Thursday, April 27, 2017

4/27/17 (Thurs) - Emotional vs physical response to alcohol

The last two Sundays when I have woke up at 2:00 am (after drinking) and can't go back to sleep, I posted a question about why on a message board I am on. Many said that they thought the heart palpitations and insomnia were caused by anxiety.  I am not so sure.  I really truly believe that alcohol, no matter how little, causes that physical response in my body.  It may be the same physical feelings of anxiety but not caused by worry, disappointment, shame.  Last Sunday, yes I drank and I wasn't happy about it but I wasn't beating myself up about it at 2:00 am.  In other words my anxiety about drinking weren't causing the physical symptoms.  I believe that the presence of alcohol in my system caused my body to have the physical symptoms of heart palpitations, headaches and insomnia.  I also believe that the presence of alcohol in my system over time has physically messed with the neurotransmitter in my brain and is physically causing anxiety, depression, memory loss and exhaustion. I don't think it is all an emotional/mental response any more.  I think my body can no longer physically handle alcohol.

Monday, April 24, 2017

2/24/27 (Sun) - Stupid stupid stupid stupid!!!!!!!

It really took a lot for me to post today. I really was ready to just give up on the blogging as I feel like an idiot and am tired of posting about failure.

As you can guess, I drank last night!!!  Only two beers, but once again failed a promise I made to myself about a sober weekend.  I really don't know why. I started BBQing and a beer just sounded good, so I had one. I didn't really even wrestle with it in my mind. I just got one and drank it. No big deal. And then I drank another one but did stop at two even though I wanted a third. I would have called that a semi-success except I broke a promise to myself (for the millionth time) and I fell like crap today.

No big deal?!?!?!? I woke up at 1:30 after three hours of sleep (wnet to bed two hours past my usual bedtime) had a terrible stomach ache, a bit of a headache and never went back to sleep. Just like liast Sunday!!!  After only two beers?!?!?!?  My body is intolerant of alcohol.

So here I am - another Monday feeling tired (not so much hungover like last Monday) but still tired, pissed at myself, and grumpy. Choose the behavior....choose the consequence.

Well...I can't change it and I won't stop trying so here is to next weekend being a sober weekend.

And I would like to apologize to myself for being a dumb ass yet again.

Now that all of that is out......I am going to try to stay positive about my road to sobriety rather than dwell on my failure.

Back to climbing that damn hill...

Image result for sober rocks


Sunday, April 23, 2017

4/23/17 (Sun) - Two down, one to go

I did not drink.  We even went to dinner with my sister. She had wine. I had seltzer.  After I ordered the seltzer, she says,"You on the wagon again?" I said, "Yes, for this weekend. I drank quite a bit last weekend and felt terrible on Monday.  I am taking a break this weekend." It was fine. She had to take her boys somewhere after anyways so it felt good that I wasn't drinking therefore she wouldn't want to drink anymore than one glass either.

One more day and I'm good until next weekend.   It is nice and sunny outside, and I am going to BBQ. I may get some cravings, but I'm not gonna drink today.

I will enjoy being sober today.

Image result for enjoy being sober

Saturday, April 22, 2017

4/22/17 (Sat) - One down, Two to go

I am a weekend drinker (which I pay for during the week).  If I can get through today and tomorrow, I will be good until next weekend. I am going to reread and remind myself how awful I felt last Monday after a weekend of drinking.  When the cravings begin, I am going to read my post from last Monday.  I don't know if I will get together with my sister, but if I am not confident I can say no to drinking, I will tell her I still am not feeling well.  I want to be sober this weekend so I can start healing and getting back in shape for the summer.  I am 20 pounds overweight, and I am sick of it.  I know I will be too depressed and exhausted to work out next week if I drink this weekend.

I am determined to have a Sober Saturday.

Friday, April 21, 2017

4/21/17 (Fri) - Success for today

I had two offers tonight to get together - friends and my sister.  I would have drank. I told all of them that I wasn't feeling that well (which isn't a complete lie), stayed home and watched tv. Going to bed soon (before 9:00) lol.

My sister wants to get together tomorrow. Not sure what I will do...

But today I was successful :)  Friday's are hard.  The fact that is was rainy helped.

