A wandering path

It didn’t work, my plan. My plan was not to drink, but I drank. I had so much support and good advice from my friends here, and still I drank. I could feel the plan beginning to crumble on Friday morning when yet again I stood in front of the shelves of wine in the supermarket and chose several bottles. I still had the crazy intention of somehow not drinking them, but the voice was very very small and I knew I would overpower it. By 6pm I poured myself a glass and thought that nothing else mattered: the blog didn’t matter, my health didn’t matter, it was absolutely meant to be that I was going to drink and I was a fool for ever thinking differently.

But slowly slowly I do feel that I am climbing towards a place where I won’t want to think like this. Primrose directed me to one of her posts (see her comment on my last post) – it rings true for me. As I was drinking last night, I tried to examine what was going on, and how I was feeling. The taste was irrelevant, and the buzz not so great. Sure, I quickly launched into ‘meaningful’ conversations with my husband (gossipy talk, Friday night banter) but then I kept wanting more wine. My 6pm glass had been by myself, and when I heard my husband coming home I washed up the glass and put it away. As I was doing it, I knew I was right back in that secret behaviour which is one of the biggest warning signs that my drinking is out of control.

I was struck by the extreme nature of the feelings I have surrounding alcohol: either elation at achieving one or two sober days in a row, or utter depression at the thought of not drinking, and joy when I decide to drink again.

On top of this, I had a headache all day yesterday, my fourth sober day, and I couldn’t get rid of it with pills. It just wouldn’t go away. I felt more sad and depressed and hopeless than I’d felt in a long time. Are you ill? asked my Mum.

I feel as though I am slowly piecing together a picture of what is happening to me. I am sure it’s completely obvious to everybody reading this blog, and in some ways it’s obvious to me too, but in the moment, in the dark afternoon, in the very moment when I open that fridge, or buy the wine, or decide that drinking is brilliant – in that moment the picture is blurred.

11 thoughts on “A wandering path”

  1. 🙂 If this is the road to insight it is the road to insight; stopping, trying to stop, drinking again, feeling through the consequences, really feeling what the alcohol or the cleaning of the glass does to you, finding out the consequences, thinking about that, feeling it through, getting to know the mechanisms behind ‘I might want a drink’ to actually drinking and drinking a lot.

    It’s how I did it, I just did not blog then. I assume that blogging would have hurried my insight along. Because alcohol is there to make you ‘not aware’ of what you are feeling and doing. That’s how we think it helps(ed) us and how it makes us happy. You experienced beautifully that the pull is strong and how it can feel as ‘life threatening’ or something of that kind if there is no drink while the pull says; Drink, yeah! That is addiction calling, it is in you but I am not sure it is you.

    Part of what I did during preparing for quitting is trying to separate what is me and what is the addiction. I decided I wanted to be clear in life, in everything. That included not drinking. And just to make it easier on my self I decided that everything that made me want to be unclear and all over the place supported my addiction or was my addiction. So that needs to go. I want me to myself. 🙂 I hope I will in time have the healthy and healed me back. Not drinking helps in that. 😉 But jeeeeez did I want to drink yesterday. I did not because I don’t think I can stop again, ever, and there is nobody to catch me when I fall down deep, deep, deep.

  2. I tried all these things
    I used awareness based therapy
    I wrote letters
    Trying to really understand why I was drinking

    I didn’t know what it would be like to not drink. In the end I just knew I hated myself and I hated the hiding, guilt and blankness that came with alcohol.

    I never expected life to be better sober. I just thought it would be less stressful

    All the huge gifts that have come with sobriety have been amazing surprises. I never looked for sober support until I had already quit drinking. So it’s all evolving

    I wish I could show you how big the sober improvement is. That your meaningful conversations will actually be meaningful. It’s pretty tough to hsve a real conversation after a few drinks, especially if you are pretending you haven’t been drinking.

    Since I can’t I will continue to offer you gentle pushes in that direction. As it seems it’s the way you want to go.


