Emotional Sobriety

If I’m really honest with myself, I know the drinking isn’t good for me.

Someone told me… to do what makes me happy, as far as alcohol is concerned.  And maybe it isn’t making me happy.  It’s making me paranoid, low and confused. I wonder if it’s causing the nightmares keeping me up late enough to write this post at this hour.  With a cider.  It’s making me feel fat.

But did not-drinking ever really make me happy?  I watched with envy as others sipped their vodkas, felt annoyance whenever I thought of how hard it really is not to drink.  For anyone.  Resentments built up and that’s not a healthy way to live either.  But was I getting better at handling it?  If I’d reached three months, then four, then five, would it have become easier?  Now I can’t see a way out, I’m making excuses: Christmas, my birthday, New Year’s Eve are all coming up, and I can’t imagine them without alcohol.  I can’t imagine anyone else enjoying them with me sober. Plus, now I’ve drank, no-one would respect my sobriety anymore anyway. Maybe that’s low self-esteem- I don’t have the confidence to imagine that someone might enjoy my company without a drink.  I think I am boring, and shy and awkward and I don’t believe in myself.  I feel like alcohol makes me more fun to be around.

A good friend recently told me that she prefers me sober. That I am kinder.  Happier. Yet so many people have said it’s nice to be able to enjoy a drink with me again, that they’ve missed the cheeky halves and the silliness of an afternoon pint.

Meanwhile, my friends in “recovery” have stopped talking to me.  I guess I understand why it’s better for them not to be around someone who drinks but I can’t live my life like that.  I cannot live my life in a bubble, can’t cut off old friends or stop living my life just because I had/ have a problem.  If I was anxious about a party, my recovery friends would say “don’t go to the party, then.”  But I can’t skip every social event on the off-chance I might drink.  There’ll be birthdays, weddings and christenings that I can’t just miss.  There’ll be lectures at which I could network.  There’ll be pubs in which I will meet my friends.  Maybe part of drinking again is the knowledge of this, of the fact that I will have to face these occasions- and regularly- and don’t know that I have the strength to.

Who am I doing this for?  Do I want to drink, or have I become stuck in a rut again?  Can I handle this, or will I become ill again? Could I stop if I wanted to? Why can’t I see a way out?

These are questions I need to be answering truthfully if I am going to cope with all this, yet these are questions I am struggling to answer because I genuinely don’t know the answers.  I’m feeling alone with it all, because (the same goes for anyone and their problems) nobody else can answer these questions for me and nobody else can keep me from drinking.  Or keep me drinking.

It’s something I have to work out all by myself.

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6 thoughts on “Emotional Sobriety

  1. I can completely relate to your post, it’s very honest and truthful. The struggle with alcohol never ends, months and months sober doesn’t make the weeks of constant binge drinking better (from experience) it’s so hard to avoid the social drinking, most friendships are based on drinking circumstances. I’m truly sorry you’re going through this, but you are very aware of it which is always good. Wish I could be as honest as you. All the best x

  2. So much stuff in there.

    I can speak from my experience – I took my last drink in May 2004. I went to rehab a few days later. There I felt safe, I didn’t need to drink and thought I had it all sorted. I left rehab after about 6 weeks. First day out… the voice started in my head “Have a drink. You know you want to. You aren’t like them. You can control it now… ” and on and on it went. My obsession with drinking didn’t lift at all for about 9 months. I know I kept a daily personal gratitude list throughout that time and long beyond. I wrote at the top “Haven’t had a drink today”… one day in Feb 2005 I wrote that then some other stuff then realised something. I hastily went back to the top of the list scrawled through that line and wrote “I haven’t WANTED to have a drink”… No I cannot say to you that it didn’t come back repeatedly for a long time after – but the chunks of days where I didn’t want to became occasionally weeks, then months and now I can say years. But it took time. I feared going to my first gig – I’ve done hundreds now without drink. I feared my first family wedding – I’ve even been best man at my brother’s in sobriety and it was all great. I feared work functions, going to friends for dinner, etc. etc. All these things and much much more (losing my Mum to lymphoma when 2 years sober for example, my son moving out, my daughters 18th… the list goes on) I’ve done sober and loved them. I even finally picked up a guitar got back on stage strummed a chord and sang into a microphone – probably the thing most associated with my drinking the one thing I’d never be able to do sober and there I was, in a pub of all places, doing it. I continue to do it too and frankly good or bad performance at least the drink has no part in how I feel about it. Who knows a situation may throw me, more likely to be a broken shoelace than a broken marriage, and I’ll pick up but I’ve heard enough from enough people I trust in recovery that they’ve walked through stuff I cannot imagine and they haven’t had to drink so maybe there is a chance I can face whatever it thrown at me.

    Sometimes I’m in a situation where alcohol is just natural and everyone is saying “Oh I think I’ll have a wine/beer/brandy…” Yes it flickers across my brain “Why can’t I just have ONE”… because I know that it creates a desire in me for more, and then it clouds my thinking and more importantly soon it’ll start again to numb me to my emotions and I revert to living in a drunken bubble where I’m no longer who I want to be. Frankly I don’t care what others think, I prefer me sober, actually I love the me that is sober, where as I’d got to the point at the end of my drinking where I couldn’t bear to look in the mirror at that ugly, horrible thing looking back.

    Whatever you choose try to look deep down in you about what you really do want.

    Good luck

    • Thanks for your comment.

      You’ve given me a lot to think about by sharing your experience and strength.

      I have decisions to make.

      It’s nice having other peoples’ input into that.

      • I hope it helps and didn’t appear preachy or whatever but I could resonate with times in my early sobriety where I seemed to be making decisions I’d regret – in the end I didn’t.

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