4/21/27 (Fri) - Nervous

I haven't had a sober weekend in a awhile. I have gotten back in the habit of drinking as soon as I get home on Friday afternoon. Not usually too much, but still.  Saturday I am back in the habit of coordinating some kind of situation (getting together with neighbors or family or going out to dinner or just looking around the neighborhood texting any of my drinking friends with a "what's up" and hoping they mention "wanna have a drink").  I feel like I am plotting and planning in my head all day to have an excuse to drink in the late afternoon/evening. Lately, I have been drinking too much on Saturdays and feeling crappy on Sunday. If I do manage to moderate on Saturday, then I usually figure out a way to justify drinking on Sunday (family dinner, BBQ, yard work, just happen to go outside when my neighbor is out there bc I know she will always say "wanna have a beer?",  then I act like "well, idk, it's Sunday, I have to work tomorrow, OK just one (which is never just one). It is all so much bullshit and planning nd energy.  Then I wake up Monday and fell terrible just trying to get through the day. I don;t work out. I eat like crap, I am bloated, exhausted, depressed, etc. I don't start feeling better until Thursday and start the whole cycle over.  In fact, my brain was telling me yesterday - just drink - who cares - try harder - don't blog - summer is coming - you can;t do this over summer - just work out - you are fine.

SHUT UP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 I AM NOT DRINKING THIS WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Whoa, wait a minute-----------I am staying sober this weekend!  There that feels better.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

4/20/17 (Thurs) - Climbing the mountain

Image result for mountain

I was a a training for work yesterday and although they were talking about teaching related stuff, I kept thinking about how it also applied to my quest for sobriety.  There were three things I wrote down:

When changing, you move through four steps

unconscious incompetence - you don't even know you have a problem  
conscious incompetence  - you know you have a problem
conscious competence  - you work really hard on the problem
unconscious competence  - the problem is resolved - no longer takes huge amounts of effort

I think I have been back and forth between steps 2 and 3 for a long time - usually in step 2, trying to be in step 3, hoping to someday be in step 4.

"People have built quite successful careers describing the hill, measuring the hill, walking around the hill, taking pictures of the hill and so forth. Sooner or later, somebody needs to actually climb the hill." from Six Secrets of Change by Pfeffer

I have worn a deep path around the "sobriety hill" not only doing those things but also trying to figure out the grass on the hill, why it grows there, when it was created, if I can change it, if it even needs changing, who else has been on the hill, if they climbed it, how they climbed it, how long did they stay on it, what kind of animals live on it, have ever lived on it, if there is another way around it, if I can get to the top without actually climbing it, do I even need to get to the top, is it even fun up there, etc.....you get the point.  Who gives a shit! Just climb the damn hill already! Also I feel like it is more of a mountain as shown above rather than nice little grassy hill.

We often lose focus when the business of daily school (life) happens. We shift into a reactive role. responding to chaos, rather than proactively working towards goals that might address some of the underlying reasons for the chaos." -Aguilar

I totally get that, except the chaos of drinking is in my brain.  When tomorrow night arrives (or maybe even tonight - you know Thirsty Thursday) the chatter, negotiating, convincing, screaming, chaotic voice in my head will begin telling me to drink - that I'm not that bad and I can moderate if I just try harder.  I need to have a plan to get through that.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

4/19/17 (Wed) - I will stay sober and present this weekend

Image result for standing on a burning bridge

I am not going to say "I will not drink" because that is not doing something which feels like I am missing out - going without something.  I am going to say "I am staying sober" like I am giving myself a gift, like it is my choice and I am adding something instead of taking something away.

I was sitting outside last nigh,t in the dark letting my dogs out and started thinking.  I really do enjoy the feeling of being sober.  So I started thinking about why. Besides the obvious reason of not having a 3 day hangover I was thinking about my actual feelings while drinking,. Comparing how I feel when I drink to when I don't. It is so hard to articulate. When I drink I feel a sense of urgency. Although I feel relaxed, I feel a little impatient. Maybe impatient with conversations/situations/ people.  Too impatient to wash my face or do the dished before I go to bed. I also feel a little hyper but also super lazy and out of it. I get hyper like around making dinner for guests or dominating conversations but also lazy like I just want to sit in my chair and continue to drink. It is so hard to explain how it makes me feel and why I like it.  I am not so sure I actually like it while I am doing it.  I just really like it before I start and am thinking about it. And then i just get ind of out of it and don;t want to stop.  What is it I like so much about being buzzed?  Maybe it is that I can just not think about all the chores and things I should or could be doing. Maybe it is just to shut of my brain for a little while and not think. Maybe it is to socialize without getting bored with conversations.  Maybe it is two fold - to fight boredom but also make me not think about the responsibilities of life.

