Of course I want to drink! But I won’t…

24 Apr

11:58 pm

And, I know I won’t. For now anyway. This post is mainly for others, to shore them/us up in the face of those continual cravings. I’m not proud of it, but almost a year later and I still have a LOT of cravings. Then again, I’ve made a lot of big changes, am trying to resolve some important decisions (to have kids or not, to move back to the mainland or not, to go back to school this fall for another master’s degree or not), and feel at odds between the two! Before I quit drinking, I don’t think I would’ve been so easily able to articulate exactly what is triggering my cravings, so that, I would say, is DEFINITE progress. Go, me. (I think?)

I remember the first many months (six?) of getting sober, and they weren’t easy at all. And, for some reason, I’ve been having trouble putting thoughts into words (gasp!) the past few days, so here’s a numerical list of some of what I’ve learned since last June about the ongoing process of choosing not to drink instead of drink:

1. I always want to drink. And, when people at AA meetings, or on the blogs, say that “the urge to drink has left them” or “being sober is so fucking awesome,” I CANNOT reflect that. It just does not gel as true for me. OF COURSE I WANT TO DRINK. Duh. Yes, I like drinking. Yes, I want that first glass or three. Yes, I like feeling buzzed; I want that feeling of warmth, of place, of lack of struggle against my existential issues. I LIKE feeling nothing, sometimes. And, frankly, a part of me thinks that wine was a good solution, at some point in my life. And, damn it, sometimes I really miss it.

2. In general, hating on oneself is PART OF THE DRINK. Once I got sober, I realized that all that self-loathing and self-ruminating was, in fact, not necessary to hold on to. The longer I went sober, the less sad and depressed I felt, the less I was beholden to the past, the less I felt the need to say I was sorry about the horrifying things I had said or done. I learned that it was not only OK to let it go, but also that I needed to. No more apologies. No more beating myself up. I’m not saying that amends aren’t needed, but when you continue to remain sober, you start to let it all go. And, if that includes friends and family members who choose to either hold onto their grudges or be fearful of your newfound emotional maturity, well, they CAN go; they’re not worth fighting to keep.

3. Getting sober (at least getting a handle on it) BEFORE hitting AA meetings is the way I would advise myself to do it. I found, personally, that going to AA meetings was a HUGE stressor. All these “steps,” all this “ideology” that I didn’t know whether or not I agreed with (I don’t); it was all Way Too Much. Some of the time, I had to uncomfortably defend myself against the “AA bullies” at the meetings, saying repeatedly, I need to take my time, I need to do it in my own time. Looking back, I can now say that it’s this, simply: Getting sober comes first, getting “right with God” comes a distant second. My refusal to cave in the face of everyone at the meetings pressuring me to “do it their way” was by far, the best foot I’ve ever put down. Getting sober does NOT require any kind of spiritual epiphany, in my opinion. Getting sober requires your acknowledgement, slow as it may come, that the reason this is so hard is because addiction changes your brain circuitry. Getting sober requires you flexing your sober muscle–which is you not drinking when you really want to–over and over and over again.

I’m pretty sure that *if I had not run into severe consequences,* I would have kept drinking. For sure, actually. Yet, with crippling hangovers and the inability to predict what I would do when I was blacked out, it was simply no longer an option. It was like, drinking wine could be as dangerous as drinking toilet water. It might NOT be, but it COULD be.

All that being said, I can say that I like being sober. And, here’s what I like specifically:

1. Not giving up my power.
2. Not feeling trapped by the desire to drink away my social anxiety.
3. Not revealing my anger, especially in its raw form.
4. Being able to see others for who they are.
5. Being able to make choices based on real information and real emotional feedback.

I go back to these things in my mind, and like others, play out the horrifying–and possible fatal–video to the end. I think a LOT about how drinking would take away my power, how it would expose me, how I’d make bad choices based on really bad information. I just can’t. I’ve come to care about myself way too much to do that to myself anymore!

What I’m saying is, you can still really want to drink and not feel like a noncommittal failure because of this. Wanting to quit (action based on higher brain planning) CAN COEXIST–does, I bet in 100 percent of the “cases”–with wanting to drink (desire based on inner brain reacting). Take a deep breath, then, and know you are on the right track.

(And, then she hit “delete.” Oh, yeah! The best part about being sober? Being willing and able to simply think all of the above and then…let it go. All these thoughts came, they will all go, and I don’t have to either react or care about them. Huzzah!)

15 Responses to “Of course I want to drink! But I won’t…”

  1. Belle (Tired2012) April 25, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    holy, lots of realizations in one year batman. i just wanted to speak to #1, being one of those boring sober people who says (now) that there are stressors in my life but i don’t want to drink because of them … first, at 10 months continuously sober, i think that wollfie is slowly, progressively getting quieter. he has not been reawakened, even once, however briefly in a long time. But second, I do still want to drink, but know I won’t. That in itself is a relief. i know that my brain still craves it, but i just am ‘not’ following that with any physical action. as recently as last night, out for dinner, tired, the couple next to us was having wine, and i thought, yeah i want some too. i had to literally turn my head away, talk to husband, and distract myself. then the urge faded. It might have lasted a minute. which is a long time when you really feel like drinking. now it’s the next morning, and after 11 hrs sleep i feel fine (again). and i know from what everyone ELSE says, that it gets easier and easier as even MORE time goes on. i don’t think they’re exaggerating. and i want to get to where they are. where it’s even better than this. and you, your opening line, says (to me) that you’re already on your way there too. i hope that doesn’t sound stuck-up-y, but knowing you’re not going to drink for now is also a big gigantic deal. and worthy of its own post πŸ™‚ and its own party. with unicorns.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl May 2, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

      Thanks for this, Belle. A little late to reply…

      Hmm. I think I’m waiting for this moment when I really, truly, deep down don’t WANT to drink. Don’t want to get drunk. Prefer feeling sober to feeling drunk. It reminds me of something I did in college: I would never memorize equations, I would try to remember how to get to most of them–how to deduce them–from like, one major one. That way, it was all in my head and I didn’t have to memorize and worry about forgetting what I had memorized.

