4 weeks until day 1

Photo by Ingrid Santana on Pexels.com

So I’ve set a date: September 4th. I’ve started this blog. I’ve signed up for the 90 day challenge on OYNB – for some reason (shame? the secrecy that so many drinkers are familiar with? feeling weird about the God stuff in AA?) I want to keep my quit relatively secret. I know that a lot of it has to do with being ashamed of publicly admitting I have a problem.

It’s strange: I quit smoking two months ago and so far it’s working. I used to think it was impossible. I have worked a LOT on myself in the last 3 or 4 years: therapy, meditation, emotional regulation, learning intimacy, to not hate myself, to be gentle, self-compassionate, etc. I also regularly publicly say that I drink too much, that my mother is a heavy alcoholic, that I must be careful with drinking. I don’t know if this makes sense, but despite this APPEARANCE of openness, I feel like I am still hiding my alcoholism. During the last few months, I have been dating someone who doesn’t drink (or hardly at all) and is very intent on working on himself. Though he still has a lot of work to do, he is doing a great job.

In the last few weeks, which I have spent mostly alone (and drinking, almost every day, 1-6 drinks, depending on the evening), I have had several realizations. I feel the need to drink daily, come 4 or 5 pm. This need is overwhelming if I am alone, and I almost ALWAYS give into it. I do most (95%) of my drinking alone. I have started to drink in secret, when my partner is not around. I plan the moments when I can drink. Thank god, when he is around and we spend evenings together, which in the last few months is about 1 night out of 2, I don’t drunk and don’t really think about it. So I am not going into delirium tremens in the morning… physically it is possible for me to not drink and feel fine. We even went on a 3 week vacation a month ago and spent those 3 weeks completely sober.

When I am alone however, I drink. My poison: fruity and citrusy IPAs. I dream of them. I look forwards to them. I am quite particular, if it isn’t the right taste, I get very little pleasure (but I still drink them). I use alcohol as a reward. As a crutch to get my work done if it is particularly distressing (I write for a living). To numb my anxiety. To quieten the loud, horrible craving which screams JUST ONE BEER. Which often whispers “fuck it, have another” one that one is finished. These days I gulp the first one down very quickly. I have also realized: my fears about quitting, and giving up a life of “fun connecting over drinks with people I love” is bullshit: as I said, I do the great majority of my drinking alone. My drinking life is quite boring, in fact. And then the next day I feel physical pain and moral suffering: guilt, shame at being “weak” and lying to my partner, at the secrecy and dysfunctional behaviors (hiding empty cans and bottles, getting rid of evidence, using mint essential oils on my breath to hide the smell, you name it). I get extremely defensive when my drinking is discussed by my partner – like my mother does when we ever tried to talk about her alcoholism.

My partner is the only one who knows – perhaps with my family- that drinking is a problem for me. My friends (most of them drink too, I suppose I chose them for those reasons) don’t care – and I have isolated myself from a lot of them since I moved abroad, started this relationship, and started meditating more. I will write about meditation another time – as my relation to it is problematic, especially these days, for reasons that have to do with my addictive tendencies and fear of getting sober. Weirdly, because my date is a month away, a part of me thinks I HAVE to drink for the whole time before quitting. But that’s insane! Why can’t I be sober today ?

Tonight my partner is in town, so I will probably not drink – the first time in 4 days. Last night I had 6 strong beers. It’s gone from 1 to 6. I don’t want it to keep escalating, and I want to be able to start my day without guilt and before noon. I can do this. Every minute of sobriety even before my quit date is good. And I still have the freedom to drink if I want to. I am going home for 2 weeks (abroad) – I will see my alcoholic family and friends – I will have a “good time”. Day 1 is the day I get back from my trip. I am scared, and excited. I have no idea who I am without alcohol. I am clinging very very strongly to being able to drink.

Published by nomorebeer

Learning how sobriety helps you ENJOY life.

