Hi @libby I so relate. I too felt like a failure and had lost all trust in myself. Even when I made solemn promises and vowed oathes I knew I would fail and drunk again. I knew I had lost all control. The battle was over and alcohol had won. There was no point trying to stop – I had tried many many times without success. A lonely and very scary place to be in. By the grace of a god I do not understand I managed to get to an aa meeting and surrender to the program. 5 years later I am sober and life is better than I ever thought possible. Alcohol has no place in my life anymore, I barely give it a thought and all the benefits you mentioned just increase and increase. I would never trade in what I have now for my old miserable life. Failure can be a wonderful launching off point. It is far more honest and humble than false bravado or denial. I wish you all the best
Thank you for posting. I so relate – moderation can seem to tick along just fine and line up with other “normal” standards of drinking so as not to stick out as unusual and reaffirm for myself I don’t have a problem. Then would come the binge, awful, unplanned, and straight to rock bottom. Scared senseless I’d stop again – for a few weeks at least. Then the old refrain of “I wasn’t that bad really” would start and next minute.. Drinking again. In the end I lost all power to stay stopped for any length of time. My life was a binge. And when that day came I was finally desperate enough to stop and stay stopped forever and go to any lengths necessary to stay stopped. I didn’t think it was possible but 5 years later it absolutely is. My life has transformed in so many ways. I no longer give any time to the thought of moderation or a casual one or two because I don’t want to risk falling back into that deep dark miserable hole of a drunk. One day at a time anything is possible. I definitely avoided social occasions for a good 6 months. Then eased my way back into them for special events, always with my own transport so I could leave if it got too much. Now I barely blink an eye. You can do this.
Day 11 is great–congratulations! That fear of missing out is very common, @Meadow, and, yes, you’re right that we get pounded with the message that we need alcohol to have a good time. It’s such a lie, and is part of what keeps us trapped. I’m here to tell you that I looooove socializing sober. It was scary at first because I didn’t have my crutch (wine or beer), and I didn’t know how people would react to me not drinking. But I just kept my hands filled with glasses of sparkling water, and it all got much easier quickly. I have a lot more fun now than I did when I was drinking–even singing and dancing and laughing long and hard kind of fun–and I’m also able to have meaningful conversations that deepen my friendships and that I remember.
I was a “grey area” drinker, and I’m glad I stopped before things deteriorated further. We don’t have to hit a nasty bottom to realize that alcohol is poisonous shite. I’m so glad to be off the moderation/binge hamster wheel, so glad not to let alcohol have that power over my mind and my time and my wallet any more, not to have it destroying my body and my sleep and my personal growth. What a relief!
It takes some figuring out and some work and a lot of change, but you don’t have to lose the friends who love and support you–they still will love and support you. If it’s what you want, and if you’re anything like me, I predict you’ll continue to have a much better life without alcohol than you ever had with it. It’s just one day at a time, right? Good luck! We can do this.
Easter weekend. Traditionally for me a weekend of complete drunkenness. I would buy a ridiculous amount of alcohol on Thursday to “stock up”. Then drink it all and have to buy more on the Saturday. By Monday I would be utterly stuffed, sick, pale, filthy and sad. I would have wet the bed not once but probably several times. I’d be vomiting for the next few hours if not days. I’d go. Home clean up and then swear off alcohol again which would last a few weeks at best. Then back to the same old same old, mo th after month and year after year. I’m 5 years sober next month. Today I feel enormously grateful that those days of wine and roses no longer exist for me. I have a clear face a clear mind and clear conscience. I no longer blackout or wet the bed. I have a beautiful young son and a kind husband, both of whom have never seen me drunk. I couldn’t imagine being 1 year sober when I started. One day at a time life has changed in the most magical ways and I hear the best is still yet to come. Best wishes to all and a happy sober Easter
Hello! Thank you for sharing. I found 9 months to be a particularly tricky time. I got back to basics, taking it one day, hour or minute at a time, indulging in other sober treats, talking with other sober people, journaling, and just wading through it. If it got really bad I’d allow myself to say I’ll get drunk next weekend instead. Gratitude lists also really helped me focus on positive things and combat the slide into negativity making a drink that much closer. Sobriety had so many layers.. and the best is yet to come.
