I’m still here and still sober but I haven’t really felt like blogging as much in the last couple of weeks. I’m on day 88 now and not drinking is becoming more normal and routine. Over the last 12 weeks I’ve spent almost as much time thinking about not drinking as I did thinking about drinking and I feel like I’m ready to move on to the next stage, whatever that is.
I still get those ‘Ooh, wine would fit nicely into this moment’ kind of thoughts but I’m now noticing they seem to be more a result of ingrained habitual thinking than a real desire. Those thoughts are fading in intensity and have less power over me. I’m recognising a subtle separation between that restless, uncomfortable ‘gap that needs filling’ feeling and its association with wine. It panics me less and I am able to think, ‘Yeah, yeah, mind the gap, it’ll pass’. When I’ve started to ‘play the movie’ in my head I’ve sometimes even noticed an aversion to the thought of drinking. Deep down I know that looking to alcohol in these moments is pointless and futile and will never solve anything.
I’m starting to recognise the difficult moments as an opportunity to be mindful and a chance to stand up and build something new and better rather than taking the old, familiar and ‘easier’ option. It’s really not easy. I feel like I’m climbing a mountain at the moment. I seem to frequently fall into a trough of TV or game bingeing, pizza and chocolate bingeing or just lethargy, flatness and laziness. I also somehow always seem to find a way to pull myself out of it. I’m hungry for knowledge and experimentation whether it’s in psychology, spirituality, nutrition or any form of behaviour change. Maybe I’m finally ready to make the climb, to do the work that I’ve spent most of my life avoiding? No matter how hard the climb feels at times I’ve come far enough and seen enough benefits to not want to get drunk and slide backwards down the mountain. I can feel a shift towards being motivated by positive and constructive desires to build and grow rather than shying away from negativity and fear.
Now I’m starting to be a bit less preoccupied with not drinking I’m moving back towards some other projects in my life. My artwork is always waiting for me. I’m back on the decluttering mission. I’m also starting a new writing project which I won’t detail here as it won’t be written anonymously. I know that none of this would get the chance to happen if I let alcohol back into my life at the moment. I don’t know what my longer term future relationship with alcohol will be but I know that it has no place in my life for the forseeable future.
I’m still reading other sober blogs every day even though I haven’t been writing. It has been very interesting to read about the experiences of people who have managed increasingly large chunks of sobriety and then returned to drinking for various reasons. Some of their relationships with alcohol seem to have changed for the better and I’m hoping for it to continue for them. I really do wish the best for them but I’m also aware (as I’m sure they are) that alcohol can be deceptive like that while it’s in the process of creeping back in.
I have noticed that people tend to back away from blogging once they reach a point where they are aware they don’t fit neatly into one of the many labels around alcoholism and addiction. I also know many people couldn’t continue to read if a blog described a return to a new relationship with alcohol. For some it would be dangerous and triggery, for others not so much. Like religion, this is one of those subjects that tends to forge extremely strong opinions and the potential for conflict with people holding opposing views. Myself, I can’t help but be curious about the grey areas while respecting, appreciating and learning from all the different points of view from this wonderful community. I would certainly continue to read and be open to a variety of possibilities for how this journey could ultimately unfold.
Maybe addiction isn’t a black and white matter after all and could be more of a spectrum, like autism? Is it possible that once one has repaired the ‘hole in the soul’ then a previously problematic substance or behaviour may end up being no more dangerous than a luxurious soak in the bath? Can we get to a stage where it’s just a non-issue, like me and the smoking that I quit 15 years ago? I don’t spend my life in fear of cigarettes and know it’s going to be zero effort to never smoke again. Will that / could that happen with alcohol?
I know this is trigger territory for many and I apologise if it’s hard to read but I have read so many different views and opinions on addiction that I don’t know what I really believe. I feel more able to ponder questions like this at the moment as I’m genuinely open and curious rather than just looking for a way to talk myself back into the bottle. For now I’ve made my peace with the perspective that I can choose alcohol or spiritual/life/health growth and remind myself of this with my new Spiritus Contra Spiritum bracelet 🙂
Take care everybody, be well x