In the five years that I’ve been participating in, and then hosting, an online community for people who wanted to stop or control their drinking, I’ve learned a couple of things about how people approach changing their relationship with alcohol. Some people find a monthly challenge like Dry July, Dry January, or Ocsober to be more doable than sober for life. Some people find it more effective to say done and dusted, no more booze, non-negotiable, from their last day one. Some people find that it helps to count days and some not. Focusing on TODAY seems to be the best course of action however, whether they are doing a short term challenge or sober for life, and that first two or three weeks is the hardest part. Day 13 of a monthly alcohol-free challenge finds many people lost by the wayside.
Today, Day 13 of Dry July, is a good day for a reality check.
Among those of us who cannot drink moderately, there seems to be a spectrum of alcohol miss-use. The spectrum starts with people who are troubled by the regularity of their drinking and want to stop for health reasons, it continues along to people who are finding that they lose control and drink far more than they intended with increasing regularity – And then the alcohol miss-use spectrum continues further along to people who drink far more than they intended most days and are finding that their life is revolving around when and how and why they deserve to drink today, even though they promised themselves that they wouldn’t drink today.
It doesn’t seem to matter where people are on that alcohol miss-use spectrum. We all drink for the same reasons when we do drink and have the same disappointing result.
Alcohol promised one thing but led to another…
Alcohol makes me feel better.
I feel so ill.
Alcohol makes me feel happy.
I feel sad and depressed.
Alcohol helps me sleep better.
I wake at 3am mind racing and agitated.
Alcohol helps me to cope.
I can’t cope.
Alcohol heightens my senses.
I feel numb.
Alcohol makes me feel great.
I don’t feel so great.
I like myself when I drink.
I hate myself when I drink.
Alcohol relaxes me.
I’m so anxious.
Alcohol makes me laugh.
I’m crying inside….
Alcohol was a social lubricant that made me anti social…
Whose round is it?
Why is everyone drinking so slow?
Oh no their wine glass has a millimetre more wine poured than mine…..
Alcohol helps me relax as I get ready to go out.
How did I get home?
I’ll drive so I don’t drink.
I’ll come home early and drink before bed.
Alcohol makes me funny.
What did I do?
Wine makes me more chatty.
What did I say? Did I slur?
Alcohol makes me fun.
Was everybody laughing at me?
Alcohol helps me talk to others more easily.
Is everyone talking about me?
I’ll remember this night forever.
I can’t remember – just blurred flashbacks.
Alcohol helps me relate to people.
OMG -Have I texted/social media/ phoned anyone last night?
Alcohol Lied to me or maybe I lied to myself…
Alcohol doesn’t affect how I look.
I stare at my reflection in numb disbelief.
Alcohol makes me outgoing.
I close my eyes and turn inward
Alcohol makes my mind sharper.
Uncomfortable thoughts are racing through my head.
Everyone I know drinks like me.
I have surrounded myself with people just like me.
Everyone everywhere drinks like me.
I’ve no idea whether everyone drinks like me…
No one cares how much I drink.
Does everyone discuss how much I drink behind my back?
I don’t care what people think.
I care what people think of me.
My tongue was loosened so I was honest with them….
OMG……..did I say that?
I love doing this.
I hate myself for doing this.
This is who I am.
I don’t recognise myself.
Alcohol makes me feel alive.
Alcohol makes me wish I was dead.
Alcohol gives me confidence.
I’m so scared.
I’ll just have a couple.
My stop drinking button jams once I have a drink…
My stop drinking button jams once I have a drink…
I don’t have a problem.
I’m scared to think I have a problem.
Why would I stop?
I need to stop doing this to myself.
I know I can stop at any time I choose.
How do I stop?
I am in control.
I’m so scared that I’m not in control. from Why I Stopped Drinking and How I Grew to Love Living Alcohol Free
I have never seen it described better than this
I drink because I’m happy. I drink because I’m sad, lonely, angry or to reward myself for being sober for a week.
I drink because I want to. I drink when I don’t want to. I drink for no reason and any reason. I drink today because I drank yesterday and want to feel better. But I won’t. I drink alone sneaking bottles into my house so my neighbours won’t see and slip the empties out in the trash for fear the recycling centre staff think I’m a drunk.
I drink because I feel helpless and weak. I don’t drink because I feel helpless and weak.
There’s the irony in it. I drink to feel better but don’t. I drink to escape but remain a prisoner. I drink in celebration and create a tragedy. I revel at night and wallow in the morning.
It’s hard to believe or comprehend. At times, impossible to deny. Painful to live with but less so to be without.
I am bruised and tired. I don’t need that kind of hurt anymore. Today I will try just a bit harder. Today I will take one step towards healing. When today comes to an end I will have a yesterday behind me and a new day ahead. Last Day One
It is day 13 of Dry July 2020 today.
There have been so many curve balls thrown us this year. So many reasons that may seem to justify a drink. But if you think deeply about why you drink and what the result is over days and weeks, I assume that you will remember why you decided to take a break.
The cause and effect scenarios of alcohol vs life that are above, were written by members of our online community BOOM Rethink the Drink, who have learned to live alcohol-free and love it, long term. Not because it was easy but because they faced it, they faced the lies that they were telling themselves and they faced the lies that alcohol, and the culture that sells it, sell to us every day.
If you committed to Dry July and are finding that you are struggling more than you expected write down Why you are drinking and what the result is. Is alcohol giving you what it promised? Or have you had enough of the lies?
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.
We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using
community support 24-7 or sign up and sign in here
Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”