Anyways - when I was sitting outside last night (sober) I was trying to pinpoint what I like about the feeling of being sober.  I like that I take care of responsibilities (even stupid stuff like laundry or house cleaning) which I will totally put off if I spend a weekend drinking and then the following week recovering. I like that I feel calmer inside myself.  That irritable, impatient, uncomfortable (I can't find the right word) person calms down for the most part. She only comes back out when the weekend comes and I can't drink.

I think the thing I like the most about being sober (besides not having debilitating hangovers and being depressed and anxious and exhausted and out of shape) is the feeling of being present.  While sitting outside last night my thoughts were on the wind in the trees, the moon in the sky, the dogs sniffing around, the smell of dampness in the air. If I were drinking last night I would have either not even let them outside before bed or certainly not sat down outside and just enjoyed the moment.  I feel like I enjoy things when I drink, but how much can I really enjoy them if all my senses are numbed and I am not present.

Distracted - that's the word I feel when I drink. It some sort of weird distracted feeling in my own head - not with outside things. Like I'm not really paying attention to anything or anyone around me. I sort of am but not really. It feels very selfish.  It is a difference between feeling distracted and being present.

I don't know if any of that makes any sense. I suppose I am just still in analysis paralysis when the simple answer is just don't drink (whoops - just stay sober).  I heard someone say once - Why have I stayed on this burning bridge for all of these years trying to figure out why it is burning?  Why don't I just get off the bridge? It is all so stupid!

Monday, April 17, 2017

4/17/17 (Sun) - Day 1

Well...it is 2:30 in the morning and I have only gotten 4 hours of sleep. I feel terrible and have to go to work today.

This was Easter weekend and I had 16 drinks over the course of the weekend.  Friday I started at 4:00 and only had 3 light beers but I had promised myself I wasn't going to drink at all this weekend as I drank too much last weekend.  Saturday probably had 7 beer (some high content IPA beers) and yesterday more than a whole bottle of wine.

The first thing I wanted to do when I got up is go back on my blog and look at how bad the past Easter weekends had been.  I don't think I have ever been sober (except when pregnant) during the spring.  It is so hard for me.  Why do I always want to look back and analyze how bad I have been for so long? Am I still trying to convince myself that I need to quit?  How many more weekends, months, years am I going to spend fighting this?  I am tired. I give up.  I give in.  You win, alcohol. You have beat me. I can't control you. I am back to planning and plotting my next drinking evening - trying to get people together, hosting parties, rationalizing, craving, sneaking, getting that insatiable need of wanting more even though everyone else is done, texting people to come over just so I can keep drinking,

I need a break. My body needs a break. My brain needs a break. My soul needs a break.

I know it is easy to say "I quit" at 2:00 in the morning when I can't sleep after a bad weekend. I know I will feel differently by Wednesday when that open bottle of wine is calling to me. If I can hold off until Friday, I am 100% positive I will have changed my mind and want to drink.

I need to figure out how to fight my addiction voice on Friday when it tells me I can drink, that I am fine, that I will just try harder to control the beast.

Don't tell me I need to get help. I am not getting help. I can do this on my own.  Maybe I can't do this on my own. Maybe that is why I have been trying for so long and failing.  What is wrong with me? I am not going to AA - too much stigma - probably too many memories of of my father and AA and it still didn't help him - his addiction killed him.

I am a strong, intelligent person.  I can do this on my own.  I know I can, I just need to try harder. I just need to want more from my life. I need to not care what everyone else thinks. I need to give sobriety a fighting chance. I want to be free of this obsession and see what a great life I can have alcohol free.  I do believe all of you happy sober people out there. I just need to believe it can happen for me.  I want to enjoy my life without alcohol.

I CAN DO THIS!!!  I WILL DO THIS!!!

