Really struggling

I’m on Day 5, it’s 5.15pm and I’m really struggling.

I’ve had a good week, working my sobriety in a positive way, taking it easy and trying to be calm and thoughtful about it all. But as Friday approached, I noticed I was starting to question and doubt my intentions. I went to a meeting yesterday, and found it very helpful, but today I didn’t go to the meeting I was planning to go to, instead agreeing to a spontaneous lunch with a friend. On the way to the lunch, I cancelled my appointment with my counsellor, and by the time I met my friend, I felt certain that I didn’t need all this sobriety malarkey.

But an interesting thing happened: I told my friend about what I was doing, about the counsellor, the drinking, the attempts to stop. She emboldened me to carry on with my original plans.

Afterwards, I felt frightened: a fear of sobriety, a fear of not being sober. I feel as though I am on the edge of breaking through this, reaching beyond all the doubts and committing to sobriety properly. But it is so difficult.

I had stopped writing the blog for a bit, but this evening I am reaching out. I have texted some people I met in meetings, I have texted the friend from lunch, and I have made a plan with my husband that I will do the driving this weekend when my daughter needs picking up from a party tomorrow evening – earlier today, I tried to rearrange that plan.

Sometimes, I feel like I am going mad.

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14 thoughts on “Really struggling”

  1. Of course it’s scary.

    It isn’t malarkey. You are addicted to alcohol and it is causing you to act compulsively. To stop listening to your true self and to let the alcohol take over.

    Do you have a sponsor? You need to find a real life support to help you. Listen to your friend. Maybe she sees more of your struggle than you think.

    Call the therapist back. Go to a meeting. Stop questioning of this is the right choice. It is. Period. Being sober isn’t like joining the navy. It is allowing your body to rest in its normal state.

    You do need to do this. It isn’t silly or an over reaction. Regular drinkers can go a week without drinking.

    Please reach out for help.

  2. I am also struggling, I cannot seem to get past 16 days or so and need to get to Day 1 again. Pls know that you are not alone in this, I have been looking to you for inspiration so perhaps we can motivate one another.
    You can do this

  3. You’re doing great, i’m proud of you. wanted to mention before too much time had passed that your recent post about pretending your wine was tea for the first time really resonated. Except the first time I did that was probably 10 years ago and i still do it. One of my recent posts was kind of apathetic about quitting but your story reminded me to keep my eye on the ball which is that i do have a problem and there are better things in life than mixing drugs with shame and embarrassment and hiding. In fact, I went so far as to put tea bags in my wine (only the fruit variety so it wouldn’t taste like mint wine or something – but still). So, turns out I am that bad. Thanks for the reminder. And also it means, as you know, you’re not alone. Keep it up, I hear it gets better.

  4. Hi Annie,

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a month and I just wanted to give some input based on my own recent experience.

    I decided to “take a break” from drinking in early June. There was no specific reason except that I was drinking daily (minimum 2 drinks, and often many more).

    I have attempted to quit drinking many times and until now, always failed. Why did I fail? Because I was not convinced (truly convinced inside) that I actually wanted to quit. I knew, of course, that it would be beneficial to me to quit, but really I wasn’t ready to give up the perceived pleasures of drinking. So, inevitably, I would stop drinking for a while — a few weeks, a month or two, etc…– and end up falling back into it.

    This time around, for the 1st time in my life, I feel like perhaps, just maybe, I am done with it. I’m not so sure why I feel more convinced now than ever before, but it could be age-related (47), or that I’ve already tried both quitting and moderating many times before. Perhaps it is part of the process to make many attempts before you are finally successful.

    Reading your blog, it sounds to me like you haven’t convinced yourself that you are truly ready to quit. And I think that until you reach that moment, it is going to be difficult to quit. I have no idea whether you are an alcoholic or not (and I don’t know if I am either), but I don’t think it matters. The only question that is relevant is whether or not you believe the negative impact of alcohol on your life is greater than the positive. A glass of wine with dinner might sound nice and harmless, but, realistically, if you are like me, you are not going to have only one. And even if you have only 3, probably you won’t sleep as well and thus will be tired the next day, and the next day after that if you drink everyday like I did.

