I think that is the reason why I struggled to quit the booze for such a long time. I saw my life stretching out in front of me with a big wine shaped void in it.
Alcohol is woven into the comfort blanket of our lives from the very beginning - from "wetting the baby's head", we include drinking as the main feature of almost every milestone - romantic sun soaked evenings with Merlot, Chilled Champagne at the reception, Brandy on a winter's evening, Cold Beer when we're camping....right up to raising a glass to see us off into the afterlife.
It's no wonder that contemplating a lifetime with no alcohol can seem like a life sentence of self denial and isolation.
Diets are much like this. The new thinking around dieting, is that we don't actually "diet" (Lots of interesting information about this at http://slimhappyandeating.com if you are interested).
Have you noticed that so many diets start off with 'First eliminate sugar/fat/soda/bread.....whatever the advice of the day is, and first we start off with great intentions, but very soon we crave whatever it is that we are supposed to be eliminating?
Surely a far better approach is to focus on the good things that we add to our daily food intake?
Have that slice of chocolate cake, but why not eat a leafy salad in the evening as well?
The underlying theory is that as we notice how much better we feel when we eat the good stuff, we'll keep adding it, and eventually it will edge out the bad stuff. Without feeling that we have deprived ourselves.
In other words, a better approach is to eliminate the eliminations.
Much the same with Sobriety.
A similar approach is to focus on the good stuff, no, the great stuff that is introduced into your life, and very soon that feeling of loss and deprivation will fizzle away...here are my top Great Additions since I gave up the booze;
These days, I revel in the mornings. I love the smell of coffee (which used to make my stomach flip flop), I love to sit on my porch, and just be...before the day begins. Sometimes, I plan my day, sometimes I putter in my greenhouse.....whatever I do, the day starts with a sense of calm and contentment, that filters through the subsequent hours. A good morning almost never develops into a bad day.
So there you are. Four major positive additions to my life that would not have occurred if I had still been drinking.
So, when your mind wanders to everything you think you are giving up when you quit the booze, try to focus on all that you have to gain.
And eventually you will eliminate the eliminations.