Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Potholes in the Road

There's a lot of debate in the sober blogosphere about what to do if you fall off the wagon temporarily.

If you have one glass of wine, or even a whole bottle, after eight weeks (or however long) sober do you start again from day 1, or do you just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on?

For what it's worth, my view is that, presuming it was just a short blip, it's best to view it as a pothole in the road and keep going.

My rationale is that as soon as you tell yourself that you have to start again, the wine witch gets her claws in and says something along the lines of "if you're going to have to start at day 1 you might as well let your hair down and really go for it!" Next thing you know you're on a six month bender.

Then thinking about potholes reminded me of the fabulous "Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters' by Portia Nelson. It could have been written for us....

Chapter I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
 Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in... it's a habit... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
 Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter V
I walk down another street.
So, if you do fall off the wagon, remember you are already on Chapter 3. Your eyes are open. You know it's your fault. Get out immediately. You don't need to go all the way back to the beginning of the book. Next time you'll know the hole is there and you can walk around it.
And, eventually, we'll all find another street.
Day 72 for me, and no potholes (yet).
Love SM x


  1. Completely agree. Nine months since I have got drunk. In that time on two occasions I have sipped about half a glass of wine, I see no reason to let that derail me, i still consider myself nine months sober. Ww can use counting against is if we let her, our aim is to reach a new happier state of sobriety regardless of number of days.

    1. You're doing brilliantly Lucy! SM x

  2. Hi SM. I love the Autobiography in 5 short chapters, and agree it could have been written just for us! Congrats on day 72. You are doing doing so well. A x

    1. Funnily enough, I was thinking of you when I posted it Angie! X

  3. I have that poem on my work wall. It was part of a fitness/life program I did in 2013. It seems even more applicable to life now.

    My personal feeling on counting is that it's irrelevant. You are on the sober path one day at a time.
    That said, if you are counting days, or celebrating milestones at AA, there is some accountability to honesty that must reset the counter at 1 if you drink. I don't mean if you accidentally pick up someone's glass and sip from it.
    But if you choose to drink alcohol part of a 12 step program requires rigorous honesty.

    Having more days is not a sign of being better or more successful. It is just a measure of how long you have been free.

    Regardless, staying at chapter 3 is important.


  4. You always mention books you've read, and authors who've inspired/explained things to you. I'm wondering if you might compile a list please? It would be very helpful...and this post is extremely timely for me. I'm at chapter 3 again. Thanks so much for posting the chapters...

    Thanks, L

    1. Chapter 3 is way better than chapter 1 Lindsay! Good idea re: reading list. I'll do a post on that one tomorrow :-) X