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How I Stopped Drinking by Writing it Out
If you’ve read anything about how to stop drinking you’ve most likely heard of the wine witch, Wolfie, the monkey on your back, or any number of metaphorical monsters used to describe the little voice in your head. The voice that suggests “just one drink”.
Just one drink after you have fought so hard to stop.
The seemingly calm, rational, voice that suggests you deserve, or need, or can handle just one drink even after you have finally stopped the downward spiral that drinking routinely often starts.
Visualizing Lucy Rocca’s wine witch, after reading her book How to Lead a Healthier Happier Alcohol-Free Life , and Belle’s Wolfie from her blog Tired of Thinking About Drinking, helped me finally defuse the seemingly rational voice that called me to drink.
I needed to objectify that voice.
I needed to acknowledge that voice as the monstrous presence that it was for me while at the same time making it a beatable force. A tangible thing that I could fight.
Belle’s metaphors and Lucy’s metaphors were a life line that helped me get sober but staying sober was up to me. To stay sober I had to dig deep and find my own personal monster. What drove my addict voice? What were my unique demons? Why was I tempted to pick up the thing that I had fought so hard to put down?
In the process of writing my way through recovery, I discovered the metaphor that works for me to this day. As I own this, it’s voice no longer owns me. Sing your dragon to sleep !
My Shiny Black Dragon
I have a shiny black dragon curled up sleeping in my brain.
He’s resting over my right ear.
It took about six months alcohol-free for him to really fall asleep and my first sober Christmas at eight months tested him a bit, but sleeping he is and I like it that way.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that he’s always going to be there because I know if I forget, or if I assume he’s actually gone, I might wake him up.
He’s very sweet when he’s sleeping but if I wake him up he is a TERROR.
My shiny dragon had a TREMENDOUS thirst for alcohol.
He wasn’t always so thirsty but once he developed a taste for oblivion he became a mighty roaring presence in my life.
The way I keep him sleeping is quite simply not to drink.
Of course not drinking in a world that sometimes seems to require it is not easy.
If you’re Hanging out around the water cooler at 5 pm on a Friday, or a Thursday, or even a Tuesday it seems like everyone is talking about drinking.
“Let’s have a drink!”
“Where shall we go for a Drink?”
“What shall we drink with dinner, lunch, brunch?”
All of the cool kids drink and if we drink a bit too much misery loves company!
We are encouraged to compare notes on the best new craft beers and boutique wines. Sake after yoga and spiked seltzer are our new healthy options. We’re told we should drink in moderation, but all over social media we’re encouraged to find camaraderie commiserating over embarrassing drunken texting and horrendous debilitating hangovers.
And then there are the other reasons we’re encouraged to drink. We reach for a drink when we’re in pain or feeling lost or alone. And for some of us, the parasitic effect of the liquid in the bottle pulls us down under the very depression that we were hoping to abate.
We drink to connect, we drink to empower, we drink to soothe but find ourselves isolated, ashamed, and in more pain.
I knew that I needed to stop drinking but everything that I had ever learned about sobriety left me cold.
As a high-energy, independent thinker I was not interested in following a program that required I slow down and get humble. Bumper stickers that said “one day at a time” or “easy does it” made me squirm.
I sunk deeper into the muck of knowing that I could no longer keep up with the cool kids and control my drinking and then I stumbled over my solution on the internet.
I didn’t put my dragon to sleep by attending AA meetings although AA does work for many people. I put my dragon to sleep by reading and writing in a community. A community that enabled me to feel great about not drinking rather than enabling me to think that getting drunk was no big deal.
I had to break the status quo. I had to go against the grain. I had to learn to be aware of what I was really thinking and what I was feeling and what I really needed.
Every day I sit down at my computer and talk a little or a lot about how great it feels to have that little dragon sleeping soundly. I connect with a community of people who have found, like me, that drinking is not the answer to life’s problems but more likely the cause of many. We write, read, talk, debate, laugh, create and share our experiences. We share our experience in words and images and music as we evolve and every day together we become more uniquely ourselves. Dragonslayers all. Strong and free.
My dragon thrived in dark isolation but has retreated from the bright warm light of a generous creative community.
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