Looking for a way

Things are not going well. My search for balance is proving difficult.  I had had a couple of sober days following my trip away, but last night we went to a dinner party and everything fell apart. I assumed my husband would drive – I didn’t even discuss it with him; I just made it part of my plan to let him drive. On arrival, I was handed a glass of prosecco, and after that I didn’t pay attention to how much I was drinking. All my strategies evaporated: the water in between, just one glass of whatever I’m offered; I don’t even think I intended to be careful, I just didn’t think at all. I began to lose track of what I was saying, and the directness which I normally value in myself became crassness, insensitivity. When everybody had coffee/tea at the end, I was the only one who carried on with my wine. And it was this which my husband commented on when we got home; and it was then that I turned his comment into a tirade about how I hated his commenting on my drinking, that I didn’t want him to control me.  This is not you talking, he said. This is the drinking Annie talking.  I wouldn’t leave it; I wrestled away, goading him, trying to get him to talk to me about it, when all he wanted to do was go to sleep. I even blamed him for what had happened, and accused him of not supporting me; I suggested we throw away all the drink in the house, and that he give up too, as it was too hard for me to do it by myself.

And now it is the morning, and I am ashamed of my ranting last night. I feel stuck. The sober path seems out of reach; sobriety is suddenly terrifying. The alternative isn’t working. It sounds obvious when I write it, but yet I still feel stuck.

35 thoughts on “Looking for a way”

  1. Oh my gosh. You poor things! I can sympathise terribly and know i would be the same. What are we to do with ourselves? I think maybe the drinking annie reached out last night and said what sober annie wants to say, which is, “please hubby , can we throw all the booze out, can you help me and can you help me get more help?”
    huge hugs to you
    lisa
    http://www.thecword-compassion.com

  2. I know your pain. I thought my husband was trying to control me and I would pick a fight. After 10 months alcohol free I know now it was the booze that controlled me. It’s been quite a journey for me but well worth it. Have you thought about AA. It’s amazing. AA teaches you how to live with sobriety. It’s scary going to that very first meeting. Be brave. It may change your life!
    Irishgirl.

  3. Oh Annie! OUCH! God I hate the next day feeling. Try another 30 days. I know it won’t be easy… Try to get back on track with Belles challenge maybe
    Hugs.

  4. Hi Annie

    That happened to me many times too. Once I’d had a few to drink I could launch into the most awful rants, particularly the goading, wanting to make the argument worse, wanting to make myself feel worse. In the morning I seem to remember that I’d feel drained, ashamed and bewildered how I could act that way.

    I don’t know whether what I’m going to say will help but here goes.
    When I was stuck like you, I tried many many times to give up, only to give in, give up, whatever you want to call it around 30 or 40 days. I’d convince myself that I could drink normally but every single time I went back to drinking I ended up drinking more than I had before. Classic symptom of alcoholism…… progressive.
    Whenever I did give up, I never came completely clean with those around me which gave me a get out clause whenever I felt weak. My hub drinks, too much probably but not as much as I did. He was aware that I wanted to cut down and couldn’t understand why I wanted to give up completely but always failed. Eventually I told him everything. I told him I used to hide bottles of wine in the boots in my wardrobe, mini bottles of wine behind the cook books in the kitchen, that there was usually a small empty bottle of wine in my bag. That whenever I was in the loo for longer than a couple of minutes I was swigging some wine out of my bag. It was hard to confess this in some ways and hard for him to listen to, but it felt liberating and he finally understood that I had a real problem that would destroy my life eventually. Since then, I don’t have a get out clause. It’s still hard some times but if I need to talk about it, he listens and tries to be supportive. He’s proud of me for finding the strength to give up (almost six months now). It does get easier. I just thought if you could be totally honest with him, however hard, it removes your get out clause (scary) but effective. I know that if I start drinking again, just that one glass, I’ll be back at square one but not it’s not just me that knows it. It’s husband, and I’ve also told my sister.
    I can still rant, (did yesterday as it happens) but it’s not the same and not as often and it’s a real emotion, not the result of drinking.
    Wishing you lots of luck and strength. It does take quite a lot of mental work to get through, but some days I feel amazing that I’ve done something I thought I would never be capable of. Find other treats, I know that can sound lame. Sometimes it does to me to. Chocolate biscuits and hot chocolate just don’t seem to cut it sometimes compared to wine, but some days I find myself hardly thinking about alcohol at all. x

