When I first quit alcohol it felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff staring into a black abyss (that abyss being an alcohol-free life). I was utterly terrified.
"My life will be so boring if I quit drinking. I'll be a sad, sober loser. Nothing will be fun. Everything will feel empty and bland." So said my brain when I was contemplating quitting.
Luckily I didn't listen and jumped into the abyss anyway. And slowly as the weeks went by I settled into my sober skin and began to realise that a life with no alcohol isn't miserable and dull - it's just a life. And with no wine in my belly I'm not boring - I'm just me.
Then I realised that my own brain had lied to me. I realised that I didn't need alcohol to be a fun person. I didn't need alcohol to have a social life. I didn't need to drink in order to feel fulfilled. I didn't need booze for anything.
What do I do now that I'm sober? Well, aside from have a rocking good time whenever I attend a concert, wedding or party, I have a life that is rich and full.
I love the mornings and really appreciate sunrises that don't come with a side order of a sick gut, pounding head and guilt.
I enjoy hanging out with my sons, playing games and going on outings (no alcohol in my system to disconnect me from them or miserable thoughts about drinking to distract me).
I appreciate simple pleasures like dog walks, fragrant herbal teas, fresh flowers, comfy pants, massages.
A life without alcohol in it is not boring or sad, it's just a life without alcohol in it.
Positive, feel-good emotions are way more amazing when they are experienced in the raw.
There is no extra layer of confusion or befuddlement added on top of tricky stuff because I think straight all of the time.
And best of all I feel amazing for for having quit booze and turned my life around!
My brain didn't tell me all of these things when I first set out to get sober. Because it didn't know.
If you're in the tough early stages of quitting and your head is still full of thoughts about how terribly boring your life is going to be.. don't trust it. Don't trust your brain right now and the messages that it is sending you. Don't believe that little voice in your head that tells you a life with no alcohol in it is going to be miserable and dull. Don't believe it when you tell yourself that weekends will be bleak and lonely if you can't drink. Don't believe it when you form images of yourself as a boring sober loser. DON'T BELIEVE ANY OF IT! It's all bloody bollocks.
Trust that with a big effort, and some time, your thinking will turn around, and you will realise the lies your brain told you. And eventually you'll come to feel how I do now. Happy and grounded and grateful most of the time.
Take the leap, ignore the lies, and jump into the abyss. Your future self will thank you for it.
Love, Mrs D xxx
Just reading these comments hit home and makes me think that I should be able to do the same thing. I’m sure I’ll enjoy all of the conversations. I don’t talk to my family or friends about this so y’all will become my sounding boards. I look forward to this. Thanks!
Just recently passed my 100th day sober. The voice is slowly going away but there are times when it rears its ugly head. I’ve got a swift 2×4 these days to shut it down but it was very difficult in the beginning. I’ve just found this site and I appreciate the articles that I’ve read thus far. Those of you who are just beginning just know there are many of us together in this fight against alcohol. This is my 2nd real attempt at quitting and I know now that if I simply don’t listen and don’t believe the lies that I won’t go back. Moderation is useless, its a futile attempt at a life that sucks anyways. Much better off with complete abstinence and once I’ve committed to that and convinced myself that its right everything seems to get so much easier.
So thank you for this post and so many others and for the rest of the great resources that are available here.
Well done! I am also of your mindset and pleased to read your comments. I’ve tried the ‘moderation’ approach and it hasn’t worked either.
The hardest thing was to ring a support agency to ask what to do and where to get help. That was such a HUGE step. This site is brilliant.
Thanks for the inspirational message.
Day 3 sober and day one on this site. Thanks to all of you for sharing. I don’t feel alone in this after reading all your comments.
I love this post Mrs D. I too have quit drinking. 4 days today. My sick alcoholic brain tells me every year around new year and into January that Im ok to drink. This last relapse was it for me. Today I feel like I’ve taken my power back but I need to remind myself everyday that I am an alcoholic so I never relapse again.
i just joined to day and just been reading some & the lies “my brain” is telling me this site is not going to work for me and im thinking about the bottle in my cupboard of jim and how i mite as well just have one “bottle” and make the aches and mental anguish go away as i will never be sober
Day one. I think I’m going to find this blog very helpful
This is a great read and so true. Just what I needed today, thank you x
A great read and well done on sharing your story. I refer to the voice in my brain as a wine witch and imagine her as an old crone with a scary face who has a wheedling convincing whispering voice. I get really tough with the wine witch and beat her back into submissio as soon as she appears. I hope in time that she stops appearing at wine o’clock every day.
I relate to this. The brain tells so many lies about booze. I’m only in my second day (again) af. I recognise that every time I pick up on day 4 or 5 there is always a lie/faulty belief in my mind. “I need this escape.” “It will lift boredom.” “It just won’t be as good if I try to be creative without alcohol.” “I have been under such mental pressure, I need a break.” Etc etc etc….Yes lies. Anyone familiar with the scene in Lord of the Rings where Grima Wormtongue is whispering lies into the ear of the king to keep him bound by darkness and blindness? That sums the lying voice up. It’s a voice I ALWAYS regret listening to. Here’s to ignoring it!
I feel ya ! Day 5….again.
without alcohol I experience so many simple pleasures, even as I write now my dog is asleep on my feet, a candle is sending out lovely scent and I feel clear headed and calm…all of this JUST from one change in behaviour. And yet, I’m in early days, its still hard…not in this moment, but earlier this evening I felt a wave of clashing thoughts. I’m glad I read this post Mrs D, even though its been many years of healthy sobriety for you, you still take time to share with others with kindness and empathy, it means a lot!
I get a good feeling from the notions of “past Tom” and “future Tom”; i.e. thanking past Tom for going AF; looking forward to future Tom as everything continues to inch its way better. Really a pleasant concept you present there.
So true!!! Though my health was seriously in jeopardy and my family were avoiding me, I just couldn’t imagine a life without alcohol. One day I knew it was over. Quit or die, so I quit. Though it has only been 5 months, the joy I am experiencing is remarkable. My days are filled with books and movies and family and art. I will never go back to being that woman. Tell the voices to get out of your freaking way!
congratulations on 5 months that’s really great! I have found new space for learning from art and photography, and I’m enjoying the world so much better than I did even a week ago. It just seems so interesting now my head’s not feeling like cotton wool…
This was great, Mrs. D. Just what I needed to read this morning. Thank you! XXX