Today I Will Stay Sober from Alcohol
I CAN’T DRINK MODERATELY
ALCOHOL MAKES ME FEEL UNHAPPY
ALCOHOL MAKES ME FEEL ANXIOUS
My “I Am Sober” app added a daily pledge option recently. I have it set to remind myself daily each morning at 7:30. The app allows you to create your own unique pledge and when I wrote mine, the words above are the first ones to assert themselves. Every morning now, for the past 40, I have read my pledge with focused attention. The words, honed down into simplicity, are impactful for me and succinctly define my complex relationship with alcohol. Of all the awful things alcohol has brought to my life, the worst of them have been the utter, bleak, soul-crushers of unhappiness and anxiety. My daily pledge is now a potent reminder.
At the end of December 2017, I experienced a shift in my attitude towards alcohol. I finally, deeply accepted that I could live my life happily, completely without alcohol. Up until that shift occurred, I still entertained ideas about allowing myself to drink sometimes. I knew I wanted to stop but I still felt deprived imagining my life without wine. There was a particular brand of wine that kept rudely barging into my thoughts like a bad ex-boyfriend. So I was seduced by that bad boy ex-wine whispering into my ear….seduced into buying and drinking a bottle and a half on December 28th. And I hated it! I hated the taste. I hated the guilt as I drank it alone. I hated the threat of ruination it brought again. I hated that my family probably noticed me slurring my words, making stupid comments, and getting angry over nothing. I hated the super ugly hangover selfie I took the next day, and of course the actual hangover as well. I HATED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ve said this all before but quitting drinking is really hard. For me it has been a process. A critical part of my process was getting through 100 days alcohol free last summer. That was the really brutal but necessary hard work required to restore my completely fucked up brain chemistry. Those first few weeks were done hour by hour, then day by day until it gradually started to get easier. However, I still did not have the deep inner conviction that I could thrive without wine. Which is why I started to drink again occasionally last fall.
The right Attitude is another critical component to long-term sobriety. I can say this with conviction because for those of you who don’t know, I was sober for almost 11 years until a major relapse at the end of 2015. I also believe “white-knuckling”is a key component of the process – we all need to start somewhere and for many of us it involves white-knuckling through the early days. The right attitude comes later….often after many lapses and relapses for some of us. You can’t just tell yourself it’s time to live happily ever after without alcohol and then just do it. At least I couldn’t, until I finally embraced that thought 100% with mind, body, and soul and it has taken me 2 years to cultivate that attitude again. It’s the attitude that got me through those 10 years & 8 months of sober, deeply happy years.
I now have inner- peace, motivation, and a newfound zest for my own life. I’m showing up as a participant in my own life now instead of watching it go by through the bottom of a wine glass. I’ve stopped saying “I might have a drink” or “what if I have a drink” or “maybe I’ll have a drink.” Any thoughts of drinking are immediately stamped with a boldfaced NO! And a glance at my pledge. But there haven’t been many of those to contend with so far in 2018.
The repetition of my new daily pledge each morning, or anytime throughout the day, has become a potent ritual with the power to annihilate random, romantic thoughts about ever drinking wine again. But it really only works for me because it’s plugged in to the right attitude.
💟 ☮️ Poison Grigio