    1. Thank you for such a thoughtful and honest comment. I used your ‘back at square one’ for my next post, so you will see how much you have helped me already. Annie x

  5. Oh, Annie, big hugs to you. This has been my very same story, so very many times. In AA, they say that some people need to do multiple rounds of ‘research’ to conclude that abstinence is what they need. Maybe you are getting to the end of your research? Do you want to change this way of life more than you want to keep living/repeating it?

    It’s hard, but if you can accept that the first drink is the worst drink (and will only lead to more, uncontrollable drinks), then it may become a lot easier (less exhausting and stressful) to just surrender to ‘no alcohol.’ I have mentioned this before, forgive me if repetitive, but AA worked for me the first time around and I put together 2.5 years of continuous sobriety. During that time, I learned a lot about sober living. Obviously not enough to refrain from attempting moderation again, and predictably with disastrous results (the scenario you described above repeated numerous times with progressive intensity over a year plus period). Now I have chosen a different path, which does not currently include AA, but it’s working – today is Day 37 for me (I had to check the calendar) and it’s working well. Surprisingly well, in fact, and better than I would have predicted back at the end of 2014 when I just felt faced with an awful burden. I truly don’t miss the alcohol or have serious pangs or feel like I am missing out or sacrificing anything. It’s helped a bit to ‘buy in’ to the Jason Vale/Allan Carr books, and of course the sobersphere is a great source of support and affirmation.

    But what is also really helpful is that I just KNOW I don’t want that downward spiral of out of control drinking, the loss of my ‘real’ self (the one who’s direct and occasionally witty without being unduly sarcastic and without slurring her words, losing her train of thought, etc), the alcohol fueled rants and arguments with my husband, the disappointed (disgusted?) looks on my childrens’ faces (they KNOW…), and the perpetual remorse, guilt and shame filled hangovers. Not to mention I’ve only a few decades left on this planet, assuming I get to 80 or so, and I want my body to serve me well for them – alcohol is guaranteed to frustrate that objective. If I can’t do anything else to make up the lost years to my children, at least I can be a healthy older parent and hopefully grandparent to their children and someone they are proud of and want to be with. Not a doddering, alcohol-ruined old mess.

    I know I am rambling and I don’t mean to sound preachy. I just wish for you the peace and clarity you need to find your way, and hope that something I’ve said may resonate. Email me anytime if you want to chat (sobrietyrising (at) gmail).

    It gets better. Really it does.

    Hugs,

    SR

  6. Annie… go with me on this, ok? Sometimes it’s easier to see things from a 3rd person perspective.

    I have a friend with a drinking problem. She’s never been able to string together more than a month of sober days at a time. And most of those are by the skin of her teeth. She knows her alcohol use is making her life and her husband’s life unhappy, but she can’t picture a life without wine, which has been her habit for years. The alcohol is contributing to problems with her physical health and yet she still won’t give it up for good. Even though she holds on to a fantasy of being able to moderate, she’s demonstrated multiple times that it’s the first glass that does her in, and then she’ll finish the bottle.

    Dear Annie, in your heart of hearts, what do you think my friend should do?

    1. I think my friend should wake up and stop drinking. I think she should try again in Day one, write a post about it and mention another friend who helped her with this third person perspective angle. Annie x

  7. Im struggling too. Day 1 again & I didn’t even really want to drink last night I was tired and bored. But each slip makes it more obvious I need to quit for good.
    Tommy Rosen has a free online seminar for recovery running through 2/12. It’s a bunch of free video interviews with different experts you can watch & listen to free. Some hope and fresh ideas.

