Thursday, 21 May 2015

Own It

A wise friend of mine gave me some advice about my abstinence hiccups.  In the past whenever I lost my sober rhythm by having a few drinks, I would bow my head in shame and, as she put it, go dark for a while... avoiding my own blog, my favourite sobriety chat room.  She suggested that instead of looking at my blips as failures I should 'own' my style of recovery.

My pattern is lots of sober days strung together with a drinking evening thrown in every once in a while.  The last one was a drunk but normally they are a glass or two.  After about five years of 'trying' to abstain, this is where I have landed.  If it wasn't for the feelings of failure, I would be quite OK with this pattern as long as I don't allow the daily drinking to creep back in.

Because I have a tendency to allow the daily drinking to reinsert itself in my life, I can't say I am a moderator or that I am capable of moderating.  I have to be always working towards abstinence even if I've decided to own my pattern of self sabotage.

It's time to stop the self-loathing and get on with life.

My life has improved so much in the past few months on a self-awareness level.  My meditations are all about breathing in Order and expelling Chaos.  If my life has order, I tend to make healthier decisions on a moment by moment basis.  By order I mean, getting my 'have to' stuff done early in the day to allow for the guilt free pleasures of the remainder of the day.

If I am walking on the trail by the river and an important work related task is sitting, uncompleted on my desk, it takes away from the serenity and happiness I could be feeling.  So, my job is to 'Eat the Frog' and get stuff done, then enjoy my day.

Owning my pattern of abstinence vs drinking is a healthy choice given the fact that I am so very much against daily drinking and will do my utmost to always struggle back to that sober place.

Does this make sense?


  1. It totally does to me, but then I'm in a similar place. If you'd said to either of us a few years back that we'd turn into one of those people who has a night on the piss (to coin a very British concept!) once a month or so, we'd have thought those people were basically non-drinkers.

    Instead we've been mostly sober but feeling awful about those nights that other people consider a rare opportunity to have a good time. We of course have learned that despite our fantasies, there isn't much of a good time to be had, so it ruins all our hard work at being better people. We know where we end up if we allow ourselves to enjoy letting our hair down, so we make sure we have a rotten time in the hope that we won't think we could get used to it.

    Now, years ago we used to think that if you couldn't remember what you did the night before you must have had fun. We used to laugh about vomiting at house parties. With maturity and experience we see consequences where once we saw none: we realise that drinking is frightening. It might be the end of us. We might be poisoned or fall down the stairs or set fire to the curtains.

    It is all a massive change in perception, despite there being little difference in circumstances, except that I haven't vomited anywhere for a very long time. Even if I've drunk all the wine at worst I might wake at 3am and feel a bit peaky. It hardly compares to all those nights of not daring to close my eyes because the room would spin. Is that because I'm drinking less? Is it because it isn't on an empty stomach? Is it because (scary thought) I've become more tolerant?

    I really don't know. All I do know is that it happens less than it used to. I'm grateful for every moment that I feel good, and trying not to waste those moments fearing that it'll all go wrong. I spend my life worrying about a myriad of little things going wrong, and it's a waste of time, because it's always something else that does, something I haven't even considered. Today I was worried about the state of my intestines when the problem turned out to be my big mouth. I wasn't even close!!

  2. Deb, I think you are spot on with this post.
    Sherry 💜

  3. Deb - I for one think you are doing a fabulous job...any days sober are better than none at all. I am like you, I do good for a bit but then I have a meltdown or just reach a point where I give in/up? I too am striving for total abstinence, and I know in my heart I will get there, I just have a lot of emotional baggage I need to come to grips with. Anyway, never quit quitting, and don't beat yourself up if you slip...just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward....Big hugs...oh and so right about watching out for that rabbit hole, it's easy to fall back down there...

  4. You are doing great Deb. I think we are too hard on ourselves sometimes. Every time we have a slip we are learning something from it. As long as we don't give up trying. A x