This really resonated with me as I think and feel much the same in almost all social situations, even those with people I know well. Sobriety has lessened the introspective nature and taken the sting out of my own inner critic. Work in progress- but it works! Wishing u the best.
I always thought it was the brain’s way of making new pathways that show us how destructive our drinking had become. Very unsettling, very common in first year of sobriety. It’s a positive thing but does leave one feeling very strange upon awakening! However the relief when realising it was just a dream and we hadn’t picked up is immense, and again reaffirms the decision we have made. Sobriety is the best thing to have ever happened to me. It takes some time to get free but once free, I would protect my sobriety at all costs.
You are doing amazingly well. 7 months is extremely good going. I didn’t give myself over to god or the spiritual side of sobriety for quite a while either, and actively avoided it, fingers in the ears style. Then I for whatever reason started to listen. Instead of a god of my understanding it became a god that I did not understand. And I did the action anyway. That tiny adjustment opened the door a crack and very soon after, the miracle happened and I lost the desire to drink. Suddenly a whole new world opened up for me and I stopped struggling. I attended meetings regularly and shared as best I could. Almost 5 years later I’m still sober, I do not struggle against the immense foe that is alcohol – I relax and take it easy. I stay sober just for today. The only work I have for you is to surrender- and ask for help. This too shall pass.
It almost sounds like you are not firm in your choice to live a life of sobriety. It is a choice, not a life sentence. In my many false starts, I looked for excuses to keep drinking. My denial was strong and I used all kinds of excuses even convincing myself that I wasn’t enjoying sobriety so I should just drink instead. It wasn’t a choice back then. I was white-knuckling it rather than accepting it, being firm in my decision, protecting my sobriety and learning to enjoy my sober life (which is what I do now). I became open, honest and willing to do whatever it took to stay sober. The biggest hurdle was getting honest with myself. I had to pray for that along with the God of my understanding to remove my cravings and obsessions of alcohol (which is what is showing up in your dreams). I haven’t had a drinking dream this time around and it’s been over 7 glorious months for me. It’s all in the attitude, the gratuity, the humbleness and, most importantly, our honesty with ourselves. Don’t give up on yourself. Your demons are still with you, taunting you, and tainting your vision. Don’t give in to them. Fight hard and you will be happy that you did. Believe me, believe us and be willing to do whatever it takes.
You are so right @cinderella sobriety is the best gift ever. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Endless rewards. I could never have begun to understand this when I was still drinking or giving up – it’s been the best thing that ever happened to me
It sounds as though your intuition is making itself felt. I never knew what decisions were right for me when I was drinking – therefore I ignored my gut feelings and just went with the flow. Once sober I came to understand what was right for me and what wasn’t. The decisions weren’t easy to make but they got a lot easier. I found an inner strength I’d been lacking. So many things change, everything changes, but you certainly won’t be alone for ever, and if you know deep down what’s the best path for you, it’s only a matter of time before you follow it Go well
I think I gained weight initially. Then gradually I got into the best shape of my life and have kept it there. This is due to the fact that my exercise and food plans are no longer being derailed due to my excessive alcohol intake. I could never get ahead while drinking. It was always blitz blitz blitz on the healthy buzz then way off course by a severe drinking binge and start all over again. Now my weight has stabilised and my skin has improved. I feel so much better in every single way.
I must say, sobriety is the gift of youth and secret of staying young. Alcohol does terrible things to our bodies and skin. I’m so glad I stopped when I did. Sounds like you are in tune with the universe.
Thank you for sharing that as you have reminded me exactly what my drinking was like, and I need reminders otherwise my brain starts to slowly convince me it wasn’t “that bad” and maybe “next time will be different”. It was never different. I drink, I lose control, I black out, I fall over, I have week long hangovers, I hurt other people and myself, and the list goes on. I am so grateful to be free of that awful cycle of drinking., remorse and reparation.