  8. Annie, so many hugs to you. I think you know the answer but find it hard to face (me too…it’s bloody hard.) But perhaps this wavering is harder, more agonising?

  9. “On arrival, I was handed a glass of prosecco…” Let’s look at that sentence for a moment. “I was handed” implies you were a passive recipient of an action. But when you reached out your hand to accept that glass, you weren’t passive at all. You made a choice at that moment. It’s those moments of choice we all have to learn how to identify and then make the right choice. I have 152 days sober, and I can tell you the first 30 days were all about making that right choice every single time. I avoided situations I knew would make it too difficult at first. Why? Because I had to make not drinking my top priority. If someone handed me a glass of wine at a party during my first 30 days, I would have failed, too. I guarantee it. I had to make sure I wasn’t going to be handed a glass of wine. That meant telling people I wasn’t drinking, having an alternative beverage in my hand, or avoiding the situation altogether. No one just hands you a glass, you accept it, or you don’t. Only you can make that choice. You either find a way or you find an excuse.

    Find a way, one choice at a time, and soon it won’t be so hard. Get up, brush yourself off, learn from it and keep moving forward. 🙂

    1. One choice at a time is a really helpful message for me. You are right about my passive acceptance of that drink at the party; I set out to drink, so there was no hope. Annie x

  10. I think that sober Annie was trying to speak up, but drunken Annie had taken over, so maybe the message wasn’t clear enough for your husband. Try again, and ask him for support, particularly when you go to social events together. You don’t have to handle it all by yourself. Also, go back to the sober toolbox. Take your NA drink with you. More often than not I find alcohol free options few and far between.
    I know its not really just about drink parties and dinner with friends…but these things are what can make us feel like fish out of water and will highlight weaknesses to wolfie.
    Get more support in place – you will succeed!
    X

  11. Wow, some great and thought-provoking comments. One way I’ve been thinking of it is that the minute I take that first drink, I’m giving alcohol a chance to convince me that I can’t live without him. And whether the evening goes well (one or two moderate glasses) or pear-shaped, as yours did yesterday, that message still gets through. To me, that explains why we’re afraid of sobriety, even when coming out of a disastrous session, and it explains why it’s so tough to moderate. We continue to see alcohol as something that’s necessary for our happiness and survival.

    I think the only way (for me, at least) is to make sure that purring voice never gets heard.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    1. That purring voice…I’ve definitely been listening to it lately. And you’re right: moderation is tough, much tougher than not drinking at all. Annie x

  12. I love the question put to you by SC….Please take the time to respond. What advice would you give her friend?

  13. This really spoke to me. The whole continuing on with wine when everyone else is moving on to more sensible choices – happens to me every time whether I’m away at someone else’s function or hosting in my own home. Only sleep can turn that spigot off, once it starts. I get defensive and somehow create hostility and fights with my husband when I drink too. I think it’s a combination of my buzzed idiocy and my husband’s critical view of my drinking that just leads to fights. I had to make a rule for myself not to complain or criticize anything when I’m drinking at home and he’s not. About anything. It’s hard, sometimes I just stay very quiet.

  14. I don’t think there is a balanced path. The cucumber cannot be unpickeled. At least not easily.
    Here is an opportunity to follow through with your plea for help and empty the house of booze. Your husband sounds like he would be supportive.

    Take the chance. The alternative is that last night repeats itself again and again.

    I only want the best for you. You have been trying for a long time. It seems like time to try something different. Maybe it is time to try a meeting? A therapist?

    Anne

  15. Hi there, I fell down in October and am thinking it’s time to pick myself up again. I feel like I have so much in common with you…. I DRINK. I can outdrink every man I know. I drive drunk. I work drunk. I’m around my kids drunk. I hurt people when I’m drunk. I offend people when I’m drunk. I black out when I drink. I’m killing myself with alcohol and now I keep thinking of just speeding things along because the fear of failing at sobriety just sets off more self destructive shame. I’m desperate and I’m really glad you’re here.

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