A member posted this question in the Members Feed the other day…
“I need some wise advice. So how do you know if the booze has to go completely and forever??? It seem like such a big thing and such a long time… Is it really all or nothing? I’d appreciate your thoughts lovely people.”
The always wise @suek posted this reply which is so magnificent I had to feature it here (with her permission).
I used to feel like this too, really sad and worried about the thought of not drinking again.
My attitude to drinking alcohol was that it was inevitable. It did not occur to me that it was feasible, or even possible to live an alcohol-free life. How the heck was I going to relax? How was I going to socialise? Get over my shyness? How on earth would I celebrate? Or commiserate? What about weddings, funerals, Christmas, New Year? What about weekends? What about every day, after work?
Everyone who quits drinking & gets sober seems to go though this. We simply can’t imagine life without alcohol. What the fuck are we going to DO if we don’t drink? How are we going to function normally? It just seems utterly impossible.
These were not always conscious thoughts. They were deep, still, silent attitudes. They were unspoken fears. Beliefs even. They were incredibly powerful. They kept me trapped.
So how come I now happily live booze-free? I now look at that list and think WTF? That’s haha hilarious. How could I have been so blind?
One day I found out that those deep, still, silent attitudes, unspoken fears, beliefs… were not true. They were a baldface lie, and I didn’t need to believe them.
Looking back, I can see so many times when I knew drinking alcohol was the stumbling block to something I really wanted — a healthy body, an open, free mind, deep inner peace, the enthusiasm to write freely, to create. And I let it stay there, trap me, hold me back. I didn’t stand up to it, see it for what it was. I continued to drink, to blot myself out, numb and dumb myself, because that felt normal — that was what I was used to. Withdrawing, suppressing, feeling trapped.
I spent so many years trying to work the system, trading off drinking with working really hard, saving really hard, exercising really hard, eating well, doing yoga… Doing everything right, 110%. Because being a non-drinker just didn’t seem like it was an option — but I did have some reconciling to do. I was going to keep drinking, but I had to pay for it somehow.
Now I know my alcohol habit was keeping me afraid, small, withdrawn — just like I’d been as a child. I was doing exactly the same shitty stuff to myself as I’d blamed my parents for doing to me.
SORRY for the rant… but I want to assure you that when you get a bit of time with no booze invading your body chemistry and bending your brain, you actually might not want to drink again. You might decide you’re totally thrilled that you never have to drink again.
Isn’t it funny that when you have these thoughts something pops up in your life, like this thread, that reaffirms that being sober, day by day if that’s what it takes, is a journey of the mind and heart and being. I found myself tonight saying to myself
thank you @suek and the others here, your words and book recommendation helped me to stop drinking. i’m so happy
I’m 33. Done a whole couple months FREE or even more at the beginning of 2016, after… a life. Slowly got back to “a bottle of wine and a pair of scotch ales” just to grab some sleep. 5 days FREE at the beginning of december. Than again back to habit. This night the third try in life begins. I’m googleing everything about “being sober forever” as usual. Thanks for the site
SueK, I need to print t your post and stick it up in the kitchen. It’s brilliant thank you.
This is me. I have never read anything so completely like my life and how I was living. Thank you for your amazing words.
Enjoyed reading these posts. I am starting out again with an attempt to quit and once again I feel scared and the thought of never touching another drink feels impossible. Having tried several times over the past 5 years (and caved in after a month), I worry that it is a fight I cannot win. The only thing I have never, ever done is speak with anyone about my situation. Not my wife, family, friends or doctor. Hence me joining this site.
I hope that by reading about and sharing thoughts with others that this will inspire me to get the job done- one day at a time.
Some comments have been shared about ‘sober’ not being their word du jour, I like ‘liberty’. LIBERTY from alcohol ruling out life like a relentless dictator…
That last paragraph, hits the nail on the head for me thanx Suek
@SueK, this is the first time Ive read this post… I REALLY needed to hear this today… I have been at that point of “Im gonna give up AA… Im not gonna do this and that… maybe I can drink sometimes… stuff this being so rigid” etc etc… Im off on a big trip (5000 miles) shortly and kept thinking “oh there’s no way I can abstain while on the trip”… which is dumb… I mean why not?? So great timing that i spotted this to read! Thank you. Moo x
Thank you @suek! Just what I needed to read today! Such powerful insight!
Thank you @suek. Just what I needed to read today!!! What wonderful insight!
