I started drinking in my early teens. By my mid-twenties I was drinking daily. The slide into compulsive drinking slowly crept up on me over time. At first drinking was wonderful. It allowed me to join in and be one of the crowd. Drinking was fun, laughter, happy times… but it didn’t end that way. In the end drink stopped working for me… I couldn’t drink enough to get happy. Drinking was initially liberating, but in the end it was just a pit of loneliness and despair. Everything in my life was wrong, and I just couldn’t find my way out.
Stopping drinking was hard, very hard. I couldn’t imagine what life was like without drink… what did people DO that didn’t drink…. And I thought THEY were the sad ones! It’s amazing the lies my mind told me to try to get me to drink again. But that’s what they were… lies. My mind told me that drinking was fun, and good and that it would make me feel better. To this day if I think about drinking then the memories I am given are of happy times and laughter… but that’s not true. My drinking was actually desperately lonely, miserable and hopeless… and getting worse. But my lying mind never gave me those memories. Instead it concocted reasons and excuses to drink, and created “proofs” that I wasn’t an alcoholic. But it never showed me the truth. I bought wine daily in bottle shops, but rotated around different stores… I didn’t want them to think I was an alcoholic. And I disposed of the empties all over the place. I certainly didn’t want them all going into my rubbish bin together… people would see how much I was drinking! I hid drink, I drank secretly, I lied about how much, when and where I drank. I knew that my drinking was all wrong, but my mind kept telling me it was OK… “Yes you drink a lot, but you’re not an alcoholic…. you’ve got time for another”. It was a downward spiral that was killing me, but I couldn’t see it, and I certainly couldn’t accept that the remedy was to not drink at all. The thought of never drinking again was simply unimaginable. What I wouldn’t realise for a while was that two parts of my life were bound together like opposite sides of the same coin.
My life was pent up ball of stress, fear, confusion and despair. I couldn’t understand how things were so bad, or how to fix them. But the roaring in my head, going round and round all my troubles; the events, the people that caused them… it never stopped. What I didn’t realise (or didn’t want to accept) was that this state of mind was a result my drinking. Eventually the pain of continuing became greater than the pain of stopping. I didn’t know what to do. I was out of ideas. I gave up and got help. Looking back I see that my life is sooo different today.
My life is expanding again instead of contracting, and my mountain of troubles has slowly disappeared. These days I’m at ease with the world, and comfortable with my place in it. The roaring in my head has stopped and left peace and calm in its place. Yes, stopping drinking and getting emotionally well again was a hard road, but every day now I enjoy the benefit of that effort… and so does everyone around me.
For those interested enough here is some interesting new(ish) research.
“Finding the vulnerable minority
Only” about 10 to 15% of people exposed to alcohol develop alcohol-related problems. The behavioral repertoire of people confronted with opportunities to consume alcohol involves numerous choices between this drug reward and healthy a…[Read more]
HI @reginald It’s good to hear from you again. Dust yourself down and give this another crack but remember this time that you already know that it’s possible, necessary and worthwhile… so you aren’t back at the beginning. This time you know what’s coming, and you know you can do it. You’ve now also learned the importance of staying connected to…[Read more]
Hi @ginny What can you do to keep yourself reminded of this… “Tried moderation for the umpteenth time…. never works.” Can you put it on the fridge? on the bathroom mirror? or can you say it to yourself every morning? The idea … “you’ve got this beat now… you can have just one” is going to come again. What can you do to push it away when i…[Read more]
Thanks @DaveH. Have some tools from a counsellor I’m working with. I have journaled previous sobriety so that’s lots of positive writing to look back on. My biggest thing I need to get my head round is “I’m missing out”. I know it’s lies!
Hi @ginny congrats on day six! You just won an AF body but yes, the mind still likes to play tricks on us. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a big one but only if you let it be. Just what are we missing out on. My last relapse was a repeat of the gifts that alcohol has given me. The ability to realize that I cannot stop, to lose my physical and mental…[Read more]
Hi @abbyanon Please don’t feel like a washout. Very few people manage to stop drinking at the first attempt… VERY few. Being at day 1 again isn’t the exception, it’s the norm. It isn’t what you intended, and it isn’t what you wanted, but it is what it is. The only failure in this would be if you didn’t learn from it. What do you know now that…[Read more]
Hi @sobere You know “I’ll be tempted” and that’s as much as you need to know. When it comes then simply recognise it, acknowledge it, and tell it it can leave again… you’re not interested. You’re doing well but also know that you are on the very trickiest days right now. Your mind will be going off about having a drink, but push back. You are n…[Read more]
HI @twistedthistle 2 weeks is fantastic! Keeping busy was important for me too. I always found that time alone in my head was when things would get difficult, but by making my brain fully occupied when things got tough I could reduce the self-sabotaging chatter.
Hi @Sara1988 You say “i feel like crap. Headache, dehydration, anxiety”… unfortunately that’s normal. That’s what’s supposed to happen. Don’t talk yourself out of doing this. It is perfectly possible, lots of people do it and we don’t have any special super-power that you don’t. You can do this… it’s what has to happen. When the voices in your…[Read more]
Hi @lee-2 What you have identified here is the feedback loop of our addiction. We are in distress. Alcohol relieves that distress so we drink. But more alcohol makes us more distressed, so we drink again. It is a relentless self-amplifying loop. Long term exposure to alcohol makes us feel miserable, lacking social confidence, and anxious. Once we…[Read more]
Hi @Thewillie Re “now I know why I am constantly fighting with myself” Thank you, that’s the whole point of the book. Our biggest challenge in stopping drinking is actually not with alcohol but our own minds. It is our own minds that create all the cravings, bad emotions and sabotaging thinking that make stopping so difficult. When we know what…[Read more]
Hi @jsquad6 You have had some excellent advice here, and here are a few more things that will help.
– Remove all alcohol from the house if you can. If it’s there you will drink it.
– Try to avoid going past the places you used to drink regularly; take different routes if that’s possible.
– Don’t even drive into car-parks of places where alcohol…[Read more]
Hi @lee-2 You are sounding really on top of things at the moment. This is a remarkable transformation from 2 weeks ago when you wrote this…
““Typing this is so hard right now but I realize it has to be done. I’m severely toxic but there is a clinic right down the road from me that I may go to today if they are open… Been sober but it never l…[Read more]
@DaveH I can’t thank you enough for pointing this out and into my journal it goes!! Front page. This nearly brought tears to my eyes and that post from 2 weeks ago made my head, heart and gut ache so yes, I need not forget. I basically had become a triennial binge drinker for a countless number of years, not able to stop until the wheels fell off.…[Read more]
Hi @ridge “I am planning on trying to drink reasonably from March 20” My hat is off to you if you can pull that one off; I failed miserably at such attempts. If you can find the time it would be well worth recording how you feel right now (emotionally that is) and then comparing it to how you are in 3 months time. If you record this “before and…[Read more]
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