You asked …

Member @preparedtochange (who has one of my favorite avatars on this site!) asked me this question in the Members Feed yesterday: “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.. this was the hardest thing for me at first (aside from getting used to socializing sober) – dealing with emotions. 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 then for me it was just keeping very clearly in mind the image of the sloppy, miserable, boozy me that I did not want to be any more … and forming an image in my mind 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. And concentrate for a moment on imagining yourself as strong and sober and happy. Lock it in. I did this and then didn’t let myself forget either of those images as I just 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) any more. I just kept those images in mind.. didn’t let myself forget… forged ahead… and here I am 3 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 @preparedtochange the answer to your 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

P.S. I forgot to mention how much I LOVE BEING SOBER now !! And how I’m almost grateful for my drinking problem because it has led me to this place of immense gratitude and alive-ness that I wouldn’t change for anything. Sobriety is totally awesome … it is sparkly and magical… and part of what makes it so amazing is the hard work we have to do (at first) to shift our way of living. 

  1. hummingbird 4 years ago

    I got a big aha moment reading Jeff Fosters book called The Deepest Acceptance.
    At the root of our drinking is not wanting to be in THE moment with our uncomfortable feelings

    This short essay gives you a taste of what he has to say on the subject

    I’ll copy and paste a wee bit to give you the jist…

    As individuals, we are all addicts, in the sense that we all run away from the moment to some extent. We all push away thoughts and feelings, try not to feel them, numb ourselves to them, distract ourselves from them, medicate or meditate or shop them away.
    What breaks the cycle?
    Turning towards our discomfort rather than away from it, however crazy that sounds, is where the cycle can begin to be broken. Meeting these unmet waves in ourselves – the sadness, the loneliness, the fear, the helplessness – and coming to see that they all have a home in us. As the ocean of consciousness, we are vast enough to hold all of them. They are all allowed in us, but they cannot define us. And so turning towards our urges rather than away from them, finding a way to be with ourselves now without moving into “future”, that’s how the mechanism of addiction can start to melt.

  2. Squizzi 4 years ago

    Hey mrs d great post and I especially love the bottom paragraph. It would be great if we could have a place where we can copy and paste our favourite sayings so we can go back and review them. Is this possible. Maybe it’s just a tab called Great Quotes in the toolbox. So it encourages one liners that are so easy to read but so encouraging and uplifting. It is easy to lose things in here now we have so many wonderful posts!

    • Author
      Mrs D 4 years ago

      @squizzi we are getting just such a page! In the Sober Toolbox – ‘Inspirational Quotes’ it will be called.. was supposed to go up on Friday but didn’t happen for some reason.. fingers crossed for tomorrow.. I’m pretty sure I’ve been able to squeak this new feature through without waiting for the six month review that the website partners (read: funders!) keep telling me to wait for….

  3. Redsonia 4 years ago

    I hate the hold that alcohol has on me, there are no benefits to my drinking, I know the damage it’s doing to my family yet it wins every day. Today I will make a sign up that says You are a shit mother when you drink! Put it on the fridge and hope!!

    • Lily 4 years ago

      No, your not shit put a sign up saying: I’m an utterly amazing person, I’m not allowing drink to take that away & destroy me x

    • Author
      Mrs D 4 years ago

      Hey @Redsonia great to have you here because we are all the same as you! Booze has a hold on us for sure.. or did until we dug deep to get rid of the stuff… I like what @hetiheti says about a positive sign for your fridge… ‘A sober me is a better me’…

    • Squizzi 4 years ago

      Hey redsonia. I went through where u r for so long. I wrote a list of bullet points on a small piece of paper of positive affirmations of who I would be once I gave up. I.e wonderful mother. Happy positive person. Healthy. Saving money. Slim. Organised. Etc etc . You get the jist and I wrote it out several times and out it in secret places for my eyes only. I.e in my wallet, in the visor of my car, so when I pulled it down for the sun, there was my note peaking out just a touch as a reminder. And then when I was waiting for kids at the school gate in my car etc I would pull it out and read it. That was my danger time between 3.30 and 5 and in my car and always a reason to stop at the supermarket. Why never had so much bread and milk!!! In fact when I gave up hubbie complained that we never had any bread or milk in the house !!!! Once I explained I was avoiding the supermarket in happily picked up the chore of ensuring we had the basic supplies!

      Hope this helps and good luck. It is worth it and you can do it!!

    • hetiheti 4 years ago

      hi @Redsonia – good on you – but may i suggest a positive sign that says – wow ! you are an amazing mother when you are sober – ???? just me – cos i like to keep it positive rather than negative – but good luck all the same 🙂

  4. Leaf 4 years ago

    I think the sentence “The uncomfortable emotions came along and I just felt them and didn’t freak the fuck out” is an important one. It is important to let yourself feel sad, uncomfortable, frightened, alone and ride it out as part of the healing process and as part of bloody well growing up. It’s easy to medicate unpleasant feelings, to hide from them behind a bottle, can or glass. Too easy. Feeling isn’t failing. Feeling bad is not something to freak out over.

