Truly wanting it

Although I can’t exactly claim to be an authority in sobriety (I think it would take a bit more than my four sober days – and of course I could be eating my hat at any time!) but I believe that whatever you are addicted to, you can try, try and try again to give your vice up – but unless you TRULY want to be free of it, it is quite likely to turn back and bite you on the bum.

I do say this with a little experience. Many years ago, in the days when it was acceptable to smoke at your desk, on a bus, in a shop – in fact anywhere you liked, I enjoyed lighting up one cigarette after the other, sometimes burning my way through two packets a day. In my early 20s I tried to give up on lots of occasions, managed a day or two or even a week, but it took just one moment of weakness and there I was back to square one. I even went with some colleagues to have acupuncture once – but just ended up with a very sore pin in my ear which you were supposed to press every time you had an urge to smoke – and which quickly went septic!

I smoked through the first two years of my marriage and then one day I found out I was pregnant and stopped – just like that! There was no way I was going to smoke or drink and harm my unborn baby. I had three babies in quick succession over five years and didn’t smoke during that time. However, as soon as the youngest was toddling, every time I felt a bit stressed or the need to relax, I would sneek into the garage and have a quick puff. I wasn’t smoking in huge amounts, perhaps 10 cigarettes a day – but I was once again a smoker and I hated the fact that I had given in to this addiction once again. The trouble was, I hadn’t given up smoking because I wanted to, or because it was for my own benefit. I had given it up for my children.

When my first marriage went belly up and we sold our house and went our separate ways, I made a pact with myself that I would NEVER smoke in my new house – this was a fresh start, a new me, a non-smoker. That was 14 years ago and I have never touched a cigarette or had an urge to since.

I think the same applies to alcohol. I have tried to give up over and over again. I even had counselling a few years ago and managed a couple of months of sobriety with the help of Antabuse (of course as soon as I stopped taking it the temptation to have another drink was too great). But I wasn’t really wanting it for myself and the whole time I was trying to quit I was filled with resentment to those around me.  I loved the taste of Sauvi and I quite liked the buzz of alcohol every night and the feeling of relaxation – it was everyone else who seemed to have a problem with it and because I loved all of these people so much, I kept trying to quit for them.

So I have discovered that whilst counselling and medication helps hugely if you have the right mindset – neither are a miracle cure if deep down you don’t really want to stop. I know that for hundreds of people it does help massively (it did for me whilst it was all happening), but in the depths of my mixed up mind there will be a little panic button planning my fall the moment it all stops.

I am firm in my belief that if, like giving up smoking, I want sobriety for myself and have the strength and commitment to grasp it because I WANT it then this time I will be successful.