Tuesday 26 January 2016

Are You Struggling? Part 2

I wrote yesterday about how the end of January can be hard. And, I know from your comments and e-mails, that at least a few of you have slipped off the waggon.

If you have, then here's something for you:

I found another Anne Lamott quote, from her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Again, she's not talking about drinking, but it's so, so relevant:

Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don't drop-kick a puppy into the neighbour's yard (she means GARDEN, English people) every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.

So, if you gave in to the evil wine witch, then don't beat up your inner puppy, just bring it back to the newspaper and keep on going.

There are, however, three thought processes to watch out for (I know this, because I've been through them all. Several times). They go like this:

(1) I only had one glass of wine, and - you know what - I didn't even like it that much! And I STOPPED! AFTER ONE! Halleluiah - I'm CURED!

You are not cured. You may be able to moderate for a while, weeks, maybe even months, BUT eventually you'll be back where you started. In fact, most people find that they end up WORSE than where they started, almost like our addict head is making up for lost time.

But you don't need me to tell you that, because you've tried moderation before, right? Lots of times. You know it doesn't work. Get back on the sober waggon - it's easier and you'll be happier. (See my post: Reasons to Quit Drinking: Because it's easier).

Here's the other one to look out for:

(2) I've blown it now. I may as well let rip. Really get it all out of my system. Then I can quit again. After all, I know I can do it now....

No, no, no. We've all been there. The 'letting rip' bit often ends up going on for months, and it's not easier next time. Actually it's harder, because the whole quitting thing isn't so new and shiny and exciting any more, and there's a little nagging voice in your head saying you flunked last time, and you'll flunk again.

Here's the third one:

(3) I'm weak. I'm bloody useless. I KNEW I couldn't do this, and it's true. My life is doomed, and the only way I can cope with all this terrible failure is to drink....

NO! You CAN do it! But you're human. It's difficult. Don't drop kick the puppy. Forgive it. Pat it on the head and try again. You know it'll learn eventually.

A while ago I wrote a post called 'Potholes in the Road' (click here). You haven't failed. It's just a pothole in the road. Next time you'll know it's there and you'll walk round it. Eventually, you'll find another street....

Keep on keeping on, people. We're all in it together.

Love SM x


  1. I didn't connect the third week and resolution failure when I had two beers on Saturday. Just so stupid. It did make me think I could macerate, but I've been there before. I have done the above options before. This time I am marching forward. Day 23 or day 3. Either way, the only thing to do is continue to move forward.

  2. I am at a month. I can't believe I have made it this far. This started out as a 'I will stop for a month that's all" and now I want to keep going... BUT I did hit a huge wall on that obstacle course about week 3. Three miserable miserable days of acute anxiety and foggy head and had a very very hard time... It did pass. The Obstacle Course blog you wrote got me through it. Thank you... I am probably at a false summit right now but anyway...bird by bird. Now I tell myself I will do another month. I can't bring myself yet to think of a lifetime of no more wine quite yet. I also discovered the bubble hour radio and it is really really good...just wanted to share that. bubble hour.com

    1. Well done getting over the wall, Clare! Awesome! No need to think about the 'lifetime' yet. Love the bubble hour xxx

  3. Hmm Moderation and the "limits" we give ourselves, see below

    1. Just a pint of beer in the pub once a week
    2. Just drinking outside the house
    3. Just One glass of wine on a Friday night
    4. Just drinking ½ bottle on a Friday
    5. Just drinking on Friday and Saturday(See a pattern)
    6. Just drinking one glass to wind down after work
    8. Am on Christmas Holidays (1 week before we went) drinking every day

    Ta Da! That’s how it’s done

  4. After five years of being sober, I thought that I was going to be able to drink in social settings. BOY WAS I WRONG! I just went back to where I left of five years back. I've been sober for the past two days, but during those months off the wagon, I learned that I can't drink at all. And I will keep that in mind, just in case I get any urges or any stupid idea.

    1. Thanks so much for the reminder, Tony, that even after five years no-one's safe! Congrats on re-joining the waggon. Come hang out with us....

  5. I don't have the benefit of time yet to find out if I can moderate or not but I really appreciate those three points. It amazes me how we all think the same things sometimes. Good post!

  6. SM, that's 24 days for me. I hear the witch but I made a promise to see this through to 100. I don't plan on stopping there but still focused on my current mantra - I will not drink today. Still following astern of you.


  7. Thank you hon just what I needed at the moment....one bird at a time xxx

  8. Dear SM, you must have ESP, this blog hit the nail on the head for me in so many ways. I had double number days, then let myself do too much thinking and rationalizing and then on the drinking see saw for about a week. During this time my husband has joined me in a glass of wine on several occasions, but after seeing me carry the glasses of wine to us after work on a Tuesday, he asked me what I was thinking concerning drinking, (as I guess he was confused seeing me go almost two weeks without) and I was fooling myself. He has seen me so many times try this moderation thing and fail. He ended the conversation saying he was sorry this happened to me and " it is just a tragedy to see you drink." Woke up feeling pretty lonely.

    1. Oh don't feel lonely, Tammy! We've all been there. Forgive the puppy! Big hugs xxx

  9. I hit the wall right in the cusp of week two. That was the day of the all day blizzard here in NY. I had prepped for it Friday and all there was to do was hunker down in my clean house and enjoy all the delicious food in the cozy warmth of my home with the storm raging outside.

    If that's not wine time I don't know what is.

    Then the chatter began in my head. Oh just one ( which never means just one) or just a little cognac ( I don't really drink it but it's got that lovely warming winter vibe about it)

    Talk about romancing the drink. sheesh

    Then I played the rest of the scene in my head. How would you feel an hour after you had it? Answer: tired and gross. How will you feel tomorrow? Tired, gross, and self loathing .

    Craving over.


    p. s. How long did it take SM for the puffy face to disappear completely? Thanks'

    1. WELL DONE CLIO! SO glad you made it through the blizzard sober! Well done playing it forward. Re faces, I think the 'puffy' face went quite quickly - within the first month, but I was still left with 'fat face' under the puff! That's gone now, too, but it took longer (8 months or so). Hope that helps! xx

    2. Yes. It does! Very much. We are roughly the same age and I see a lot of similarities in your story to my own drinking career. Forever doesn't seem so daunting. Thank you xx