Back at square one

Firstly, thank you thank you THANK YOU for all your comments in the past couple of days. I was touched by the thoughtful responses, and have read and reread them several times. Someone posed the question in the third person, and that did help me to look outside myself, to imagine advising a friend – thank you for that perspective, as it is sometimes hard to look at it in a different way. The sober quest – well, for me at least – does seem to feel as though one is going round in circles, never advancing, always finding oneself back at the start, back at square one.

I have been trying for a long time, it’s true. But I don’t feel the situation is hopeless; each time I start again, I feel that little bit better at knowing how I’m going to proceed. True, I do keep falling at the same hurdles: the 30-40 day gate has been locked several times now; sober holidays seem impossible to me; parties are still very challenging. But, at the same time, some of the other pitfalls – Friday nights, weekday nights..actually, every night – have got easier, and as I set out again this time, I know what works, and I’ll do those things again.

But what doesn’t work?  Well, here is a small list to help me make sense of it:

*  going to a party with no AF alternative

* giving myself a get out clause (eg. I’ll start sober but definitely drink on Valentine’s Day.  Yikes! Valentine’s Day!)

*  not being upfront with my husband about my long-term sober aims; making him think that I’m just not drinking in the week

*  abandoning my blog.  Writing here has helped more than anything else, I think.  When I stop writing, I start drinking

I am not going to think too far ahead.  My friend Bea is writing every day on her blog, and I think in these early days and weeks that works well. Last month, I looked forward to writing, I wrote every day, I asked for help on my blog. When I drank again, I closed up, I pushed help aside, and that hasn’t worked.

A few people have suggested therapy or AA.  I had a therapist for a while – I can’t remember if I mentioned this before – but it didn’t work.  She didn’t promote abstinence, instead suggesting that I do things like wait for one minute before getting another drink; then the next day wait for one minute and twenty seconds, and so on.  You can imagine how well that technique worked!  That’s not to say that I shouldn’t find a different therapist…but we’ll see.

While we were away, my husband commented that I seemed more mindful about what I drank.  I was elated! I’d done it! I’d mastered it! I was free! But as soon as I got home and we hit this weekend, I was back to my old ways: drinking while I cooked, worried that he was having more than me when we poured glasses, wine with television, disappointed looks from my son, restless sleep, guilt, and a dark future.

Back at square one, Day one, here I am again.

30 thoughts on “Back at square one”

  1. Hugs and plenty of them! Swap the valentines champers for something more treaty! Plan it for yourself! Xx

    Nice to hear you sounding like you can take on dragons! X

  2. I love your list of what “doesn’t” work. I relapsed last Sunday and Monday was my new day 1. I now know I am not ready to be in social situations around alcohol. I told my friends I won’t be doing it again anytime soon. My sobriety is far more important. I also told my husband he cannot drink around me. Again, my sobriety is more important. Now that I have accepted that my lifestyle needs to change, possibly forever, and home is the place I need to be, everything just seems so much easier.

    You’ll find your groove and what works for you. It sounds like you are aware of what doesn’t work for you, and that is a very good start my friend.

    1. Thanks, Tricia. I do think I need to refuse some invitations and get more sober time under my belt before I put myself in difficult situations. Annie x

  3. So happy your back with us! Each time you restart you get stronger. It doesn’t matter how many times it takes, the fact that you WANT to be sober will get you there. Keep on keeping on!
    Mary. 💗💗

      1. I understand that fear completely. I feel it myself. But it HELPS me to hear that you’re human, just like me – that I’m not the only one out there with multiple attempts at this. Thank you, for that, Annie. We’ll get there eventually!

  4. Hoorah! Annie’s back! You’re not back at square one because look how much self-knowledge you’ve gained and how much progress you’ve made. Looking forward to reading ‘daily Annies’ x

  5. Brilliant to hear you sounding so positive!! I’m not surprised you stopped going to that particular therapist, what an awful suggestion to wait one more minute before going to get the next drink. Blimey O’Riley!!

  6. Yay Annie! Glad you plan to write every day, love your posts and your writing :). I have not been able to blog every day, but I try at least once-twice a week, with daily visits to the blogosphere, and that helps tremendously!

    You will figure it out, and you have a good start with ‘what doesn’t work’ so you can manage/avoid those things. You CAN do this, and it’s so good to hear that you are committed.



