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I Was Afraid to Stop Drinking
There are many reasons that people find it difficult to stop drinking. Most of us think that the difficulties lie in breaking a bad habit or fighting addictive tendencies. But I was literally afraid to stop. There are several reasons that I was afraid to “not drink”….
1. Stopping drinking meant I had to change my life, literally, for when I thought of things I did, alcohol was there, overflowing. Photos were evidence of the amount of activities where I was drinking. It seemed that at every social event, every family get together, every smiling image of me on Facebook – there was a glass in my hand. If I said I wasn’t going to drink, what then?
2. Stopping drinking meant that I had to admit to myself that there were parts of my life that were out of my control, and strongly influenced by alcohol.
3. If I said aloud that there was a problem with my drinking, well, it was like sitting alone in the forest when the tree fell. They said that if a tree falls in the woods and no one was there, did it make a noise? I knew, deep down inside, when I was waking up in the mornings foggy and without knowing what happened the night before…. well, I knew that I had a problem. But if I said it out loud, then like the tree falling in the woods, my words would make noise and others would know that I wanted to stop.
4. What if I didn’t want to stop drinking forever? Will it be held against me if I picked up drinking again? Would people hold it against me if I said that I was going sober but couldn’t make it stick? Then THEY would Know I had a problem.
These thoughts overwhelmed me and kept me self-negotiating and arm wrestling with my drunk alter-ego. I wanted to be better, but I didn’t want to change…. kind of like wanting to fit in my skinny jeans, but not wanting to do the diet…. or wanting to run a 5K, but not wanting to plan the workout.
I knew that stopping drinking was going to be stressful, but I also knew that I was sick and tired of waking up feeling like dogbreath. But on the first night, I just knew I wanted to wake up sober, just to see what it was like.
Waking up that first morning – holy moly, who would think that the sounds we take for granted in the early morning would be so clear? Chirping birds, car doors slamming, engines starting…. my quiet neighborhood waking up, and I was alert enough to recognize that I hadn’t heard these sounds in eons. No headache. Clear-headed. Wow.
When I went downstairs on that first morning, I made a fresh pot of coffee and rev’ed up my computer…. without the impending sense of doom about what I left unfinished the day before, because I remembered yesterday.
Productive before noon? WOW- to be fair to the “high functioning” me, being awake early in the morning wasn’t something new even before I stopped drinking, but having a clear head WAS something that I hadn’t experienced for years. Instead of going through the motions, my brain was clear.
Ironically, at about 3 pm, the wine witch perched on my shoulder, quietly congratulating me for all of the hard work I had accomplished that day, and suggesting that I had worked enough for just “a glass”…. imagine her surprise when I refilled my water glass and ignored those cravings. When it was time for dinner, and my husband went to open a bottle of wine for me, I confused him when I told him not to open it (I was the wine drinker whilst he is the rum drinker)… and on the morning of Day 2, when I woke up before my alarm went off, I was astounded- WHAT just happened, I’m awake?
The initial fears from before I stopped drinking, were cautiously replaced with curiosity… what can life be like without having a glass in hand? Will my relationships with my grown children improve? Will my work performance be better? Will I be quietly happier about me? Sober?
Sober days strung into weeks, and weeks into months. One year later, my sober sneakers are still double-knotted.
Life is not perfect, but alcohol is no longer part of mine. I stopped drinking! I had moments where peer pressure to have, “just one and done”, popped into my head. One time, my husband was pouring a drink and suggested, “Want one?” I answered honestly: “Do I want one? Yes. Will I HAVE one? NO. My drinking days are over.”
Life is bigger than a liquid that is officially considered a poison. Being SOBER is a gift, for the present.
Today, I protect my quit.
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us. Start with 30 days. Try a Dry July, Sober October, or New Year’s Dry January Challenge.
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How do you go Sober? ( more reading in blue titles)
B Be accountable Talk to Us We Understand
A Avoid alcohol like the plague Ideas Here
L Let yourself enjoy regular sober treats Ideas Here
A Allow yourself to cry when needed Ideas Here
N Nourish your body with good food Ideas Here
C Create happy & fun memories Ideas Here
E Enjoy the precious moments in your day Ideas Here
W Work hard to get what you want Ideas Here
O Organise things for less stress Ideas Here
R Realise you can’t control it all Ideas Here
K Keep going & prepare for success Ideas Here
S Sleep enough for body & mind rest Sleep Solutions