Hi @Freebird It’s amazing how the odd memory comes back of really dysfunctional drinking I get random flashbacks or in this case a dream where I was back in that situation, so many drunken episodes for me too many to count , I’m happy to be off that painful cycle too !!
When I got sober it was really interesting how my intuition came back. I had never trusted my instincts for a long time, years of dishonesty and denial about my drinking took care of that. Once I got some sober time (about 3-5 months from memory) I began to both listen to and trust what my gut instinct was telling me. This led me to make better decisions for myself. And understand situations better and with more clarity than before. I’m not sure if this is what you mean, but I guess trust your instincts, they know what’s right and wrong. If something feels off then I would pay attention to that rather than try explain it away somehow. 64 days is fantastic!
Thanku @salvia My day did improve. It was so nice to get some lovely kind messages of support. It’s so hard to be kind to myself – and I’m only just learning that’s part of depression as an illness, not just (another) personal failing on my behalf. I hate myself I blame myself for everything. Learning to be compassionate and kind is something I can easily do for others but not so good at doing for myself. I tried my best today.
Hi @mrs-d I’m sure the last thing you need is another persons opinion. But the comments made on your article this morning have reminded me the world we live in has no understanding of the awful struggle of addiction and living in a society awash with booze. It is hard. But not everyone is an alcoholic, and the world will not change because we have. Not everyone suffers the same reaction I do when they consume alcohol, whereas I discovered after years of trying to control and enjoy my drinking, drink responsibly like other people etc, I could not. Therefore I am different. That’s okay- there are millions like me worldwide. There is a strong community of people who do understand exactly what it is like- I’m sure you know who they are. You would be welcome anytime, anywhere. The world can be a harsh place, particularly the online world, and I try to stay out of it mainly because protecting my sobriety is of paramount importance, it is linked to my emotional resilience and anything that harms my emotional state could be perilous to staying sober. Finally, the comments made about not being able to “handle a drink” I found ridiculous in their ignorance- thus has nothing to do with alcoholism. All alcoholics I know have immense resolve – we have to in order to survive. If at any time you would like to discuss this one alcoholic to another you are so welcome to contact me. All the best and look after yourself today
Well done @reena I cried for a long time in AA meetings. There was so much emotional damage that had been done. Also huge amounts of relief to finally stop pretending I could control it or didn’t have a problem. I think it is a beautiful part of the healing process of the soul.
You’ve hit on something I think so many here can relate to. For me, the rebuilding of my devastated self-respect was long and ongoing. In fact, only by admitting complete defeat over alcohol and staying sober one day at a time did my self esteem return, bit by bit. Then I did other things I was proud of. I’m still waiting for others to let go their judgements of the old me, and my past actions which were only the behaviours of a very sick alcoholic, and I sometimes get caught in them too. But I try not to indulge those thoughts for long- as I’ve shared before when I am feeling my lowest and worst emotionally that is when I am closest to a drink, the very thing that kicks it all off again. I try to look for how I can help others and keep it simple. I’m human. No one ever said I had to be perfect.
Hi Millie I enlisted all the help I could get, and that meant being honest with my GP, and attending drug and alcohol counselling which was free through my doctors referral. The counselling seemed to promote harm reduction and moderate drinking which I knew wasn’t an option for me- total abstinence was the only option, but it did help having a safe place to discuss my issues in those difficult first few sober months.
I say good on you for putting it out there! In my experience the only thing people hate more than me telling them I’ve stopped drinking is me hinting that they should too. Alcohol marketing has got some deep roots, convincing the world that alcohol =fun, excitement, a good time for all when really we all know how dark, desperate and desolate those final days of drinking can be before we eventually stop for good. These days I tell basically no one, and it makes no difference either way.
