Day 18 but I’m still flipping between conflicting thoughts: to drink/not to drink, to see the counsellor again/not to see him, reaction/overreaction. And the doubts seem to come out of the blue. Earlier today, I was pottering along, no cravings, nothing stressful, when the thought that I should cancel the counsellor, and start drinking again came into my mind. And it stuck there for hours. I emailed the counsellor, I decided not to read any more blogs, I closed my mind to sobriety and almost felt relieved that I was off that treadmill. And then, just as suddenly, I panicked: I reinstated my appointment, I touched base with a couple of blogs, I reaffirmed to myself that I need to keep plodding along this route, to explore further.

It may be partly because I am going to a big dinner thing tonight, which I’m helping to organise, and I know it will be difficult being around all that drink. But there will also be lots of people there who don’t drink, or who don’t care about drinking.

All this conflict, all these doubts, all the uncertainty…it’s horrible. And the obsession troubles me.

15 thoughts on “Conflict”

  1. Hey Annie, can I just say re: the obsession. When I first gave up wine I’d walk through the bottle section in the shops and feel really sad that I could no longer partake. Just today I was going through the same section in fancy Marks and Spencer, where in fairness they do very nice vino. I was nearly through to the other side when it hit me that I hadn’t even realised I was in the wine bit. The obsession does wane, sometimes I have hours when I don’t even think about drinking or not drinking. In fact it’s gotten to the stage that some days I have to remind myself to go easy on myself because I’m still at the early days of giving up. Give it time, the longer you don’t drink the less the obsession will be. As long as you’re still vacillating between giving up and not giving up the obsession will be forefront. For what it’s worth I think you’re doing a great job. Just. don’t. drink!

  2. mytimetoshine is right, the urges and obsession will wane. Have you found a healthy replacement for alcohol yet? You have to fill that hole. You’ve got to find something that you can fall in love with. Some people run, some people do yoga..Early in my sobriety I took charge of a charity and I knew that I couldn’t drink or I wouldn’t fulfill my obligations. You won’t fall in love right away, but hopefully, eventually you won’t want to risk drinking because you’ll know that everything you’ve built could crumble.

    Congratulations on Day 18, that is an honorable accomplishment.

  3. The obsession should trouble you, or at least alert you. It is the sign that you are an alcoholic (or, if you don’t like the word, are addicted to alcohol). And as scary as that understanding is, in the end it is liberating. It means that you can stop debating. For you, I’m sorry, there is no going back to normal drinking — you were never there. You can go back to drinking, but you are fooling yourself if that will stop the obsession. That’s like saying the way to get a heroin addict to stop obsessing about heroin is to let her shoot up as much as she wants.I guess it works — the obsession stops when you black out or die.

    The good news is, as the above commenter said, the obsession does lift eventually — it really does. I thought it wouldn’t for me, that I would be doomed to always be thinking about whether I could start drinking again, being sad that I couldn’t drink, constantly having to be on guard against drinking. But one day, I can’t even say exactly when it just lifted — I didn’t want that evening glass of wine (prelude to a bottle or two a night) that I sipped while making dinner. I didn’t even think of it. I started looking forward to events (like your party tonight) again with happy anticipation, not dread that it would be another slog where I would sadly drink soda water on the edge of the happy, normal crowd. I don’t know why it happens, but it does for everyone I have ever heard of who gets through early sobriety. I promise you. But you have to get through early sobriety.

    I’m not saying, by the way, that you should suppress the obsession — that’s impossible. Nor should you beat yourself up about it. It is normal and surmountable. Just keep doing what you are doing. Recognize it, breath with it, don’t chase it away but notice how it feels in your body (tightness in the chest? the jaw? burning?) and feel that, don’t hear its words or thoughts, be kind to yourself and the obsession (it hurts, it sucks, wrap you arms around the bad physical feeling and say to yourself “poor baby, you are really hurting”), don’t act on it (don’t cancel appointments, go to the liquor store, drink) but sit with it ,nurse it like the physical wound it is, rock it, don’t think about how to solve it (by pushing it away or worse, giving in to it). Don’t drink. Eventually you will kill the obsession with love.

