Nearly 9 Years Sober from Alcohol
I passed the 8 years sober mark, now on my way to 9 years of sobriety! Wow, considering all I’ve been through in the 9 years since I quit drinking alcohol, I am surprised that I haven’t relapsed. I recently heard through the grapevine that someone I knew a long time ago who had a big alcohol problem and had successfully quit drinking for over a year had relapsed. Only, the word relapse wasn’t used, it was “She is drinking again” and “Now she only has a few drinks”. Well we all know that you can’t only have a few drinks don’t we? I have toyed with this idea many many times, maybe it would be ok for me to have a couple, only on certain occasions etc
I remember thinking that once I stopped drinking, my life would suddenly be perfect, like all the crap in the world would be different if I stopped drinking, well, my life is better but it isn’t perfect in the way I thought it would be but it is certainly a million times better than when I was drinking.
Why Haven’t I Relapsed?
I want to talk about why I haven’t relapsed, I definitely have had reason too, I’ve experienced the loss of loved ones, dealt with depression, anxiety, sickness, job loss, financial difficulty, bitter relations with certain people, and more. I have had my fair share of difficult circumstances to deal with that could easily have sent me back to alcohol, so why haven’t I relapsed?
What’s Going On In My Head When I Think About Drinking Again
There are a couple of things I think about when I begin entertaining the thought of having a drink;
- If I feel like I need a drink, I immediately recognize that I am trying to avoid what I am feeling at that moment. Knowing that I just want to escape from my mind leads me to the thinking that even if I did have a drink, whatever I am trying to escape from will still be there when I sober up so drinking is pretty pointless.
- If I feel like I need a drink, I think about how one or two drinks won’t be enough, I never felt satisfied with one glass of wine or even two, or a bottle of beer, no, once I had one drink, something set in motion and I needed more otherwise I felt extremely unsatisfied and wanting. I think about that feeling and I hate it, I know it can never be quenched and therefore drinking is pointless.
- If I feel like I need a drink, I think about my family and my life as it is today, even on bad days I know that this is a worthy life and that I am important to other people, I realize that my downfall with alcohol if I choose to have a drink will be their downfall even though they are absolutely powerless over it. What I do affects those closely around me, our life will dramatically change for the worse if I have a drink and therefore drinking is pointless.
- If I feel like having a drink, (this is maybe the same as point 1 actually), I just know that it’s not the drink that I want, it’s the escape. Knowing that I want to escape somehow means that I am hurting in way, there is something going on that I can possibly do something about or maybe I just have to go through the painful feeling of whatever it is about. Ultimately, when I want a drink, I really just don’t want to feel what I am feeling at that precise moment but I know that when I drink I create real problems that can be irreversible and therefore drinking is pointless.
Similar Themes of Thinking When I Start Thinking About Drinking Again
There are often some similar themes behind why I begin to start thinking about having a drink, they are;
- Feeling bored – After living such a wild hectic alcohol fueled life, I definitely have a low boredom threshold. When I begin feeling bored, I also go straight to the thought “If you are bored, you are a boring person”, I don’t know where I heard it but it resonated with me, how on earth can we be bored? there is such a ridiculous amount of things to do, learn, go, be, see, have, share etc, feeling bored reminds me that I am choosing to be boring and I better figure out something creative to do that will occupy my mind in a positive way.
- Feeling lonely and disconnected – This is the hardest one but what I have come to realize is that loneliness and disconnect are just a part of life, I think we can feel this way even when we are busy and full of social interaction, its part of the human condition. Also, I know that I have been prone to depression and anxiety over the years and so this feeling can be a part of that. Also, I feel like I didn’t really live a very normal life and I don’t share that with many people so that hidden part of myself causes me pain from time to time. I have learned to accept that I will go through periods of time when I feel lonely and disconnected, that’s just the way it goes, what I also know is that those times pass and I get to the other side which is the complete opposite, I feel alive, and happy and satisfied and content, again I think its just the human condition.
- Socially isolated – I never had trouble being social when I was drinking, life was just people, people, people and since I stopped drinking, my social world has changed dramatically. Sometimes it upsets me, but most of the time I don’t really think about it. I have some solid friends and have found that by nature I tend to be more introvert meaning I need lots of alone time to feel refreshed. I like some interaction but not in the way that I used too. If I think back to when I was a kid, I was never very social, I was just the way I am now, just a handful of solid friends.
- Thinking about the past – I don’t see many people from my past, and I’m mostly happy about that. But, there are times when for many reasons, I think about the past and it leaves me with complicated feelings. Sometimes it’s painful but again, it’s just part of the journey.
So Why Haven’t I Relapsed?
I have not relapsed because I know that my life is a journey and I am on the right path FINALLY. I have too much to lose if I relapse and I already know that if I did relapse it would be bad, I would be right back to the uncontrollable drinking I always had a problem with. I don’t want to look back at a life full of regrets. I am proud to be who I am today and I have worked hard to live differently than I did before.
One main reason why I believe I haven’t relapsed is because of who I spend my time with and the people I surround myself with. I don’t think I would be able to have stayed sober from alcohol this long if I was in the old environment, it’s just too hard. I think that sobriety is extremely hard and you have to change in so many ways, other people may not realize it but everything has to change when you quit drinking alcohol. I think you are setting yourself up for failure if you think you can live the way you always have, surrounded by the same people and trying to live the same life with the exception of you not drinking anymore. Practically everything in my life is different today than it used to be, that also means that many people will may not accept you if you change that dramatically, its a weird phenomenon for sure.
Well, I hope this helps someone out there. I had been pondering why I haven’t relapsed and thought I would share.
No spellcheck No grammar check just posting!