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How to Avoid Slips in Early Sobriety
What do you do when you’re trying to stay sober and your brain cries out for alcohol? The problem seems to be that we are in a habit. We see alcohol as a source of enjoyment, learned by default throughout our growing lives. How can we possibly enjoy ourselves sober when alcohol has always been the pathway?
The key is learning that we may be mistaken.
Alcohol may ‘relax’ us and cause ‘enjoyment’ or ‘allow us to enjoy’ ourselves for a certain period. It may be viewed as a ‘reward’ or a comforter in times of stress, but essentially it is a drug, a poison, and all drugs have side effects. The drug effects our brains. Plain and simple. It alters our brain patterns and causes the ‘hit’ that causes the effects.
What you have to decide is whether you really need this ‘hit.’
Do you HAVE to have alcohol to relax?
Do you HAVE to have alcohol in order to enjoy yourself?
Do you HAVE to have alcohol in times of stress?
If so you may ask yourself WHY? What does alcohol actually GIVE you? And can you give yourself the time to choose to learn a new habit in order to do the same?
For me, it was simple mathematics. The effects of alcohol are too sudden and too strong. The drug affects me immediately. Alcohol may in its effect ‘relax’ me and make me feel I am ‘rewarding myself’ for whatever (the list got longer and longer) or ‘comfort’ me in times of stress (the list got longer still), but it jams my ‘stop’ drinking alcohol button. I vanish and another person emerges and yet I looked for more alcohol.
The after-effects of the drug were bad.
So for the ‘hit’ I received from alcohol, the after-effects were too unacceptable. The after-effects were spoiling my life. I didn’t really fully comprehend how much for a long time.
Let me give you an example.
Here in the UK, it is a Bank Holiday weekend. That’s 3 days off work. The old me would have said ”Alcohol.” I would have drunk a glass of wine as soon as I could after work and that would have led to more. I would become ”relaxed, happy, euphoric”, as the alcohol altered my persona. I would have eventually been oblivious of how drunk I was and probably have started talking crap, maybe getting a bit irritated and nasty without me realising it and maybe listening to music as I had a ‘great time.’ Sleep when it came would be sudden, fitful, and not for long. I would awake feeling ill, anxious, sad, tired, full of loathing, and with a sense of gloom. Tasks the next day would be laborious and my constant yearning would be to sleep to feel better. Later in the day, I would start the whole process again.
Because it was a Bank holiday weekend. My weekend to do whatever I wanted……………
In contrast, the new sober me went out for a meal, watched a DVD, drank lots of tea, and then listened to my music. Today I have been up, shopped, done the washing and organised a dance night tomorrow with my friends. I am the driver but I will be dancing the night away nonetheless. I am happy, have no anxieties and am content with myself.
The only advice I can give you is this.
When you ‘yearn’ for alcohol start to ask yourself WHY?
What do you think it gives you? Could you maybe give yourself time to retrain yourself to give yourself something else instead? Or could you maybe retrain yourself to work through and actually live through the reason?
But most of all ask yourself do you really want/need the after-effects.
Play it Forward.
This post was written by Zoo. You’ll find more of her writing on Boozemusings here :
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