Where now?

Close to the brink yesterday, today I went over the edge. I drank this evening – only a small amount of alcohol but alcohol nonetheless. I am so disappointed with myself. I had a really nice, peaceful day, trying to rest and be more peaceful, as suggested by some of the recent comments, because I realised I’d been overdoing it with the hiking, and I was getting overtired. My Mum then suggested we have a drink at a little mountain hut near the flat, idyllic and rustic with a little pond and water trough. I could easily have had something alcohol free, but instead I had a shandy, and then at dinner an inch of wine. I was so disgusted with myself, I could hardly drink it. My parents seemed relieved that I was drinking, but my children were horrified: ‘I thought you said you’d given up drinking forever!’ one said, and one of the others said, ‘You’ve broken your promise!’  My son said nothing.

I am not sure what to do now. I seriously considered not mentioning it on my blog, but continuing as if nothing had happened, because I’d got to Day 12 (today would have been Day 13) and knew this would break the momentum I’d built up. But telling such a big lie would be pointless, and so much of my drinking behaviour has involved lying, it is important that I be open and as honest as possible.

My instinct is to carry on trying, but starting at Day One tomorrow is daunting. But I think I need to keep on trying, not to let myself go back to the old ways. I don’t want to forget all the good things which have come out of the last two weeks, because it has felt different this time. I have felt different.

46 thoughts on “Where now?”

  1. Compare how good you’ve felt the last two weeks and how you feel now. Continue drinking or Day 1 again, no brainer!! Ly

  2. Annie, your kids hate that you drink! Trust me. I hated that my parents drank. They don’t anymore and I am so happy. I drank too. Now I dont. The fact that your children said that is heartbreaking to me. They will always remember that day. I’m sorry to be blunt. I know you need to stop for yourself but think of them too. Children of alcoholics feel such shame. You want them to be proud of you! Also, shame on your mother for suggesting a drink after you told her you were quitting. Did you not truly explain your situation? You need to be completely clear with people because someone is always going to offer a drink. It’s good you’ve been exercising. Don’t find excuses to drink! I’m routing for you! Now, continue on. You can do this…if you really want to.

    1. Thanks, Tracey. One of the hurdles for me (and there are many!) is being completely clear with everyone, so it’s no wonder that I get mixed messages from various members of my family. I don’t think I am even clear to myself. But I am working on all this. Thanks for your comment here and for your kindness. Annie x

  3. So many thoughts.
    (1) I agree with Mary. No brainer. If stopping is what you want. If (I hate to go all AA on you, but….)you are willing to admit that your life with alcohol in it is unmanageable (which I translate as miserable and not what you want).
    (2) What’s really going on? You admit how easy it would be to have not drunk the shandy — and it sounds as if you were almost choking down the wine. Was this testing the waters? Seeing if you could magically become a normal drinker? If you think that’s an option for you — if you STILL think that’s an option for you — then I don’t think you are going to succeed in getting sober. If I hadn’t truly believed that I would never be able to have a decent life with alcohol in it, I could have never quit, or if I had, it would have been ten million times harder, Why go through all the pain and agony of cutting our best friend and comforter, booze, out of our lives if we don’t have to? No one is that masochistic. That’s why I ask — what was going on here?
    (3) First the easy one — your parents. I am sure they are relieved you are drinking because they do not want to believe you have a serious problem. Tell them you have a serious problem, that you are an alcoholic and drink is ruining your life. They will be less happy to see you choking down an inch of wine in that case.
    (4) Now the hard one — your kids. Please read what you wrote again. You are scaring the shit out of them. They don’t want to lose you to booze, and it sounds like they know that is a real possibility (and they’ve experienced it already to some degree). They know better than you, because they are living it, that alcohol is a jealous baby/lover/friend. It wants to be the only one, and it has ways of making sure of its dominant position. They want the attention and passion you give to alcohol. If you are serious about quitting, tell them you’re sorry you slipped last night, that you were wrong, and you are going to stop drinking. Thank them for caring enough to say something and for helping you.
    (5) Counting: Don’t start at day one again. For lots of reasons. First, if you only had a bit last night and you don’t drink again today (tomorrow? time difference kicking in), your body is well beyond the day one horrors. It really will be more like day 12 or 13 or whatever in terms of your physical recovery. Second, I’m kind of tired of the day one, self-flaggelation drama (and to be honest, I am dealing with a similar situation in my AA group, so maybe i’ve just had it). You’ve gotten to the workman part of sobriety — figuring out how to live day to day without alcohol, what your triggers are, what you can do instead, etc. Why not just forget about counting for a while, just do what you need to do not to drink day to day. I have a day counter on my phone, which I put on in my first days of sobriety but since about three or four months, stopped looking at all together. Really, just don’t drink today, eventually they’ll add up to something, but I worry about putting too much meaning on the numbers. Concentrate on learning to live a sober life instead.

