Do you feel like you are drinking too much too often and losing control? Drinking more than you are comfortable with? Maybe you are sick of the hangovers? When I was drinking I would wake up and immediately evaluate: how hungover am I?
Here were the usual options:
1) Oh good :
I only had 3/4ths of a bottle last night. Slight wine head, slight dry mouth and eyes, but nothing too bad.
2) Oh my head :
why did I drink the whole bottle? And I had a gin and tonic. And smoked too many cigarettes. My head hurts and I hate myself for doing that. It is a school night. Eyes red and I feel some generalised anxiety.
3) Oh dear God :
I am dying of thirst. Need to drink from the tap. My head, I need some paracetamol. I only wanted to have a few at that party, not have a big night. Vague memory at the end of the night. Why am I not in pj’s and wearing my robe instead. Must have been easier than the pj’s. Was I playing table tennis really badly at the party? What did I say to that acquaintance at the dinner table? Did I gossip about her really good friend? Did I lie to that person about something trivial? Something is deeply wrong with me.
A few years ago I tried moderating for the purpose of losing weight.
I wrote down everyday what I ate and drank. I’d measure the wine on my scales. I remember finding a ‘sweet spot’ where I could still lose weight if I drank 3/4 or less of a bottle each night. Also I didn’t feel very hungover with that amount. Then I thought maybe I’d try taking a few days off drinking per week as I could feel the daily 1/2 or 3/4 bottle wearing me down but the problem then is that the thirst would build and I would drink a lot more after my day or two off. And then feel dreadful. So ultimately I found that by drinking every night, I would hopefully avoid getting blackout drunk. So my addict logic was to drink everyday, to avoid drinking too much in one sitting. Hmmm.
I remember about a year ago telling my therapist that I was drinking too much and her response was that because life was throwing a lot at me, I might just need to accept that ‘for right now’ I’m drinking more than I’d like. We discussed reasons for wanting to numb out. To me, it worked wonders and justified my drinking. But something wasn’t right. I clung a little too tightly to what I received as her permission to drink. It was my top tool. In my last year (so not long ago!) I’d decant wine into jugs that were much bigger than a bottle and therefore I couldn’t see exactly how much.
Then I started to crave change.
The numbing out every night got so so tiring. As tired as you might be feeling right now. I felt so uninspired, like I was slowly disappearing like a character in Back to the Future. I quietly started to look on-line. Am I an alcoholic? being typed into my browser. But no way was I going to live without wine. Change my relationship with booze yes, become a mindful drinker, that was as far as I willing to let my thoughts go. And besides, I know what an addict looks like and she doesn’t look me. Hell no.
Now I look back I can see that I was protecting my habit like I would one of my children.
Nurturing my addiction.
But I read more and more. And I craved change more and more. I thought maybe just maybe there is something more for me. I asked myself, ‘what is the one change I could make that might revolutionise my life, revitalise me, give me a fresh perspective, help me get a better handle on things’? All roads led to STOP DRINKING.
And maybe the questions you are asking yourself are pointing to the same place. Sobriety.
It feels so scary at first, the word itself. Sober. But its not. I promise you.
If you are starting out today, this week, this month, and make not drinking your number 1 priority, take a leap of faith, give yourself a chance, even if it feels like overkill, I promise you it gets easier. Your mind clears, and your seas calm. You can think rationally and you are present in your life, for yourself, for your loved ones. Life around you becomes vivid. You have more love to give. To yourself, too. And sometimes its boring, and sometimes sad. You might have a little growing up to do. But even on the worst days, I still feel like a lost parcel that has happily been ‘returned to sender’ and I am grateful to be home. I really wish the best for you.
We are here to help. I am here and present and want to help. And I’ll need you to help me! I’m still only just starting out too. But I’ve had a few months under my belt and it has become a little easier. I don’t want to let go now. It feels too precious.
Now I look before me I see that I am protecting my sobriety like I would one of my children.
Nurturing my soul.
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