I also wrestled with the drinking/not drinking in the beginning. But then I started to think that the very obsession about being able to drink again proved to me that I couldn’t. I can’t keep potato chips in the house because I’ll eat the whole bag. I don’t go around wondering if I can ever have another chip again. People who are allergic to shrimp don’t go around trying to figure out how to keep shrimp in their diet. What if I had one shrimp on a full stomach? What if I only ate shrimp at a restaurant? What if I had shrimp mixed in with something else? You get the idea. And for me when I thought of this analogy I realized how sick I was. It’s been 2 1/2 years for me, sometimes I get weak but every night for the last 2 1/2 years, without fail, as I walk up the stairs to bed, I thank God for another sober day and am in awe that I did it…and I never want that self-loathing, shame and inability to take back last night to get in the way of today again…ever. And putting down the booze is the only way for this alcoholic to do that.
Hahaha, that’s what I keep doing – making rules around drinking. I’ll only drink out, I’ll only drink when I’m camping, or only weekends. Those ‘rules’ never last and, as you say, you ensure that those times when you are allowed to drink happen more often. Moderation or rules I doubt work for many otherwise you wouldn’t have a problem in the first place.
Thanks for this comment… I love the shrimp analogy! Brilliant.
Yes to this! I’m 31 days alcohol free, but my journey started last September when I cut out my daily wine drinking. I told myself I could drink socially, but no longer alone at home. Cut to my social drinking being escalated, and I had a blackout on wine at my mother’s house on Good Friday.
Enough of the rules! I can’t moderate and it’s just easier to stop.
I’ve asked myself this question over and over. Ive tried moderation, only drinking beer, not mixing drinks, eating while drinking, drinking water while drinking, and the list goes on. The methods may work temporarially but inevitabitly i wake up with a hangover, an angry hurt partner, and a feelings of guilt and shame. Again. For me, the answer is give it up forever.
Very well written @SueK. I’m so so so goddam stuck with this exact decision – do I really need to stop completely and forever? Back and forth, back and forth, changing my mind every day, while continuing to drink. Thanks for sharing your experience xxx
When I finally quit, I didn’t actually know it was forever. I just knew I needed to stop, then, for a while at least. But as I got my body and brain cleared of the booze chemicals, I began to think differently. Life without booze was so superior to when I was drinking, I just didn’t ever want to go back. Thinking “forever” is too stressful at the start. It’s enough just to be sober day by day.
I thought I could control my drinking but that’s every alcoholic’s dream, I’m alergic to drink so that’s why I can never drink again , alcohol is the devils work and I thought only olives could be put in that catagory
Haha… olives. One of my favourite things!
So wise @SueK. To the original poster, I started with just a month. If I could get through that I would consider another month. By the end of the second month I had decided that I never wanted to go back to being the person that needed alcohol for every single occasion in my life. Celebrations, commiserations, stress, boredom, just because. The alcohol industry is a complete and utter con and we have all fallen for the lies. Don’t worry about forever until forever doesn’t seem so terrifying that it is a worry.
Right now I’m not thinking about forever, I’m just thinking about today. I hope and pray that in a few months time forever will seem very doable. Thank you @SueK.
It’s true that our perception about drinking and not drinking changes over time, particularly when we’re not chemically imbalanced by booze. My thinking turned around completely within a few months of putting down the wine glass.
Brilliant post. Thanks @sueK
Thank you @SueK I agree, there is a life after booze
The thought of never drinking again can really stunt your move to go forward. To really live life, to how it is suppose to be lived. Without the poisonous dulling of experiences we can be in the moment of life and actually enjoy ourselves booze free.
In the beginning it is a huge scary thought to never, never drink again. This has been a way of life for so long! How can you give up on a ‘supportive friend’ like that. It will feel like a death!
Maybe it will for a while….
But STOP and step back and look at your ‘friend ‘.
Do you want to keep feeling like shit, guilty, anxious, sick, depressed etc???? That is what this ‘friend’ is doing to you.
Looking at what the alcohol honestly does to you and then ask yourself , “are you happy to continue on drinking to make yourself unhappy?”
Yes it will be bloody hard to change your thinking, your conditioning, your habit, your ADDICTION but once you start, let yourself feel aware of its benefits. Let yourself feel proud, boost your inner pride, confidence, happiness.
Feel your strength grow to enjoy a new life after booze.
There will be new experiences and new found growth emerging because the ‘booze friend’ was so controlling, it didn’t want to share you, it didn’t want you to get strong,it didn’t want you to make new friends and have a happy life.
Back to the question again ”how can I live with out my drinking ‘friend’?”
And now ask ”Is my drinking ‘friend’ letting me live?”
It is better living out of the shit hole than in it!
Well said @Mac007!