Friday, April 14, 2017

4/14/17 (Fri) - Rapid, thudding heart beat after one drink?

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/hangovers/beyondhangovers.htm

Very interesting article about all the ways alcohol damages the body.

Question for all of you out there - when I drink anything (even just one beer, glass of wine or hard seltzer), my heart beats really hard when I go to bed. It feels like it is going to beat out of my chest.  It beats more quickly than normal and kind of has this rolling over thudding feeling.  Its so bad it keeps me awake for hours.  I get that binge drinking will cause this - but one drink?  Anyone have any medical evidence of what is happening?


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

4/12/17 - (Wed) Feeling better

I feel a little less bloated, depressed, exhausted, anxious, sad, blah, hopeless today.  I know drinking this weekend will bring it back so let's see if I can have a sober weekend.  It's been awhile.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

4/11/17 (Tues) - Looking back - no progress

Image result for no progress

One of the reasons I keep this blog is to be able to examine my journey.  Well, it appears that my journey is a whole lot of bullshit talking without a lot of actual action and/or change...

April 2016
After all of that writing and thinking and pondering and analyzing and problem solving and list making and convincing....I drank Saturday!!!!! I am so stupid.   I was going to abstain all of April.  I have except for twice.  Here were my excuses both times.  Two Saturdays ago we went out to dinner with my sister at a nice restaurant - big trigger for wine btw!  I told myself that I had drank so many weekends during February and March (after abstaining in January) bc I wasn't taking my naltrexone. So I was going to try it (taking the 1/4 pill an hour before and then allowing myself 2 (max 3) drinks. I had used it before Christmas and it really was helping.  Well if you remember, I had 1 beer and 2 glasses of wine and felt like hell the next day. Couldn't seep all night and was exhausted Sunday swearing I was taking a break (it pisses me off, btw, that I feel this bad after only 3 drinks!!!!). Well, this last Saturday I talked myself into drinking by saying, "Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it would be different with beer."  So I drank 3 beers (one light and 2 IPA 8%).  Well, guess what? I slept 3 whole hours of the 7 I was in bed (anxious, heart racing, sweating) and felt like shit yesterday - after 3 beers!!!!  I wasted another weekend day sitting on the couch and am waking up on one more Monday feeling tired. 

April 2015
I don't know why it has to come down to enjoying my weekends at the expense of feeling depressed/anxious the rest of the week or being in a better place overall but having crappy weekends.

I do know that when I am not drinking at all, I will go to bed and wake up with a smile on my face probably 80% of the time. When I am drinking on the weekends, that never happens.  I do get a smile on my face later in the day when it is almost time to drink but usually I wake up the a frowny, furrowed brow, grumpy face. 

I wonder if maybe the 10 drinks I had this weekend were just too much for me, that I have to be really careful about the amount I consume.  Maybe that is enough to make me grumpy, depressed and anxious. 

I do know that I told myself that I was only going to use alcohol in social situation where I just felt extremely awkward not to be drinking.  I don't want to have to avoid these thing and isolate myself, which is what always causes me to give up my abstinence goals.

I did not hold true to that promise this weekend.  While I did not get crazy or drink too much I did drink yesterday by myself. I just felt like having a beer while putting away groceries and then finishing that last glass of wine with dinner.  I found myself choosing high alcohol beer and wine instead of light beer so I could drink less - kind of that chasing the buzz thing. I found myself really wishing there was more wine left or wondering if anyone would notice if I went and got one more beer - kind of a craving type of thing. My dh was not not drinking and while I wasn't really hiding it or sneaking, I was hoping that he (or my ds) would notice.  I think that somewhere inside I realized I wasn't keeping my promises to myself and I didn't care.

I am not ready to give up drinking entirely.  I need to go into next weekend with a plan.  It is simply not enough anymore to simply say that if I don't have a hangover, then I had a good weekend.  I need to keep the amount I consume down so that I don't get anxious and depressed.  I truly believe that drinking (even moderately on the weekends) causes my body to have anxiety with leads to me feeling really crappy.  I used to think it was all in  my head - that I just obsessed too much, but I now know that I have physical response to consuming alcohol that last far beyond just having a hangover the next day.

