Happy Easter and Passover and Spring!!! 20 months ago
So I have been wrestling with my decision to quit drinking for years now. I have known for a while that I have a problem, and I have quit temporarily on several occasions, just to prove I could do it, but I was having a really hard time with forever. It was so daunting to think about.
So a couple months ago I got rid of all the booze in my apartment. Then I went to stay at my mom and dad’s house for about a week-and-a-half to dogsit while they were on vacation, and I guess I treated it like it was my vacation away from my real life. They mostly drink wine when they go out on the weekends, but they have a pretty well-stocked bar at their place, and I took advantage. I was drinking probably about 6 glasses of wine a night when I was over there. I felt terrible about it, and I was actually embarrassed about the amount of empty bottles in the recycle bin, and made sure to get rid of any incriminating evidence before my parents got home (I just realized I sound like I’m 15, rather than 32). But I knew the end was coming soon.
I started to take a brutally honest look at my life, no more rationalizing, no more lying to myself. And I realized that the goals I set for myself can never be met if I stay on this trajectory, if I keep drinking. I can’t and I won’t say that my life is terrible (I do realize how fortunate I am, through no virtue of my own, and I am grateful), but all of the problems I do have can be traced back to one culprit: alcohol. So I went shopping, and I bought about 8 books and a writing journal. And I started reading, and I am still reading. And it just finally hit home for me. Drinking just does me no good, and I need to make a commitment to not drink anymore. I think I finally accepted that fact when I read so many other people’s stories about quitting, and talking about how their lives DID get better. For so long I equated not drinking with not having fun, not being able to function in this world. But reading about other people like me, farther along on this journey, empowered me to take a leap of faith.
So my parents came home Friday, March 9th. I went out with a friend Friday night, and that was the last time I had a drink – it was after midnight, so technically the last drink I had was very early Saturday morning, so my quit date is Sunday, March 11. I am taking it one day at a time: reading, praying, journaling, reflecting, talking to other people going through the same thing.
When I quit smoking for the last time (I have been successful for 2.5 years so far), the first week or so I was very irritable, wallowing in self-pity, thinking that life isn’t fair, other people got to smoke cigarettes, I wanted to smoke also. I basically saw quitting as an exercise in self-deprivation. I saw quitting smoking as a punishment, a prison sentence. Then I guess I had a bit of a paradigm shift, when it finally clicked for me, and I started to see quitting for what it really was – not a punishment, not an exercise in self-deprivation, but one of the greatest gifts I could give to myself. After I started seeing things that way, everything clicked. I still had urges to smoke, but I reacted to them differently. I finally accepted that smoking was not an option, so, although I had urges, I no longer had temptations, that little devil on my shoulder telling me to buy a pack of cigarettes.
So I guess I feel like I’m at that place with drinking. I know what I am doing is for the best, for me, my family, my friends, and the community as a whole. I value so many things so much more than alcohol, and I know with alcohol in the picture, I will never achieve what I want to achieve. I mean, I still may not achieve my goals, even without booze, but I will be able to try that much harder. 20 months ago
Thanks for your support and your insight, m r and healthygal56. I was in a shitty mood, but the dogsitting was really good! 20 months ago
I’m feeling very irritable. I’m about to meet my parents and grandmother for dinner. I don’t always drink when I go to dinner with my parents, but recently I have been. My parents just have a glass or two of wine. But my grandma drinks vodka on the rocks, I like vodka. I like wine too. I’m not looking forward to this and I’m already in a bad mood because this is my last night of vacation, I have to work late on Tuesday, and I will not be living home for the next two weeks, as I will be dog sitting for my parents. So my commute to work is going to suck, and I won’t be seeing much of my cats. I’m just really pissed right now. 21 months ago
that I could go into hibernation, like a bear, and wake up and it will be like six months since I last had a drink. That would be some incentive to keep it up, not to ruin my track record.
When I first tried to quit smoking – which is the hardest thing I have ever done, and it took me like years to do – I would feel like it took so much out of me to even go for a whole 24 hours without a cigarette. I loved smoking so much. When I first quit, I was like, how can I even drive a car with both hands on the wheel? I had to relearn so many things I took for granted. But I did! And I know I can do it with drinking too. But I never got into financial or legal trouble from smoking….I haven’t from AL either, but I am worried I will….
Anyway, I don’t know. I’m not the AA type. I have social anxiety! To go to AA, I would want to drink first. So, I don’t know. Reading a lot of books. “Sober for Good” is the one I am reading currently. 21 months ago
I have that fear too. Unfortunately, for me, it has manifested, not in not drinking, but in cancelling my plans and staying home to drink, by myself. :( 21 months ago
I guess by reading your entries, you have had your own experiences with alcoholism through the person you married. And I am not going to judge your experiences, but I will say that this issue is a lot more than just self-respect or self-control, and to reduce it to that would be an oversimplification, 22 months ago
Watch Intervention? Or specifically, any movies or tv shows where either the characters or actors are recovering alcoholics? Of course I know that Intervention is a nonfiction show (I hate the world “reality:), I myself am a big Stephen King fan, and I know his history of alcoholism, and I find much of the works of his that I have read (and that which has been subsequently put onto film) has a practicing alcoholic/recovering alcoholc as the protagonist.
