I was interviewed by a journalist a few years back (you can read the article here) and I was describing to her the crazy struggle that can go on in our heads over the course of a day when we are living with addiction. You know how it goes...
* Wake up at 3am hungover, guilty and miserable. Thinking, thinking, thinking about drinking....("Why did I open that second bottle", "I'd promised myself I wouldn't do that", "I let myself down again").
* Eventually get up and drag your body through the morning feeling like shit. Thinking, thinking, thinking about drinking... ("I've got a problem", "I can't keep going on like this", "I need to sort my drinking out").
* Slowly through the afternoon begin to feel better and the messages your brain is sending start to turn around turn around. Thinking, thinking, thinking about drinking... ("I'm not really that bad", "everyone drinks it's not a biggie", "I work hard I deserve a drink").
All day the internal struggle rages on. All day thinking, thinking, thinking about drinking... and eventually you succumb to the internal dialogue and make the decision to drink...
And that decision brings such relief!
As soon as that decision is made - BANG! - the fierce internal struggle goes away. The thinking stops. You are drinking alcohol. The struggle is over for today. And with that comes a blessed relief.
And herein lies the rub. When you are addicted and obsessed and pulled constantly in the direction of a drink, when you finally make that decision to drink (and put the liquid inside your body) there is a calm that comes over you. Partly because you are under the influence of alcohol.. but also partly because for now the fierce internal struggle is over.
Problem is that this method of quieting the internal struggle (succumbing to the pull to drink) means it never goes away completely.. it will always come back the next day. At 3am the brain noise will begin again - the guilt, the internal dialogue, the thinking, thinking, thinking about drinking.
It's no wonder we keep making that choice to drink. The internal dialogue is relentless, and drinking brings such relief.
But here is where we need to be really strong and honest with ourselves. We need to keep reminding ourselves that the relief bought about from drinking is TEMPORARY. It is only ever temporary. If we keep making that decision to pick up booze day after day after day, then we are making the choice to have the internal struggle continue.
But if we resist, and keep on resisting, then slowly over time the struggle recedes.. and eventually (all going well), soon enough it will disappear FOREVER!
Yes that's right. I used to have a non-stop internal dialogue every day calling for me to drink. Now, 9 years after my last drink, I don't get that at all. Zip. Zilch. Nadda.
It takes time for the cravings to stop and the internal voice - that pull to drink - to fade, but it does. Eventually it does. Think of it as short term pain for long term gain.
Resist, fight the urges, stay in that uncomfortable obsessed place.. stick it out.. resist... and slowly the struggle will go.
I used to be completely addicted to alcohol. Every day was a battle. Every day I would give in and drink. Day after day after day after week after month after day I would pick up and have a wine (or five). That is until I stopped.
It was hard work at first - no more blessed relief from the internal struggle - but slowly the fight abated to today where it has been silenced altogether.
And for once in my life I really am living in a permanent state of blessed relief from my addiction.
Love, Mrs D xxx
20 weeks AF for me and I read this site avidly, some articles and posts many times, to help me through the wobbles. This piece reminds me it is exactly how I felt- hating myself for being weak (I know now it was addiction) despite the emotional battle to not give in I go to bed every night proud of myself and I couldn’t bear to lose that. So here’s to continuing strength for all of us x
OmG poetry to my ears, better than the best breakfast I have ever had, things come and go but those words will stick to my belly as they have come from yours. X
Thanks Mrs D you have helped me so much. Coming up a year AF and so worried I will fall off the wagon. It’s do much more peaceful without that internal struggle and recriminations
I so need the noise to stop. That’s why I have choosen to become sober. Im sure the noise will get louder initially but Im ready to scream back at them to shut the F$$$ up. I think I def drunk to shut the noise up. I didn’t have to drink much to shut it up, but Im sick of the voices all day. Thanks for reminding me that we all experience this.
Love this I found affirmations I had written in my bedside draw the other day from 5 years ago which showed how worried I had become about my drinking. I love being 488 days AF (it took a while) and alcohol no longer in my conscious thinking. Amaxing how free we are now
Wow like you where reading my head how I feel each day these past few years. I’m on day 6AF tried plenty of times over the years to stop 11weeks my best then I thought I had fixed it and could moderate my drinking. Well that lasted a few days for it to get back to daily drinks. I loved reading this thanks heaps for sharing
Here a. I thinking it is just me ,my mind is in such turmoil,making accusations and assumptions all over the show and believing it one minute and the next wondering what the hell that was about,very difficult times,thanks for your truth mrs D
Beautiful post perfectly captures the mental torpor and gives me so much hope for the future.
I too fell off the wagon , in April this year , after 18 lovely sober months …
I guess i could blame it on the lockdown but I take full responsibility for my actions and now I am contemplating (another) day one and just hoping and praying it can stick this time and make it day 2 and more…
Good luck with your journey and take care 😊
Its ok. The pandemic and shelter in place has made everything more challenging. So few of us at our best. Don’t focus on The one time you drank focus on the long time but you didn’t drink. So you’d achievement.
Great post, lovely picture. Thanks for being you.
It’s like you live in my head! That pattern of “thinking about drinking” is so exhausting. The reward is not found down the easy path. It’s found down the path of growth and resilience. Thank you, Mrs D.
Love this! Thank you – that internal struggle to drink is SO REAL!!! it’s crazy how we can all be quite different, different backgrounds, cultures, continents and that internal struggle is real for so many of us. Thank you for always bringing us together towards our common goal. xo
I imagine Winnie the Pooh saying “Thinking thinking thinking about drinking” if he was a problem drinker in stead of “think think think, bear of little brain”
Its so good to be able to leave that in the past. Waking up sober 22 months later has never grown old. I realise I don’t really think about it on most days now. Even thinking about being sober can bring thoughts about drink, not necessarily desire to drink, into the thought space. Love your articles here @mrs-d. Thank you again.
I really needed to hear that today. 11 months ago I fell off the sober wagon and have spent all that time trying to climb out of this pattern. Day One for me. Thank you for your insights.
This is a great post to help remind us of the WHY thank you Lotta for being so real 😘
Love this @mrs-d! Over two years sober and very happy and relieved I found my way out of that awful alcohol bad arse rabbit hole❤️
Sobriety is bliss!
When I was drinking, I lived exactly the way you described every day for so, so many YEARS! Why did I do that to myself? I was miserable. (I did it because I was addicted to alcohol!)
Over two and a half years sober now and I still feel the blessed relief everyday. Thank you for everything, Mrs. D! xo
@mrs-d This is bliss! You describe it so well the TEMPORARY relief to the inner struggle/dialogue. I liken it to the ocean ways crashing into shore and and the slow receding of it back into the ocean. It then when it is serene.
thank you. i’m on day 9 AF! so proud of myself. long may it last. your blog is keeping me inspired.
I like this.