    • Author
      Mrs D 4 years ago

      yeah.. it’s not comfortable @leaf but it’s there for a reason and usually passes with time alone… I like that @AlexP .. ‘ride the wave’… xx

    • AlexP 4 years ago

      Yeah, @Leaf. It’s the realisation that you WILL feel bad, sad etc but all these emotions will pass. And pass much smoother sans booze. It’s a bit like emotions felt while drinking are amplified to Tsunami proportions but now they’re down to manageable wave height. In fact, I reckon I should use my love of surfing as an analogy for me now.
      Ride the wave………. All things will pass…..

  5. aprilaries 4 years ago

    I took this whole visualising to a whole new level….. I made a vision board. On 1 half is photos of where I am pissed looking all smeary/blurry and overweight and very unhappy within myself. I have words on that side too: miserable, irritable, tired, broke, lonely, slefish, sad, tart, grumpy, anixous…. You get the idea. On the other half of the board I have put images of what inspire me: happy fit people, a photo of my runners, a bottle of water, a photo of a glorious day on my bros farm. Words too: Calm, clear headed, HAPPY, social, free, strong, fit, kind, sober, loved, enough… Again, you get the idea. I did this purely because it kept me busy on a Friday evening a while ago when I was having a titchy feeling. It’s so good having it to look at every morning and night on my bedroom wall. I also have a photo of the board saved on my phone!

    • GG 4 years ago

      Damn that is a great idea, I do this with so many other things in my life, and have achieved almost every vision. And some of those were really out there. Why did I not think I could do this with drinking? Duuurrr.

    • Author
      Mrs D 4 years ago

      Such a great idea @aprilaries !! xx

    • AlexP 4 years ago

      Great idea. I LOVE Vision Boards.

    • hetiheti 4 years ago

      love it too @aprilaries 🙂

    • Scared 4 years ago

      @aprilaries I LOVE this!

  6. jo14 4 years ago

    What a wonderful post and so timely. My hubby and I had a conversation about this last night…he has been sober for almost 11 years! You just do…so true. I appreciate how everyone’s journey is different and accepted here…no right or wrong way…I am big on counting down my days…Day 69 here…wow! I feel in awe of the number and it keeps me going. That and remembering the crappy times I had…more and more frequently, honestly every time I drank towards the end…before I finally said…enough is enough! Booze had it’s hold on me and it wan’t fun…being fun is sober. Sure, it’s hard work at times, but at times it isn’t and more and more now it is fun! Never thought that was possible. I make greeting cards and one of my favorite stamps says…
    “have the funnest birthday ever”
    I changed it around a bit to: have the funnest day ever! This is what being sober is for me…having the funnest days ever!

    • Author
      Mrs D 4 years ago

      Have the funnest day ever – love it ! And wow @jo14 a husband with 11 years of sobriety.. must be interesting for him to watch you make the transition now….

    • hetiheti 4 years ago

      it is a great post as always from mrs-d – and i too love the last bit – you just do!!!!! so true – you just do 🙂

  7. PJNT 4 years ago

    ‘You just do’ – wow, that bypasses the thinking mind and hits a very deep spot somewhere else in the psyche. Thanks @Mrs D

  8. Seizetheday 4 years ago

    I do the same thing. I have loads of bad memories of letting myself and my loved ones down with booze, but the last one is the worst and it’s locked in. I keep it safe as a remembrance of where booze takes me – so low.
    Then I think of the things in life I have dreamed of that are actually attainable, and how I want to feel inside me about me.
    I am only in week 13 but I am making huge progress in making those dreams happen. So everyday, or everytime difficult things come my way I remember that awful low deceitful place booze took me, then I think of my dreams for me….”and I forge ahead”
    Simple and it works

    • Author
      Mrs D 4 years ago

      So nice @seizetheday .. love that you are doing the visualization technique.. works so well for me.. (even now with my sugar /eating…)..

  9. Noelle 4 years ago

    Hi Mrs D. Do you think it’s better to count the days or just get on with your life? Did you count the AF days. And it you did, when did you stop? Sometimes I think I get hung up on the number and the little progress then I slip up. Any advice?

    • Author
      Mrs D 4 years ago

      Hi @Noelle I didn’t count days past the first few weeks.. I was always vaguely aware when a big milestone was coming up but for me I didn’t want to get fixated on the numbers.. but I know some people love the counting and it really works for them..! So do what feels right for you my friend.. I wrote a post about this shortly after we launched this site…

  10. Prudence 4 years ago

    Gritty!! Jeez you’ve got amazing strength of character. That is one fantastic post. It really says it like it is. I think the locking in of the 2 images is extremely helpful advice. And you know what? When you get to feel happy and sober and proud like I am today…….the anguish and struggle of the early days are so easy to forget. They are behind you now. It’s a bit like how you forget the pain of childbirth once you have your baby to hold and love.

    • Author
      Mrs D 4 years ago

      I will never forget the hellish pain of childbirth @prudence…! Hell!!!! Pure hell…. and @sedgey love that you are feeling connected to others words on this site.. the power of sharing.. isn’t it awesome xxxx

    • Sedgey 4 years ago

      It continues to amaze me how I can relate to others’ thoughts and feelings on this site, though my thinking is little different in this case. I have always compared those really bad drinking “episodes” and horrible hangovers with the pain of childbirth. The further I get from them, the more I forget. It’s been a constant cycle and struggle for years and years. This site forces me to remember the pain. As Mrs D pointed out, that pain has led to a greater joy in my life than if I had not gone through it.

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