Watch out for the Boomerang

boomerang air directionI got home tonight from my business trip. Wasn’t here 30 minutes when an intense wave of fatigue washed over me, followed immediately by agitation and a powerful desire to head to the corner store, get a bottle of wine and drink my way to oblivion.

What the hell. So much for my few days of POWERING through the business trip, fending off alcohol at every turn. I’ve heard about watching out for these boomerangs: You make it through a really tough time and feel all proud of yourself and let down your guard and – BAM!! – the desire to drink drops on your head like a ton of bricks.

The voices in my head were LOUD, questioning my decision to quit drinking, pleading for that relief. Badgering me, taunting me.

BUT. Don’t worry. I didn’t cave.

I’m learning.

S.H.A.L.T. Oh hell yes. (I’ve modified AA’s H.A.L.T. and made my own…)

I tell myself: Thou SHALT not drink when feeling SAD. HUNGRY. ANGRY/AGITATED. LONELY or TIRED.

I knew I was feeling tired. Very tired. But inexplicably, I was feeling agitated and a bit lonely/sad too. So, instead of letting myself jump into the wine-filled rabbit hole, I went into self-care overdrive:

  • I turned off the TV because it was only making me more agitated and not helping me unwind.
  • I told myself: Not Today. 
  • I listened to Belle’s “Sober Jumpstart” audio lesson about “Pre-lapse/Relapse” — twice. She said some good stuff about how my WORST sober day is still WAY better than my best drunk day. Aaaand how DAY ONEs suck ASS. (Well, she said “rocks,” but I’ll say ASS. ‘Cause they do suck ASS.)
  • I walked to the store in the pouring rain with my dog, Bub, to buy tea — I ran out — so I could have a cozy, early night in bed. I got soaked and it was kind of nice. Cozy, even.
  • I bought myself a chocolate truffle because I have NOT been giving myself enough sober treats lately. I also found some new low-cal NA flavored soda that look really good. One is grapefruit and the other is cucumber. I’ll try those tomorrow.
  • I took a shower, washed my face and applied a facial mask; brushed my teeth. 🙂
  • I turned on my heating blanket and now I’m in bed, getting ready for an early night to sleep. And I mean it. I need to sleep.

I wasn’t going to write tonight but I’m really trying to use all my tools, especially when it gets tough. Trying to keep asking for support, even when I don’t want to make the effort. I’m willing to listen to the lessons of others, and this is what I’m told to do SO I’M DOING IT.

Belle also said, “Don’t listen to the voice in your head.” Yeah, that fucking voice asking me if I really needed to quit. If I could do moderation. If I can go 9 or 10 days and have a drink only on special occasions, wouldn’t that be good? Wouldn’t it?

Uh, no. It wouldn’t. Today in the airport, after I sat with my co-workers in the bar while they had a round of drinks before getting on the plane (in retrospect, maybe I should have stayed at the gate), I found the voice VERY loud and getting louder. So I played it out. What would happen if I had a glass of wine at the airport? That’s easy. I would have then had to order at least one, probably two more glasses on the plane. I’d take a cab home, and walk straight to the store with my dog and buy a bottle, and drink too much of it, then be sick tomorrow and feel like shit. And regretful. And pissed and like a failure.

But it doesn’t have to even be this particular scenario to be useful. I’ve already proven to myself that moderation just does NOT work for me. Wine becomes all I think about. Wine-o-clock becomes all I look forward to. Nothing was getting done in my life and it was getting worse. Two bottles a day on the weekends instead of one-and-a-half. One-and-a-half bottles a night on the weekdays instead of one. Even on nights when I rowed. I’d head to the store after practice and pick up a bottle. I’d START a bottle on a weeknight at 8:30pm and still manage to finish it in front of the TV before bed.

Ah, what a picture-perfect life, no?

I was starting to look like a drunk — puffy and flabby — because of course, I was exercising less and less. And I am a fairly athletic person. This is not OK.

I was bailing on friends more and more often because I either wanted to drink by myself or I had already started and couldn’t show up. And when I did show up, we almost always had to drink. Breakfast? Bloody Marys! Lunch? That’s easy, wine! Happy hour? Always! Live music? I regret how many amazing shows I’ve seen that are a blur because I’d already drunk so much wine before the show that I could barely focus.

I was anxious. I was sad. I was worried about my future and about money, yet I was spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars A MONTH in wine. I cringe to think of it.


Alrighteee…. I didn’t intend for this to be a rundown of all the reasons that IT’S TOTAL BULLSHIT that the voice in my head is questioning my decision. I guess I needed to write it down, again. Here. For myself and with you as my witness.

Watch out for that freakin’ boomerang, is all I’m saying, and DON’T LISTEN TO THE WINE GOBLIN’S VOICE IN YOUR HEAD. That’s the addiction talking. That’s a lifetime of programming talking. It is changing for me, it’s just a jig-jag path of progress.

One more thing: Thinking about Bradley Cooper as a sober guy having an amazing life really helps me for some reason. Isn’t that weird? BRADLEY COOPER? Haha! I don’t know why it does, but it does. Maybe it’s because he’s HOT. lol.

Oh, Bradley, if only you knew. 😉

Headed to bed. Today I did not drink. Here’s to tomorrow being a brand new day of JOY and a happy sober me. I really don’t want to be white-knuckling this. Tomorrow is Day 10 again. I have a ways to go before the voices quiet, I know, but I’ll just try to be present in today. Learning.

xo Rachel. Day 9, Bitches! PHEW!



11 thoughts on “Watch out for the Boomerang

  1. Great post! Even though I’m up and ready for the day, the wonderful way you described your night (especially getting into a cozy, warm bed) makes me want to go back to sleep. Ah, well. It’s funny how much like I looked forward to drinking as opposed to now when I look forward to naps and nighttime sleep. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done Rachel. You used your tools and you overcome it. You will know next time that you have tools to deal with these pulls.

    I had my last powerful craving on day 59, so unfortunately expect a few more!

    I noticed 2 coincidence’s between us. 1) I just got back from a business trip. 2) that picture you posted of the lady rolling up her sleeve – I saw that picture yesterday, I think on a wall in a coffee shop!! Spooky.

    Hang in there, you can do this!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not at all unusual to have that post-work-trip feeling of agitation mixed with exhaustion when you’ve been sober the whole trip. Like you, I always saw work trips as opportunities to drink – in the airport, in the plane, after work, in the room, etc…. Having to stay “on your guard” and out of a normal routine is exhausting when you’re getting sober. I had the same experience this summer in Vegas. Unfortunately, unlike you, I fell totally off the wagon after I got back and couldn’t make it to day 3 or have a sober weekend until last month. Willpower is at its weakest when (like any other muscle you exercise) you’ve had to use it for an extended period of time. Those work trips do get a bit easier – I had a few over the last year when I didn’t drink. Nice work on last night telling the goblin to shut the f up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I’m so impressed with the way you get through the tough times. Fantastic stuff! The boomerang thing is tricky. But massive self care and writing it all out, that’s the way to deal with it! Just cheering you on here! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I’m totally impressed with managing to get through a work trip! That completely screwed me up the last time I tried to quit. I’m on day 9 today and reading this really helped me. Thank you. Also, Tim McGraw is my sober guy that I think of 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Rachel!
    So happy you got through some hard times.
    I used to sit in my car and yelled at my urges to go away!
    It helped sometimes!
    When I was working, I was always exhausted by the end of the day, that wine was the only quick way to try to relax.
    Of course, that didn’t work!

    Liked by 1 person

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