Thursday, 26 September 2013

Thank you, fellow sober bloggers!

Today it's been 83 days since I quit drinking. I'm doing fine. Great, actually. Feeling better, clear-minded, just all around good with it. Not drinking again is the plan. I look at the sober people and I think, yes, these are my people. That's how I want to live. All good.

Yet I've started thinking, well, OK, I'm doing really well, but I didn't really drink all that much and now that I'm doing so well it will be nice when I can get back to having an occasional drink. Wait! What? No no no! I'm not really thinking this, not in any meaningful, planning-oriented way. I've just noticed that thought slipping in once in a while, and I root it out and go on. Still, it's persistent. My usual, old-me way of doing this would be to go with it. I'm so used to trying to be smarter and better and all that, and of course I would have thought I'd one-upped this booze problem, and then started in again. That's my old pattern, anyway.

But I have to say, so many excellent people have written about about exactly this, how at about 80-something days they started thinking, "Oh, maybe I wasn't so bad" or "what if now I can try having a drink once in a while" or some such. I read those when I was in the full pink blush of newly sober, say at about two weeks or three, and I thought, no way, I will not be so silly as to think that. And now here I am, noticing myself having those same thoughts. Who's silly now, I wonder? I know, because I know me, that if I hadn't read so many smart people who had wrestled with the same thing, I would not have seen this as sneaky addict-mind talk. And I would have fallen for it. It's seductive, after all, thinking I can do it differently, my way, because I'm stronger or smarter or craftier or whatever-er.

I'm not, though. I know that, too, by now. Reading other people's stories, I've been able to see that this getting-over-drinking thing has a pattern, and when I think like this, it's just me in that same pattern. So I can shake off those thoughts, and quietly remind myself how much better life is now. Last night I wondered whether I needed a full list of the gory details of how bad the last days of my drinking were: blackouts, panic, sweats, puffy eyes, despair. I don't think I want to detail it any more than that. I just know I'm not going back, and when I start to think those seductive, addictive thoughts, I'm immensely grateful to all you who have gone ahead and then told your stories, so I can avoid at least some of the holes a person can fall into. I like this being sober. Like it a lot. And at 83 days, I know I couldn't have done it without all the help of a whole lot of fantastic people I've never even met. Thanks to you all!

On a side note: last night was my first fancy restaurant meal out since I stopped drinking. And it was beautiful. We arrived early, and I ordered sparkling water in a wine glass, and when the rest of the group showed up and wine was being ordered, I just smiled and said, "None for me, thanks," and that was all I had to do. The food was great and the conversation wonderful, and I didn't miss the wine one bit. Another wee accomplishment on the way to staying sober. Hooray for that!

OK, that's my story. So far so good. Good night all, and sweet dreams.


  1. Well, I can tell you exactly what happened to me when I thought those things at exactly 80 days - the last quit around - because I had to remind myself of it recently when I caught myself wondering if drinking 'just once' would be such a big deal.

    I was right back to heavy drinking within the week and it took me months to quit for any length of time again. So now i remind myself of that when I start to think maybe I'm making too big a deal of it all, because I don't want to get stuck back in that miserable drink-quit-drink-quit cycle for months or years. Hangovers, blackouts, remorse, shame, anxiety, depression... ugh. It's baffling that we can know all that and still romanticise "a" glass of wine (as if). I know. I do it too. Still. That said, it does keep getting easier to bat those thoughts away as sobriety as you get further along and see more and more clearly all the benefits. I'm more scared of losing all of that again.

    You're doing wonderfully. And I know that lovely feeling when something like a dinner out is just fine, even great. Who needs that crappy booze crap? A sparkling water toast to you sober friend!

    Just keep going.

    Lilly x

    1. Thanks, Lilly. You are one of the people I look ahead to, and I'm doing my best to follow your lead. I know if I had a "just one" I'd be the same, falling back into old ways, and knowing that it's happened to smart people like you means I can't kid myself. A great big thanks for your sharing that. I was also in a quit-drink-quit-drink cycle, and it really never worked. This is so much better, but retraining the mind is an ongoing project. Thanks for the moral support, and that lovely sparkling water toast. Raising one to you here as well!

  2. I often think how it's too bad booze is so romanticized, how these are the images that stick in our heads when we think about how it *might* be OK to go back to drinking again. Too bad there aren't thousands of images everywhere of what drinking really looks like to people like us. For me it looked like me, alone, on the back porch (in my coat when it was cold! Lord!) chain smoking and trying to disappear. Then in the morning it was even worse. And then too bad there aren't pictures everywhere of how wonderful it is to be a sober person in the world. I try to remember how good my life looks when I start to think, "Dang. Some wine would make this just about perfect." For about two minutes. Then it would get just about perfectly awful!

    So far, so good. :)

    1. Thanks, Amy. It's so true, the romance of booze is pernicious. My actual (not romanticized) picture would be me sitting alone in the kitchen late into the night, opening that second bottle because one wasn't enough to fold me away out of the world. Sounds a bit like your attempted disappearing act. I find now I have some acquaintance with so many of you sober people, and even thought that's still just online, it's enough to make me say, "That's how I want to live." Seeing how being sober is playing out so well, and in so many different ways, for you all, that's the best way I can think of to counter the false romance of alcohol. That sneaks in sometimes, but thanks to you all I'm getting better at chasing it away. So cheers to that!

  3. Congratulations on 84 days sober!! You really are great, and you do have a brilliant plan at hand :)

    Reading this post made so very happy, you are a inspiring writer - thank you so much for sharing.

    Take care and I hope you enjoy a great weekend!

    1. Thanks, Riversurfer. I appreciate you reading and commenting. Reading your posts helps me a lot, so I'm glad to make a little contribution to your good cheer. Hope you have a great weekend, too!


  4. Staying sober is no mere fancy matter. It can be quite grueling, considering all the bad habits and enculturation one will have to go with in the process. Not to mention all the temptations that may come in the way. But it's worth it, mainly since health is primarily on the line. Kudos!

    Leora Yang @ Environmental Diseases