Day 9 From my experience it’s around this many days that I start to plan my next drink, it begins with little tempting thoughts which soon turn into obsessing over the idea, then around the 2 week mark I’ve usually relapsed. I’m glad to be at this point now, because I’m practicing and noticing much quicker how dangerous such ideas can be if entertained for too long. ‘You can’t avoid temptation but you can resist it’, I once heard someone say, it makes sense. My resolve is strengthening so any negative triggers or self negating habitual thought processes will hopefully weaken and lose their power and I can continue on this journey. I believe I can, especially with the help of everyone’s messages. To be honest I’m having a decent enough day, I’m just wary given the history.
Yes, it is dangerous to entertain such thoughts for too long. I was food shopping the other day and there was a big display of Smirnoff near the bread and egg section 😳🤔 (I live in Europe.🙂) I am not a vodka drinker really, more of a red wine kinda gal, but I was tempted for a moment. Then, for some wierd reason, I envisioned a giant American football player tackling me into the shelves (Ally McBeal style) while he growled, “don’t even think about it!” Maybe you can visualize something similar when confronted with thoughts of drinking.
Hi @Happymoods Thank you for this wonderful post. What you demonstrate here is something that is so easily overlooked in the wake of a relapse. When we set out with the intention to not drink but then fall short and drink again we feel an overwhelming sense of failure. We feel that all that society says about alcoholics is true of us, that we are useless, can’t be helped, will never amount to anything, we are weak, exercise poor control over ourselves etc, etc. But what society doesn’t recognise is the extent to which we are held captive by our own minds; their experience of wanting a drink is COMPLETELY different to ours. They have yearnings to drink that are incredibly mild in comparison to the power of our cravings. They do not obsess about having a drink every moment of their waking day. They receive mental messages that say “time to stop drinking now”. They are mentally warned off drinking because sometimes it is not a good idea. They have counter-balancing arguments in their head that say drinking is good, but also that drinking is bad. So when they say “you should just drink less” it shows their complete misunderstanding of the issue. Choosing to drink less, to not take the next drink, or to stop for a spell is an easy thing for them to do, but it is not for us. They can take it or leave it and they have a free and balanced judgement in exercising that choice. Their minds do not scream at them demanding they drink. They judge us from their own experience, not from our reality. They are wrong, but that doesn’t stop what they say hurting us, and that hurt is enormous. The sense of shame we get from relapse is completely crushing, and can be enough to drive us even further into drinking to bury our self-loathing. But what you say here shows the very opposite is true if we will learn from it; that relapse isn’t actually failure it is progress. It wasn’t the outcome we sought, but it makes us better able to overcome our addiction in the long term. Your previous experiences of relapse have shown you how your own brain will sabotage your efforts to stop, and you are now wise to this. You have previously fallen to one or more of the many lies that our brains present to get us to drink again; “you can probably control it now”, “perhaps I wasn’t that bad”, “you’ve done so well you deserve a drink”, “no-one will know” and so on. You can now see the lies when they come and you won’t be fooled by them again; this time you are actively watching for them. Relapse isn’t the outcome we wanted what but it doesn’t put us back at the beginning. We still know what we knew and now we have learned some more. A relapse will make our next effort more successful as long as we will learn from it… and you so clearly demonstrate this in this post. You know that the next challenge along your path is the lies that will come, and this time you are ready for them.
You’re going great. Keep doing what’s working, and when the lies come then identify them and call them out. The lies are created by the (automatic) parts of our brain that still want us to drink. They are real, and loud, and persuasive, but they are still lies. Let your brain know that you’re not fooled by them anymore. Well done, and keep going!
Thank you @daveh. I really love and feel relief knowing that I can observe the thoughts as lies and call them out, each and every one. I feel more capable of doing this than in previous attempts, I don’t know why, I’ve just had enough I guess. Reaching out to LS shows me I must remember why I stopped in the first place. Like you say, the lies are real, loud and persuasive, but still lies. So true. So helpful. I’m so thankful I’ve found this.
Yip, familiar with the whisperings of complacency… don’t listen… you are stronger, each time we try we learn and strengthen our strategies from the time before… this time it sounds like you have identified the thought, now you can over-ride it… Sober is better, yes you may be tempted… it is ok to miss something and not want it back. When those rogue thoughts pop up I ask myself … Why would I want a drink anyway, when sober is soo much better… and time and time again I come back to the conclusion that I don’t actually want that drink, my brain is just so used to thinking it wants a drink… you’ve got this. Shine bright sober star!