Thursday 10 October 2013

97 days: thinking things through

The last week or so was super busy with school deadlines etc, and it still is. But somehow, and I don't know why, I made that even harder for myself. I also had to think my way through this not drinking thing all over again. After three months of doing just fine, thanks very much, I had another round of wondering whether I might be able to drink like a normal person again. It's not clear to me why this was suddenly such a burning issue. I wasn't craving wine, or anything like that. I just, out of nowhere, got extremely irritated with all things to do with being sober. I didn't want to think about it, or talk about it, and I certainly didn't want to pretend it was anything other than a royal pain that I couldn't have a glass of wine if I wanted to, even though I didn't at that point want to. It's convoluted, I know, and also typical. Bog standard.

I didn't drink anything. But I did plan to. About a week ago, I decided that, after 100 days, I would start to have an occasional glass of wine. I would set strict limits, and see how that went, and if it didn't work, I would go back to not drinking. Mainly, I didn't (don't) want to live in fear that one drink will wreck my life, so in response to that, I thought having one would solve that. (Maybe not logical , but it was my way of facing the fear, as they say.) At that point, I decided that in twelve days, at day 100, I would have that one drink. Or split a bottle of wine. And then I'd have none for a month.

But a day or so later, I wondered if I needed to wait a month after that first one. Maybe I could have a drink once a week. Or twice. Anyway not every day. And then I thought if I was going to do that, why wait until day 100? Why not just go ahead? Somehow, in all this, I just sat with the thoughts. Finally I decided I might just buy some wine and cut the suspense, but I didn't really want any. I was riding my bike right past the wine store and thought, nah, maybe tomorrow, but not now.

The next day, I did some careful thinking. It seems to me there are two ways this could go wrong, and one is definitely, way way way worse than the other. One, I could actually be someone who, after a period of not drinking, could have an occasional drink. If that were the case, then I would be depriving myself unnecessarily in the meantime by not doing so. The other thing that could go wrong is that I might not be that person, in which case having a glass of wine would start the whole nasty ball rolling again.

I'm busy these days, and I don't want to have to deal with a crisis, self-imposed or not. At worst, I don't actually mind not drinking, and at best, I prefer the sober me. And it kind of frightened me, how quickly that one glass I might have became wine 3 or 4 times a week, all in my mind. It's just like I've always done when I've quit for a little while and started again: it starts again small and reasonable, but it doesn't stay that way. Even just thinking about it--with no actual alcohol, just the thought of it--I was already scheming for more.

So no wine for me. Not after day 100, and not soon after that. I may think this through again after six months is up, which will be late December. But then I have another school semester. More likely I will finish the academic year first, and by then it will be April, close enough to a year that I might as well quit for a whole year and see where that takes me.

I don't know what happened to my forever idea. Maybe in a way I'm back to it, or almost. Maybe it doesn't matter. I'm not too worried about that for now.  I guess I just have to think my way through things the best way I can, and that might change up once in a while.  Throughout this, though, I was firm on one thing: no surprises. I can plan do do whatever I want, drink or not, but I have to be honest with myself about it. So far, being honest means this: I know it won't work out if I do drink, and I don't have anything to lose by not drinking. It's not rocket science, is it?

The whole process, getting caught in this and thinking my way out, it wasn't any fun. I feel like saying I wish this were easy, but I know I haven't had it so bad mostly, and my tough few days came out just fine. Anyway, here I am, day 97, not drinking and not planning to, and I'm pretty darn happy about that.

I'm glad you're out there, fellow sober folk. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do this without you.

Good night.


(I had to do a slight edit, as it's 97 days today, not 96. Apparently counting isn't my strong suit!)


  1. What you're discovering is how to live for TODAY. You don't have to worry about only have to worry about today, right now, this moment.

    As long as you don't drink today, you can always drink tomorrow.

    Say that every day and you'll be just fine.


    1. Sherry, thanks for reading and commenting. I think you're partly right. But it really doesn't work for me to think my commitment is just for today. As soon as I think it's maybe OK if I drink tomorrow, even in the abstract, then it's de facto the same as OK today. If I know that every day I'm saying "I might drink tomorrow," then I won't believe myself anymore and I will rebel against that pretty darn quick. I need to know I will care tomorrow, too. So figuring out how to live today with some future orientation seems closer to it. I'm still not saying quite what I think here, but I'm in the ballpark, I think.

      Thanks so much for the moral support!