There is a certain amount of denial, anger, and yes, mourning that I processed when I first stopped drinking. Poor me, I won’t fit in anymore. I’ll be the square peg in the round hole. But once I persevered through those feelings, alcohol-free, I was able to start healing my brain. I was amazed to discover that being sober is not punishment. But to get there I first had to protect my quit. I had to make not drinking an absolute no matter what happened. I had to make my sobriety non-negotiable.
Early in this process of learning to live life alcohol-free, I got a letter from Uncle Sam. I had done my taxes wrong, 2 years ago, and they welcomed my mistake with a HUGE bill, to include interest and penalties.
My first thought was to drink. I had relied on a computer tax program and clicked something wrong. The temptation to uncork the wisdom of the Merlot CPA foundation was instinctive.
But I didn’t.
One day later, I received a random letter from a retirement plan administrator. My father had passed away 5 years ago, and they were not certain they had distributed all of the funds. Would I please contact them?
Wow. Mr. Taxman on Tuesday, a potential solution from my Dad on Wednesday?
I called and had a short, but kind conversation with the plan administrator. She expressed her condolences about the loss of my father 5 years ago, and unknowingly to her, I misted up in tears, hearing someone say it’s okay to still miss my Dad…. who I had stopped drinking for, and after a year I subsequently restarted … the memories of my awesome Dad filled my heart. This compassion was overwhelming and certainly a virtual hug from my Dad.
The reality that there were no additional funds did not matter. When I hung up, I knew that joining the Merlot foundation would have been the worst decision. My Dad’s wisdom and spirit was still within me. I could figure this out without drinking.
The random letter, sent in error, was like a penny from heaven that day, and helped me Protect my Quit. 💘
I have a long-term sober friend that, if you’d ask her about moderating and drinking again, she would say, and at times it can be frustrating because it’s so simple.
“And then what?”
Meaning, if you take the first sip, what happens next?
One drink, and then you’re done? Or then just one bottle, and then you’re done? And then What?
And then just one night, and then you’re done? And then just one weekend, and then you’re done? And then What?
And then just one month, and then you’re done? And then What?
Or then… pick a random date, like a lottery pick, or a meaningful date, and then what… you’re done? For how many days and months and years will it go on?
As you think about the “and then whats”…. my friend suggests visualizing the outcome.
“Fast forward the tape… what’s at the end?”
It’s kind of funny because my kids only know the >> as a virtual fast forwarding feature, but when they were growing up and we would go to Blockbuster on a Friday night …. well first actually, we’d have to spend 20 minutes before going, adhering to the, “Please Be Kind, Rewind” stickers haphazardly slapped onto the VHS tape. Remember those? It was supposed to be a suggestion, but young parents knew that, if ignored, the result was a financial penalty.
So when the urge to drink happens, Play The Tape.
Right now, part of the story is behind you, and the ending is still unscripted. Rewind it, and based upon what you’ve lived through thus far…. do you like the story? It is your story, after all. And if you try to cheat and fast-forward it to the next scene, what’s at the end?
Play the Tape. ❤❤❤
More by this author
Play the Tape Forward
When thoughts of alcohol dance in your head
Play the tape forward and go to bed
Wake up ready to face the day refreshed
Or at least feel ok
With no hellish hangover
That’s such a good reason not to frown or
Start your day on a downer
And proper sleep
When you’re dreaming deep
They should bottle that stuff
When we wake up we just don’t feel as rough
We still have problems sure
Probably more than one or two
Or even more
There is something to be said
For playing it forward
And going to bed
And waking up feeling like you
All from not caving to a drink
You know it makes you think!
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