6 days is the longest I went without drinking in 2014.
It was back in July. I remember it well because it was right before my sister moved out of my apartment. In fact, the reason why I drank on day 6 was because it was the day she moved out and I thought we should celebrate.
I wasn’t trying to give up drinking at the time, I was trying to quit smoking, and if you’ve ever been a smoker, you know, the only thing better than a cigarette, is a glass of wine with that cigarette. I thought if I didn’t drink for a while I could kick my smoking habit once and for all.
I’ve struggled with smoking for a long time. It started during my conservatory training when I was 19-years-old. One thing the brochures for acting school don’t tell you, is that EVERYONE smokes at acting school. Seriously. I used to bum Marlboro Lights from my teachers.
I really didn’t think I would get addicted (I know, I sound like a PSA). But, at 27 years old I have tried everything: Chantix, cold turkey, Wellbutrin, hypnotherapy, prayer… I once ate a cigarette because I read online it would make you so sick you’d never want to smoke again. I’m not kidding. I ATE a CIGARETTE.
Hypnotherapy worked for a while. That was probably my most successful attempt at quitting. But, eventually I started craving cigarettes when I was drinking. That’s when I decided that I would only smoke when I was drinking, ironically, that’s also when I started drinking a lot more. As long as I had a glass of wine in my hand, a cigarette was acceptable. So, I always had a glass of wine in my hand, and thus, a new bad habit was formed.
At this point, you have probably noticed, I don’t refer to my drinking habits as an addiction. I don’t identify as an alcoholic. I’ve done a lot of research and thinking and talking about where I am on the addiction spectrum, and I don’t think I got there; to full-on alcoholism. I think I was well on my way, though.
Over the summer, I Googled, “How do I know if I’m an alcoholic”. A few online quizzes popped up and I took about four of them before I realized; I was taking an online quiz to determine if I was an alcoholic. Regardless of what the quiz results were, I was obviously worried about my current lifestyle and the choices I was making. That was my wake-up call, well, part one anyway.
I realized, I may not be an alcoholic today, but I was taking very good care of my bad habit. Sprinkle in a little family history of addiction, add a dash of “stressful day job”, and it was really only a matter of time before I was in it too deep to find my way out.
Part two of my wake-up call is more spiritual and personal. I briefly mentioned it yesterday. I promise I’ll go into more detail in a post later this week, just let me muster up a little more courage first.