    Bottom line: Don’t quit, don’t worry too much about the slip, except to the extent it can inform your sober journey — help you get clearer with your family and yourself on what your goals are. Wake up tomorrow fully committed to not drinking, don’t waste it beating yourself up or rethinking the decision to quit.

    1. Heartfelt thanks for all your help and advice. I am working on many of the things you describe here. Some are easier for me than others! The acceptance issue is possibly the hardest, and my biggest hurdle. I find the surrender idea the most terrifying thing. I am so grateful for your help and advice, and the time you have taken. Annie x

  4. Sorry but you need to have a big heart to heart with your mother or better still, stay away from her at the moment. I would carry on at day 13, u only had a bit, put it behind you and carry on. Day 14 tomorrow. Stay away from everyone and LOOK AFTER YOURSELF!!!!!

  5. If you are serious about this, and I believe you are, sobriety continues from here on. You are not getting anything from drinking. Why do it?

    You need to distance yourself from your mom or tell her the truth. You have a serious alcohol dependency. And you need support and no alcohol around you.

  6. I don’t even know if I should post this because I don’t want it to be triggering, but I really question such a massive amount of beating yourself up over such a small amount of alcohol. Is this an alcohol problem, or a hating yourself problem? If it stopped being alcohol, would it start being sugar or carbs or any number of other things? Because I think you can have a shandy and an inch of wine and still be an excellent mother and human being.

  7. Keep trying Annie. you’ve been doing so well. I agree with what others said about your mum. You need to tell her the whole truth. If she knows you are serious about stopping she won’t offer you alcohol. I’m torn regarding the day counting. If it was me, I would have to go back to day 1. But maybe counting days isn’t always that helpful. Just concentrate on not drinking today. Keep trying, you can do this.A x

  8. Move forward. Count days or don’t, just move forward. Completely surround yourself with support and stay away from drinking for now. Either tell your mom and enlist her help or get some distance for a while. Don’t treat your sobriety like a hobby, see it for the serious matter that it is. Do whatever it takes to get better. Take care of yourself and do what it takes. You are worth it.

    1. I think I do sometimes treat sobriety like a hobby – that’s a really interesting way of looking at it. Thanks, Jenn; the seriousness of the situation is scary. Annie x

      1. Annie…yes this is serious but you do have the power to change it. I think the saddest thing about being stuck in the cycle/trap of addiction is how it convinces us that we can’t do anything about it. The alcohol is lying to you. You are spending so much time obsessing about it and right now, it’s got the control. Kicking the alcohol is likely the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do…but it’s the only way to begin healing from the addiction and eventually get on with life with your family and the things that are important to you and spending your time living life. All I want you to know now is that there is hope and that you can do this.

  9. Annie, beautiful heroic woman, you are thinking and writing about the role that wine plays in your life with courage and honesty. You have not wanted it to be a daily part of your life, so it has not been a daily part of your life. You dumped it, and it’s been hanging around like a bad boyfriend. Tomorrow is not Day 1. Tomorrow is another day.

