Day One – triggers: wild, wet day, tense during an event I organised (ensuring it goes well), tired and wanting to relax. Cue romantic vision of bar, people and warmth when colleague says ‘I’d love a drink’. Not my usual haunt so mmm… Reality; staring at a cold glass of white wine knowing I shouldn’t but ‘get it over with’ attitude like diving into cold water. Result; wanting more, battling the idiocy in my head. Actuality: rubbish bar, worn out and smelly, company boring and talking nonsense the both of us, I’m hating myself and crying inside, watching all the drinkers around me thinking I’ve ruined it. Out of my depth. Fighting inner demons not to go to buy bottle/s for home. Hot shower, pyjamas, tears. Morning: depression and anger for not seeing dawn on day twenty-seven. Just a fledgling but I was making good progress. As @Dave says, do not get out of the carpark, do not go into the bar, do not drink that first drink!. Not my usual company, couldn’t cope, should not have gone. Learned my lesson. Not going to forgive myself until I’m past day ten and the toxins have left my body. Will keep Dave’s mantra in my head but I’m not entirely sure what the triggers really were; lonely and tired? I wasn’t hungry or angry. The weather seemed to be the key. I fancied my house as cold and quiet. More nonsense. Don’t pity me. I’m blaming me, picking myself up, dusting myself off and up on the horse again. I’ll be fine. For another metaphor, it’s like the sheet I ironed is never going to lose its bloody creases.
I reckon all you’ve got to do is to truly decide. It is then not negotiable and therefore takes all the angst out of it no matter what the situation. My mantra from day one, to myself or anybody else “No thank you, I don’t drink”. Keeps everything simple. I do realise the reality of giving up booze is not simple, but if you give yourself the option to drink, you probably will. Just forget about last night, forgive yourself now and move on. Go well xoxo
Do you know what @MissBennet? Making the Decision to give it up for good is what made it easier for me. It’s hard to explain but there is a freedom in it. A certainty. It is done. Decision made. I don’t drink. So what? Better get on with living then, see what life’s all about without booze. I was honestly in for the most pleasant surprise. The biggest surprise was that you really can have a beautiful more happy, contented, productive fun and calm life without it. I am at nearly 5 years now, I would never have believed I was capable of this. I choose it. It’s bloody marvellous xox
@missbennet – day 1, with a purpose, a meaning, a quick drink or how many and back at it. seems to me, you were not so quick to get back at it before. If you are not comfortable around booze yet say, no thank you, i don’t drink, you can say, no thank you, i am not drinking today. you can still go to the bar, stay shorter, have a drink in your hand, it is just not alcoholic. congratulations on day 1. it truly is one day at a time.
Hon, you’re posting here, and you are hearing others here whose words have stuck with you….. this is good! You are processing it all.. working it out… asking the RIGHT questions about “why/where/how” and will add this all to your research that you are doing… it is a process and it is NOT perfect…..you are in the storm and you are NOT drowning… even if it may feel like it.. keep swimming hon…. the shore is out there!
Hi @MissBennet You are getting closer and closer to making this stick. You say “couldn’t cope, should not have gone. Learned my lesson” Your self-awareness is getting much clearer, it even made you realise that sitting there was not what you wanted… that actually it wasn’t even good at all. You saw right there the big lies… “drinking is fun”, “drinking is good”…. these are not true! they are illusions. Your mind is lying to you and you are becoming able to see this more clearly.
You say that you don’t know what the trigger was that you succumbed to on this occasion but drinking triggers don’t form a nice orderly queue. You are still in the time that individual triggers can’t be seperated from each other; what we experience is the noise of many triggers being fired and climbing one on top of the other. As cravings expire new ones take their place.
We make the power of the triggers diminish (i.e. the intensity of the cravings gets smaller) when we experience them but DON’T drink…. that’s what makes them smaller. But at first, and quite literally EVERYTHING triggers us to drink.
