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.

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