I am a writer too. And I worry that if I dry out, I will dry out my creativity. But….I don’t know. 22 months ago
Reading your entries and all of your insightful comments have been really helpful and inspirational. I hope next year I can be where you are now, but you’re right, I need to learn more. Thanks for sharing your experiences! 22 months ago
It’s 4am and I can’t sleep. My anxiety level is through the roof right now. Last week I had a very scary medical test done, and the doctor said that if I didn’t hear from him by Wednesday, then the results were probably fine, but to give him a call just to be certain. This was a serious test, with serious, life-changing implications if the results come back and they’re bad. I think this is partly what fueled me to drink this weekend, part of it was anxiety, and part of it was this fatalistic, “who cares? I might be dying anyway” attitude. But now I am seriously freaking out. All day Monday I’ve been staring at my phone like I’m holding a live hand grenade, and I know today is going to be even worse. The other day my dentist’s office called to reschedule an appointment, and when I was checking the voicemail, I heard “This is So-and-So calling from the doctor’s office” and I seriously almost passed out. My heart stopped beating for a minute. I am so terrified and AL has always been my way to deal with anxiety. This is very nerve- wracking to deal with this fear without the only coping mechanism I’ve known. I know it’s a messed up coping mechanism, but now I don’t know how to deal. I’m trying to do progressive muscle relaxation, abdominal breathing exercises, guided meditation, reading to distract myself, and nothing works. My mind won’t stop going a thousand miles a minute. I can’t relax. 22 months ago
I know! What a ridiculous excuse it was! And at the time, it seemed so logical! It made sense, and now, yesterday, I was like, so perplexed as to what the rationale was. It’s like self-deception, like I can’t trust what my brain is telling me.
I can only compare it to when I tried to quit smoking. I tried unsuccessfully several times before I quit for good. And I would go days without a cigarette, then break down and bum one off a friend. And rather than treat it like a slip, I would be like, well, I screwed up a little, might as well screw up a lot, and then I would go out and buy a whole pack of cigarettes. And then I would smoke the whole pack. 22 months ago
Well, I’ve been sober for the past 24+ hours, which is more than I could have said yesterday. I was also anxious about going to work and seeing someone that I was at a dinner with on Friday, drunk. I didn’t do anything stupid or embarrassing, but I still had this fear that she would treat me differently, or say something to me about it. Like I didn’t drink all that much at the dinner, but I had split like 2 bottles of wine with a friend in the 3 to 4 hours prior to the dinner, so maybe I came in smelling like booze. Anyway, I was paranoid and hoping to avoid her today, but she saw me right as I came in and everything was normal, she was collecting money from everyone, so she was busy with her own agenda and probably wasn’t even thinking about me. So I felt better.
Since I drank Friday, I agreed to meet a friend out on Saturday. She was home by herself drinking before we were supposed to go out, so I did as well. But that’s kind of BS. I would have been drinking anyway, since I felt like, why not, I already did on Friday. So that gave me a reason to drink, but I would have made one up anyway. But then I got nervous. I was scared to go out. I figured if I was home alone drunk, there wasn’t much damage I could do. I wouldn’t be cooking or lighting candles or anything that could be harmful in that way. Of course, there are other things that could be dangerous home, but I was trying to reduce the likelihood of something bad happened. Anyway, money is tight as well, so I just cancelled on my friend and drank some more, but I didn’t finish the wine I was drinking.
Sunday I did not drink at all. I felt really bad, emotionally and physically. I was pretty isolated all weekend. Home by myself Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t even want to go to work today. But I did and now I feel a little better. So I’m trying again. 22 months ago
All I can seem to handle saying, at this point, is that I will not drink today. I can’t say I won’t drink in three years, or two Tuesdays from now, or anything else. Just not today.
Not drinking is only the first step. I need to change my lifestyle. But it’s like I’m not even sure who I am without drinking. What if I’ve forgotten what Sober Me is like?