When we drink alcohol alters how our brain works. Principally alcohol acts as a sedative, but it also makes us happy and sociable. The “happy and sociable” comes from 2 chemicals that alcohol causes to be released: dopamine and serotonin. But the brain recognises that it gets more dopamine and serotonin than it ordered, so it thinks it’s over-producing them and slows down their release and detection. When we drink regularly this down-regulation of dopamine and serotonin become our starting state and these leave us unhappy and lacking social confidence when we are sober. The other changes that happen when we drink regularly are that our brain is speeded up to offest the alcohol that will be coming soon, and our flight-or-fight response is cranked up so that it will still work when we are under the influence.
This leaves us in very poor shape when we are sober; we are unhappy, shy of contact with people, have a racing mind, we are consumed by our problems, anxious and restless. These are all fixed by having a drink. Alcohol becomes the medicine that fixes the symptoms caused by regular drinking. When we are unhappy and then drink thenwe create a tigger that encourages us to drink when we are unhappy. When we are anxious and then drink then we create a drinking trigger that fires when we are anxious… and so on. In this way we develop drinking triggers for all the symptoms of not being drunk… we are triggered by being sober! When we first stop drinking the only condition required for us getting triggered to drink is being awake! All the effects of withdrawal have drinking triggers as well as all those times of the day, places, people, music, smells, sights etc that set us off. We have hundreds of triggers and many can be firing at once. But it gets even worse… we don’t have to even be in the physical circumstances of a trigger for it to fire, simply imagining that we are there will do it just the same.
It has taken a long time for me to get there but what I’m saying is that early on we have no real way to identify what trigger sets us off as virtually everything does. It is only once we’ve taken the heat out of the triggers we meet most often that we can start to isolate the impact of a single trigger. In the earlier days triggers are fired virtually continuously and this presents a special challenge. Triggers can be fired for the whole time we are awake (and in the early days that is a LOT of the time). Resisting triggers is exhausting, and while the ability of our mind to launch cravings is effectively without limit, our ability to resist them is not. If we encounter too many triggers early on then this quite simply depletes our resolve… and we give in to them. That is why we get all this advice about staying away from drink, staying away places that serve alcohol, staying away from people drinking etc. It is not that we are going to do this for the rest of our lives, but that early on they will overwhelm our ability to fight them off. Avoiding socialising for example was something I had to do for the first few weeks of my sobriety… experience had taught me that I was simply unable to overcome the cravings that this would bring on. But removing myself from a lot of triggering circumstances was only temporary. These days I can go anywhere I want to without placing myself at risk of drinking. But one of the least appealing places of all for me these days is a bar full of drunks blaming the world for their problems while getting steadily less and less coherent… it simply has no appeal at all!
As your experience builds so does your ability to beat this. You have learned that putting yourself in places where there is alcohol is not going to work for you. This is something we can’t accept from other people for some reason, we have to learn it first hand. You’ve got that one now and you’re on your way again. You can do this.
Hi @DaveH, thanks for your reply. The triggers had been along the lines of H.A.L.T earlier and because I could see them for what they were, no worries. I have also, like @Morgan (and thank you for your kind words), been going to and am going to club stuff and could handle being around booze. But this was triggered long before I got to the bar and I think I was trying to win a colleague over. When she suggested a drink, I stupidly thought yup, that will be a bonding session. Unfortunately, I don’t trust her, it was her environment, not mine and she is a force of nature. Hindsight is like, come on, what were you thinking? The lack of trust and lack of bonding grew. She used to be a really good friend and we used to drink together all of the time but the job took us separate ways. Now I feel an undercurrent, something I can’t put my finger on. Anyway, as you say, it’s made me stronger. Gosh I have a conference with her and her friends in November. I’m dreading it. I have my own room thank goodness.
Small blip on a bigger journey!!! If anything you saved me heading to the supermarket for bottle of red to enjoy on this stormy night, so please be kind to yourself, you will be back up to 27 days sooner than you know!!!
@MissBennet as you helped me on my last Day 1 – it’s a be kind to yourself day xx and you too will be strong again x because of the kindness of this group and you’re comment that day I’m on day 6 x we will carry you through x keep going brave sober warrior x