On the fence

Someone commented that I seem to be on the fence. They are right, of course. I am constantly wavering between giving up and drinking, and go round in a cycle of determination and weakness with very little sense of progress. The same commenter suggested that I lack the courage to decide which path to follow. I have been thinking about this a lot: do I lack the courage?

Sunday morning and another Day 1. I guess I am still on the fence. I often feel like this: weary of the drinking, disappointed in myself, wanting to move forward in a more positive way, but unable to be clearly on one path. My path is unclear to me.

Sometimes I feel super-motivated, with lots of sober tools and a sense that this is what I want to be doing. Later in the day, I feel overwhelmed by the decision and start to back out of it. I consider giving up the blog: I didn’t have the blog when I managed my 60 days earlier this year. But although I sometimes have to face tough (but truthful) comments on the blog, I feel supported and I need some sort of accountability, some sort of network where I can get advice and feel understood.

But the question is still nagging me, and I think it may be fundamental: do I lack the courage?

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15 thoughts on “On the fence”

  1. Annie I’m not sure it’s about courage – we can all do hard things if we have to. For me the scales tipped about my drinking where the con’s so outweighed the pro’s that I could no longer ignore what I was doing to myself and my family. Maybe you just haven’t reached that point yet? I’d like you to stop as I know the benefits with almost 14 months sober time but it’s your journey, not mine πŸ™‚

  2. I found one of your comments on another blog and you comment reminded me of myself 5 years ago. No matter what I did, it ended in using drugs. No matter how sick I was of relapse, I kept turning to drugs. Don’t give up. Your sobriety will eventually have to come. Good luck and I look forward to your next post. πŸ™‚ Just remember that your problem is not alcohol. Alcohol is only a symptom of the real problem.

  3. I don’t think it is a question of courage. I don’t think it is a question of ‘trying harder’ either. if drinking makes you miserable then I think it is a question of finding something that can help you stop. and if you aren’t able to stop at the moment, despite how much you want to when Wolfie doesn’t have his paws on the steering wheel, then perhaps you haven’t yet found the thing that can help YOU stop.

    and I don’t know what that is. I don’t know what you have or haven’t tried. I could suggest umpteen tools but you may well have already tried them or discounted them as not for you, maybe for good reason.

    the value of speaking to a real person about this cannot be understated. and going to counselling or AA is an enormous step. I know it is. suppose there was a teeny tiny step you could take? like phoning a helpline? if you haven’t tried this already perhaps it might help? Drinkline on 0800 917 8282, or AA – see here – http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/. NB I haven’t used either of these services, as even making that call felt like such a huge step – if you have done this already, or ever do it, I would be really interested to hear your experience.

    and it might not be the advice they give you that helps – but the actual act of saying, to a real person, “I have a problem, can you help me?” how does imagining that make you feel? relieved? terrified? what do you have to lose? xxx

  4. I agree with Primrose. I found the best way to stay sober was to verbally make myself accountable to another person. Someone who I felt I would do an injustice to if I did not keep my word.
    I think the online support is fantastic, the people out here are some of the best I have ever “met”. But human contact, someone you look in the eye and ask for help from is really real. I dreaded going to AA because it was then that this was really real. It was hard, but it was the second best decision I made, the first one was to get sober.
    To seriously make a commitment, and get sober.
    As I said yesterday, it is easier to stay put, keep drinking, keep thinking about not drinking, but say nah, I can keep drinking, because it is what we do and what we know.
    Doing anything new is scary, especially something hard and unknown.
    Only you can make the commitment to get and stay sober. Only you will know if now is that time to make that solid commitment.
    Getting through the beginning is the hardest, 30, 60, 90 days. It all sucks. That is why the one day at a time slogan really does work. Find YOUR way to do it one day at a time. Only think of today. Today you will stay sober, no matter what the alcoholic brain tells you come drinking time. Tell it, NO, not today, check back with me tomorrow. Then repeat. The rewards are amazing, you just have to get there. πŸ™‚
    Stay strong.

  5. As someone who is walking (stumbling, crawling) the same road, I don’t think it’s a question of courage or willpower. I am finding that it’s the overwhelming psychological craving (addiction) that “gets ” us. And I agree that having a person (who has faces the same battle) to help get you through that may be the way to go . Heading back to AA myself.
    Right now, I have set my goal for sobriety to be Thanksgiving. That’s as far as I can see right now. (Talk to me later and I will tell you my goal is to get through the next hour….). Just keep trying! Hugs from a 34 degree NY!!!

    1. Starting on Thanksgiving Day? or when the weekend is over? just curious. It is such a huge holiday here in the states (from Chicago)
      Tina Jeanne

  6. I don’t think it’s about courage. I think it’s about doing the time and doing the work- I’m of course figuring everything out right now too- but I think it’s about figuring out you have reached the point where drinking brings more pain than good. Then, the hard part, the work you have to do as the sober you, living sober and figuring out why we drank to cover up ourselves for so long. Xo

  7. It takes courage in spades to keep coming back and sharing that it’s day one again. Keep at it, your persistence will pay off. But I do agree that the commenter was right that something is lacking. You haven’t quite found the one thing that will make it stick, and the only way you will get it is to keep going. It’s in you, I promise. Whatever it is – willingness, an insight, connecting to other people IRL, a certain word or thought that just “pings!” – persistence will take you to it.

  8. If you think you lack the courage then ask yourself, “what am I afraid of”? I think you do have the courage it takes to beat this because in your blogs you put it all out there. Very brave! Even if your drinking keep blogging, your “ah hah” moment is just around the corner!
    Mary. πŸ’—

  9. The question of courage is fundamental. I feel sure you have the courage necessary. Possibly you’re hesitant to access it because it would mean abandoning the fence and making an abiding choice. Come on friend, you can do this!

  10. Hi Annie, I’ve been a little coy about my little “helper” that’s helping me through this, but I think it would be helpful to come right out with what it is, exactly. At least in my Country it’s called Naltrexone. It works to block alcohol from reaching the receptors in the brain. So, for practical purposes, it takes away the physical affects of withdrawal, but it must be said it does NOTHING for the psychological stuff. That’s up to you. You should be able to get a script from your GP if you have the guts to explain you’re trying to quit booze. It doesn’t stop me getting stroppy, strung out or grumpy, but it does make it easier to stay off the booze. I’m opening myself up for all sorts of condemnation here by suggesting it as an option, perhaps. But I know it’s helping me in the short term. The hard work still needs to be done, and it’s no silver bullet. It’s still down to you to decide to take it, down to you not to drink and down to you to face off all the nasty psychological stuff that is associated with quitting. But maybe it’s something to consider. Google it for more info, and get in touch with me on my blog if you want more information about what it’s like from a real person.

  11. Hugs to you. I know exactly where you’re coming from. I also don’t think it’s about courage or even willpower but it does seem to be about finding that raw determination to grit one’s teeth through the tough parts of sobriety because you know you just have to and that it’s worth it. I have struggled with this so much – between really wanting to be free of it and telling myself it’s too hard, I’m not ‘that bad’ and it’s easier to drink. I think we just have to keep chipping away at the denial, looking honestly at what drinking does – and doesn’t – do for us – and weighing up the pros and cons until we can reach that place of conviction that it’s the right, best decision for us. Easy to say; hard to do. But you will get there. Just keep trying. xx

  12. I’m in the exact same boat. Hoping this is the last Day 1 for me. I can’t keep making excuses anymore. I feel like garbage, and want so badly to be clear and focused and enjoy every single minute. i enjoy reading your blog. And I’m hoping to continue mine through my journey as well. Only time will tell.

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