I’m not sure that you can just stop drinking alcohol and make no other changes or do no other ‘work’ on yourself and expect to become happily sober.
No matter what your reasons for drinking were, or what the quantities were that you imbibed, or what you did / said / felt while you were under the influence.. the boozing has to have had some sort of deep impact on your life…yes?
So if you just take it away and don’t do any other sort of honest examination of your thoughts or feelings or lifestyle or habits or choices or anything.. is that going to lead to you being a contented non-drinker?
And if after you stop drinking you isolate yourself and don’t talk openly and honestly with people who are empathetic and understanding (either friends & family who are good listeners or other sober people) are you going to reap the great rewards that sobriety offers?
Personally I think not. Personally I think that putting down the drink is just the start… it’s what you do after that which makes all the difference.
For me this meant being brutally honest with myself about the fact that I was an emotion avoider. It was being robust in my attempts to retrain my brain out of it’s hardwired bullshit beliefs about booze. It was being extremely active in looking for the positives in sobriety. It meant reading every recovery related book I could get my hands on, listening to numerous podcasts, watching documentaries, and reading blogs and articles. It was being dedicated about writing to myself consistently about what was going on in my head. It was opening myself up truthfully to friends and family about why I stopped drinking. It was connecting with and trusting a lovely online recovery community about the roller coaster of emotions I was on after I started living raw.
For other people it might mean they find meetings in their community to attend regularly. It might mean they seek out a therapist or counsellor sit with to get to the core of some issues. It might mean they make brave decisions about relationships or jobs. It might mean they throw themselves into an online forum like this one. It might mean they attend personal improvement courses (mindfulness? yoga? knitting?!). It might mean they attend group therapy. It might mean they take up marathon running or start a new hobby they’ve always wanted to try. It might be all of the above!!
But it has to be something. Something on top of just stopping drinking. Don’t you think?
Otherwise you’re just sitting there in your normal life with a big hole where the booze used to be. And all you can see is that hole.
Take the booze away – yes! But then fill the hole left behind with other stuff. Stuff that is going to lift you up, connect you with other humans, improve your understanding of yourself, make you feel better.
Because if you’re not drinking and you’re still miserable, chances are something else is wrong. Taking the booze away should help you to see what that wrong thing is – if you really look – and it will afford you the time and space to work on improving it.
And then, slowly over time, you will start to feel better. And then, hopefully, the wonders of sobriety will open up for you.
Love, Mrs D xxx