It’s hard to believe that seven years ago today, I was sitting on a small patch of grass in front of a hotel in Palm Springs, crying my eyes out while I was being dumped. “It’s not you, it’s me” was the polite way of saying, “you drink too much.” It wasn’t something I didn’t already know, it just stung when someone that you cared about was saying it.
Being the stubborn person I am, I said that I was going to give up alcohol right then and there and never drink again. You know the drill... “I swear, I will never (fill in the blank), if the pain stops right now. Part of wanting to quit was out of spite, but most of it was my inner voice finally saying, “I told you so” and “it’s time.”
It’s hard to believe that day was only seven years ago and at the same time, I can’t believe how much has changed since that day. Although the relationship ended on that patch of grass, I kept the promise to myself and haven’t had a drink since. It hasn’t always been easy, but as time goes on, I don’t miss it or think about it much anymore.
At the beginning, It was painful. I think the hardest part was realizing how much time I had in the day now that a chunk of the evening wasn’t consumed with drinking or thinking about having a drink. Also, waking up without a hangover meant I had even more time to be productive. The fact is, my life changed. Not just in little ways, but completely. Besides the handful of friends that will be my lifelong friends no matter what, the people I know today and spend the most time with, don’t know who I was or what I was like seven years ago. That could very well be the reason they stick around.
The fact is, I was tired. I was tired of doing the same thing every night and it was getting old. I was bored. I wasn’t being fulfilled in any way and nothing was challenging. I didn’t challenge myself anymore. I didn’t really care. About anything.
The life I have today is completely different from the life I had then. First of all, I remember conversations. It might seem like a little thing, but it’s huge. Not only being embarrassed by the look on someones face when you realize that you’ve told that story before, it’s a good way to lose friends and respect of others. I have so much time in the day that was spent on getting over a hangover or planning my evening cocktail. Now, I plan on seeing new things and I challenge myself to do things completely out of my comfort zone. I get things done. In fact, it's amazing how much you can check off your to do list when drinking is off the list.
Deciding to give up a bad habit is just the start. It’s finding something you love to do more than that said habit. For me, I picked up a camera and started shooting. I have met thousands of people (in person and online) because of taking photographs. It’s led me to so many new places and introduced me to some incredible people. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
If you’re reading this and thinking of something that you need to do for yourself, it’s probably time to do it. I already knew what I had to do, but it took that one particular hangover and moment to realize it. I hope that perhaps you take that step today. Things might not happen overnight, but the culmination of events will lead you to a place that you most likely wouldn't have experienced otherwise.
I am so grateful for the life I have today. Thank you to everyone who is reading this. You have been an inspiration to me.