Oh, the number of times I’ve said that in the last couple decades. And each time, I mean them, totally and completely.
My addicted brain, on the other hand, has a different agenda.
I’ve written about stopping in the past, and then ended up making the posts private or deleting them when the addiction “won”. I was mortified that I’d “failed” again, when in reality, the alcohol was just doing it’s primary job; keeping me addicted. I know I shouldn’t be ashamed of drinking; the well-worn tracks leading from “And then something would happen. Or nothing would happen.”* to drinking are deep in an imbiber’s brain, and training myself to bypass that automatic journey and create new tracks isn’t easy. Ask any drinker who swears “never again” at 3 a.m., and then is downing the drink of choice by 5 or 6 p.m., if not earlier.
Alcohol rewires our brain, and it excels at doing so.
Very soon I’ll turn 59, and begin my 60th year of life. (Excuse me while I faint at the thought of that – I’m still a teenager in my head). Maybe by writing about it more often and making the journey a part of my online presence will help, who knows. I just know I’m so over the struggle.
A lot of people do a Dry January, and then there’s the big one that I believe started it all, Dry July. There are hashtags for other months, too, but those are the only ones I can think of at the moment – how about #MocktailMarch? After the month is over, some go back to drinking, using that dry month as a sort of detox and reset, and then there are the others who decide to stay sober for good.
I’ve wanted that for so, so long. I’d make it a varying number of days or weeks, read endless books and blogs, even tried AA (not my cup of tea), and then I’d end up watching Intervention and Celebrity Rehab with a beer in hand, crying….
I vehemently dislike the concept that have 15 years under your belt (or any amount of alcohol-free days) belt, drink one beer, and suddenly you’re supposed to go back to Day 1. Not cool. That negates all the hard work done to achieve those 15 years, and by dismissing them, it just makes the person want to keep drinking because why the hell not, right? I won’t be counting days as it has screwed me up too many times before. Hence the beer in hand, crying.
I’m teetotaling up, and if you want to come along for the ride,
here’s a few things that might interest you:
There’s a plethora of sober bloggers out there, and a large number of Quit Lit books that have resulted from those blogs. I admit it, some of those books make me want to grab a glass of wine (not my go-to drink) simply because they wax on about it so much. And then there’s the occasional “I’ve been sober 7 days, lost 15 lbs, my chronic acne is completely gone, I just ran my first 5K, and I’m cooking at a Michelin chef 5-star level, too!” Bullshit. Run from those. Think fake influencer. You definitely don’t need anything that is going to make you feel like you’re not succeeding, when any day you don’t drink is a roaring success in and of itself.
-Aside: I do wish there were more than the occasional blog from someone still living with an active daily drinker. It’s not an excuse, but it’s really hard to shut off my addicted brain when there is always a beer in view. Extremely hard. It makes it very easy for that voice to convince me that it really doesn’t matter if I drink or not, so why not drink if everyone else is, ok? Add in the alcohol industry’s bombardment through the media and nearly every tv show and movie, aimed at telling and showing us how wonderful it is to drink (until you get drunk or overdo it, then you’re somehow the problem) and it’s almost a lost cause from the get-go.
The book that first gave me the most information about alcohol and its addiction is Under the Influence. An older book, but still very valid and enlightening.
The first “how to stop” I read was The Small Book, which is about AVR, something that newer authors have built on and incorporated into their own guides.
If you’re curious about AA, Russell Brand has a unique take on the program which he writes about in Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions. There’s also One Breathe at a Time and The 12-Step Buddhist for those with a view towards Eastern spirituality.
I recently discovered that Twitter has a hashtag community, RecoveryPosse, filled with support and promoted books about sobriety authors. I know Instagram has a sobriety community, too.
Welcome aboard, and here’s to leaving alcohol behind!
PS: If you’ve followed me for a while and you’ve heard this all before, imagine how it feels to be in my shoes, or any other drinker struggling with this addiction. 🙏
PPS: For those wondering, no, I’ve never sent light while under the influence. That would be unethical as hell, and I respect (and am in awe of) what I do too much to mess with it like that.
PPPS: I almost didn’t post this today. I wrote it yesterday and in the middle of the night had a panic attack, wondering “what if I don’t succeed? I don’t want to be embarrassed again!”, and “Does anyone need to know this? Does anyone really care?” and took it off pre-scheduling. It won’t leave me alone, though, so here it is, for all the world to read. 😱
*Quote from 28 Days.