Writing this as my baseline for measuring the benefits of sobriety, and as a reminder of what I do NOT want to go back to, in the optimistic event I do make it some long period of time with no alcohol and can look back on this to see the differences. In no particular order, here are the things I am hoping improve:
- My damn left eye. There is a spot on one side of my left eye that gets inexplicably irritated, it’s been happening for over a year, been to 3 eye doctors, they say nothing is wrong. I can feel it act up after even one beer. Maybe it’s a dehydration thing? But now after one week sober it’s worse than ever so…. who the hell knows.
2. Sleep. This is something almost every person says about quitting booze, you get amazing sleep. Luckily I already sleep great, drunk or sober, so putting this one on there for hubs, who at this point seems to sleep worse sober than drunk. But am I really sleeping great? That bring us to….
3. Energy Level. Even if I get 9 hours of sober sleep I struggle to wake up to my alarm and STILL feel like I need a quick lay down around 2 in the afternoon.
4. Heart Worries / Chest Tightness. Regularly over the past two years or so I’ve noticed when I drink too much the next day I will have tightness in my heart area. It’s usually only after drinking, but not always. I’ve had it checked out, they said it’s nothing, just stress, and immediately offered me anxiety meds (UGH). My otherwise very healthy Dad died at 59 from a sudden massive heart attack. So naturally I am very paranoid about this issue. But apparently not paranoid enough to quit drinking sooner (insert loads of shame and guilt thinking I may drink myself to an early death despite the warning signs….)
5. Armpit Lump / Cancer Worries. A few times after a heavier week of drinking I will notice a sore spot in my armpit that feels like a lump would be there, but there isn’t. Inflammation due to drinking? Have I given myself cancer?!! Add in the general anxiety and paranoia of a hangover and this line of thinking is no fun at all.
6. Sore Knees. Speaking of inflammation….around the beginning of this summer I’ve noticed my knees are sore after I do regular exercise (non-strenuous bike ride, squats). Alcohol related or am I just getting older?
7. Skin. UGH, my skin. My greasy, flaky, ruddy, red, rough, sensitive skin. How I wish I could be one of those people who can step out of the shower and be ok showing her face to the world, but I need at least a bit of concealer and powder to look normal. It’s noticeably worse after a few days of drinking hard alcohol, or as I say “Gin Skin”.
8. No more inner dialogue about whether or not to drink. This voice in my head drives me batty, many times it would start as SOON as I woke up, even about an event several days away. It is great to have a break from this thought circle as the answer for now is just “No”. (Well except for when it is “Maybe, should I quit this stupid experiment?” But for now, on Day ….12? It is “No.”)
What strange ailments did drinking cause for you? Did they go away, or did you see any unexpected improvements?