April 2014
Well...I have not had a hangover since new Year's Day but I have increased my drinking.  Spring is the hardest time of year for me.  School is almost out, sun is shining, vacations coming up, neighbors/friends call me to come out and "play". I think I drank every day over spring break. Not too many (maybe 2 -3 per day), but everyday is just way to much for me.  Got to get back on track...just saying.....


April 2013
Well, I had been sober for 255 days yesterday.  The last time I posted I was my birthday in January.  Since then, things had been going pretty well, except my lack of energy.  I had been sober for 8 and a half months and I just could not seem to get my energy back.  I couldn't get to the gym, I couldn't get things checked of my to do list on the weekends...I just had no drive, no purpose, no energy at all. 

With alcohol I was doing pretty good.  I even went to a couple of socials events, didn't drink and still had fun.  Everyone was so proud of my, and I was proud of myself, but just felt lifeless.

I have come to realize that it isn't necessarily the "buzz"  that I miss so much...i don't really miss feeling a little out of it and not 100% present which I have really enjoyed this last 255 days. It is the anticipation of the environment of the "buzz."  I used to live for the weekends.  I would look so forward to doing things and being social.  It almost gave me energy.  I know I was probably just looking forward to feeding my addiction, but I really have not missed that "buzzed" feeling.  I really do miss looking forward to something.  Everything just seems so boring and drab and lifeless. 

I have been overall much happier with my own sense of well being these last few months, but have also sort of slipped into this depressed boredom. 

Last night we went to dinner with my sister and her boyfriend.  We have all had our differences in the past and I was so looking forward to this "rekindling" of our relationship.  We got there and she was having a glass of red wine, and I found myself literally overcome with jealously and anxiety.  I couldn't even carry on a conversation.  It just hit me out of the blue.  I could tell they were uncomfortable with the fact that I wasn't drinking.  I was uncomfortable.  I so desperately don't want it to be like that.  I look around the really nice steak restaurant and see all the table enjoying a glass of wine and I suddenly get pissed off.  I want to have a glass of wine dammit!  I want to sit here, have a nice adult dinner with my sister and enjoy a glass of wine, dammit!  I couldn't even focus!  It was crazy!  Before you knew it, I had ordered and was enjoying a glass of red wine.

I don't know how I feel about it.  On the one hand I slept like crap...I had hot flashes all night. That hasn't happened in about 7 months so I know it was the alcohol and I am more tired than usual today.  I know that I feel much better when I don't drink, but I am not emotionally beating myself up.  i promised myself last night that I wouldn't do that if I chose to have a glass of wine.  I am a little disappointed that I didn't make it a year and am not sure if I will drink again. 

April 2012
Well this weekend didn't go that great.  First off, I did not have a hangover and that is my true measure of progress. but ..... my numbers were not great. 

I am feeling a little bit if that "bury it and move on" feeling.  Like I just don't want to look at it, talk about it, feel it, examine it, SEE it.  I just want to forget about it and do better next weekend.  But ..... that is not how I am going to get better.  I promised myself I would no longer be in denial and really look at how I am doing so......

Wednesday - had 1 beer .... wasn't even going to admit that.  I don't know why.  It just sounded good, I was cooking, the thought popped into my mind and before even letting myself think about it, I had one open.  Broke a rule - no drinking on weekdays.

Friday - had 2 - not that big of a deal, but I am starting to get that "It's Friday!  Let's have a beer!" feeling again early in the afternoon.  That's concerning.  I bought my first bottle of wine since before Christmas for my friend who just went through something pretty tough with her daughter.  I think that might have just been an excuse. I could have just bought her beer.  Had one glass of wine with dinner.

Saturday - Had one beer early evening by myself - another rule broken. Kind of like pre drinking since I knew I was getting together with my neighbor.  Brought that bottle of wine over to my neighbors and had wine on her front porch - HUGE rule broken - no partying with wine.  Still ate dinner and drank lots of water, but ended up having 5!  The scariest part of that was that at 10:30 when the wine was gone, I almost opened up a beer.  I really wanted to, but I didn't.  I went home and went to bed. I could sit here and say that it was still progress, but that would be a lie.

Sunday - Another neighbor came over and "made me" come have a beer with her.  Another rule broken - nothing on Sunday if I already drank on Fri and Sat.