  4. This is addiction thinking.
    Stay your course. When thoughts like this arose tell yourself -these are just thoughts. I have already decided not to drink. It is not up for debate.

    Do you have a sponsor? This is where you would benefit from support. Go to a meeting and tell them what you are thinking. You will hear familiarity and compassion.

    Don’t drink. It is never the right decision.


  5. Yes, I think making an actual decision was the thing that helped me stop going back and forward. When I signed up for the 100 day challenge with Belle, you had to agree with her that no matter what (you were invited to a party, you were sick, you were stressed, someone close to you died) you wouldn’t drink. Committing to that took away alot of the mental torment that you seem to be going through about actually really making the decision to not drink. There will ALWAYS be an excuse to drink. Always. For the rest of your life if you let there be.

  6. One of the best things about quitting drinking is – eventually – killing off that voice in your head. One day you realise that all you can hear is *silence*, and it’s bliss….. But, beware, every time you have a drink that voice gets stronger. The only way to kill it is to deprive it. Kill the witch. You can do it!!!

  7. Sounds like a hard-earned penny kind of day. We all have them. Some days are just hard. I think it’s great that you identified a possible source for your craving…your stress over going to your big dinner thing where there will be alcohol. I’ve read your blog for a while, and I think it would be safe to say that a big dinner thing with alcohol has been possibly *the* most dangerous place for your sobriety. Your obsession ramping up in anticipation of that is a GOOD thing. You should be feeling more vigilant, and the fact that you are means you are starting to WANT to protect your sobriety. Protect it at all costs. If you have to leave the dinner, do it. Nothing is more important right now than protecting what you’ve built. I’d rather see you not go to something like that, but if you absolutely must, give yourself permission to leave if it gets too hard. If it comes down to you picking up a glass, or leaving, just leave. Everyone will get over it. Make up a lie if you have to, like explosive diarrhea or cramps, or a bad case of lice. Ok, I’m half-joking, but really, just do what you need to do. Wishing you strength and clarity.

  8. Your first sentence gives you away. The fact that you’re even thinking that you have an option, is the reason that you will ultimately fail. To continuously vacillate is ridiculous. I’ve read your entire blog and one fact is glaringly apparent: You can’t make a decision. Stand up and fight for God’s Sake! You’re not a child. Do or Don’t Do……..
    There is no Try.

    1. I think you will find that ‘tough love’ kinds of comments aren’t terribly helpful. we know what to do. being called “ridiculous” isn’t helpful at all. our brains AREN’T rational. that is the problem. There is try. There is try different. I fear that your words – while perhaps well intentioned – are too harsh to be helpful. What Annie needs to do is something that she hasn’t done yet. whatever that is. perhaps it’s anti-anxiety medication (that’s my guess). perhaps it’s some kind of outpatient treatment every day for a month. She will continue to find the tools that work for her. We can encourage her to ‘try different’.

  9. Annie, you write of the struggle so honestly and openly.There was a time in your past when wine did not taste good, but it was the thing people did, and you made yourself drink it. You don’t actually like it, and you don’t need it anymore than you need steamed broccoli with steamed boneless skinless chicken breasts as food you actually put into your mouth. Also a thing people (women) did. It tastes terrible and you don’t like it. Dump the bad boyfriend.

  10. With all due respect, Belle. All your “Helpful” comments have not had the desired effect on “Annie” She’s still drinking…. As a matter of fact, she’s a worse drunk than any of my drinking pals….Just saying…:0

  11. I guess that calling someone a drunk in early sobriety could be a wake-up call, a slap up the side the head to knock some sense into them, but it can also degrade them to the point of thinking, “Why bother? Once a drunk always a drunk, even though I’ve been fighting, even though I haven’t given up, even though I’ve got 19 days under my belt.” I’m curious, Solveig, are you a recovered alcoholic? If you are, what program did you use? Because if you used a program that calls people who are trying to quit drinking names, I sure don’t want to recommend it to any of my drinking friends.

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