It’s been over five weeks since I haven’t had any alcohol. I was expecting this to be pretty easy, since common sense says “Do not poison yourself and you’ll be just fine”. The effects of not drinking should have been good right? My experience has been the exact opposite.
- The body is more tired since it is not getting enough calories – seems changing eating habits takes a while. Most of my calories came from alcohol and a quick search on google will tell you that these alcohol calories are simply sugar. To make up for the lack of nutrients in a beer diet, the brain apparently makes adjustments by reducing some hormones and increasing others. Take out the beer and whatever’s left in the diet, the brain goes crazy. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been on a sugar binge like never in my life. Think tubs of ice-cream and anything with sugar in it. As the body craves for nutrients, my lack of a proper diet, eating at the right times etc., leads to tiring out and feeling depressed.
- Sleep. It’s common knowledge that alcoholics drink themselves to sleep. It was no different for me and alcohol was the sleeping pill on any given night. Now take that away and I cannot sleep. It looks like I’ve “lost” the skill to sleep by myself. I have been up till 3AM or 4AM most days, wasting my time watching netflix. One general advice is to read instead of watching TV and this helps sometimes.
- Exercise or the lack of it. Again, the problem here is the lack of a routine before quitting. All of a sudden, exercise becomes an issue. First, the body cannot do much (it’s sorta wasted out) and there is no energy to exercise (general fatigue and depression compounds this). Secondly, I dont know where to start and how I can add this to my routine. When one needs to start with figuring out a 24hr gym membership it soon becomes a lost cause.
- They say that the root cause of alcoholism has to do with the soul. Something’s not correct in the thinking, being able to handle stress etc., and it leads to drinking. This root cause does not go away with quitting alcohol. You hit the grand realization that there’s a shit load of work remaining to be done and that it’ll take a better part of your remaining life to do so.
In fact, the biggest downer is the fact that you started at -100 when you were drinking. When you stop, you get to, say, -10. You think that something big was accomplished, and true, it’s something big for you. But the rest of the world carries on and in their eyes nothing has been accomplished. You were stupid to have gotten to -100 to start with and now that you’re still not ‘normal’ do not expect a pat on the back!
Which brings me to patience and faith. Without faith that it’s all worth it and that things are pointing in the right direction, it’s easy to give up( especially when you have a society and a bunch of people goading you to drink, but more on that later). I have to believe (without any evidence) that it’s for the good. That things will take care of themselves, if I stay the path. And loads of patience. I would love to have the effect and outcome I desire (which is be energetic, less depressed or moody, etc. etc.) fast, but things take their own time. It’ll take some time (and I dont know how much) to heal the body and mind that was subject to copious amounts of alcohol for the last 3-4 years.
My engine used to run on alcohol, now I need to tune it to run on faith and patience. It’s a work in progress and I can only believe that it’ll all be fine in the end.