Wednesday, 8 January 2014

More than a week, less than forever

A week just won't be enough. I know that. One week away from drinking is just enough to make me feel good, enough to make me feel like it's OK now to have a little. But that little turns into a lot, if not the first day, then a few days later. I know that. The fact that a different outcome might be possible--and I have a good imagination, so I can imagine a different outcome--doesn't seem to help me. The same outcome keeps happening. Too much to drink, more than I plan, more than I really want to be drinking. This is the same story a lot of people tell. I know that. I'm not trying to be original here. It's my story, too.

I'm still not prepared to accept "forever," but I don't want to be working my way through the tangle of this every day. I agree with what Lilly says, that it's the darned going back and forth thinking about whether or not to drink that's exhausting. Once you've decided, it's a lot easier (which is not to say it's easy.) And as much as I find counting days can be irritating, I want a definite stretch of time during which the decision is already made. I know that's not a magic solution, because at the end it all comes back and there are still decisions after all. But I want a break from drinking, and a break from making decisions about it. (And I wouldn't mind feeling great again!)

So it's no booze for me until the end of the semester. That's 91 days. Thirteen weeks. It feels like a relief to take a breather, to get off the chaotic worry-train drink problem. And yes, to the part of me that says it's not that big a problem, OK. But it's not that small a problem, either!  It's a nice, medium-sized problem, and it's mine, and I'm trying to deal with it.

A lot of tips and tricks that seem to really help people leave me cold, or irritated, but yesterday I came across some good advice here. Carrie Armstrong suggests that, rather than figure out the problem, just stop for a while and then take a look at it. Well, probably that's what a lot of people are saying, but somehow what she said and how she said it rang true. I get caught in semantics (alcoholism? drinking problem? disease or habit?) And I get lost in what's the best way to solve it without giving anything up that's good. So just getting off the train for while seems like the best plan.

Sorry if anyone had really, really hoped my plan for moderation would work well and is disappointed that it didn't. (Hey, you and me both!) But I'm not sad I tried. If I do quit drinking altogether, and that is a likely possibility here, I will have tried everything I can do to rein it in first. I think this is the kind of thing that's best learned in the first person. I'm just not good at being told what to do. But then, I don't know anyone who is.

Yesterday I really did enjoy the evening, drinking tea and chatting with my partner, reading after dinner, not drinking wine. Today is my last free day before the semester really kicks in, so I'm off to read and drink sparkling water and listen to the rain for the afternoon. Maybe I'll even go out and walk in it for a bit, get my boots muddy in the park along the way. Sounds like fun, I think.

If you've read this far, many thanks. Peace.


  1. I'm yet to read someone's moderation plan working (if they've already experienced a problem controlling alcohol) but I'm forever hopeful that one day someone will prove the exception to the rule.. sadly it just seems to be the people that never had a problem to start with that can keep drinking in a 'take it or leave it' fashion (like my husband).. such a cruel drug alcohol in that it seems to pick and choose who is going to be ok to handle, moderate and control it forever, and who is not. Freedom for me was in accepting I was one of those who could not. Lovely to hear from you and I do so like how you end your posts - always makes me feel good for reading to the end! (which I always do). Peace right back atcha xxxx

    1. Aw, thanks Mrs D! So nice to get a warm and supportive comment. I think there might be some people who do learn moderation--in Ann Dowsett Johnston's book, her mother seems to have gone from being a super hard drinker to drinking two glasses of wine a day--but I don't really see it working for many, and I fear I may be among those many. Alas. But I'm starting to get onto the freedom of just leaving it all behind. Maybe I've drank my fill already. I'm reading a great book I'll post about tomorrow--The Trip to Echo Spring, by Olivia Laing. It's a pretty clear look about some of the romance around alcoholism, and it's beautifully written, too. Thanks as always for your ongoing support. It's so much appreciated!! xoxo