i need some help. i’m inside a week of not drinking for an entire year. this is uncharted territory for me. i’ve gone a month, maybe 2 in the past, more as “tests” to see if i could do it. this past year of abstinence from alcohol has come as a result of ┬ásome very poor choices i made, and a suggestion from my therapist. i really do believe that i was heading down a dangerous path and i’m really glad i took the year to get some distance and perspective on my drinking habits.

i’ve thought for a really long time that eventually i would stop drinking, like many years as i was growing up. my dad quit when he was in his early 30’s, plus i think i have the addict gene. and if not, my heritage certainly isn’t on my side. i kind of just thought it was something that i would do.

i’ve written ad nauseum about this past year, but when i think about what my mindframe / extracurricular activities and desires were a year ago, i feel like a completely different person. i was never one to pass up happy hour, going out for a drink or two (or 3) sometimes 3 nights a week if the opportunity was there. now, the thought really doesn’t cross my mind to hang out after work. on one hand that is great, but on the other there are some people and coworkers that i don’t really see anymore because of that.

another thing that i notice is a stronger sense of self. i don’t second guess myself as much as i used to, and i have an easier time resisting anyone that wants me to compromise my self worth.

this past year i’ve really not had many (any really, after i got my legal situation under control) episodes of impending doom, or the feeling of drowning, it’s hard to not draw the correlation to not drinking. granted i’ve also made efforts to stay on track with my finances, with HUGE help from a friend and that is a very comforting feeling.

recognizing familial dramatic situations as they are unfolding is also a much easier minefield to navigate when not drinking.

my therapist was pretty confident when he suggested that i take a year off and then reintroduce some alcohol that i would not feel so out of control and be able to maintain a healthy relationship with it. i wish i was more confident in my abilities… from my drinker/driver class i learned that you should have 1 drink in a day, no more than 2. max 14 in a week. i worry that if i have one glass, i will want 2 and eventually i will be drinking every day. i’m afraid that drinking will make me say or do things to sabotage my financial progress or my relationship. maybe i’m thinking worst case, but those are my worries.

so, here is where you come in. i’ve written out the pros/cons that come to mind. what would YOU do? leave you suggestions in the comments..

pros for not drinking
i feel like i think very clearly
i won’t repeat past mistakes
no hangovers
saves money
no more “swollen” looking photos
won’t be in danger of spiraling out of control
i am less likely to make high risk choices

cons for not drinking
the taste of wine is so delicious
the warm tingly feeling of being buzzed
vacationing and not drinking is sad
not as much social friend time