Sunday, 29 November 2015

Effortlessly Sober?

Someone left a lovely comment on one of my posts a while back. It said something along the lines of "you seem so together"

And I am beginning to feel 'together'.

But it wasn't like that for a long time.

A few years after emigrating to Canada, my relationship ended, after fifteen years. I ended it. It was the right decision. But my drinking problem (that I kept firmly under control, apart from a few lapses), spiraled.

I made bad decision after bad decision, including a particularly toxic rebound relationship. And I doused everything in copious amounts of wine.

Very soon, my already floundering career in Real Estate rolled to halt (thanks in part to the recession, and to my lack of interest and permanent hangover), so the small amount of cash that I had received from the relationship break up, was quickly gone.

I ended up working in a Beer and Wine Store (cruel irony), and it was easy to compare my "enthusiastic wine appreciation" against the "real alcoholics' that frequented the store.

In private, I vowed again and again that I wouldn't drink so much. And every time, I failed to make good on the promises I had made to myself.

Eventually, I convinced myself that I was drinking "due to the stress" and once I had got my life under control, the drinking would stop...all by itself...

The happiest intervention by the Universe (or God), who clearly decided I needed a break, was to put my now husband firmly in my path.
Thank God I wasn't too drunk to notice!

My drinking continued, but I justified it to myself by '..it's happy drinking!"

Physically, I was beginning to notice that I was forgetting things. Like whole conversations. Or getting to bed. And I was worried about weird pains in my arms. Some nights I would wake up, dehydrated, and worry about having a stroke, or a heart attack.

So I tried to stop.

I tried to only drink on weekends.

I switched to beer

I switched from beer to white wine.

I challenged myself to not drink for two weeks.

I tried to stop FOR GOOD, again and again and again.

I put crosses on the calendar for all the days I didn't drink, hoping that there would be more crosses than not, at the end of every month. There never were.

I read sober literature (as I was drinking wine)

I googled 'Am I an Alcoholic" and lied my way through countless questionnaires.

And then finally, I stopped.

No DUIs, no interventions from my very patient husband, no medical emergencies. I can't even tell you what I was thinking.

On Day Three I started this Blog. I had no idea if I would make it to Day 4 or Day 10....or Day 100.

So why share this now?

Because I read so many blogs where people are reverting back to Day 1 and feel so shitty about it. I read the desperation, the panic and think to myself......I remember that...

If you read my blog and think "wow, she seems so together", I thank you. I really take that as a compliment.

But there is only one difference between you and me.......I wasn't brave enough to blog about all the times when I smacked up against the wall of alcohol. I wasn't brave enough to share the times I had to pick myself up , feeling shitty and desperate that I wouldn't make it. But you ARE brave enough to share that. Thank you.

You are all an inspiration to me. And I know that you are all going to make it.

WBxx

10 comments:

  1. Thank you. I hope I can make it. Thank you for calling those who fail and pick themselves up and try again brave. We need to know that there is hope for us. That we are not crazy. That we can do it. Thank you for this post.

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    1. you are definitely NOT crazy! And there's lots of hope..you'll make it!

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  2. I couldn't agree more! I have had two spectacular falls back into drinking (aka decisions to drink again) after quitting for stretches at a time, and that's all after I started blogging. Before that, I have years worth of notebooks filled with decisions to stop, and plenty of horrid things I still think I would have trouble writing down. When I see people doing well, I think, "that could be me," and when I see people struggling with the Day 1s, I think, "that's me," too. It's tough, but there's just so much hope in it, and I find that super inspiring, too! xo

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  3. I didn't think about all that- the endless attempts to moderate/quit/take a break/switch to or from beer or wine or liquor. I didn't write about them either!

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  4. True. I on,y started blogging when I was about 6 months sober.
    I didn't even know there was such a things as blogging.
    But I have many years of trying behind me. Of ten switching, and the rules and the swapping drinks for water.
    All failed attempts to contro, myself. All times that took another notch out of my self esteem.

    I remember those days well. I feel deeply for anyone trapped there. It is a horrible place to be.

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  5. I didn't start blogging until I was 26 days sober, I think this last time.
    Before that I didn't even know how to blog.
    I had several years of trying before that.
    xo
    Wendy

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  6. Thank you Thank you Thank you. I feel or felt like such a loser every time I broke a sober spell. I truly feel that i am so ready now but when I fail I always hide from my blog for a spell in embarrassment and shame. Your post made me feel a little better and less insane. There is a time for my final quit and the steps to get there are painful but necessary. Let it be now.

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    1. I can't explain it, it's like a "light" comes on and you just accept and embrace a life without booze. And it's awesome.

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  7. Great post WB! I have been reading lots of blogs and came across one yesterday where the author has been trying to quit on and off for two years! She has documented her day on time and time again and keeps failing. Initially I felt a bit relieved to see someone else who struggles to keep promises to herself (like me) but after a reading of her "excuses" and relapses so many times, I started to get annoyed and impatient with her. She seems to get to one week, one month or longer and you can read in the tone of her posts when a fall is about to occur.
    I now realise that I have no right to judge this person simply because she chooses to be absolutely honest and own up to her ups and downs and very bravely share them with us. As much as I love the inspiring and uplifting stories of those who have conquered the wine witch, it is important to realise that for most people with alcohol issues, there will be many many attempts to quit before the "light" comes on and stays on for good. I hope that days comes soon for this particular blogger and when it does, I will be her biggest cheerer. Her ups and downs will inspire us all to persevere and keep dusting ourselves off each time we fall knowing that one day it will be the last day one.

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    1. You're so right. I try always to remember (but not to wallow) how many times I tried and failed.

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