I am participating in Dry July as part of a long term plan to stay alcohol-free. I didn’t have a “rock bottom”. No DUI. No severe accidents. No crazy behavior that resulted in family drama. No waking up in bed with a stranger. No, nothing that crazy. I just got tired of how my entire life included a picture of me with a drink in my hand.
Over the years, my start time for drinking crept forward to earlier and earlier, and my rules of “just one” haven’t been enforced by my inner cop whatsoever! And as I got older, and I packed on 5 pounds a year…. you know, that’s “normal” aging, right? I looked at old photos from a year when I had quit drinking, and realized I wasn’t fooling anyone. I wanted my health back. I wanted to remember what happened the night before. I didn’t want to live, being dependent on a substance.
There’s a part of my brain – it used to be a 50/50 conflict, where I would think, “I don’t have a problem”….. and the next morning as I brushed my teeth, told my reflection that “maybe” I had a problem… and the other side of my brain encouraged me to “moderate”. Well, that see-saw of indecision played havoc in my brain, because if I was on the top of the see-saw, enjoying the view and the booze and the laughter, sometimes I forgot that the booze bully on the other side of that see-saw was going to hop off really quickly, resulting in me slamming to the ground and perhaps feeling a mini-rock bottom? Because when I was under the influence of the bottle – not drunk, but just influenced by the marketing and the labels and the social acceptance of alcohol – I always ignored that slamming effect of the see-saw. As life went on, time at the playground on the see-saw was not fun anymore.
I couldn’t trust the booze bully to play by the rules.
Usually by day 3 of being alcohol free, there was a huge mind game with alcohol. “You weren’t that bad”, the beer bully would say to me. “Hop back on the see saw; I PROMISE I won’t let you fall hard again. I’ll follow your rules”….. and on day 3, I wanted to believe that was true.
If you are feeling that pull, by the beer bully, the wine witch, the liquor lizard…. know that feeling that craving is normal. You can always drink tomorrow, just don’t drink today. Today’s goal is to put a sober head onto the pillow. If you can get 30 days between you and alcohol, then you can re-evaluate then your relationship with alcohol.
As you explore this playground called life, there are many other joys beyond the see saw…. the swings, the slides, the monkey bars – they are all fun to play upon, too!
Have you heard of Mishka Shubaly? If you google his name, you’ll find many podcasts that he’s done in the last 2 years. Mishka is a “Normal Joe”, so to speak, and wrote a book called, “Cold Turkey: How to quit drinking by not drinking”…. I highly recommend it for someone considering their drinking habits.
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