As I pull myself back to staying sober after some pretty epic crashes and burns over the past few weeks, here’s some things I’ve learnt about what tips me (and so many of us on this journey, I suspect) over the edge.
Forgetting that one never means one– each time I’ve fallen off the sober wagon recently, `I can see the moment as clear as crystal when I took that choice to say ‘yes’ to a drink, be it with others or alone. That little ‘yes’ usually leads to 4 or 5 days of drinking every night, at least a bottle of wine every one.
Just because I have a thought, it doesn’t mean it’s a craving– I don’t really fall victim to a craving, I fall victim to a thought. When I’m not kicking wolfie’s arse, that thought has been a signal to me of the inevitable. But taking a drink isn’t inevitable. It’s a choice. A tug of war with wolfie. I have the power to win that struggle and I forget that all too often.
Rome wasn’t built in a day– I keep beating myself up about drinking again, but I have learnt SO MANY lessons these past few failed attempts, I know that I can’t wave a magic wand and be sober. I have to work at it, one day at a time- that classic old AA maxim is true.
Alcoholism is subjective– I’ve done alot of thinking about whether or not I consider myself to be an alcoholic and the conclusion I’ve come to is that it doesn’t matter one bit if I am or aren’t, if others are worse than me or drink less and still consider themselves to be alcoholic. The truth is this: it is having an effect on my life that is unsustainable, that I know is becoming a health problem and a battle that I keep losing. That’s all the sign I need.
Don’t try to be superwoman– I can’t change everything at once. I want to loose the weight that drinking has made me pile on, but that needs to wait for tomorrow. If eating a chocolate bar will help curb that craving or a sugary cappucino will soothe my soul, so be it. It would take a big blowout to take in the number of calories as a bottle of wine, so I should stop making excuses.
Stay busy– In early sobriety, I get exhausted. It’s much more beneficial to me to push through that and make myself have company and do something because my biggest trigger to drink seems to be a heady mix of loneliness and tiredness, which is why I drink for nights and nights in a row.
I feel fine– AHA! I’m a few days into sobriety and quite frankly, I feel fantastic. I have my energy back, my lust for life back, wasn’t it funny that I was so last week? I am FINE? All that blogging I did about getting sober, what a drama queen! I don’t have a problem with alcohol. I just gave it up for 5 days, but I really fancy a drink, so I’ll just have one or two tonight and will be fine… NO. This dialogue has happened so many times. The better I feel, the more susceptible I am to drink.
People just don’t understand– modern Britain is set up to facilitate problem drinking, it’s become such an ingrained behaviour that we don’t even question it, until someone challenges the norm and opts out. I’m still building up my resources on how to deal with this, but the brilliant Carrie suggested something this week that will hopefully shut people up. I’ve always played the health kick card as part of my marathon training, which not only makes people feel guilty about not drinking, but it also makes them feel bad about being non-exercisers. Instead, I’m going to “make them feel sorry for me” as Carrie put it. I’m going to say that I’ve been getting really depressed after drinking, or that it makes me really anxious, so I’m just laying off for a while to see if that helps. No-one can argue with that, surely? Even my pushy boss who loves buying alcohol for the team. Because I’m so chirpy and happy at work, people can’t argue with alcohol being the problem if they don’t see me being depressed day to day, or at least I hope they can’t.
So here we go again, another Monday, another day 1. I read over my “Strong Women” post earlier and I can’t wait to be that person again, that person who is so happy being sober with a few days under her belt.
This list is going to be my first port of call when I’m forgetting all the reasons why drinking isn’t an option for me.
Wish me luck!