Someone once asked me: "How do you move on from that need to escape your feelings by soaking yourself in wine?"
Here's the answer: With great bloody difficulty.
Truthfully, dealing with my emotions was the hardest thing for me at first (aside from getting used to socializing sober). I took away the wine and I was just so goddam raw all the time. There was no escape. And I wanted to escape! I loved the escape that wine gave me! I loved, loved, loved it. Bloody marvelous escape. Lovely, naughty, warm, numbing, boozy escape.
Problem was my 'escape' wasn't lovely any more, it was more like a deadening, sickening, wiping out. So the wine had to go. And I had to move on.
But how do you do that?
Well, firstly I kept a very clear image in mind of the sloppy, miserable, boozy me that I did not want to be any more. Then I formed a very clear mental image of the lovely, clear, calm sober person I wanted to be. You have to take a moment to really form these mental images.
Locate a clear memory of you the yukky boozer and lock it in.
Now concentrate for a moment on imagining yourself as strong and sober and happy. Lock it in.
I did this, and didn't let myself forget either of those images as I forged ahead with the days.
And then the moving on began. I had no wine… I felt horrible yukky emotions … I forged ahead… I bought to mind often that image of me being sloppy and boozy and gross - knew I didn't want to be that any more.. forged ahead.. felt awful uncomfortable emotions… tried different things to fix them… forged ahead.. bought to mind the clear, calm person I wanted to be.. moved on.. forged ahead.. the days started adding up… kept remembering that horrible boozy me… forged ahead… tried to imagine myself as calm and sober and HAPPY.. read lots of books and wrote in my blog and forged ahead… talked to other sober people online.. forged ahead.. didn't drink… moved on.. felt uncomfortable emotions.. getting used to them now.. forged ahead… didn't drink.. remembered the sloppy miserable boozy me.. forged ahead…. felt emotions… didn't drink….
You get the picture.
And eventually I got better at it. The uncomfortable emotions came along and I just felt them and didn't freak the fuck out and want to reach for a wine (or 5). I just kept those images in mind.. didn't let myself forget… forged ahead… and here I am 7 years later.
Am I perfect? No way! I reach for bad foods when I'm in a funk and yell at my kids when I get frustrated or annoyed.
Am I calm and clear and sober? Kind of. I am definitely calmer than I was when I was guzzling wine like it was going out of fashion. I feel like my feet are now planted firmly on the ground where before they were wobbling all over the show.
So really the answer to the question - How do you move on from that need to escape your feelings by soaking yourself in wine? - is, you just do.
You just do.
Love, Mrs D xxx
So very relatable and I totally understand and get that feeling … for me the visualisation of the messy boozy me with alcohol was videoed by a friend and made into a ‘funny upload’ (it was meant in a nice fun way)…. I was however horrified, ashamed and disappointed in the person I became with alcohol on board …. that was my turning point and when I sometimes wobble in my sobriety I replay the video to remind me why I wont ever pick up that first drink. …. Great post ?
Wow! Epic message x THANKYOU!! Really feeling sooooo flaky right now but I can relate to absolutely everything you said.
So true! Love your writing, love you–thank you!
@MrsD you soldiered on and became an inspiration to all of us. Thank you. I am really proud to have found this place and become part of it. I’ve used a similar visualisation. If I didn’t have my first blackout in 20 years I would have been sitting here having a drink now. I had no Idea I felt like shit until I woke up a few mornings without the alcohol the day before. and noticed how better I felt. None of that creeping anxiety which oozed over me like black oily tar. I prefer to have the big feelings without sending them away with a few drinks. They seem to come back with a vengeance in the quiet of night after an hour of sleep…or was that passed out even though I got into my PJs and into bed.
Very Inspiring! And very true. Trying to escape uncomfortable emotions is why I used to get wasted, or just because I was in a great mood and wanted to take it up a notch.
I surrendered about 7 months ago and have been clean since. The uncomfortable emotions still arise but I just observe them rather than allow them to consume me.
yes! thank you Mrs D, your posts always speak to me too!
What a blessing it is to be learning about feelings. Some are bloody hard, but they come and go and you learn from them and get stronger and better. The trick for me is to catch them quickly and apply the learnings.
Thanks for your article and for everyone else’s experience and messages. Another sober day ahead. Yes!
Something about that almost made me burst into tears. In a cafe, over lunch. It’s close the the approach I took (and still take, 23 months in).
Thanks, Mrs D.
Mrs D you are amazing and what a gift you are to the sober community. Your stories and support show what a great life there can be on the other side. Thank you.
I second the others….another amazing post….loved this so much!!! Thank you for continuing to write here and share, in spite of being 7 years sober and a busy, full life in the real world. oxoxoxox
True that. The alternative is just not worth it. 9 months in I still remember that yuck boozy feeling while drinking and after. I’m not quite at peace yet but I’m well on the road there. Without fail LOVE being sober and I’m starting to get some of my energy back 9 months in. This place is the best thanks x
another masterpiece Mrs D. thank you
Just love this! Thank you so much.
Visualization is a powerful tool! Thanks Mrs. D!