The cycle of relapse

I first started looking at sober blogs last April, at which point I gave up drinking for 60 days. My next attempt was in September when I began writing my blog; I managed not to drink for 42 days. Little stops and starts that Autumn, but no more than 3-4 sober days at a time. Then this January, I did another 30 days. Last year, a sober blogging friend warned me against falling into a cycle of relapse, and I can see that this is exactly what has happened. I get excited about sobriety, I manage it for a bit, I get fed up and despondent, I drink, I love it, I regret it, I hate it and I start another sober plan.

And this is how it has gone for almost a year, let alone the years before that when I started to buy books about drinking, researched it on the Internet, saw a counsellor, asked for help, rejected help, thought I was imagining it…

My husband says we could build a small shed with the amount of sober books I have in the house.

I am making changes this time, and they are significant changes. I have grasped onto the sober audios from my kind stranger; I have committed to myself that I won’t drink for at least 100 days; I have reached out to some sober friends and let them know what I am planning; I have asked for help.

We are going to a party this weekend, a school thing at someone’s house. I am driving; I have told my husband that we won’t stay long, just make an appearance really; I will take some alternative drinks.

Reading this post through, I think I sound hard, and not quite myself somehow, as though I’m telling myself off. But perhaps I need to be tough on myself, to stop persuading myself that it’s ok to drink, that sober paths are too difficult to follow. I am facing up to the glaring truth: I cannot moderate, I need to continue not drinking, I need to get past day 5, past day 30, past day 42 and day 60 and on, into a new space.

28 thoughts on “The cycle of relapse”

  1. It sounds like you have recommitted to sobriety. You have your tools in your toolbox, and you are ready to use them. Only do what you are comfortable with, and take care of yourself. You CAN do this, it is hard, but if you want it, it is there for the taking.
    Also remember, you don’t have to go to anywhere that you are uncomfortable with. It is so hard in the beginning to watch other people drink. I counted drinks, and types of drinks for a long time. It made my skin crawl.
    Take good care of yourself.
    Stay strong.

    1. I know I don’t have to go to this party at the weekend. I am planning to go, but we will leave after a short time if I find it too difficult. Annie x

  2. Annie…I’ve done the same thing over the past year. I put together almost 60 days…a couple of 30 day stints…and a lot of 3 and 4 day times. I personally don’t think anything magical will happen at 60 or 90 days, but I am giving myself a chance to be alcohol-free long enough to heal my body and develop an honest perspective on myself and my drinking and the rest of my life. I’ve committed to a year of alcohol-free living no matter what.(in my second month now)..and that seems to work for me right now. Committing to the year, for me, takes the pressure off of the “will I or won’t I quit for good” question…and now I can focus on healing and fixing my life. Every day I’m realizing just a little bit more how twisted my thinking gets when I drink. I was spending time doing things, and being in the company of people, so that I could drink….It didn’t look that way on the surface, but under the surface where I really made my decisions, Everything really did revolve around drinking….and frankly, to me that just sucks!
    I love the idea of the 100 day challenge….decide you won’t put alcohol in your body for the next 100 days and find ways that work for you to really live alcohol-free. Our journeys are very individual…some of us battle depression, overeating, bad life situations, etc…but at the same time we all share a common understanding of what it’s like to live addicted to alcohol…which is just plain treacherous…Please message me any time…thinking of you and praying for peace and healing for you.

  3. I agree. It sounds like you are being realistic.
    I started this as a year off too- a gift to myself for my 42 birthday. Somehow the surrendering to absolute alcohol free for that year was the surrender I needed to stop fighting myself.

    But I still try to look at it as one day at a Time. Because that is all we really have.


    1. I do need to tackle this one day at a time. I know it’s a well-worn phrase, but thinking too far ahead is what has scuppered me many times before. Annie x

      1. It’s a well worn phrase because it’s the truth.
        It’s scary, but when you just stop sighting and let go of any thought of drinking, it all suddenly becomes easier.

  4. I think when we give up drinking, many of us struggle to love ourselves and be kind to ourselves – I know I did. But a pitfall can arise when we are SO kind and understanding that we give ourselves permission: to have “just one” drink, to think our drinking isn’t all that bad, and so on.

    I believe the self-love has to be balanced by an equal measure of tough love. I try to be easy on myself, especially in these early days, but that doesn’t mean I can allow myself anything and everything. I’m trying to develop self-love and self-care within the framework of some absolutely unbreakable rules (no drinking!!).

    It sounds as though you are doing really well this time. Keep going!

  5. Dear Annie,
    Reaching out to real life sober friends, blogging, other things to drink, are all good stuff!
    Peace and Hugs,

  6. Between February last year and today, I estimate I have had at least 50 day ones. The longest I have done is 20 days. A few two weeks stints, and lots of little breaks. As much as not being able to hold on has been incredibly frustrating, all this sober time still counts. And as much as my drinking has become increasingly disastrous in the past year, I have been learning from it. I don’t want to write this time off as a waste. I think I will look back on it as one of the most important years of my life.

    1. I agree. Trying, failing, trying again is all part of it, I think. Sometimes, I do wish I’d hung on at the start, then I’d be coming up to 11 months now. But it’s pretty pointless for me to think like that. Annie x

  7. Annie, you’re on the right path. Most people don’t quit smoking in one go either. The Daily Mail (I know, you guys call it the Daily Wail) says it takes, on average, five years and seven attempts.

    One day it will click and you’ll be in the groove, smooth sailing. How’s that for mixed metaphors?

  8. You are sounding realistic and strong…it does take most of us many attempts…you’re on the right path! Be kind to yourself and like others have said…it’s okay to decline invitations.

    1. I’m going to be careful about accepting invitations in the next few weeks. The weekend party is a challenge, and I may not go. Or I will leave early if I do go. Annie x

  9. You don’t sound harsh at all. You sound like someone making progress. You sound like you’ve taken a look a where you started, where you’ve traveled and where you’re headed. Enjoy this journey.

  10. I don’t think you sound harsh. I’ve got the same appearance to my drinking friends – loud, the one who gets too drunk again but it’s okay because it’s all fun. I have no idea how to change that image but we have to try. You can do this, we are shoulder to shoulder x

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