A journey to double digits

Before I start, I wanted to apologise for my post yesterday, which I think sounded self-righteous and arrogant. I didn’t mean it to sound like that. It’s sometimes hard to get the right tone here, and on this occasion I think I ended up sounding as though I was on a route to isolation; an ‘I’m alright and I know what I’m doing’ sort of voice.  Clearly, I have no idea what I’m doing and am pretty much constantly floundering around. So, if you have been feeling peeved by what I wrote, I am sorry.

Someone commented yesterday that my blogging voice had sounded completely different when I’d reached double digits. I did what she suggested, and read back over parts of my blog, and I could see what she meant. It’s been so long since I had more than a few days’ sobriety, that my voice has got stuck. And so I am aiming to get to double digits. That may sound easy, but I have been caving so regularly, failing at sobriety has itself become a kind of addiction.

I am not trained in the psychology of addiction, but I’d like to bet that people who regularly drink a lot of alcohol, and who can’t stop when they try to stop, are also people who are addicted to other things.  In myself, I see plenty of addictive behaviours: obsessive tidiness, too many shoes, anxiety about what people think of me..and there are plenty more. My husband says that I always need something to worry about, to obsess about; he thinks my attempts to give up drinking are part of that.

I know that I feel better when I’m not drinking. The discomfort in the lead up to the decision whether or not to drink is quickly followed (if I don’t pick up the drink) with gratification that I’ve avoided the temptation, and a real sense of joy when I get past the craving and out the other side.

So, I am aiming for double digits. My skin is tired, I feel unfit, I know that a couple of sober weeks will help me to feel better, and to restore faith in myself, that it is possible not to drink and to be happy at the same time. Another day one today, but more positive than before.

18 thoughts on “A journey to double digits”

  1. I agree that caving in starts to feel like an inevitability and once in a cycle adds to our feelings of despair. That’s familiar to a great many of us, certainly me. But it is not inevitable; change happens and it can be transformative once it starts to gain momentum. Double digits is a brilliant aim: see you at ten 🙂 x

    1. Yes, I had to consciously avoid the caving in moment yesterday. But it passed, and then I was fine. And yes, I hope to see you at ten. Annie x

  2. I am one of those ‘addictive personalities.’ I think Alan Carr would disagree that that’s a thing, but I’m quite sure it is. I have a couple damaging habits and several close friends have told me over the years that I seem to always need things to worry about. One even asked me if i enjoy worrying. Which is a stupid question – what she should have asked is: do you need to worry and obsess to stay sane. Which I probably do. I think I need it to feel worthy. Whether by nature or nurture I am a perfectionist and I only feel worthy when I’m working extremely hard and accomplishing things that other people approve of. Worrying makes me feel like I’m working hard and getting through tough sh*@& like a champ. And lest I think all of my accomplishments make me a worthy person, I have my alcohol habit to assure me that I’m not. The worry continues so i never have to bear the burden of ever being perfect or worthy. that would be far too much pressure and is totally unattainable for me. As long as I am addicted I will have a built-in thing to worry about.

    You see where I’m going. I try to convince myself that I should become obsessed with not drinking – that would be a neat trick. And I think i’m slowly getting there. I’m very all or nothing – i don’t even consider that moderation would be good (or possible). You and I started our blogs at around the same time – who would have thought all these months later, almost a year! we’d be in – not just the same spot – but kind of a worse one. We’ve seemingly become more desperate and obsessed with not being able to do this. But I have faith in us, we are strong. We keep coming back. We know what needs to happen. We just haven’t figured out the right trick. I think it has something to do with the witching hour. Clearly we have all the literature and motivations and ideas and time sober that we know how great it is. We know sobriety deserves a chance and our faith. But I think the ‘something different’ we need to do this time around has to do with that exact moment when we say F-it, there is no other way, i can’t live without drinking, so i’m going to drink. That moment has to change, ’cause we’re getting everything else right.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write. You and I are similar, I think. And yes, I hope to come back stronger. And I am desperately trying to work out the trick to be able to move forward; hope you can too. I read your blog, but there are no comments now – is that right, or am I not understanding it? Annie x

      1. ugh, i was worried about the new format. Everything is still possible, like commenting, following, etc. but you have to find the secret doors, so to speak. E.g. to leave a comment you need to click on the post title which takes you to the separate post page and then leave a comment. This might be moot soon as I think I’m going to change the format of the blog again to make it easier.

  3. You’re right about those addictive behaviors. I certainly have a laundry list of things that I’ve tried to quit obsessing over and just… can’t. Running. Cookies. Making lists…. Sometimes I think I’m addicted to BEING addicted. The most I can hope for on some days is to shift the obsession to the lesser of all evils. But the strive for balance is a constant battle, so just know that you’re not alone! Hugs 🙂

  4. I think sobriety provides a way out of obsession. I don’t think I have any other addictions, but I am a worrier. But that has calmed down immensely in the last few months – in fact I noticed a difference just this weekend. It’s easier to talk about worries, to let them out and dilute them, before they do so much damage.
    You must have felt the difference too, as it shows through in your writing when you reach double digits 🙂 xx

    1. Yes, I do notice that I worry less when I’m not drinking. And that when I’m stuck in that cycle of day ones, I worry A LOT. Annie x

  5. Annie, you are my personal heroine. You are an exquisite writer. You are extraordinary. I share your pain.

  6. I think in sobriety a lot of the obsessiveness goes away. You can finally stop holding your breath and let things just be.

    You will get there. The relief is unbelievable.

    1. I certainly notice that when I achieve a few weeks of sobriety, I become less obsessive. But then I persuade myself that ‘I’m ok’ and I go back to my old ways. Thanks for your faith in me. Annie x

  7. I am convinced that alcohol exacerbates anxiety and obsessive thought patterns. You don’t have to take my word…so many sober bloggers have written about the same thing. Once you have time away from the alcohol and your body chemistry settles down, you can really feel the difference. It just takes time. I can say that I’ve never been caught up in a cycle of day 1’s like you have described, but I can see how I could if I picked up a drink again. I would imagine that every relapse makes it harder and harder to stay sober. I consider myself fortunate that I had a pretty “high bottom” and I quit before my very unhealthy habit became a full-blown addiction. I have learned a lot from you, actually, so thank you for your honesty and willingness to share your story. Keep moving forward, and if you can, make sure that first drink never gets in your hand.

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