Myths and mourning

I haven’t been doing too great with my sobriety attempt (have managed a few days and then cave in) so I’ve been thinking in depth about what is making me fail and fall. First, I would like to clarify that I’m not making excuses here (I know damned well that the main reason I have been failing is my lack of commitment and unwillingness to put myself through a level of discomfort to reach my goal). This makes me question if I do really want my life back (otherwise why aren’t I trying as hard as others in the same situation and making a better go of it) so what is it stopping me?

My first observation is that when I have promised myself that I won’t drink that day (usually after heavy drinking the night before) I remain committed to this until witching hour (around 5-6 pm). By this time, I am usually feeling physically uncomfortable by my hangover (tired, depressed, stomach aching, slight headache etc) and it is not the insistent craving for a drink which drives me to the supermarket to buy a bottle of wine,but the realization that after just one glass I will feel better. I will get that happy buzz, the pain in my stomach disappears, as does the headache. Of course, this is very short lived, because I don’t drink just one glass, but the whole bottle and then head out to the shops (on foot) for a second and thereby the same process repeats.

My second observation is (I think) I actually really do enjoy the taste of white wine and don’t only drink it for the alcoholic effect and feel regret that I will miss its taste. I say this, because I don’t ever crave other alcohol. I can drink a glass of beer slowly and have no inclination to have a second. I just don’t seem to have the same control over wine (but then I don’t like the taste of beer much).

Thirdly, I do seem to have a faulty ‘off’ switch when it comes to sugary things. In saying that, I don’t have a sweet tooth. I don’t like sweet drinks, don’t take sugar in tea and coffee and never crave to eat puddings, cakes and biscuits. My husband can dangle a big bar of chocolate or a pack of cookies under my nose and I won’t be even slightly tempted to take a first bite. However, if I do give in and have just one cookie or piece of chocolate – that’s it, I will literally keep eating until the whole lot has gone (because of this, I rarely eat sweet things).

Another huge hurdle for me is trying not to look too far ahead as I can’t seem to help mourning a future without wine (stupid I know when I have spent the last few years trying to stop drinking it and regretting the affect it has on my life). For example, in a few weeks time, I have to travel to the US and have booked with a colleague to fly Premium Economy. We have both been looking forward to sipping the complementary champagne – and the event we are attending is always a very boozy affair, with lots of networking receptions. Another regret is I was given a Jeroboam of Moet Chandon six months ago and have put it in the back of the cupboard in readiness for the next big celebration (probably my daughter’s engagement) I have been imagining and looking forward to popping open this bottle for so long – and can’t imagine standing by and watching everyone else enjoying it without me.

These aren’t my excuses, but my mental hurdles. I know they are all pointless and wrong, but until I can re-wire my thinking they will remain the challenges which keep popping up. In light of these my plan today is:

  1. To ride out the witching hour – find something to do, go to the gym or walk the dogs. Drinking might make me feel better temporarily, but I will feel doubly worse tomorrow.
  2. There is no such thing as one glass of wine, just as there is no such thing as one cookie or one chocolate bar – so don’t take the first sip or bite.
  3. I might enjoy the taste of white wine, but it’s like poison to me. I love the taste of pineapple too, but I’m allergic and will end up fighting for breath if I eat it – so why do I keep risking drinking wine which has the same potential to kill me!
  4. I don’t need to spend the next three weeks worrying about a trip and how I will feel about not drinking. I will concentrate on today and tomorrow and deal with the future as and when it happens.

I have joined Belle’s 100 days of sobriety (truly grateful to Belle for this opportunity) and hope to remain better focused.

When your support network crashes

Well – the last week has been truly the most frustrating! Having geared myself up and having put all of the tools in place (so I thought!) – this blog, Twitter, I subscribed to numerous sober blogs and also starting joining in the forums on My Way Out – thought I had every base covered…. and then the unthinkable happened. My trusty laptop (which admittedly was 4 years old) crashed! I thought it was just a hitch, so tried to re-boot, but just got a black screen with loads of diagnostics. It was an incredibly hot day and the laptop was really hot – so I popped it in the fridge for an hour – but still nothing – kaput!

I rang my local IT superhero who informed me that my hard drive had died! 😦 despair, not only right on deadline with over a week’s work sitting on my desktop now unattainable! Then IT superhero informs me that he should be able to recover everything for me, but will need to take the laptop away for a few days – this is when the horror hit home! On my desktop I had several ‘alcoholic’ audio downloads. There was a shortcut to my Wearywino email and a bookmark to my blog all with the passwords saved so I didn’t have to keep logging in – oh the shame of it! IT superhero is going to take one look at my hard drive and discover my miserable secret!

Well – fast forward a few days. New laptop purchased and given to IT superhero to set up software and reload the recovered files – not a word said between us (I don’t think I can ever look him in the eye again) – he may even start reading this blog!!!

So, having spent the last four days working late into the evening to try and catch up with the mountain of work that’s been accumulating, today I have finally found the time to try and remember the log in details for all of my online support networks and get back on board.

So – did I slip? The answer is yes (not horrifically, but we had friends round for a BBQ at the weekend and the temptation was just too much!) Now I know that I shouldn’t put all of my eggs in one basket – my entire toolbox was internet based. I need to add some other elements to my plan (maybe keep a diary or notebook). I have never been to AA – don’t think I could pluck up the courage to walk into a room of strangers.

So – to be more focused from today – life is good!