  7. I think #3 is a huge one. Accountability. I used the same technique getting sober that I used for training for my first half marathon. I told people I was doing it. There is nothing like having other people knowing you’re doing something to keep you on track. It’s much harder to just give up when you’ve let others know about it.

    1. Accountability is something I have struggled with. For example, I only half tell my husband, so he can never fully support me. It’s something I need to work on. Annie x

  8. The coments on your other post were brilliant, and I just wanted to echo the person who said try something different.

    I don’t want to get too “tough love” on you but what you’ve been doing hasnt been working, and the fact you keep coming back here suggests that you know, deep down, that you want and need real change.

    You need to take a very hard look at how you approach this, and decide what you want and how you’ll achieve that.

    Being stuck where you are is painful and exhausting and I know how you feel and just want to send you a massive hug. BUT. And there is a but. This is addiction we’re dealing with and its illogical and powerful and potentially the most dangerous thing in our lives. So how can we beat it?

    I tried everything, self care, blogging, therapy… None of it worked. Drinking was a problem for me, but I was living a life I knew I could continue- I had a job, a social life, I ran… But the deep down knowledge that drinking was ultimately chipping away at my soul was too much for me.

    One day, I decided to just TRY a different way. I knew what wasnt working for me and I had to hold my hands up and say “I’ve experimented with all these sober methods that havent worked. What’s next?”

    I tried something I was convinced wouldnt work (AA) and Ive been sober ever since. Although I have my ups and downs, I’m FREE of all that heartache.

    I’m not pushing AA here, as it’s an individual choice and everyone has their own path, I’m just trying to illustrate that this shit is hard and we have to take a long, honsest look at ourselves and decide to either continue with methods that aren’t working or try something really radical.

    I say all of this in a spirit of love because I think sobriety is within your grasp and I know how horrible it is. But being tough on myself was the only way that worked for me and that manifested itself in trying to get sober a way I never thought I would.

    Big big hugs x

    1. Thank you so much for these words. I have been investigating this, but haven’t had the courage yet to do anything about it. But I know I need to change what I’m doing if this is going to work longer than 30 or 40 days. I read every post on your blog. Annie x

  9. I didn’t comment yesterday because the other bloggers were awesome in their comments!
    I think daily writing is key to my on-going recovery.
    Blogging everyday, is helping me heal in many ways.
    Other “real” sober people help so much, too.
    Do you have sober friends you can meet for coffee?
    Peace and Hugs!

    1. No, I haven’t got any real sober friends who I can meet in real life. My sober blogging friends are a huge support, but I would like a real life person too. Annie x

  10. So sorry to hear that you’ve been having a rough time of it, butthst doesn’t take away the fact that you accumulated a substantial number of sober days prior to this:) it is just another learning opportunity that will make you stronger this time. I don’t know if it’s the same goe you but I think it takeS a lot of adjustment as a couple when one stops drinking. At least it has for me. if I’m honest I find my relationship with my husband a little bit weird at the moment. We’ve been drinking buddies for 27 years and had a lot of fun, and our evenings Are quieter now. But it’s fine and the daytime stuff is even better as I feel well and peaceful at last. I tend to go to bed early as the TV bores me rigid alcohol free so that’s a big change in our relationship. But we’re adapting. I’ve been utterly honest with him about my need to stop drinking. He understands and is happy for me but I’m sure if I asked him he’d admit to missing the drinking me a teeny tiny bit. But we’re just doing other things. This weekend we’re away on our own which would normally involve alcohol from start to finish, which will be very different but I’m hoping to make more of the hangover free days. And he drinks a lot less now too as I was always the one who initiated drinking and then couldn’t stop. In fact we’ve paid for the trip with the savings from the 40 day, much reduced, alcohol bill. Take care Annie. I’m sure you will get there x

  11. This is tough work, Annie. You have so many great comments I cannot think of what to add. Keep posting and stay positive.

  12. Yes this is hard work! Many of us had many failed attempts before we truly gave up wine. My husband is proud of me but still believed for a time that I can have a drink somewhere in the future and be “over this.”
    It took time but he respects and honors my decision. The word never is difficult for everyone…maybe try not to use the word NEVER with your hubby and honestly with yourself either…after all we only have today, right? Keep plugging away and we are all with you!

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