Today I’ve read several tales of relapse, two including people at similar stages to me in sobriety, and it’s been incredibly helpful to me to read them.
No matter how much better I feel from not drinking, I still have it in my head that at some future point I will drink again. I try not to dwell on this thought, because it’s hugely unhelpful, and all my focus is going on getting through the 100 day challenge. I pray that when I’ve got that chunk of time under my belt, I won’t ever want to go back. But that’s a decision for tomorrow.
Today’s focus is remembering that drinking was never as good as wolfie wants me to think it was. I build up this delicious moment in my head of drinking, and sometimes turn it over in my mind, but force myself to ‘play the tape to the end’ to remember why I don’t want to go there.
But the relapse stories I’ve read today have shown me it’s not worth it.
Here’s Girl on the Lean’s story, who drank at just before 30 days:
“The first glass was, in that moment, the most crisp and delicious thing I thought I’d ever tasted. That momentary pleasure, though, seemed fleeting. I felt guilty for a moment. As people arrived I let myself just not worry about it. I had as much wine as I wanted. I didn’t keep track. I did make sure I drank water throughout the night. I didn’t really get drunk. I did get tired. I felt heavy. I felt a bit irritable toward the end of the night and was surprised that I felt unable to let go and really enjoy myself despite the alcohol.”
That doesn’t sound like a fireworks moment, does it? An explosion of ecstasy?
Nor does this,that Belle posted from one of her readers:
“I’m on day 1. Had I not slipped up, it would have been 30 days today. 😦
It really, truly, was not worth it. Maybe I needed to experience that, though… to test the waters. It was just so… anticlimatic.
I’m reading “Parched” by Heather King right now and she talks about how drinking is never actually fun, but it always feels like you are about to have fun in 15 minutes.”
My drinking was never about glass one, but about the end of glass 2. That was my pleasure point. But at the end of glass 2, you reallllly want glass 3 and that’s where it all goes wrong.
And this from Sober Jessie:
“..as I think more and more about it, as I have let my sobriety go, I have also stopped taking care of myself in other ways. Gym? Not much. Healthy eating? Hardly. Relationship with hubby? Not great. When I toe the line with my sobriety, everything else falls into place. When I don’t, I’m a hot mess.”
So the relief from the effort of sobriety is relieved, but so much is lost. I wish these women well who have slipped up- they all sound strong in their posts and have, crucially, learnt from their relapses. Sometimes, I think, relapse is a necessary evil as part of the sobriety journey- last time I broke my sober streak it was so horrible it confirmed why I don’t drink. Wow, I just typed “I don’t drink” like a decisive statement that I believe and am committed to rather than something I’m gingerly trying out. That has a shelf life. The ultimate aspiration is that when someone offers me alcohol I say “I don’t drink”, something that I will only feel secure in after 6 months or more of sobriety.
To get there, I need to stay focused. Currently, the main thing stopping me drinking again is truly the thought of another day 1. Time has moved so slowly since I stopped drinking. I have barely reached 40 days and it feels a lifetime. Resetting that clock would be too dangerous- I can see myself so clearly struggling again to string together more than 4 sober days.
If I can just stick to reaching 100, I hope my perspective will, shift, that I’ll be happier booze free, that I’ll romanticise it less. That may not happen, so I need to keep in mind why I should stay on the path I’m on.