How Do You Stop Romanticizing Alcohol?
Early sobriety is tricky. On one hand, you feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders. You no longer have to deal with hangovers, embarrassing moments, or broken promises. And your health is even improving! You’re losing weight, exercising more and getting better sleep, too!
But let’s be real. Sometimes it’s not so fun. Sometimes you feel down, out, and yes… bored.
When you very first quit drinking the challenges you experienced during your drinking days are emblazoned in your memory. It’s as if you have a new lease on life and can conquer the world. But as the weeks and months pass by, the dark parts slip away, and you sometimes see the old days through rose-colored glasses. You start to romanticize alcohol.
One of the best and worst things about early sobriety is that your thoughts and feelings are so dynamic. They’re constantly changing. You’ll gleefully soar through the pink cloud of early sobriety, then come crashing down. This is totally normal and to be expected when you make such a sweeping life change.
The problem starts when those pink bubbles burst, memories of your worst hangovers have long faded away, and you begin to romanticize the “good ole’ days”.
So, what do you do when that happens?
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1. Imagine That You And Alcohol Just Got Divorced
Depending on how alcohol-dependent you are, you may romanticize alcohol because it’s how you spent the vast majority of your free time.
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For example, if you’re used to going out in your backyard, gazing at the stars while downing a few beers and you’ve been doing that every night for years, you probably can’t see your way out.
The only solution is to accept that you’re going to have to change and grow. You can’t expect everything to be exactly the same as it once was. It’s not ever going to be exactly the same.
Depending on how long you’ve been addicted, removing alcohol from your life can be just as life-altering as a major romantic breakup or divorce.
If you lived with your spouse for 10 years, mingled finances, shared special memories, built routines together – then they moved out. You wouldn’t expect your life to be exactly the same, would you?
You’d have to adjust how the bills get paid. Your daily routine would certainly change. You wouldn’t frequent the exact same restaurants you used to go to on dates. Holiday plans would change. You’d practically have to adjust your entire life to function as a single person. You might even have to re-discover who you are and what you like to do in your new life, right?
Removing alcohol from your life is literally no different. It’s a HUGE breakup. It’s as life-altering as divorce.
You have to start all over from scratch and rebuild a new life without your toxic ex-husband, alcohol.
View it this way and accept the change! Look forward to shedding that dead weight and creating NEW memories, rituals and ways of living. It’s the start of a new life that can be even more fulfilling without alcohol.
3. Play The Tape To The End
You already know how this ends. That’s how you got here in the first place. It’s so easy to remember the good parts of our old lives. The bad is more fleeting. But you must never forget.
I went through this recently and experienced a few days of feeling down around my 6-month sobriety date.
Hubs and I planned a romantic getaway to celebrate my sobriety and I silently lamented not being able to drink at least a little.
You see, past romantic vacations with my lover were so fun, wild and free! Alcohol was a huge part of the fun, I felt.
What I found helpful was literally writing down the bad parts of those previous vacations. How I vomited on multiple occasions, don’t remember huge chunks of the fun, lost my favorite jacket, sustained foolish injuries, had to be carried through the airport, etc… How tacky!
It’s not a cure-all, but I can say for sure I don’t wish to go back to that super-lame place and be that girl again.
What about you? If you were to make a list of all the bad things that come with drinking, how many items could you check off?
3. Be Your Own Best Friend
Imagine that it’s not you in question. Imagine the person you are making the decision for is a close family member or friend who you love dearly.
What if you’ve seen this person go through hell with alcohol over the past several years, and you know how bad it is for them?
You know how horribly it has affected their lives, how much they’ve wanted to stop, and how much better they look, feel and behave since quitting.
If this loved one came to you and said “but I miss alcohol… it’s so fun and relaxing and I just want to have a glass of wine with dinner!” How would you react?
Would you recommend that they go back down that dark, winding road to their demise? Or would you encourage them to stay the course? Of course not! You’d tell them they’re doing great and you’d encourage them to stick with sobriety.
Be your own best friend. Take your own advice.
4. Understand That Romanticizing Alcohol Will Probably Be A Thing For A While
Everyone’s journey is different, and no two experiences are exactly alike. But romanticizing alcohol is pretty common and won’t go away overnight. Maybe never. It just depends.
Accepting it as a part of the recovery process is key to coping. It’s just part of the deal. If you expect it and anticipate it, it’s a little easier to handle.
You also have to remember that alcohol cravings – be they physical or mental – are fleeting. Given enough time they ALWAYS go away.
No matter what you think of yourself today, right now, at this moment you are stronger than the drink. You always have been, and always will be. You just have to believe it for yourself.
Sobriety Journaling Helps With Romanticizing Alcohol
Journaling is so good because it gives you something to do in the middle of a tough time, allows you to look back on where you’ve been, and helps you plan for the future.
For more info on the process of sobriety journaling, check out this super-popular post on how to start a gratitude journal for sobriety. It opens in a new window so you won’t lose your place.
Also, check out these cute notebooks on Amazon. Every girl needs a pretty notebook to jot down her thoughts, right? 😉