Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, my gift to myself is my sobriety!!
It might seem a strange decision to decide to give up my very best friend just two days before my birthday, but there is a good reason for this. For the last 15 years or so, each birthday I have lamented the fact that I have wasted yet another year of my life drugged up to my ears every night and living with the regret of my actions (things I have done, things I have said – and even worse not being able to remember!) I knew that if I gave up Sauv on my birthday it would ruin my day – either I would give in to its irresistible lure – or I would have a pity party.
This actually happened to me once before (when I was trying to quit not so much for my own benefit, but for my husband who was at the end of his tether and had threatened to leave me if I didn’t sober up my act). I was about a week into my reluctant quit on my birthday and he treated me to a very expensive medieval banquet in London. Whilst he and everyone around me seemed to be drowning themselves in mead and wine, I sulked and sipped a coke and was very, very bad company indeed.
So why is it different this year? Well – this time, I’m not trying to quit drinking for anyone else. I tried that on numerous occasions and it hasn’t worked. I truly want to quit for ME. I want to regain glowing skin (and not the miserable blotches and spots I currently have). I want to wake up in the morning refreshed and not worrying about whether I remembered to hide all of the bottles and (shame :() finding half empty glasses hidden in the back of cupboards and behind chairs (all strategically placed so that I could keep drinking all evening without my husband noticing that I was constantly refilling my glass!).
It’s funny, after years and years of arguing about my drinking, about a year ago we seemed to reach a sort of stale mate. My husband stopped nagging me about my drinking and I stopped going out of my way to hide it. I blatantly got on with it under his nose and he quietly ignored it. This seemed to be the turning point for me. Suddenly I was just harming myself – and it was all becoming a very lonely business. That sounds awful and selfish (and perhaps it was). I love my husband and wasn’t deliberately trying to hurt or annoy him, but I had this self righteousness that made me think “it’s my life – how dare you dictate to me!”
Whitney Houston’s song – Learning to Love Yourself, is the Greatest Love of All – is so true. I am giving myself the gift of sobriety for my birthday because I am learning to love myself again (after years and years of self loathing), I am going to love my health, love my well-being and love my self respect.
ps. this is a birthday gift from my good friend. I don’t know if she is aware that I have a drink problem, and I haven’t mentioned to her that I’m giving up – but she said she saw this sign and thought of me! That sums my situation up really!