How long is four days? Well, aside from the smart-ass remark of some equivalent like 96 hours or 57% of a 7-day week, for me, it has been long.
I’m not exactly sure why, except maybe it was the fact that my lungs were stinging or I felt like crap every morning I woke up after drinking, that I decided to take a break from cigarettes and booze. My body has been telling me for awhile now to give it a rest, but I refused to listen, because I needed these things to help me cope with my existence.
Four days may not seem like a lot. And it’s not really, except that since Jesse and I broke up mid-May of 2012, I have not gone more than two consecutive days without alcohol. I have gone more than two consecutive days without cloves or cigarettes, but hardly, and lately, I have been smoking A LOT. I don’t really have an addictive personality, but I was starting to fear that I was becoming dependent on these substances to ease my mental suffering. This is part of why I needed to take a break: to prove that I totally can.
Another part of why is because I’ve gained about 15 pounds (from my healthy weight) since J and I broke up. At first, I lost 15 pounds, which left me at a fairly wraith-like 100lbs. This was too skinny. Then I gained it all back plus almost 15lbs more. I am very unhappy with how I look, and I do not feel like this is the right weight for my height, which is hardly over 5 feet. I still get a lot of positive reinforcement from friends and guys, and I know it’s not that bad, but I think it’s important for a person to feel sexy, healthy, and happy in their skin. I am not. That’s reason number one. Drinking is probably the number one cause of any weight gain that’s occurred.
Reason two, like I said before, was to prove that I could. To show myself that I am strong and not dependent on anything to relieve anxiety, stress, or cope with depression.
Reason three is because I am tired of feeling like crap. Aside from weight gain, I am exhausted and depleted of energy most of the time. I wake up regretting having drank and smoked the night before. I get winded going up stairs, when just a couple of years ago, I could easily run a few miles. I know the longer I continue to do both of these things so habitually, the worse it will be. No one is invincible.
I tend to consume myself with these activities and other social things that pair with them, like going out to the bar, playing darts, staying up late, going to parties, and I have been neglecting a lot of personal things I’ve wanted to attend to like spending more time with my cats, reading, organizing and cleaning my home, collecting/analyzing/processing and surrendering to my thoughts and mind while they are not dimmed or dulled by alcohol. These things are important. The world is still going on around me while I dance in a dark corner, thinking that as long as the lights are out, there’s nothing important to do until tomorrow. Well, tomorrow never comes. I keep putting it off.
Money. I save money if I don’t spend on these things. A great reason.
I do and say things I regret when I consume alcohol, as does anybody, and well, I am tired of acting a fool.
And finally, because I realized I was running away. Not only was I running away, I was running away while getting absolutely nowhere. The only place I was possibly going was deeper into a hole of misery, distraction, and corrupt thoughts. I cannot move on with my life or make good choices when I am not taking care of myself or avoiding my own thoughts.
In four days, my moods have swung high and low. Day one was great. Didn’t miss either things one single bit. Spent the evening (after a nice run on a wooded path) and short visit to my friend’s new apartment, downloading books on my new Kindle.
Day two was a little more difficult. I was thinking about both things more, but was able to push them out of my mind and keep my eyes focused on my goal. I felt more depressed than I did the first day. I went running again and spent the evening reading and doing laundry.
On day three, I had a burst of energy. The thoughts of wanting those things were still there, but I was proud of myself and noticeably feeling better only after three days. I spent the evening cooking myself a nice meal, doing laundry, tearing apart my basement to go through old things and memories, and then ended the night in bed with my cats, reading love letters that were never given to an old ex of mine—the very first time I fell in love. It was beautiful and painful to relive some of those memories. I had forgotten what that felt like—being in love like that. The most recent time has been mostly a horrible struggle, even though I felt like I was falling hard.
Day four was today. I was feeling pretty good all day. Energized. Content. I always slip into whirlwinds of happy/sad thoughts, so that’s normal for me, but overall, I was good. I went for a walk in the woods when I got home today, and set intentions for myself as well as positive thoughts for others in my life. I came home, ate, paid bills, did some chores, and now I am in bed, contemplating how ordinary, boring, and amazing the last four days have been.
I am going to a gathering tomorrow evening and plan on drinking. I do not plan on smoking. My goal is not to quit both of these forever, necessarily, just to cut way the hell back. Cloves, I think I need to stay away from for awhile. Beer, I think, is manageable in smaller doses, but my liver needed a break!
Hopefully, once the weekend is done, I will remember all the positivity I felt during the week when I was relaxing at home, having uninterrupted hours of me-time, and learning to rebuild who I am. I am processing thoughts and emotions that need to be processed, and I am realizing what I am and am not willing to deal with emotionally. I am rediscovering self-worth, and I am doing it in baby steps.
I remember my recent ex saying to me at one point during our relationship that I needed to learn how to be alone with myself. What he did not know about me is that I absolutely love to be with myself! I like the person I am when I am being healthy and good. I love my activities and hobbies, and I like quietude and relaxation. I was very unhappy with myself during the time period I was with him. Not because of him, just because of the circumstances. I was abusing substances just to survive, because my life had been a facade for six years, and I was suffering the repercussions of years of verbal and emotional abuse. As much as I loved Jesse, he was toxic to me and filling my body and mind with incessant pain and increasing numbness to that pain. I brought all that with me to my next relationship, which is why I couldn’t stand to be alone. I needed reassurance continually. I am happy to say that for awhile now, but especially more recently, I am content to be alone.
Everyone has a breaking point. I had been building up to mine for a long, long time. It has been difficult enough for me to watch others I love and care about do this to themselves, but for me to be doing the same? It made me realize that I know I won’t go anywhere until I make some changes. I want nothing more than for the other people in my life who do the same to better themselves, love themselves, and take better care of themselves, because I can see what it is doing to them physically, emotionally, mentally, and so on, but for some reason, I couldn’t see it in myself. More than likely, I was in strong denial of it. Not wanting to own responsibility for my actions. Being a grown up is hard. Being a grown up who is really growing UP is even harder. It comes with a lot of birth pains and a lot of deaths. But hopefully, sooner rather than later, I will re-emerge, fresh and with new skin.
How long is four days? It feels like eternities have slipped past in rolling revelations in the last 96 hours. It also feels like I still don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do. Four days is just the beginning of the rest of my life.