Day 19 of The Alcohol Experiment: finding joy amidst depression or sadness.
Day 19 is a heavy one, and I’m not going to rehash Annie Grace’s essay on depression because it’s very personal. Her journey through the throes of depression and emerging into the light is incredibly inspiring and I encourage everyone to read about it!
In the journal section, Annie asks us to define happiness. I wrote, “To me, true happiness is feeling full – literally filled, heart, guts, and all – with joy and contentment and peace.” How do you define it?
Then she asks us when was the last time we felt that way. None of the moments I could think of involve alcohol. Not a single one.
I felt truly happy when my husband and I took our kids on their first double-decker bus ride in London. I felt truly happy when my daughter conquered her fear of swimming. I felt truly happy when my son told me yesterday, “I love you with all my heart, Mama.”
And what makes me sad is the realization that there are moments where I should have been truly happy, but I can’t say that I was because those moments are blurred in my memory because of booze. Going to see my friend’s play on its opening night on Broadway. Watching the Cubs win their first World Series in over 100 years. And so many more.
But instead of dwelling on that, I choose to anticipate all the true happiness that is coming my way as a result of not drinking several glasses of wine every night. Big moments and small, I’ll take ‘em all.
In the meantime, I am going to continue to work on my “microhabits” as Annie calls them – practicing gratitude, staying present, and continuing to do this writing. I wrote in a journal every night from middle school through my mid-20s. It was extremely therapeutic. I haven’t kept a journal in a long time but this love of journaling has been reawakened here. Now I understand a bit more about why it’s been so great for me. Annie says that journaling makes your thoughts objective, and loosens their grip on you. Very true! Very empowering! And on we go!
[The Alcohol Experiment is a free, interactive 30-day program designed by Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind. For more information: www.alcoholexperiment.com.]