11 thoughts on “4 weeks until day 1

    1. Hi Jim ! Great to hear 🙂 It’ll be wonderful to know there are others embarking on the same journey when the time comes. Coming out of 7 consecutive sober days, which is the longest I’ve gone in a while, I can only begin to imagine what it’ll be like to start a longer adventure in September. I’ll follow yours for sure !

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      1. I did do 3 months earlier this year and besides finding social events difficult it was easier not drinking at all compared to trying to drink moderately. Giving up completely is going to be tough for me because I also enjoy drinking. It’s a kind of love/hate relationship but like any relationship that goes badly wrong it’s time for me to end it. Not long to go😳
        Jim

        Liked by 1 person

      2. yeah, I love drinking, I really do. I still fantasize about moderating, but that fantasy is also part of the pattern that ends in horrible hangovers, guilt, shame, and a desire to “never drink again”. Hope we manage to find the right path, and if that path is the freedom to never have to think about alcohol because it’s simply off the table then so be it I guess 🙂 argh!

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      3. Good to hear someone say they love drinking. In fact I’m writing this whilst staying in a room in a microbrewery in Bury St Edmunds. I’m getting my fill of drinking and pubs before the big day. It does feel sad in some ways to contemplate giving up something I like but I’ve also been reminding myself of all the reasons I need to stop. I drink too much, that’s harmful on lots of levels and I can’t do moderation well. So that’s it. I’ll enjoy a few pints today , have a big bbq at bank holiday and then stop. With similar outlook and start dates hopefully we can help each other through those difficult first days and weeks.
        If you want to message outside the blog for some extra mutual support please do so via email- jsimmonds@protonmail.com
        Cheers
        Jim

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I identify with so much of what you have said, but my poison is wine. I am quitting September 1. So much more I could say, but now that I have followed your site perhaps we can keep each other encouraged!!

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    1. Hi Stacy ! I’m so glad there are so many similarities to be shared with people all around the world. I think the poison matters less than what we do with the situation and our lives. I know mine is beer simply because my mother’s is wine 🙂 But it’s still the same problem. How have things been going since September 1st? I am hopping on an airplane in an hour, and when I get home, it’s day 1 !!! Looking forward to reading about jour journey. Stay strong ! Anne

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  2. Dear Anne,
    I identify with so much of what you have said, except all of my drinking is done with my partner at this point, we have the exact same tendencies unfortunately. Luckily he’s willing to try a sober period with me. You’re lucky also to have the support of someone who doesn’t need to drink! I have wanted to start a blog like this many times but have been afraid I will be discovered (I am bad at technology and don’t trust anonymity of the internet!), and then fail and then everyone will be giving me funny looks when I quit drinking. We try to keep our drinking nights to 3 or so per week, but nearly every time now I am regretting it, I can’t stop at 2, it’s always 4-5, and hangovers are getting harder to recover from as I age. Coming up on 38 and feeling it. Want to try out this sober thing to see if it’s as amazing as people say. I have only just begun reading your blog from the beginning so curious to see how it’s been for you.

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    1. Hiiii Frugalveganmom 🙂 and welcome ! I think it’s wonderful your partner is willing to give it a go with you, and that that will make ALL the difference. I don’t think I could have done the first 30 days with someone drinking next to me. Also, these times during which we are encouraged to stay at home are the perfect time to get some momentum. I can only encourage you to try, and blogging really helps, especially in the beginning to get support from people who are going through/have gone through the same feelings. As for the internet anonymity thing, don’t worry. most people dream of getting their blogs to take off, and there are so many blogs out there that there is very LITTLE chance anyone will find yours. This is most of the time our shame talking and worrying about what others think. What I discovered after about 30 days not drinking is that most people couldn’t care less about what we do 🙂 Giving the booze a break, no matter how long, provided you manage at least 30 days or something, is a life-changing journey in my opinion. It gives you a chance to discover who you are under all those layers. Long story short, we are glad to have you here !!! xxx Anne

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