Hi, I totally relate to never wanting to drink ever again! I made that decision hundreds of times. Then a short time later I would be drunk- again. One thing I know is I can’t stay sober on my own. I need the help of others who have the same struggle as me, and have the same abnormal reaction to alcohol that I do- that is, the more I drink the thirstiest I get. When I was desperate enough for AA I went- and I’m sober today. Keep going back – it’s normal to feel strange at first. I wish u all the best
People think I’m weird too @steveow And really I’m just very shy, and quiet like u said. I don’t know what to say and half the time I say something stupid and wish I’d kept my mouth shut. I don’t know where my confidence went but it’s gone. I found relief in the bottle. But that was killing me.so here I am. Thanks for sharing
Thank you @treehugger I needed that reminder today- I wasted so many years off my face, isolated, alone, supremely miserable and watching life go by around me. I never want to return to that way of life.
Hi @bunny I totally understand the shame you are feeling. For me the shame kept me isolated, vulnerable and drinking. I felt so awful I drank to get rid of the feeling. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. It doesn’t get any better unless we give up completely. Each sober day a little of the shame melted away and turned into self respect. A new sober life is entirely possible, but I needed to be desperate enough and willing enough to go to any lengths to stop.
Oh man. I just left a party early. At 11.30. Oh how my head is going to town. “What a loser”. “So boring”. “Everyone thinks your weird.” “Non-drinker”. “You’ve missed your chance now to show them how cool you are”. “You’re not cool or fun without booze”. “You’re dull and boring”. “Your clothes suck”. And on and on it goes. I am praying this is just a part of the ugly disease of alcoholism that consistently tells me I’m not good enough. And when my self-esteem is as low as it can go, what seems to be the next obvious choice? Picking up. Not today. I will treat myself to a cup of coffee, a book, and tmw I will wake up fresh headed, and on I’ll go into any number of things that I could never do if I was still drinking. A good hill walk first up I think. Night all.
Oh @Freebird I only have a few days sober this time so don’t feel able to really give advice but had to any way. I am sure you are not a boring loser and looked great. Yes it is the alcohol and yes you will feel great waking up sober and hangover free. I am fighting the self esteem issues also and I think it is normal. Enjoy your book and coffee and hill walking – sounds like a fab day xx
@freebird the whole time I was reading your post I was actually thinking about the people still at the party, the ones who continued to drink, the ones who got drunk, the ones who went to bed with the room spinning, the ones who were vomiting all night and for sure the ones who will wake up with a hangover from hell and the most they will be able to do today is walk to the kitchen to get some headache medicine…….ummmm, NOT COOL!!! YOU ARE THE COOL ONE!!! When I saw people not drink at a party or leave early (oh and if 11:30 is early I am old!!) I was secretly jealous of their discipline. Enjoy your book and coffee today and think about how everyone was probably jealous of YOU!!!! xx
Hey @Freebird – I’ve never enjoyed going to boozy parties since I quit a year and 7 months ago, and so I don’t go around them much any more. There’s nothing that says you have to learn how to enjoy watching others get drunk – seriously, that’s the goal of a party for most right? You’ve got nothing to prove to anyone but yourself – so go smell the roses early in the morning while all your party friends are hungover. You are def the cool kid – you just need to remember that 🙂
Here’s some other comments, “you’re amazing, you’re brave, you’re smart enough to take care of yourself, you’re lovely to be around in the morning, you’re responsible, you’re freaking awesome!” Enjoy your walk and have a beautiful day!
Hi @achilles I so relate and thank you so much for sharing where you’re at. I knew I had a problem with alcohol for years and years and years, and I became more baffled, confused, ashamed and isolated as I watched like s bystander the devastation it wrecked on my life. I did not, and do not look like a typical “alcoholic” of the stereotype I had in my head, which was male, 40-50s, homeless, paper bag drunk. Yet despite all my efforts (and believe me, I tried every damn thing possible) to control and enjoy my drinking I could not, and I ended up worse off every time. with the gift of desperation to do absolutely anything to change my life, I went to AA. It works, but i had to be willing and desperate enough to get well that all other reasons and excuses fell away. I did not want to admit I was alcoholic but once I did only then I began to take action required to escape the trap and painful cycle of drink and remorse. It really does work.