  10. Annie, in my final year of drinking, I actually only drank about 12 times in total. That was because I was trying and trying to give up like you but just couldn’t quite manage. So I would drink again and immediately regret it and stop again. You are doing great, your last 12 days have sounded so bright !!!! Please don’t allow your mum’s annoyance at your not drinking to dictate what you do. I have a couple if friends who hate my not drinking. Just a couple. I am always ‘on alert’ to their comments and now take a perverse joy in frustrating their plans for me ! Do what the inner you wants you to do, be the way the real you, that fabulous bright strong Annie wants to be. Finally, the last 12 days have been so good for your health and well being. Absolutely don’t just disregard them as worthless. X

  11. i think you have a lot of online supporters and people who genuinely care about you but i don;t think anyone is being honest with you. You are severely addicted to alcohol and in my opinion need to seek professional help. You are literally been torn apart emotionally and physically and your children are tramatised.
    At this stage I doubt you can even think straight. You are surrounded by alcohol. How could anyone stop drinking in that situation. It would be impossible for the best of us.
    I honestly think you need intense professional counselling and therapy, maybe medication and time away in rehab if possible. If you are serious about this in any way, you cannot have alcohol around you.
    This is not fair on anyone, especially yourself, You need professional help and therapy. Please seek proper medical advice as soon as you can. I hope you are ok.

    1. This is an interesting one. Yes, I am sure she did hear, and she didn’t say a word about it. I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Annie x

  12. Please don’t give up giving up – I have been following your Journey for a while and it echoes most of us. I have two years sober – don’t count days. Tried moderating for years – then had a nine month sober stint – followed by a very reckless six months of pouring copious amounts down my neck because I knew I was going to give up soon………….. Then my Husband (my main drinking Partner of the last 25 years) was diagnosed with Cirrhosis – but we said – we only drink beer and wine – how has it happened….. Well thats what many nights repeating the battering of alcohol on your body does. Our bodies do not like alcohol – our kids do not like us drinking – we don’t even like ourselves drinking and yet we continue to do it – because it is an addiction for some of us.

    I really hope you can keep on the sober dappled path

    1. Thank you so much for telling me some of your story. It is so helpful to hear, and helps guide me through. I am trying to keep to the dappled path! Annie x

  13. carry on ( : tell your children you made a mistake, that you’re sorry about the broken promise, that this is so very hard BUT you are still determined to keep going and not drink. be honest with them, include them (a little bit) and make them feel that they are part of your team. it is hard but, in fact, you ARE doing it…

    1. I like this advice by jaded8 Annie! Children are very forgiving and loving and they would love to be of help to you. Consider this a little slip that made you realize you really do want to continue on with not drinking; don’t be to hard on yourself! You are learning where your parents stand, and where your children stand, and once holiday is over, it will be your children you see and live with every day, not your parents. A s jaded8 suggests so wisely, your children can be part of your support team. 12 Days was spectacular and you can get back there easily before 2 weeks.

  14. Don’t let a slip turn into “F@$# it!” There are two directions, forward and backward. Choose forward, just today. You’ll look back in a few days and forget why you were so upset about something so small. It’s not the end of the world. Us drinkers are so good at catastrophizing, aren’t we?

  15. Oh, and about the starting over with day 1 thing…this is the rest of you’re life we’re talking about. 12 days is pretty small in the grand scheme of things. It’s not about how many days in a row you’ve gone, it’s about getting to the bottom of why you do this to yourself, and then changing things. Getting lots of sober days in a row is a good way to help that, but it’s not the whole goal.

  16. I don’t remember where I heard it, but doing the thing where you go, “I drank. Fuck it. Now I’ve ruined everything, might as well keep on drinking…” is the equivalent of saying, “Shit! I dropped my phone! Might as well stomp on it a couple times now…”

    Seems like counting days is a hang-up for you – like you’re playing Chutes and Ladders and feel like quitting when you have to go back to the start of the game. If that’s the case, then maybe counting days isn’t for you, and you’d be better off counting ‘one day at a time.’ And instead of numbering off your blog posts with “Day X,” you could simply say, if you wish, “Today I didn’t drink.”

