Tag Archives: alcoholism drinking sobriety

2 weeks

24 Nov

It feels like the longest 2 weeks of my life, a lifetime since I had my last drink. It was about this time on a Sunday evening with a monumental hangover, drinking beer out of a mug to hide it from my housemate. I took a look at myself, my painful liver made itself felt again and I got up and poured the rest of the beer down the sink.

My body feels dramatically different- I have more energy, my eye bags have gone, my puffy face looks slimmer again and my stomach is flatter. My running feels really strong. I’m sleeping so much more than I have in years and not waking in the night.

My mind feels transformed too. I’m more certain than I have ever been that staying sober is the right thing to do for me, but I also know that it’s precarious.

The longest I’ve gone without alcohol in 13 years is just over 3 weeks, and I’ve always slipped up because I got complacent at how easy I was finding it and thought alcohol wasn’t really a problem for me. This time round I’m staying really vigilant. I’ve learnt to separate the desire to drink from feelings and needs, which has been the big eye opener to me. If I can accurately pinpoint what’s making me uncomfortable and do my best to address that, the desire to drink goes. I’m reprogramming my brain day by day. 

I noticed today when I had some of my family round that our house is absolutely FULL of alcohol. I counted the bottles in the house and did a little inventory. None of these bottles are mine:

13 different bottles of spirits

4 bottles of wine

3 bottles of champagne 

5 beers

3 bottles of ale

That’s alot of alcohol. But interestingly, I would never dream of drinking any of it, I’m not tempted now in the slightest and wasn’t tempted in my drinking days. My desire to drink would start late in the afternoon and on the way home from work/a social event I’d buy a bottle of wine on the way home and that started it. As I’ve noted before this week, that buying and drinking of wine was usually to mask stress or tiredness. Once I start I’m in the danger-zone and that’s when, if one bottle didn’t do the trick I might have a few sneaky vodkas or gins from the spirit stash. But now, I barely notice them lined up in the house- they’re part of the furniture. 

This is a relief to me, because it helps clarify the nature of my relationship with alcohol, and how wolfie sneaks up on me. I’m not an addict in one sense, because I hadn’t slipped deeply enough into alcoholism to want to get my hands on any drink I can- it’s more subtle than that. My alcoholism, and I’m going to start calling it that, begins the second I take a sip of a drink and want to keep going for days. I drink alcoholically. Reason goes out of the window. 

Just because I feel fantastic now doesn’t mean I can stop thinking alcohol is a problem for me, it is. And it probably always will be. This makes me hugely sad in alot of ways, but at least I’ve made it to this point where I’m stopping before anything disasterous happens (frankly, it’s a miracle it hasn’t already). 

So Week 3, bring it on!

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Day 12

22 Nov

After a week of swerving cravings, I’m hugely buoyed by the fact that my toolkit seems to be working, all the lessons that I learnt from previous slip ups have sunk in and crucially, my craving window is only a couple of hours and if I sit that out, I’ve succeeded.

Now I understand why the  ‘one day at a time’ principle works. Does the thought of possibly never drinking again terrify me? YES. So much. Does the thought of even 100 days seem insurmountable? Yes. But can I make it through another Friday night sober? Abso-fucking-lutely. And tomorrow I’ll use the same principle.

I’ve been moving through different feelings about drinking this year, and wrote a desperate email to Belle on my last weekend of drinking talking about feeling like I was continually engaged in the “last tango” with drinking. Promising myself I’d stop after this last night of drinking and only lasting a few days before starting all over again. The classic resolving to end of an abusive love affair but being persuaded to stay before you pluck up the courage to leave.

Now, drinking just feels like a bad idea. I know it will feel nice at the time, and my ‘fuck it’ moment will seem worth it, but as we all know, one is never one, and for me one night turns into 3, 4 or even 5 nights on the bottle feeling increasingly shit.

Last night I was supposed to be working and plans changed last minute. I ended up going to an  event with lots of wine. This wasn’t problematic, even though I wasn’t mentally prepared for it. I’m fine with not drinking when I’ve stopped, it’s stopping that is the problem…

So, I had water, and closely observed how my companions drank. They nursed one glass of wine each over about 90 minutes (!!!!!!!), and didn’t reach for another one. As I watched them, I played out the alternative version of events if I’d been drinking:

I would have gulped down the first glass, been a bit embarrassed about it so left a little bit in my glass and ‘gone to the toilet’ where I could pick up another glass on my way out and finish it on the way to and from the toilet, returning with exactly the same amount in my glass as I left with. I’d then finish that, breezily ask if anyone wanted another drink and start on my 3rd glass before the talk at the event had begun. I’d then sit twitchy throughout the talk wanting more wine and dash off after the event to either drink a mini bottle on the way home and/or buy a bottle on the way from the train station to make a start on alone.

Writing this reminds me why I’ve stopped. When I’m drinking, I wouldn’t think the above behaviour was problematic, but it is and reflecting on it helps so much. Isn’t it amazing how we convince ourselves our drinking behaviours aren’t problematic?

Tonight I’ve got plans not based around alcohol and I know my night will be so much better for it.

Hope everyone has a lovely AF weekend planned. 

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