Space for more
The next realisation – this one happened to me fairly recently – is that you finally have real emotional space for other people, other things, other thoughts, other pursuits. The sheer emotional energy that problem drinking gobbles up drastically narrows your ability to do almost anything else. ‘Functional alcoholics’, for instance, may get to their jobs on time every day and pay their bills, but they seldom have much going on in their lives outside of work and socialising.
The additional energy I now have is, admittedly, due partly to the physical changes: I’ve been eating and sleeping like a normal human being for three years, and that will naturally show in practical ways. But I now also have the emotional space and mental ability to plan and execute, time to spend on things that make me simply content: handicraft projects, gardening, walking and hiking, challenging work assignments, meaningful contributions to charities, time with family and socialising with friends in ways that don’t involve opening another bottle of wine.
Do I miss heavy drinking? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t – being a party girl defined me for most of my adult life. And there was lots of fun. But there was also lots of damage and pain, and so much wasted time and energy. The somewhat rocky journey, and being a judgy killjoy now and then, are a small price to pay for this lovely wide-open space on the other side.