I need a good recovery plan…. 22 months ago
It sounds like you learned from this slip. Just pick yourself up and start again. Don’t focus solely on the past, focus more on today. Just focus on not drinking today. 22 months ago
I admire your strength in not drinking! It is such a hard thing to find new ways to deal with sadness and anger… 22 months ago
When I was much younger, being at school dances or other social events, and people were dancing, and I would never have danced!! The only times I have really danced in public (with one exception), either I was quite young, like 7 or younger, or I had been drinking. If someone offered me a million dollars to dance sober, I don’t think I could do it. And I remember feeling like this was a terrible shortcoming, this was a sign that I was abnormal, that I “should” want to dance and be able to dance and all that stuff. And then when I got old enough to drink, it was like, “Eureka! Now, besides all of the other wonderful stuff, alcohol lets me cut loose! I can dance now, if I wish!” Now I can see that it’s ok to not dance, that my personality without alcohol is fine, that not everyone is the type of person to dance, or whatever. That’s just like an example anyway. My mom finally said a few weeks ago, after I was complaining how I wish this, I wish that, I wish I could be like this, finally she was like, “Why don’t you just accept yourself as you are, instead of wishing to be someone or something different? Because you’re a great person as you are.” And it got through to me. All this drinking is to get away from the real me, to try to change regular me into new and improved me. But like Cinderella, the spell wears off, and I have to keep drinking to keep up my image. And now it’s like, I drink too much. If I plot my personality on a horizontal line, regular me would be all the way on the left, in Dullsville. The shy me, the reader me, the me who likes to stay home and play with the cats. The middle would be my ideal me – self-confident, witty and comfortable in my own skin. All the way on the right is the drunk me, the one who says inappropriate things and does things I will regret later. And more and more lately, when I drink to get to Ideal Me, I inadvertently get to Sloppy Me. And I can’t really predict when that will happen. 22 months ago
Thanks, guys! I’m definitely going to start over tomorrow. 22 months ago
I did drink last night. I was drunk but I didn’t black out. I remember everything. I didn’t do anything or say anything that I would be embarrassed by. I just feel ashamed. And I know how I acted wasn’t the real me. I was more outgoing than I normally am. I used to like that about drinking, but now I’ve come to terms with my shyness, and I feel like it’s ok to be quiet/shy/introverted.
Every time I feel like I accept the truth, that I cannot ever drink again, I feel like it’s the end of the world. Like the end of fun. I know that isn’t true, but I feel like it.
I feel like a failure. 22 months ago
I set up my checking account to take out $70 a week and put it automatically into my savings account. I really want to save up for a down payment on an apartment, but $300 a month isn’t going to cut it. I have to think of other ways to make money, and then save it without splurging on things I don’t really need. 22 months ago
I was grateful:
1. For getting to work and back safely.
2. To have enough money to have dinner.
3. For being able to take a nap.
4. For having time to engage in leisure activities.
5. That my cat was feeling better. 22 months ago
I’m really excited! Two of my work friends invited me on a trip out of state to see an expert speak about this author that we all enjoy. I was hesitant at first to commit, but I said yes. This feels like the first time in a long time where I’m doing something fun, something social, something that REALLY interests me, without alcohol. Like maybe I can bond with these people over our authentic shared interests, and not just because we like booze, which I’m realizing is the foundation of a lot of my “friendships,” and that’s not really much to base a friendship on.
On the other hand, I said I would go to a birthday dinner for an old friend this Friday night. A lot of old friends that I haven’t seen for a couple of months will be there, and career contacts that I want to stay in touch with for networking purposes. But these people Drink with a capital D! And they haven’t seen me in a few months, and most likely they will expect me to “D”rink as well. I know myself. If I go, I will either not drink and feel very uncomfortable, because some of these people are really blunt and would probably ask me why I wasn’t drinking, plus I would just feel awkward socially. Or, if I do go, I might give in to temptation, drink, and be really upset. I don’t know what to do. Maybe I will just cancel. If this bday dinner was a month or so in the future, I would be able to handle it better. But if I go, I will only be on Day 5 (hopefully). I think the wise choice would be to sit this one out. 22 months ago
I am so happy to hear about your milestone! Reading your posts and everyone’s on their journeys is so inspirational!! 22 months ago
So far my plan is pretty simple. I have a bodybugg, and I’m trying to be more active than I have been, and eat less. I’m just trying to make sure I burn more calories than I consume. Some days it’s just not feasible to go running for an hour or do some resistance training, so I eat lighter on those days. I’m 5’9”, 146, so it’s not like I’m really overweight, but I do want to get back into shape and lose at least ten pounds. I need to check my measurements as well. To be honest, if my clothes fit better on me, then I really don’t care what the scale says. 22 months ago
Congratulations! I wish I could be where you are right now 22 months ago
I have been watching The Big Bang Theory and practically every episode has a reference to drinking, or shows people getting drunk to deal with their unpleasant feelings. Then I got stuck behind a car two days this week (we must be on the same work schedule), and the sticker on their car said, “Time flies when you’re having rum.” I remember being a little kid and seeing Joe Camel on the back of my TV Guides, and I’m not saying that is a reason why I started smoking, but in this society, alcohol consumption is so prevalent and so unquestioningly accepted, that it will take some people FOREVER to realize they have an issue. For me, as long as I didn’t drink and drive, what harm could be done?? But it’s just everywhere. Super Bowl commercials, I don’t even want to start…. 22 months ago
So far, I have sort of been in a self-imposed exile for the past month or so. I used to love reading growing up, and I still do, but the lure of the TV trap has caught me as of late, as has my job, where I have to bring work home with me. I’m happy to report, though, that I have been reading a book a week since December. I used to read almost exclusively nonfiction, at least over the past couple of years, but now I have started reading “fun” books again, how I refer to fiction. But I want to read a lot of technical books, on acting, on how to write, a lot of nonfiction books, and it seems like I’m looking at them as “unfun,” which is really not the case. So I want to intersperse the fun with the technical, and hopefully I will be able to do that once a month. 22 months ago