When I get home, I'll take care of the kids, make dinner, go workout, and then have a drink. By that point in the night, I have "earned" it, my kids will be asleep (or just about in bed), and I can relax with my husband and enjoy a cocktail...or two.
Sometimes I made it through all chores and working out. Sometimes the chores, and sometimes not. Sometimes coming home at 5pm sounded like a great time to have a first drink!
The first drink went down quickly and smoothly. It was the beginning to taking the edge off. I looked forward to that first drink all day. A great day earned a drink. A frustrating day did as well. So did a long day, or a PMS day, or a celebratory day. Any day could be configured into a day that deserved a drink. Easily.
The second drink came quickly, in an attempt to elevate the slight buzz from drink #1. At this point I would say I was in the most desirable state of being; it's too bad I can't ever remember that and stop.
Drink #2 always became #3, and sometimes even #4.
Drink #3 and 4 almost always brought on sleepiness, and usually an early night. My husband never seemed to get as tired as I did. Crawling into bed early seemed soooo desirable at the time every night. Oh to get 9 hours of sleep! Especially being the parent of 2 young kids...who get up early...oh, to get the extra sleep.
Upon waking up in the morning, sometimes I felt pretty good considering I had 3 drinks the night before, and sometimes I felt somewhat crappy, due to the fact that I had 4 drinks. Actually, I felt like I was a responsible drinker if I could get the maximum buzz the night before and still feel great the next morning.
But this is when the vicious cycle began. On the drive to work, thinking to myself, I beat myself up over drinking the night before.
OK, I need to quit. Or take a break. Or slow down. Tonight I will skip drinking. Tonight I will take a break, workout, and skip the drinks until the weekend. I shouldn't be drinking every day. If I take a break tonight, I can drink Friday night. My kids deserve a mom who doesn't drink every night. I shouldn't need to drink to be more patient with my kids. OK, I am NOT going to drink tonight. Done. OK, I can do this.
All day, this thought process would continue, and mentally I felt like I could stay on track. Until the drive home. The closer I got to my house, the more I let myself say things like...
Oh, today was a great day, let's celebrate with a drink! or Rick will be coming home from happy hour, and I'll want to drink with him. or I have Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to skip drinking, I can drink just on Monday.
And then the next evening began, all over again.
I think the longest I quit was:
- 1 day (workout goal)
- 4 days (losing weight goal, actually lost 3 pounds!)
- 9 months (pregnancy)
- very limited drinking (during breastfeeding times - 8 months and 1 year)
- 3 months (last year, one other attempt, just like this one)
I obviously cannot stay away for periods of time on my own (unless birthing is involved)And I obviously cannot limit the amount on my own (unless we ran out!)
Therefore, I should not be drinking at all. Tough sentence to write, think, say, did I mention THINK? But I'm slowly getting used to the idea, and I am doing my best to take each day at a time.
The best result of all this? I have such clarity about how much fun and wonderful and awesome my kids are. I always knew this, OF COURSE. But in my mind, alcohol made me more patient, made me tolerate the tantrums better, made me settle the sibling fights better, and made me a more fun parent to be around.
That was all a delusion.
NOW I am patient (most of the time...PMS is still the exception to the rule), now I tolerate the tantrums better (wait, does anyone ever get good at these?), I settle the sibling fights better (actually, they don't fight that much....yet) and I'm a more fun parent to be around. I'm sober enough to recognize, "damn, I'm fun!"
And in all this clarity, I am seeing more awesomeness in my kids. And I'm remembering it the next day. That is priceless. That is the reason I made this change. They are the reason I am changing my life.
More to come on their awesomeness in a future post. 'Cause everyone loves to hear about other people's kids, right?