My drinking. I realized that I hated this version of myself. There I was, a grown-ass man acting like a complete fool because of my drinking. How humiliating!
How many more times would I have to feel guilty about my lack of control? How many more times was I going to feel embarrassed after hearing how I acted the night before? A part of you will feel scared before you quit. Personally, I hated that feeling of letting people down, especially my mother and my friends.
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Where many alcoholics fail Believe me when I say I tried all the popular methods to quit drinking: I isolated myself I joined Alcoholics Anonymous I poured out all of my alcohol I told my friends I wasn't drinking and hoped they'd support me And nothing changed until I admitted that I was terrified and willing to change my bad habits. Only then could I move forward. View on Amazon Download free chapter. A month later, I packed up everything I owned and moved to be with my family in Kansas. With New York City firmly in my rearview mirror, I slowly headed toward a new life forever removed from the bottle.
I fully expected sobriety to be boring. On clear nights, I would head to a particularly unremarkable lake in southern Kansas to lie on the dock and gaze at the stars. As the months passed and this practice became habit, I began to fall in love with this spot, with the way the moon reflected in the water.
All the Mexican beaches and French mountains I had once viewed with blurry eyes paled in comparison.
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The process of getting and staying sober involved a lot more than keeping booze out of my body. It forced me to interact with other people, grow more comfortable in my own skin, and, eventually, learn to look the world in the eye—all things that let me know I was ready to start traveling again. So when my gourmand friend invited me to go chase some Michelin stars in Copenhagen shortly after I hit a year of sobriety, I said yes.
Venturing outside of your support system always raises the anxiety meter a bit, especially for an introverted alcoholic. But every factor of that first trip worked in perfect tandem to ease the tension: The itinerary centered around food and sightseeing instead of bars. I downloaded WhatsApp so I could reach my sponsor at any hour. And, most importantly, I was traveling with a friend who already knew about—and enthusiastically supported—my sobriety.
To this day, I am very grateful that I saved all of my blackouts and binges for cheap venues. We ended our first night in Copenhagen with a quick trip to Tivoli Gardens , hopping on the Star Flyer ride before the park closed.
As I took in the dusk-lit skyline with my legs dangling feet above the ground, it occurred to me that my life without alcohol was better than anything I had ever imagined. I felt a warmth in my chest, startlingly similar to the warmth that used to follow the first whiskey of the night. As goose bumps rose on my forearms, I heard the following thought so clearly, it felt like someone was whispering in my ear: This must be freedom.
Cried in three different countries. Broke my phone in two different countries. Lost my suitcase on an international flight.
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Helped a farmer wrangle a sheep off the side of the road in Iceland. Chatted with fellow travelers outside the confines of a bar or pub. Remembered to pack my anti-depressants on every trip. And best of all, returned from vacations without dreading the life waiting for me at home. Before I quit drinking, my most vivid memory involved McCormick Vodka and a sticky floor.
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