When I first drank it felt great. I could join in, I was sociable, I had fun, I was relaxed and I felt like I was somebody. I liked it. Drinking was good, so I did it again.
I drank to get the same feelings as I did the first time, and I did this again and again, but soon when I drank I didn’t get the same result… I got slightly less. My body got better at cleaning away alcohol, so I had to drink faster and I had to drink more to get the same effect.
So I drank faster and I drank more.
Over the years I slowly drank more and more. The change was so slow it was imperceptible but I drank more, I drank more often, I drank too much more often, and the spaces between the times I drank too much grew smaller.
As my drinking slowly changed I changed with it.
My brain changed to offset the changes caused by large and routine doses of alcohol. My brain was being made artificially happy. It was getting more happiness than it ordered, so it lowered the amount of the happy chemicals it produced. It changed everything else it was getting too much of too.
This made me less happy, less sociable, and less relaxed whenever I was sober. A drink would fix this but I now had to drink enough to bring these back up to normal before I could even start to get happy.
I was unhappy whenever I was sober. I was lonely whenever I was sober, and I was restless and anxious whenever I was sober. I drank to lift myself from being unhappy, lonely and anxious… which was every time I was sober. So I drank whenever I was sober.
The more I drank the more my brain changed. Eventually I couldn’t drink enough to get happy. I couldn’t stop shaking until I drank, and I couldn’t be sociable until I was already drunk.
When I first drank it felt great. I could join in, I was sociable, I had fun, I was relaxed and I felt like I was somebody. But it didn’t stay like that.
I drank for fun but it made me unhappy. I drank for friendship but it made me alone. I drank for relaxation but it made me anxious. I drank for confidence but it made me afraid, and I drank for comfort but ended up in despair.
I chose none of that.
My brain never told me to not drink. My brain only ever told me that a drink would be good or that a drink would make me feel better. My brain lied to me.My fight wasn’t with the bottle. My fight was with my own brain. Some days it still is.
I write about alcoholism and recovery under the name Stan West. I have three books on the subject and these are available for free download from my blog: https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/links/
Someone mentioned moderation yesterday and I jokingly replied “I had no problem at all moderating my drinking. Some days I could do it for nearly half an hour!” But I should really not have made fun of this, it was one of the most important things I ever learned in my life. It took me years to learn this truth; I can only either drink a lot, or not drink at all. There is no middle path for me; I can’t drink moderately.
If I carried on drinking then my life was going to continue to get worse and worse until I died somewhere alone and miserable in the dark. But If I stopped drinking then life could become good again. The choice was horrific, but the decision was ultimately essential: I had to stop completely.
This little line described the truth about drinking for me… I sometimes chanted it to myself like a mantra during the big cravings.
“One is too many, ten is not enough”
(If anyone wants to join us not drinking through September just mention it here and I’ll add you to the list)
half an hour of moderation, yep that was about my limit as well. So cool you are on the other side. It’s so weird looking back at how we were trapped into that cycle and now I couldn’t think of anything less I would want to do.
I use the “it’s the first drink that does the damage” mantra in a similar vein to your mantra. And i remember it rarely ever ever stops at one drink and it if does I’m pissed off about it. That’s no way to live that’s not freedom or fun it’s slavery and alcohol is an addictive substance so hey presto it’s not even about will power or lack of it it’s just a fact it’s marketed as something it isn’t it’s all a total con and most people who drink regularly even the normies I know want to cut down and it become habitual and ingrained and to go without is seen as such a social pariah statement that to resist all of that messaging and shite takes work doesn’t it. Pls add me to September Soberista’s if you don’t mind! X
Yep, that’s what finally clicked for me too @daveh. I got honest with myself and accepted and knew that the first drink would lead to many many more. So, when i thought about the idea of having “a” drink”, i forced myself to accept i was making the decision to have either “zero drinks” or “too many drinks” those are my only two options. That made not drinking much, much easier. There is no “moderation” option for me, i have proved that for decades!
yes please add me too .@daveh – day 12 and so looking forward to NOT drinking today. I was so sick and tired of the bullshit going on in my mind about should i drink/should i not/if i do drink have i got enough or will i have to ask hubby to go to the store AGAIN to get more booze. I finally decided enough was enough. When i drank i know i can’t stop at 1 – what’s the point – so it’s a lot easier in the head to just acknowledge that i will not drink – full stop!
Hi @Ladyhawk You are added. Welcome along. It’s a rough road, but it is passable. It is drink nothing or drink too much for us. Carrying on drinking drives us deeper into despair, but not drinking seems an unimaginable thought and an unattainable goal. But it IS possible, and it is necessary… indeed it is essential. It is the fork in the road that we don’t want to take, but it is the only survivable path.
What a great idea @daveh count me in, please….I did sober January and never looked back. Keeping going and it really does get easier over time! No turning back. NO WAY! Good luck sober Septemberists <3
Spot on @daveh!! This is great and I thank you for including me. As you know…I need to really totally focus on this wonderful septembersober theme in lieu of everything !! Day 371 but ..BUT..September is now so tough. We can all do this together!!!☺
Hi @Iowadawn 371 days is wonderful but today’s challenge still today, not on the previous ones. And regardless of when we started, it is still September. It’s good to have you along. Please don’t hesitate to jump in if someone sounds like they need propping up a bit.
Hi sober September friends, I would have started a new thread but could not copy all of the names on my IPad LOL!
I was hiking the lake trail this morning lost in my thoughts when I tripped over a small root on the path. This not the first time this has happened and I know the root is there but when you are not paying attention it can and will trip you up! I see this as a metaphor for my sobriety, there are many things along my path that can trip me up if I am not paying attention. Certain people, work-stress, social situations, anxiety, kids, success or failure! Watch for triggers and have a plan!
Thanks @DaveH for leading this group and thanks to everyone for their participation and support!