  3. Do you think you’ll have to live through a low bottom in order to stop? I can tell from your writings you have everything you need to suceed. You just don’t genuinely want to quit drinking yet, so don’t. There’s no need for all the gnashing of teeth. Either be all in or all out. The fence you’re sitting on is broad and comfortable. But it’s a fence, a barrier. Climb down and choose to continue on drinking or choose you’re worth the hard work it takes to be a nondrinker. I do wish you the best but mainly I wish for you to have the courage to make a choice and abide by it.

  4. A lot of good thinking in your post! I really think you’re on your way. The thought process takes awhile, think I did it for years not realizing what was going on because I didn’t journal or blog. I’m on day 71 of Belle’s 100 Day Challenge and am finding it very calming. Recently expressed my concern that this seemed too easy. Rebecca, Belle’s helper who has been emailing my daily, pointed out that I have put in my hard time it was just not verbalized as so many are doing now. Keep on keeping on, pick yourself up dust yourself off and start all over again!
    Mary. 💗

  5. You have to get to a point in your mind where you will do ANYTHING to get and STAY sober. You aren’t there yet. I have no idea what it is, or why it happened for me this last time. I had many tries and fails. I just continued to give myself permission to drink. That is the easy part, it is the devil you know. The devil you don’t know, and the hard part is getting sober. It is hard, damn hard. It is easier to stay stuck in the life patterns we make for ourselves, including being an alcoholic.
    You see the signs clearly, you just pick and choose which ones you want obey.

    1. I agree – you have to withdraw the permission to drink. For me, I called it “taking the option off the table.” If it’s not an option, you won’t do it – but if you’re stuck in the “maybe I will, maybe I won’t” phase, you’ll always end up drinking.

      Good luck Annie! I think you know what you need to do to quit – tell your husband, and find in-person support (meetings, counselor). I know the place you’re in – stuck between wanting to change and making the change. It’s a crappy place to be. Making the commitment to change is hard, but you’ll feel SO much better when you do.

  6. You and I could be the same person. I wasn’t going to drink last night. By the afternoon I felt myself gearing up for A DRINK (ha ha are you kidding me?). And here I sit staring at another day one. I want to be sober, I just don’t want to push through all the discomfort to get there. I want to be at day 100 already!

  7. getting all Aristotle on you here but there are some things I believe we can only learn by doing them. they made so many marble busts of him because he came up with crackers like,

    “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”.

    experiential learning is another way of describing it. which I find actually quite reassuring. we don’t have to know how to do it, before we do it. because we discover how to do it while doing it.

    decide, do, work it out while doing it, keep doing it some more. it’s all there is.

    get yourself shedloads of support. work out your weak points and avoid them (online food delivery?). give yourself enormous grace in everything else in your life. keep talking to people who know what you’re going through. get your head on the pillow sober one night at a time. (am I being too bossy here?!)

    lots of love from me. it gets easier and it is worth all the effort! xxx

  8. Stopping, starting, stopping, starting…. We’ve all been there. I can’t count how many times I stopped with the intent of not drinking. I’ve known for over 5 years that I need to stop but only did so for more than 10 days in a row starting last September. You’ll know when it’s the right time. At least you’re halfway there of knowing you need to stop.

  9. Annie, I hear you. For all my brave talk I still had a meltdown when Mr M’s eldest (19) took off with the remaining Ciders in the house, even though they’d been sitting there a week (he’d guzzled the rest). The idea that my crutch of having booze there and then gone, even though I managed not to drink it was devastating. I really freaked out. I realise now I had one toe in the water of doing this and the other back in booze land. Now I’ve got both feet in sobriety as I know I won’t buy any. Those Ciders were my last chance. And it’s just as well he scarpered because I could have thumped him (which, given he’s 6 ft 4″ and Autistic and therefore a little agressive wouldn’t have been a bright move). No amount of Mr M consoling me, telling me it was for the best would placate me. I was murderous. I see now Mr M was right. But I certainly understand your quandary. Take care. You can do this.

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