It turns out Saturdays are the hardest. By Saturday I’m through the “end of the week” drive for relief, and my loneliness moves front and center. It’s clear to me now that I’m going to need more support to get through the tough weeks ahead, because when the loneliness comes, all I want to do is escape it. Escape myself. When the sadness comes, nothing sounds better than that amazing feeling of just blotting out the pain and feeling the soothing peace wash over me.
So I drink.
Except that euphoria doesn’t happen anymore. Drinking isn’t fun anymore. It doesn’t bring peace or pleasure. It doesn’t even taste good anymore. Alcohol doesn’t give anything anymore, it just takes. There is only cost — so, so much cost — with zero benefit.
I’m going to choose to be gentle with myself and be grateful to have finally come to this point — the tipping point. There is no question anymore about cutting back or taking a break. I know. There is no nostalgia left for those fun times drinking on the beach, or overlooking beautiful scenery, or at a candle lit dinner or on a first date. It’s gone. Now, all I want is to rid alcohol — and all it has been taking from me for so many years — from my life.
I want beauty and joy in my life again.
And it’s going to mean I have to face myself and all the feelings that come. The loneliness. The sadness and regret. Because until I deal with those things, I’ll continue to struggle to stay alcohol free. I can’t stuff any of it away anymore. As Ellie from The Bubble Hour said in the episode about relapse (which I listened to today), Recovery is nothing if not an inside job.
I’m grateful to have received an email this morning from Kevin O’Hara of Alcohol Mastery called “Quitting Alcohol Failures.” It was so perfectly timed and I appreciated it so much, because it gave me permission to not completely beat myself up for drinking last night, but rather, consider this part of the process and learn from it.
And did I ever. It sucked. It will always suck.
“Failure is life’s greatest teacher. It’s an unwanted teacher because it can make you feel like shit, no doubt about it, but the fact is that you need to learn from each failure if you want to succeed. If you have gone a week, two weeks, a month, six months without drinking and you slip under pressure and take one drink, examine what happened and don’t repeat it. Think things through. Go back over the videos on Alcohol Mastery until you’ve got your mind back on track. There is no such thing as starting all over again. You start out just where you left off. Think about all that poison that YOU succeeded in not putting in YOUR body over all the time you weren’t drinking. That’s huge. One slip doesn’t take that away. Learn from the slip, get back onto the road, and continue to have great faith in yourself that you can do this, and that this is worth doing. Then you will succeed!”
So, I spent the day feeling physically ill (and pissed that I lost another day), and I finished reading Alan Carr’s Easy Way to Control Alcohol. It’s not a particularly well-written book and he repeats himself A LOT, but I liked the core message, which is basically:
Alcohol is poison and we’ve been brainwashed by our culture to believe we need it in every aspect of our lives (which we don’t). And until we accept those two basic facts, we’ll never be free.
I want to be free.
So, here goes. I decided to post tonight because I’m hoping that the setbacks can be as helpful sometimes as the triumphs. And I know it will be tough moving forward, but I feel better prepared somehow now to brace myself for them and get help if I need it. I’m starting the Mindfulness (relapse prevention) class tomorrow and I’ve been looking into options for support group meetings here in town for next weekend. It’s scary to admit that it’s come to this for me, but that just may be the next step and I’m finally ready to face that.
Thanks for all the support I’ve already received from so many of you out there. I KNOW I can do this. Your blogs and messages of support have been so inspiring and I find myself thinking about things you’ve said throughout the day. It matters.
My quitting alcohol has been a LONG time coming (I cringe looking back) and has taken me a few tries to get my sea legs, but I really do feel ready to begin again. And I’m going to make it this time.
Day 1. Rachel.