I cannot say that stopping drinking has brought me a lot of time, in the simple sense of the word. There are no extra minutes in the day. I often snatched drinks whilst I did other things, like the slurped wine as I cooked, the spilled wine knocked over as I reached for salt or pasta or sugar. Drinking whilst talking, drinking whilst watching TV, drinking whilst on the phone or working. Drinking, drinking.
I once drank a whole bottle of wine whilst listening to my sister ranting on the phone for an hour about – as usual – how hard her life is. Even without the wine that was an hour of my life which will never return. She had no idea, by the way, she was not paying any attention to what was happening or even said at my end of the phone call. I was completely legless by the end of the call; talk about using alcohol when you cannot face real life.
So even when the wine went, there’s still the cooking and the talking and the working and the video streaming… there’s no more time in itself. But, ah, the quality of that time has improved no end. An hour in the morning with no self recrimination is a sweeter hour, reading books sober means they mean more. Cooking without drinking is quicker, easier. Watching TV sober means that I actually remember what happened int he episode before, splendid since I love plot-heavy thrillers.
I had to work through the resentments, I had to spread the domestic load wider to get rid of the resentment. When I drank I just masked those feelings, now I’ve had to sort things out in life that were bothering me.nDo not think for one minute that all emotions are sorted and all niggling issues soothed away. Far from it! But they are not veiled thinly any more, they are not swept under a tidal wave of wine.
I am a chronic over-busier and used alcohol to try to slow me down and calm me down when my brain was really driving me doolally. I was generally doing two things at once, drinking and whatever. So, with drinking gone, then it’s just one thing at a time, done with a clear – if busy – head… and that itself simplifies life no end.
I guess also that, these days, I can do a bit of nothing occasionally. That was rare, if not impossible when I thought, believed deeply, that I was reliant on alcohol to relax. Sometimes I can sit still and stare into space, as if on a long train journey before the days of iphones when books and magazines were laid aside and the passing countries and cities of Europe passed by and by and I just stared and daydreamed. That.
Mostly when I am doing nothing – and, yes, feeling so very proud of myself- I am actually doing something physical but slowly. A few laps of slow breaststroke, a slow walk on a familiar path.
Lots of people say that they have loads more time when they stop drinking, time to start new habits and hobbies. That’s not the case for me. Still have 60 minutes each hour, 24 hours a day, still have a tendency to do too many different things. But the hours are more enjoyable, and the minutes doing very little are a joy.