How to wreck the start of your weekend alright! Or in my case how to wreck the whole of your weekend and the start of next week- as one glass turned into several bottles. Funny how I always thought it was the last few drinks that did the damage but actually, it started right there with that first glass that seems so enticing- and my brain has a thousand reasons why I don’t reeeaaally have thaaaat much of a problem, so go on.. treat yourself. Nek minute- disaster. Happy sober Saturday
You are in the grip of an addiction, and you will only stop when you are utterly desperate to. That moment is a gift, and who knows how long it will take to arrive. My strongest will to stop drinking was useless until I reached that point of total desperation to do anything to stop drinking. It took me 17 years. I wish you the very best. There is freedom and relief on the other side.
Hi @monkey In the first few days all I felt was deep surrender. the game was up, I had lost the battle, it was over. I had no more struggle left in me to continue to try and beat alcohol. I was completely and utterly powerless. Paradoxically this was the moment of triumph- only by admitting defeat could I start the process of recovery. In the next few months I felt tired, extremely tired. I slept a lot, I went to work, I ate and walked and that was it. My number one inspiration was ultimately for me. I was isolated, lonely and alone, and I hated myself intensely. This was not the life I had planned for myself and I had no idea how I’d got so far off track. One sober day at a time, recovery happened. Life continues to improve. My self respect came back. My friends and family began to know a new me. Today I am a completely different person from who I was that day of surrender. May 30 2014. None of this would have been possible without the fellowship of AA. When you’re ready, it’s there.
This post helped me a lot, thank you. I struggle so much with my emotions and feel so down and sad, and worthless sometimes. And I always thought that stopping drinking would fix all my issues but sometimes it feels like it just highlights them. Good to read that it doesn’t last.
The only way I know to beat this excruciating battle is total surrender and total abstinence. For me, that beer in the sun turns into blackouts and sickness. That bottle of wine turns into extreme feelings of shame and guilt, and days wasted that could’ve been spent in so many other ways. I only stopped when I knew I would never be able to control or enjoy drinking. But that took a very long time to get to that point. And even then it’s not all easy. Just one day at a time, a much better, brighter life is at your fingertips.
AA is run by attraction rather than promotion- and if you can stop drinking on your own, more power to you. I went to AA because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop drinking, even when it was completely ruining my life. There is no need for anyone to join AA, unless they reach the place of desperation that I and many others did. Funny that actually when I admitted I was powerless over alcohol, that’s when I got my power back, and I havnt had to drink for nearly 2 years, one day at a time.
Hey @lars , I too used to vomit for hours after a hangover, so nasty, and such awful horrible pain we go through as part of this addiction. I was always so confused why I ended up in those states time and time and time again. Once I admitted I was alcoholic and couldn’t possibly beat this addiction, I began to get better by going to any lengths to stay sober. There is a way out of this nightmare.
Alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful and can strike us down when we least expect or are trying our best to break free. Sounds like u need support. This journey ain’t easy. There’s heaps out there so if you can, reach out and tell someone what’s going on.
Such an awesome post davey thanku so much for sharing, it really is the little things and they are huge things really because it is the return of self respect and taking care of ourselves. I too was crippled by alcohol and could do very little in the aftermath. These days I have a life, I have places to go and I take pride in myself and my appearance. Alcohol was making old, sick and tired. Today I am vibrant. It’s awesome
I so understand where you’re at- that feeling of f**k it all and losing yourself and in that moment all rational thought and reason about the how and why of stopping drinking goes right out the window. It is scary. I have no defense against that except get out of the situation as quickly as possible, and pray or talk to another alcoholic asap. It’s incredible how we can be literally at the end of all hope after a nasty binge, and then seemingly forget how bad it really was and want to jump back in and join the party. It’s hard this sobriety business. But if u didn’t drink today- you’re winning. Reward yourself- tell yourself how well you’re doing.
I’ve had remarks like that too- they are thoughtless, heartless comments coming from a place of total lack of awareness about what life is like as an alcoholic and the struggle we face in a booze soaked world. No one really understands except others who have walked the same path. For me personally, I could never think my way out of a problem- the thinking actually only made it worse and I became more trapped and unhappy and worn out. Into action is the way to go. Do anything to stay occupied, one day at a time and know that this too shall pass.