Monday, 17 August 2015

Did I Overreact?

The problem with 'getting better', getting to the point where it seems so normal being sober that you can't remember what the problem was, is that the Wine Witch immediately senses the chink in the armour and dives in there with the question.....

......did I overreact?

Bet you've been there! It goes like this: so now I've been sober for x days I realise that I'm perfectly able to cope without alcohol. It's great! I'd never, ever want to go back to drinking x bottles of x per week. That would be madness!

.....But, typical me, in my all-or-nothing way, I overreacted with this 'total abstinence' malarkey. Now I see the light, I can have just one drink on special occasions.  After all, I'm not a 'proper' alcoholic. I never did x or y. Luckily I nipped it all in the bud just in time. Phew!

I have this one playing on an endless loop. At least once a week it reappears.

At this point I often re-read Jason Vale. But I'm bored reading the same book over again. So I've found 'Alcohol Lied to Me' by Beck. So far it's the same argument, just put in a different way, which makes a refreshing change.

So, the next time you get the 'did I overreact' bug, remember this:

The word 'alcoholic' is a red herring. Everyone who drinks alcohol (an addictive poison) is addicted to some extent, the question is just 'how badly?'

The issue with separating people into 2 camps: 'normal' and 'alcoholic' is, firstly, we spend stupid amounts of time trying to work out which camp we're in (remember all those ridiculous questionnaires?!?) as absolutely no-one ever wants to be in the second camp.

Secondly, the accepted conclusion is that if we're in the first camp we should carry on merrily, regardless of our doubts and the problems alcohol causes us.

But, if we're in the second camp, we HAVE to stop. No free will involved. In fact, according to AA, we should 'surrender' our free will and give ourselves up to a 'higher power'.

Here's how I think about it instead:

I don't care (any more) whether or not I am, or you think I am, an alcoholic.

I was, definitely, addicted to alcohol. No shame in that. Millions of people are.

I didn't HAVE to stop drinking, I CHOSE to stop drinking, because I realise that my life is immeasurably better without it.

I CHOOSE not to have even one drink because I know that that will allow the addiction to creep back in, and also because I've realised that I DO NOT NEED IT.

Alcohol took away my free will, but now I have it back and I am strong and fearless (most of the time!)

So long as you see quitting as being something you 'have' to do, so long as you envy the 'normal' drinker and see yourself as 'abnormal' it will be hard, if not impossible.

It doesn't need to be. CHOOSE to do this, for yourself, because it's better. You are not denying yourself anything; you are giving yourself a wonderful gift.

SM x

24 comments:

  1. Just what I needed today. Thank you SM. You are a star! LNM x

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  2. Amen to that. Beautifully put.

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  5. Very timely - I constantly struggle with this one, and having a bad time of it at the moment. Thank you for reframing the decision so helpfully and positively! x

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  6. i put a comment up but must not have hit send. no time to re type! great post. totally agree

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  7. Day 15 and finally getting some energy back! Yay! Think I am entering the pink cloud phase as I feel great today! No weight lost but clothes feel looser! Thank you for the reminder about choice I have definitely chose this new path in life thank heavens! I am 37 and want to live at least another 50 years thank you very much! I also would like to see my children into their 50's and enjoy grandchildren maybe :-))

    Thank again for a fab blog SM, I couldn't have done this without it!

    CB xxx

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    1. Yay! Way to go CrazyBird! You rock!

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  8. This is a great post SM. In my experience, addiction to drink or substance can never be cured. At best, you can force it into a silent remission by the simple act of abstinence. All it can take is just one puff or one drink and the inevitable downward spiral begins all over again. It just shows how we always have to be on our guard. x

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  9. Tomorrow is 14 days sober. Nada. And I was just able to tell someone in a text that no thank you, I've given that up for the time being and it just FELT SO GOOD to say that, to mean it and to be LIVING it. I crave it sometimes so bad at the witching hour and at Happy witching Hour on Friday's (it's happy hour somewhere!) and other days of course but I've found a good mocktail that works for me right now and I'm trying to replace that bad habit with a good keep my hands busy type of habit. But 2 weeks! WU-HOO!!! I choose life too!

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    1. Awesome work, Emily! I know what you mean about Friday's - they're the toughest. Keep at it - you're amazing! Xxx

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  10. Well said. I had a weird experience a couple of weeks ago. I haven't drunk for about 3 months - except for one night at my parents 2-3 weeks ago. They invited us over for dinner and I slipped. Felt that i could/should be able to drink socially. Erm glugged my way greedily through two large G&T's - then helping serve the food - tripped on a step and fell flat on my face! Mmm it was the booze and I knew it - tho it didn't stop me drinking 3-4 more glasses of wine. In the night I woke up with a racing heart. Same old - except this time it felt really self abusive and scary. I didn't like it - enjoy it or want to do it again and I haven't. It is a choice - as simple as that. I'm back on the sparkling water and Becks Blue!

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    1. Sometimes we need those experiments to embrace the truth.
      I agree. It all seems so self destructive for me too.

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    2. Hi YOBL! Don't beat yourself up about the slip - just remember how it feels and use that next time you're tempted. Did you read my post on 'Holes in the Road'? I think it was in May. Have a look. Huge hugs xxx

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  11. "I choose my choice!!" Charlotte, Sex And The City.
    Loving all over this! We're not doing this because we can't, but because we can:)

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  12. A great positive post SM. I've discovered after nearly 4 months alcohol free a spot of food poisoning is the perfect reminder of what a hangover feels like. I cant believe I used to feel like this and function! X

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    1. I missed your 100 days Missy! Sorry! I found it gets spo much easier after 100. Hope you're finding that too. Xxx

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  13. Yay! It actually feels more and more like a choice and a positive rather than negative one x

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  14. I loved this and needed this so thank you kindly for this intelligent post. I'm feeling like I'm having a hard time connecting (or even liking much) my old friends, acquaintances who drink, and pretty much most people who breath. Is this normal while working towards a life of sobriety? I've relapsed a few times recently due to the weekly question of "Am I overreacting?" I'm hoping to meet new people in my life once I've had enough days sober that I feel confident in my choice. We are also considering getting a dog. A Rottweiler. That should keep me busy! Feeling a bit sad today and unclear about my relationships with friends. I used to be popular and now I'm a loner. ;-)

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    1. This is normal. You are not over-reacting. Before I gave up for good, I used to have that old argument, and I still do - I wasn't that bad! Everyone drinks more than me! - You are still popular. You just need some time before you can connect with friends who still drink. Once you do, you'll be able to make an informed decision about who were "drinking buddies" and who are friends. Hint - the friends won't care what beverage you choose. xx

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    2. Hi Val! I'm sorry it's been so tough. I agree that socialising is the most difficult bit to get your head around. It takes time. I'm finding now that I still enjoy parties less, but one on one I am a much better friend. I listen more. I care more. I'm more understanding. Try and focus on meeting friends one at a time - for lunch or coffee. Actually, one of my daily socials is my dog walks! I have a rota of great friends who I meet for walks and we spend hours chatting. Did you read my post - dogs, a sober girls best friend? It was in March or April. I bet the puppy helps hugely. Big hugs to you xxx

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