We all experience ups and downs, joys and sorrows, highs and lows. How we choose to fill the time in between the peaks and valleys matters. How we choose to live the in-betweens, our lives, can maximize happiness and minimize suffering. So choose wisely.
I wasn’t really living my life when I was drinking. I was numb and indifferent most of the time, or hungover and out of commission. And those are only the times I remember.
I’d always prided myself in being able to “handle my alcohol.” If we’re talking about tolerance, this might be true. But, really, alcohol handled me and had the power to dictate my actions. And inactions.
It made plans for me; happy hours, wine tastings, beer festivals, bubble walks. It broke plans for me, too. Like the going away party I missed when a good friend of mine moved back to Germany. Like the dinner I was supposed to attend with my husband to meet his new coworkers and their significant others. Like the work-sponsored conference I “attended” from my hotel room. And, sadly, so much more.
I sure wasn’t loving my life when I was drinking. I was unhappy. The clinically depressed, medicated kind of unhappy. The stay in your pajamas all day, unshowered, unbrushed, and undone kind of unhappy. The hide bottles of vodka in the closet to sneak swigs whenever the urge struck (which was often) kind of unhappy. The hopeless, dark, spirit-breaking kind of unhappy. My light had gone out like a candle in a draft and all that was left was an empty shell of the person I once was.
My drinking went from being fun and social, to something I hid and did alone. I wasn’t drinking to have a good time anymore. I was drinking to cope. I numbed out the bad, and with it the good. I lost interest in things. There came to be more lows than highs, and I wasn’t filling the in-betweens with anything good to offset the lows.
Things are different now. I’ve been investing in myself and making changes to get back on track. I have friends. And a social life. I’m reacquainting myself with old interests, and exploring new ones too. I’ve added dimension to my life and am growing into a new, and better, version of myself.
Fill your in-betweens with the things that bring you happiness and you’ll have more good days than bad. You will experience more highs, and longer stretches of them, too.
But you’ve got to live your life before you can love your life. Sorry, but you can’t love your life from the couch. Go for a walk. Buy yourself flowers. Get lost in a bookstore. Order dessert. Surround yourself with good people who support you and enrich your life. Keep doing these things. Then do them some more. Before you know it, you will be flying high.