How do You Stop Drinking?
How do you stop drinking? What do you do, when drinking is the comfort zone that you enter at the end of the day, and without it, you just feel raw? How do you stop drinking and stay stopped when you are in that sort of high functioning, grey area where you get to three days sober or manage a week alcohol-free and then some well-meaning friend offers you a glass of wine saying, ” you weren’t that bad! you can handle it”.
How do you stop drinking when everyone else is still drinking and they seem to be ok….
For me, it took a community to help me break out of my routine of shutting down each night with wine. Not the traditional AA kind of community but a different sort of thing. A community that I could talk to online. A community that was there on the computer in my kitchen or on my mobile phone. A free community of peers that offered their own experience to guide me but also gave me the space I needed to figure myself out.
I’ve been trying to stop for a couple of years. I spent a long time not wanting to drink and found myself drinking anyway, despite what I really wanted. Sometimes it was completely habitual – on my way home from work ‘must buy wine’ entered my head and off I went to dutifully purchase it despite my desire to stop.
At these times I would be drinking in disbelief and despair with myself. ‘How did this happen again!?! I Did Not Want to do this!!!’ Often drinking for me was to escape uncomfortable feelings though. ‘I feel sad/angry/scared/overwhelmed/uncreative/lonely..’ ‘I feel shit about myself because I drank yesterday!’
And those were times when I Wanted to drink, Despite myself.
In those situations, booze would give me that numb, that lift that I wanted to escape or avoid those feelings. For a while.
More often than not though, after a few hours, I’d feel worse than I did before the drink. I’d spend the evening obsessively thinking about the issue. Trying to resolve it or lamenting on it. But alcohol could never help me to Actually resolve any of these issues. It added fuel to them. Although I was using it to get away from them it actively kept me stuck in them!
I think I took so long staying stopped because I felt life was so hard I couldn’t cope without alcohol. And partly because it was ‘me’. being a drinker was a big part of my identity. I’d always done it. Wine was an old friend I couldn’t imagine shutting out completely.
But eventually, I did.
Although I’m not out of the woods yet. I’ve slipped once every few weeks in the last 4 and a bit months. But sobriety is offering me so much that I don’t feel I can ever go back.
Now that I’m not drinking, those uncomfortable feelings and ongoing problems, even new ones aren’t as scary and unmanageable as they previously seemed. In sobriety, joyfully, I actually have the ability to look at them, objectively, with perspective. I literally love myself more too (easy when you are not constantly beating yourself up for drinking) and want to Do Something to make things better. I want to face stuff that has been causing so much pain, discomfort, and despair. Because I deserve to feel better.
I Deserve to Feel Better !
Yesterday I did a guided loving-kindness meditation. The first thing I was instructed to do was to picture my 5-year-old self in front of me and give her my love. I burst into tears immediately!! I wasn’t expecting that. And I found it hard. I felt so sad for her. Then I had to imagine someone close to give love to and I chose my son. I cried again. I felt so guilty.
Having my emotions stirred up like this would have been an automatic cue to drink previously. This time tho, I let myself ponder on it. Clearly there’s some stuff inside that needs some healing. I’ve known this for a long time. So later that evening I did a meditation to help heal childhood trauma (I’ve not experienced trauma. My issue was a mum with clinical depression the whole of my childhood. Nothing huge, but has had a big and lasting effect on me none the less). And I intend to try some tapping for this too. I intend to keep working through this one. And without booze trying to suppress it for me, I actually can now!
There have been a few things come up since I stopped drinking and Finally, I am slowly learning how to unpick them, face them, smooth them, forgive them, move through them.
I am learning to Grow!!!
Before living with my feelings and fears and problems without alcohol was scary!! The thought of being naked, without a comfort blanket, or a rock to hide under made me feel uncomfortable. But the truth is it’s actually just very bloody freeing! And the things I was hiding from aren’t as scary anymore. Because I’ve got ME, unhindered by alcohol.
And I can cope!
I’m a single mum to a 6yr old treasure. I was until recently a teacher. Low income. Anxiety. Depression. Money worries.
I have struggled with booze for a long time, and then struggled with getting sober for a long time. But with help from the glorious people here in this online community, I have got there. And I can’t say enough about the good shit that you gain from sobriety. The list is so long and glorious.
I’ve managed over 100 days so far with the odd slip which is Miraculous!!! Despite the slips, my mindset has flipped and alcohol is not something I feel I’m fighting with or missing out on. I just. Don’t. Want It!!
So, if you want any advice, if I can be any help at all, I’m here for you and will do my best.
I know how lonely it can feel struggling to get out of addiction. But you are not alone. So many of us have had similar experiences to you in one way or another, so make the most of the abundant support here if you’re not already. Talk about it. It makes a hell of a difference.
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