This is going to be a shortie.
Basically, I’ve been experiencing a few cravings and quite a lot of thoughts about drinking these days.
I’ve been daydreaming about social gatherings with friends, vacation, going to the beach, hot naked dudes (just kidding… not!), cold IPAs and laughter and carelessness and swimming pools and in-person connection…. All the things that have been prohibited and missing for these last few months of lonely, repetitive quarantining, and the intense, complicated times that we are specifically facing here in the USA.
I don’t know if it’s because this is my first “sober spring” and it’s been a while since I’ve experienced a “sober-first”, or just because quarantine and nonstop work are starting to really take a toll on me (especially as my summer is going to be work work work), but these past couple of weeks have been hard. I am just so sick of spending all day in front of a laptop, of going on the same walk over and over again, and trying to force myself to do yoga and meditate instead of eating chocolate in the evenings.
On a whim, I decided to create an Instagram account for my sobriety blog yesterday. But little did I know, this ego trip would end up fueling the cravings!
Yep, when I saw how many online sobriety accounts there are out there, I got competitive and fantasized about running a successful Instagram account with thousands of followers. But then I imagined myself one or two years into the future, and saw it in all too clearly….
The Sobriety Social Media Curse: When you are a “successful” sobriety blogger/instagrammer, you can’t drink ! You can’t f**k up. So many people follow, monitor and “depend” on your success. If you do f”””k up, prepare to face the shame of coming out to everyone. I know that if I had a slip up, a part of me would want to lie and keep it to myself – which would create SO MUCH guilt and inadequacy. A true curse.
I could only run a successful sobriety Instagram account if I was prepared to publicly admit that I “failed”. For now, all that sounds much too stressful. For now, I am grateful to only have 17 followers 🙂
After giving it some thought, I believe the Instagram fantasy ended up feeding the craving fire because it put me in the “I can never drink again” mindset, which is counter productive and the opposite of the “one day at a time” attitude that works so well.
BUT IF YOU HAVE INSTAGRAM, FOLLOW ME. lol
These days, I’ve also been thinking about the 1 year mark, which is slowly approaching. And when I say “thinking”, I mean thinking about whether I am “ready to moderate”, or have “just one drink”, to “celebrate” having come so far. Sigh.
At least I haven’t been planning on drinking before then. So that’s another 3 months left to gain in wisdom and maturity, and hopefully feel differently. Honestly, I would feel like a complete failure if I “cracked” before then. But as for many people who have recently hit that mark, thoughts about “what comes next” are beginning to creep in. I even found a bullshit excuse to add to the mix: my 1 year sobriety anniversary (September 4th) will more or less coincide with my PhD defense…. and my brain automatically goes to “celebrate with a beer”.
But here’s the glitch.
I picture myself celebrating 1 year of sobriety. Proud, happy, refreshed and rested, or what have you. Holding that beer.
Then my addict brain immediately kicks in… “One beer will never be enough. You’ll beed 2 beers to feel satisfied”. And then the cycle starts…. “Wait, 2 is already too much, it’s basically a failure which proves you’re still a compulsive drinker, way to go, Anne! And anyway, after two beers you’ll probably be quite disinhibited so instead of being ‘reasonable’ and feeling frustrated, you might as well let loose and celebrate with one night of drinking as much as you want, then you’ll get back on track”……. “Ok, well if you do one night, maybe you can do one week of drinking, then do another year of sobriety?”………
Hmmmmmm….. my brain is basically telling me to celebrate 1 year of sobriety and becoming a PhD by going on a crazy drinking binge, thereby proving my complete inability to moderate, and thus reemphasizing the importance of keeping the sobriety thing going.
On the other hand, because I am simultaneously being tortured by my FOMO-fearing brain (yes, that’s a pleonasm), for now I have decided to settle for a compromise: until/unless I am ready to “celebrate” with just one beer (i.e. to tolerate the “frustration” of stopping after just one and not giving in to the urge to keep going, i.e. to moderate for real), then I cannot drink.
And guess what…. for now, the prospect of having to stop after just one makes the whole think kind of not worth it. I’d rather not open that giant, gaping, impossible to quench, thirsty pandora’s box…. I’d rather let the whole thing sleep instead of stirring up the shit and awakening the craving monster. It’s just not worth the effort. I remember all the struggle and suffering and shame caused by my inability to moderate and how hard it was to quit in the beginning. It feels easier to just not drink.
That’s how I’m navigating the 2020 Great Spring Temptation: I am remaining sober out of laziness, out of the unwillingness to make the effort of moderation. LOL.
P.S. Big shout-out to my friend Jim at Life Beyond Booze https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/165338330/posts/527 who is back in the blogging community and whose last post prompted me to write this one. You should all check out his blog if you haven’t already!
Hang in there folks !