    One suggestion I would make is for you to make a list. On one side, put all the positive aspects that drinking adds to your life. On the other side, put all the negative aspects of drinking. When I did this, I realized that that the negatives far outweighed the positives. If you are a “normie”, perhaps the positives outweigh the negatives because you only have an occasional drink or two. But if you are like me, and drink anywhere from 2-10 drinks per day, then probably the negatives (hangovers, tired, irritability, lack of drive, feeling slightly depressed most of the time, etc..) outweigh any positive aspects.

    In my case, I have decided that the negative aspects of alcohol in my life outweigh any positive aspects. And this is, in large part, why I have stopped. In fact, after 3 months, I feel fantastic. I have more energy, I look better (better skin, no bags under the eyes, my eyes are bright) and I also feel more calm, more emotionally stable, and my relationships with people are better, including with my wife. I can honestly say now that the benefits of NOT drinking outweigh the benefits of drinking. OK, so I can’t “enjoy” a nice glass of wine or a good buzz, but in exchange for that “loss” I have gained so much: increased mental clarity, optimism, emotional stability, and energy. And with this extra energy and time, I can do more things that I enjoy: play golf, go for a run etc…, thus, in a way, I am exchanging one “pleasure” (alcohol) for many other pleasures: good sleep, energy, more sports, better relationships, more clarity, etc…

    But I have also told myself–and I think this is relevant to you–that I am not necessarily quitting forever. Forever sounds like a long time, and it is hard to imagine never having another drink ever. So what I have decided to do is to commit to an extended time period without alcohol. My first goal was 1 month (short and achievable for most people). Then I set my sights on 3 months (90 days) and now on 100 days. I am currently on day 96, so only 4 more days to 100. Once I get to 100, my next goal is 365 days — one year.

    Why one year? While I feel great after 3 months off the sauce, I think that I need an extended break so that I can get some distance from my drinking habit sot that I can (with a clear head) re-assess drinking in my life. If, at that point, I decide that I think I can safely re-incorporate drinking, and — more importantly, — if I think that the benefits of drinking will outweigh the disadvantages, then I will consider trying to drink moderately again.

    Does this mean that I will start drinking again after one year? Some people have done it successfully (http://www.abc.net.au/health/yourstories/stories/2012/04/04/3469677.htm) but frankly, I anticipate that after 1 year without drinking my life will be so much better than it was when I was drinking that I won’t WANT to go back. However, and here is what helps me now psychologically, I haven’t sworn off drinking FOREVER. This helps me know when I have an urge to drink — I just think, “no big deal, even though I can’t drink now, in a few months I can have a beer if I want to”. If it helps you in the early days, you can just tell yourself “ok, not today, but maybe tomorrow” (as they recommend in AA).

    Everyone’s situation is different and each of us has to do what works for us. For me, this commitment to stop drinking for defined period is working. I really have no urge to drink now, and even if I did, I know that when the year is up, I can drink again if I want to.

    To conclude, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I think a break from drinking might do you good. But you have to commit to that break, whether it be for one month or 3 months or whatever; by committing, you avoid the whole “should I drink today or not”? Just tell yourself (and your friends and family) that for health reasons you have decided to take a break from drinking. I’m sure others have mentioned the 100 day challenge, but that might not be a bad place to start (http://tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com/2013/03/14/100-day-challenge/).

    When you have successfully reached the 100 days, then you can re-assess and decide what to do. After 100 days, at least you will have an idea of what life can be like sober and you will have a better idea of the benefits of not drinking. At that point, you might decide to go for another 100 days, or maybe even for 1 year. But at least for the moment you can tell yourself “ok, it’s only 100 days and then I can have a drink if I want”.

    Whatever you do, I wish you all the best!

    B

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for commenting here. I really appreciate your advice, and find it very very helpful. I’ve never done a list as you suggest, and it sounds useful. As for being convinced I want to quit…that’s difficult for me, but I’m working on it. Annie x

  5. Oh annie, i feel for you big time. Anne’s idea of a real life sponsor is brilliant, i wish i had thought of that for you! get one asap
    hugs
    Lisa

  6. Hi, I really feel for you! And I know what your feeling. I suggest trying to get to at least 1 AA meeting a day, get yourself a sponsor and get as many numbers of other recovering alcoholics as you can, and call them everyday, staying close these people really seems to work for me. Good luck.

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