    If you go back to drinking because of this, you’ll have earned the disrespect and distrust of your kids. They’ll see that their Mom chooses alcohol over them. And while you certainly aren’t out to hurt your kids, your behavior is hurting them nonetheless. Read up on “Children of Alcoholics” to see what I mean. Here’s a link to get your started: http://tinyurl.com/nojfak5

  17. I have to agree with everyone that said, “Quit counting days.” Quit going back to Day 1, Day 1 of this journey was when you took your first drink years ago. The year before I finally quit, I kept a calendar where I marked each day with either an M for moderate, A for abstinent, or D for drunk. I blogged 9 Day 1’s that year, but I disappeared from blogging for almost two months so I’m sure there were more. I attempted a 30 day abs periods almost every month and never completed one. I sucked at moderation. If you look at those statistics, the whole year was a dismal failure. But when I went back and counted how many abs days I had, I had not drank for over 60% of the year. I had never been sober that many days in a year since I started drinking.
    You are not going back to Day 1. Tomorrow is a new day, add an A to the calendar. That will make 13 days in the last 14, how can you call that anything but progress?

  18. Annie, I know you get so many comments I’ve felt uninclined to add to that, so and I have been supporting you quietly, but I do want to say something here. First, I agree with karymay: stop counting days! You have had so many days without drinking, and they count. The days you have drank do not remove those during which you have not. And you’ve done fabulously well with not drinking on some days. Hooray you!!! Second, I also agree with littlemsjones: it’s not like because you had a shandy and an sip you’re now somehow a terrible person/ mother/ daughter/ whatever! Kids are competitive and funny about rules, because they are subject to so many, but I’m sure your kids love you and you are likely a great Mom. (You and your family know that. We online do not!) Also, regarding your last post: I’m not sure it’s great advice that you need to relax and stop hiking! For me, and I add that we are all different here (I quit for 16 months but now moderate) I found keeping busy was a better approach, and “relaxing” was a kind of doing nothing that didn’t ever work for me. I’m not saying you should do what I do! I just mean, you were hiking and not drinking, and for all the “listen to your body” talk, many people still thought you should refrain from doing something you love in order to rest, just because you felt tempted, but I would be skeptical. One person’s rest is another person’s strenuous hike! So do your own thing, I say! Sleep all day or hike, whatever works.

    Many bloggers talk about Brene Brown and “The gifts of Imperfection,” and that’s great, except Brown quit drinking when she was very young and drank very little, so it almost translates as “the gifts of imperfection as long as you’re sober and perfectible.” I like Brown’s book, and I recommend it, but I think it it’s important to take what littlemsjones said pretty seriously: you seem like a great person and a good mother and wife and daughter, and advice to “distance” yourself from your mother/family just seems wrong to me. Talk to them, sure, but don’t do that thinking there is only one answer already. You seem like you have been doing a great job of mostly not drinking and drinking very little over the past few days, and I wonder whether you can find a way of proceeding that supports how well you are doing (as karymay and others have said) without taking on-board all the terrible-person/bad-mother stuff that I doubt helps anyone.

    OK, that’s all just to say that I’m cheering you on, and you can feel free to delete this or disregard anything I said that isn’t helpful. I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation, family and hikes and dinners included! xoxo

    1. Thank you so much for this comment. I agree with you, that beating myself up and feeling guilty is counter-productive. As for moderation, I am still finding my way on that front: I fluctuate between thinking sobriety is best, then moderation, then sobriety. What I do know is that I don’t want to go back to being the sad person drinking on her own late at night. But I found your comment really helpful – thank you. Annie x

  19. I agree with Littlemsjones, don’t beat yourself over a little bit of shandy and an inch of wine . Just carry on Sober. Think very carefully about who you look to for support though . Your children are your super heros. Flossie x .

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