Total for the week 9 - UNACCEPTABLE!  What is more worrisome to me than the number is the way my head feels like it is slipping back into those "whatever, bury it, don't see it, do better next time" feelings.  I also woke up Sunday morning feeling a little guilty.  I do not want those feelings back.  I guess I need to figure out what to do this weekend.

July 2011 (started blog)
10:00 - Well I got through yesterday-easy didn't even feel like drinking.  Self loathing, disappointment, exhaustion, eating crappy, doing nothing ... you know the drill.  Didn't sleep well last night - to be expected.  Woke up this morning having a dream of pouring myself a beer - what does that mean?  That's a little scary.  Feel down, depressed, tired ... always the same on day 2.  At least I am starting to recognize the patterns.  I won't want anything to drink today either .... will really focus on taking care of myself .... lots of water, healthy food, no sugar, low sodium ... gym - maybe/maybe not.  Don't really feel like it right now.

I was looking back at my row - 36 drinks in 11 days ... 5 reds in 13 days  ...  4 abs in 20 days  ....  not were I want to be

Feeling positive ..  just need to keep myself calm ....  I tend to get pretty geared up when thinking about drinking

4:00 - I think I am seriously depressed today.  I have now learned that alcohol has a chemically depressive effect on me.  I was going to get back to normal today, and all I feel like doing is going back to bed and sleeping ... maybe crying first.  I don't want to see anyone, talk to anyone, do anything.  Hoping tomorrow will be better.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

4/10/17 (Mon) - Negative Effects of Alcohol

Here are some of the negative effects I am experiencing right now bc of my weekend alcohol consumption (besides the obvious debilitating effect of hangovers at least every other weekend). These are effects I feel starting when I go to bed and for at least 2-3 days following drinking

Physical effects
Heart palpitations - happens every time I drink and try to sleep - feels like my heart is rolling over
Chest discomfort - maybe I am imagining it
Tired all the time - bc I can't sleep
Indigestion/heartburn - like seriously hurting my throat every time I drink and try to go to sleep
Feeling of allergies in the morning - congestion/itchy watery eyes and nose
Dehydration - causing lethargy, wrinkly skin
Indigestion problems - constipation for days followed by cramping and diarrhea
Lack of motivation - therefore out of shape - 20 pounds overweight which causes depression

Mental Effects
Easily distracted
Am not thinking 100% clearly - kind of in a mental fog
Sometimes have trouble articulating clearly (when sober) - words get jumbled up
Inability to make any decisions at all about anything - extreme analysis paralysis
Trouble following through with projects, household chores, etc.
Can't get more than 5 hours of sleep at night - difficulty falling asleep
Cannot keep any goal I set for myself at all ever
Extreme anger at myself - always beating myself up - feeling defeated

Emotional Effects
Feeling like I need to hide from everyone and isolate causing feelings of loneliness
Extreme anxiety causing insomnia
Not feeling like I am available to anyone because I am living in my own little nightmare
Depression - never feeling any joy or true happiness
Exhaustion - feel like I am dragging myself through my days
Lack of motivation to do anything
Irritability with everyone all  the time
Don;t really even like my life so think about leaving/divorcing/living by myself
Extreme worry about everything
No feeling of joy in my life

And this one is new and kinda scares me a lot - it is really hard to explain.
I almost feel like there is something wrong with my brain. Last night - my brain felt so strange (even after only 2 beers) when I was trying to fall asleep for like 4 hours.  I felt like every time I sort of fell asleep I had kind of a half asleep dream/hallucinate and then woke up. Like once I truly felt my son come into my room, lay down next to me and tell me his head didn't feel right and in my sleeping stupor I couldn't respond. Then I woke up and felt like it really happened - like I could feel the weight of him next to me. This happened over and over with different situations.  It was the weirdest thing. I truly felt like I was awake when it was happening only to immediately wake up and feel confused with my brain feeling really weird like I was loosing my mind.  Has anyone else experienced that before? What the hell is that?

And all of this for what???????  To feel like I fit in with my friends? To have a drink while I cook? To drink and sit in the sun? To be able to look forward to a weekend/vacation of drinking?

I have a felling I better figure out how to enjoy my life without alcohol before it does some serious, irreversible damage to my brain and body.

I need to figure it out before it is too late.  How do I choose to live without alcohol before it ruins me?