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  • Writer's pictureLandon Payne

The Satisfaction Of Being A Quitter

Trigger Warning: Suicide

Sharing my journey to and through sobriety has been very cathartic. The testimonies you've shared and the love you've shown continue to motivate me. One question I'm frequently asked is "when did you know it was time?". It's a damn good question and one I'm happy to answer.


I'll never forget sitting on my parents' couch drunk as the day is long, just returning from karaoke with my friends. My parents had rightfully tore me a new one. I'd just lost another job because I was sick from drinking. I was living in their house jobless, feeling sorry for myself, and seeking answers to my troubled life at the bottom of whatever bottle I could get my hands on. The disappointment in their faces still haunts me. I knew I needed to quit. It was becoming a life or death situation at this point. However, I didn't have the tools and I was way too prideful to ask for help.


I was at an impasse. I could either keep drinking myself to death or I could make a decision and stick to it. Being an alcoholic was getting me nowhere in life and could feel the toll it was taking on my body. Looking in the mirror each day was anxiety inducing. The damage alcohol does to your body is immense. It may not hit you in the moment, but it will hit you and hit you hard. Seeing the husk I had become with dark, sunken eyes and dry skin made me physically recoil. I was hurting inside and I had no clue where to start.


When I began planning how I wanted to die, I knew it was time to stop. The depression, endless anxiety, and stress became too much for me and I just wanted it to end. I fantasized about driving my car off a bridge more times than I'd like to count. That way, I wouldn't hurt anyone and things would hopefully end quickly. One night, I planned to get loaded and make it happen. I called one of my dearest friends and confessed how I was feeling. To this day, I don't believe she knows that she literally talked me off a bridge. I passed out in my car and woke up not long after feeling like I let myself and my loved ones down in a major way.


No one knew how bad it had REALLY gotten for me. A lot of people still don't. I did my best to hide it. Mentally, I was drained and no longer in my right mind. The addiction, heartbreak, and mental and emotional abuse had absolutely wrecked me. I was scared to ask for help because I didn't feel like anyone understood how I felt. There was so much expected of me and I had to show up.


For everyone around me, it was easy to simply stop drinking. I was incessantly advised to "just stop", "pray about it", or "go get some help". The ultra vivid fantasies of taking my own life is what finally did it for me. My death and the potential ramifications of that scared me sober. No amount of prayer or AA meetings did it for me. I'd never suggest going cold turkey, it can be very dangerous, especially for heavy drinkers like I was. Sadly, I didn't have much of a choice. It's the most difficult thing I've ever had to do, and it still is. The physical benefits are incredible. But sometimes, the mental gymnastics can be a circus. Everyday since I made the decision to quit, I work tirelessly to keep from being in that dark place again.


When I permanently put the caps on the bottles January 23, 2021, I was a nervous wreck. The party was officially coming to an end and I had no idea what was to come next. I remember feeling hopeful and terrified. At first, no one but my parents took me seriously. My drinking buddies didn't believe it would last and I lost a number of "friends". Despite all of that, my reasons for quitting stayed at the forefront of my mind.


As days, weeks, and months passed things got progressively easier. However, having my identity stripped away really shook me (and still does). After spending over a decade in active addiction, I realized that I had to reconstruct myself mentally and physically from the ground up. After a couple of months, I started to feel and see the progress. My skin was clearer, I was feeling stronger and more rested, and I was fully aware of my emotions and more in tune to how I was feeling. It felt like the lights were FINALLY on. I was actually feeling the FULL SPECTRUM of emotions. Being able to fully feel my feelings and healthily work through them was monumental. Instead of drinking to numb my negative emotions, I faced my issues straight on with healthy communication. (WILD, I KNOW!) I existed only to drink and be drunk. Alcohol gave me the personality I thought was genuinely ME. Without the sauce, I was a shell of who I as before I started drinking. Getting sober cost me all of that and it's worth it.


I went off the map for a while. Solitude was my safety. I didn't want to go out because I knew I'd drink. My friends would call and invite me out, but I didn't want to go because I didn't want to explain why I wasn't drinking and I was afraid of the temptation. All my good times with them involved alcohol and it was hard to seperate the two. I'm grateful I was living with my family at the time so I wasn't totally alone. However, that first year of sobriety wouldn't have been possible without solitude. I played video games, read books, and weaned myself off the alcohol mentally before I felt safe enough to be around people and booze again.


Sobriety freed me from a lot of the self-loathing and heartache I felt eternally doomed to suffer from. Once I realized how capable and strong I am without the poison, I became unstoppable. That's not to say that I'm not dealing with some residual stress and trauma from it, but it's easier and far more rewarding to conquer these things sober.


Today, I still struggle a bit with being in bars and places where alcohol is in abundance, but I'm slowly getting to a place where I can be comfortable. People shouting at each other over loud music, talking uncomfortably close to your face, and stumbling everywhere gets annoying fast. Sometimes it's alienating being the only sober person around when everyone else is getting loaded. I've taken it in doses and I always ensure I have an exit strategy when it becomes too much. Sadly, socializing happens a lot over booze. (Who knew?)


I can't say that it gets easier. My cravings have died down tremendously, but they're still there. Having the tools to curb them and firmly enforcing my boundaries gets me through. Seeing your friends release their inhibitions over drinks together can feel lonely. When you're on the outside looking in, that solitary feeling can equate to an elephant on your back. However, there's so much relief and happiness knowing that you're doing what's best for you and your body. All we can do is hope more friends will join us.

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2 Comments


joslynn.price
Apr 13, 2023

Very inspiring, Landon. I am so extremely proud of you and how far you’ve come. Love you dearly. -Joslynn.

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Landon Payne
Landon Payne
Apr 18, 2023
Replying to

Joslynn!!!


Thank you so much! You made my day! Miss and love you very much, my friend!! ♥

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