there are no sudden miracles. My energy level did not suddenly and consistently soar. Even now, with adding more cardio drinking more water and eating better, I cannot say I feel like a teenager again. But I DO feel a little better each week as long as I stay consistent .And I NEVER feel like a ‘zombie’ anymore( unless it’s a very unusual circumstance- like a 29 ½ hr move!)
- I suffered with major insomnia for about 4 months. I did anything I could think of without resorting to sleep medication- hot baths, massage pads, frequent meditation, switching to decaf coffee.. sometimes it helped, sometimes not. This is happening again with quitting cigarettes. But at least this time I know it will pass eventually.
- My skin has only shown a very slight improvement. I think this really depends on a lot of OTHER factors for each individual -including permanent sun damage, normal aging, stress levels, environment( dry air, exposure to chemicals), as well as nutrition & hydration play factors. None of us are going to miraculously look 20 years younger, despite some of those before & after photos out there. I have noticed less break outs but not much else.
- I had to sacrifice most of my social life to stay focused on my goals. This means I have been extremely lonely for a long time now. I rarely see friends, and have not been as active in the community, nor have i been dating, on social media or any of my usual shenanigans .. Isolation and avoiding temptations/ triggers has been a necessary evil for me.
- Depression. While most of my chronic anxiety went away after the first month, I still– deal with bouts of depression. Quitting toxic addictions of any type will cause this until you adjust, and that can take a long time. But take heart-I hear it usually doesn’t take as long as you have had the addiction itself.
- I ‘feel’ boring( not drinking), I ‘feel’ like an outsider( not on Facebook), and I ‘feel’ like I have nothing to look forward to( not even a cigarette) on MANY days. I really have to put in effort to stay positive-it doesn’t just come naturally.
- I watch a LOT of Netflix, take a LOT of walks & hot baths, write a LOT, and sleep as much as possible. Anything to get through down times, cravings , anxiety or whatever life throws at me. When you quit so many things in such a short time- those things become more frequent, and more exaggerated. I also pace a lot, take more deep breaths than anyone I know, and talk to myself because there is no one else to do it when I need encouragement. Reading other blogs has been a life saver.
- Outside of the recovery and addiction issues, there are/were other sacrifices. Financially, I have had to cut corners on everything from hair care to food choices as well as cut costs on things like cell service, car insurance, internet costs, and many other things in order to save for a home of my own and pay down debt. A lot of times I had to do without many if the things I really enjoyed or was used to. Example: sometimes I couldn’t even rent an online movie once a month, at times I used butter as a skin moisturizer , and a for several months I wore 2 pairs of socks over each other because of holes( and most of my shoes even had holes!). Eventually I treated myself, but NOT until I felt I was in the “safe zone”.i also took on several projects and jobs that I was paid less than what I was worth for just to make a few dollars.
- But the worst of it was having to come clean to myself, my friends, my family and the world at large by acknowledging and admitting that I had so any flaws and shortcomings. I had many amends to make and mistakes to correct that would not have been necessary if I had made better life choices in the past. It has been humbling, humiliating, and created a lot of doubt and uncertainty for me but has also enlightened me and freed me of more burdens than I could have imagined.
Every day has new challenges and new miracles( balance) .And I take comfort in seeing the fruits of my labors and the effects of my new choices (on me and those around me).And I know the best is yet to come!