Brain: Are you *sure* you don’t want to drink anymore?


So, the naturopath who is part of my intensive sober women’s group program has said that at 3.5-4 months, the brain often checks in with people about whether or not they’re really serious about this quitting drinking thing. She said that it’s about that time that the neural pathways begin to pave over the old well-worn paths and begin the process of making the new paths more permanent, but before the brain really “commits,” at about 3.5-4 months, many people go through a period of revisiting the decision. It’s a thing.

Brain: Are you SUUUUUURRRE you’re quitting, before I make all these changes??

For the last couple of months at least, I’ve been feeling pretty good. And while sometimes I’ll have thoughts or really mild cravings, the cravings haven’t been bad for a long time. I’m always able to identify exactly what’s going on: I’m stressed or tired or lonely or whatever. Usually guzzling a fizzy drink and eating some chocolate is enough. Not always — I do have to watch it so my old disordered eating doesn’t try to rear its ugly head — but since I started this weekly in-person program, thoughts of drinking have never even come close to threatening the accountability I feel toward my sober group.

That’s still true, but DAYAM, the last few days I’ve been having strong cravings. I’m not going to drink and I still stop and ask myself what is going on, what could be causing this…but it has been strong enough the last couple of days that I’ve resorted to ice cream and chocolate and LOTS of fizzy drinks again, and a pretty steady rhythm of snacking all day long. Looking for distraction. A tiring yoga workout this morning and a long walk with my dog this evening didn’t help much either.

Of course, just when I’m really trying to lose a little weight finally. Gah. Priority is not drinking, but dammit.

I watched the first part of Eat, Pray, Love tonight — it’s one of those silly movies I can watch again and again — and of course the Rome portion of her journey was pretty triggering. Not only was she drinking a bottle of red wine in just about every scene with friends and laughter and pasta and spectacular ROME, but it was in ROME, where I spent some intense/romantic/dopamine-rich time this spring with the hot Italian, drinking gorgeous red wine and walking around the city with him, holding hands in the early hours of the morning, while wearing his sexy leather jacket draped over my shoulders. Ah me…. Bad timing for romantic memories of love and connection and wine.

Maybe I’m a little heartsick too. I did catch myself looking at photos on Facebook tonight of the first man I was ever with when I was 20 years old. I was with him until I was 27, and 21 years later, he looks exactly the same. Except now he has a wife and a child and a solid career and…

I guess I was revisiting old wounds today a bit too.

Anyway… If I break the craving down in my head TODAY (staying away from those triggering memories), I can play it to the end, and it’s clear what drinking *really* means in my life now — what I want to gain and what I would be losing if I drank — and I won’t go there.

But this is as uncomfortable as I’ve been in a long while, and I can say for a fact that all of my snacking today didn’t help at all. Tomorrow I need to find another way to self-soothe. I’m thinking I need to revisit my mindfulness exercises too. And breathe.

I’m going to sleep as long as I need to tonight and hope I feel better tomorrow. It’s probably a brain thing going on. Maybe it’s time to really increase my exercise finally. Maybe it’s the seasons changing. That could very well be it. Who knows.

Lots to keep me busy tomorrow, in any case. This too shall pass.


Day 94.

6 thoughts on “Brain: Are you *sure* you don’t want to drink anymore?

  1. Oh gosh, I do that too! Watching those romantic movies and then checking out FB. Now I don’t feel so bad. Maybe it’s just a normal girl thing. Though, I would rather not do this! I’m also going on the ice cream (& pie) diet this week for cravings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hug
    Weight loss is best left to later on…use your proven tools for cravings.
    I know I went through those phases…am I really doing this…am I over reacting,..etc.

    Regardless, life is so beautiful sober. I would much rather go through life thinking I need to be sober that wasting my life drinking trying to prove I don’t.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Anne. I hope it sticks, but I really don’t feel myself questioning the decision so much lately (cross fingers) as just noticing the old cravings tied to life events. It’s like the two are separate, concurrent ideas, racing toward the finish line to see who wins. But I don’t really want to drink. I don’t want to go back. I still future trip (worry) a bit about those romantic moments I’ll miss, but I’m here to tell ya, those haven’t actually *happened* for me to worry about.
      And you’re right about the weight loss. You know so many of us have these grand ideas that we’ll lose weight, that that will be one of the upsides we can rest our hopes on. But it turns out there are other upsides we never anticipated and the weight loss…it will have to wait.
      Thanks for your continued supportive and peaceful energy, Anne. It makes a difference.


  3. Hi Rachel!
    I hope today went better for you!
    I had to untie romance and drinking and it took awhile.
    But it’s so much better, and hubs and I are very romantic now!
    Even last week though, I had thoughts of drinking, and/or dream of moderation.
    But it’s just a thought.
    It’s not the real thing, and drinking for me is not fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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