      Maybe I just need to embrace sobriety and stop “tempting” self with the possibility. For now.

  2. Elanor Abernathy April 25, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    Your post reminded me of a time when I was newly sober. I was sitting near the back of the AA meeting with my arms crossed, glaring at everyone. An old guy was sharing about how he prayed on his knees. I thought “You LOSER! As if that’s gonna work. Praying on you knees to the freakin Easter Bunny or WHATEVER! I couldn’t for the life of me see how these freakin meetings were going to make a difference let alone praying on your knees.
    {but just in case I tried it and I prayed for my mum to be happy at work [because ‘they’ suggested praying for others] ~ Bingo! the next day she got fired! I said “Oh shit mum, I’m so sorry, that’s not what I meant” Turned out to be the best thing ever for her. }
    well done on 30 days xo

    • Drunky Drunk Girl May 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      Thank you! Sorry, it’s taken me a bit longer than usual to get back to the comments!

      Charging along toward 60 days…(I’m on day…45 today!)

  3. Lisa Neumann April 26, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Ok I just want to say that I am loving the “lists” I just realized lists in posts are awesome because it helps me see what I need to focus on. “What I like, then, about being sober” list … Ditto on 1-5 for me.

    And, (tell me to shut up if you want) Sometimes it takes getting clear on what we don’t want (day 37) to appreciate what we do want (day 180). I have learned infinitely more from my losses than I ever gleaned from my gains.

    IMO: Achievement is a process of occasional error.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl May 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      Oh, Lisa, I learn so much from you. I learned a lot more than I ever thought possible from this slip I had—that it takes a LOT more time to get back on the water wagon than it does to fall off! The “drinking as salve” mindset comes back in a moment, yet it takes a lot longer (3 out of the 6 weeks I have now, and that’s on top of nearly 6 months of going without) to get on top of it again, to get back to that “strong” place where resisting the temptation is what you do, not consider giving into it. ARG! Such a mind game…



  4. carrythemessage April 26, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    If I were watching you read this aloud, I think I would have to duck from all the hands flying all over the place…impassioned! Yes, we get cravings, especially early on. We’re alcoholics, for goodness sake, we obsess about booze. That’s what we did – drank. So to take away our medicine and then…what? can feel like a death sentence at times. But we know in the end that is what we need. And we do what we need to do to stop and stay stopped. For this alkie, I *did* need the spiritual experience first. I had abstinence at first, but the white-knuckling almost killed me. But we all come to this differently, and like they say, it doesn’t matter what donkey you take to the summit of the mountain top, as long as you get there.

    And you’re getting there!

    Great stuff.


    • Drunky Drunk Girl May 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

      Or…what *unicorn* you take to the top, right? πŸ˜‰

      Haha, I WAS flailing my hands…all over my keyboard. Yes, we do obsess about booze. The problem I had with AA in particular was, no one seemed comfortable–dare I say, allowed?–in meetings (or outside of them; then again, I never got to know many people that well) talking about this. No one talked about how much they wanted to drink; they talked in platitudes and nonspecifics–it was maddening. I felt like I was a fraud: I was at meetings not because I wanted to stop, but because I had to. Duh. *Of course, I want to drink!* I felt like a lot of people were afraid of me, in the way healthy people are afraid of sick people. It sucked. Then again, it could very well have been THIS specific group of people/THIS specific location (I am not in the most cerebral of places)…?

      Anyway, all that aside, the cravings are going away. I do still want to drink red wine, but it’s more like, I want the buzz of yesteryear, the “times” that are never coming back. Oh, well. *Oh fucking well.* In exchange, I get sobriety. I get seeing things and people for what they are (good information, not bad). I get clarity of purpose. I get never overexposing myself (a big issue for me). I get standing up straight (metaphorically). I get…



  5. Carrie April 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Great post DDG! I love your writing.
    I need to work on that concept…a thought does not have to become an action. Might help with my cookie addiction too!
    Well done for getting back on track.
    C x

    • Drunky Drunk Girl May 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

      Thank you, Carrie! Yes, I have to work really hard at converting these thoughts into non-entities. They don’t have to affect me, I don’t have to react. It’s getting easier, though, so that’s good news!

      Wow, getting back on track after 6 months was actually really hard. I mean, just getting back into the mindset of No, I cannot drink, instead of, Well, maybe, could I?



  6. fern April 30, 2013 at 3:04 am #

    Great post!

    I think I was scaring people and my sponsor when I continued to verbalize my desire to drink. I got so much advice and cautionary tales that it was only a matter of time before I relapsed if I went on thinking THAT way! I marched right back to the particular meeting and prefaced my sharing with, “when I say I want to drink; it does not mean I’m going to. I am expressing my feelings to get them out.” I honestly felt a little heated that I wasn’t given empathy — like you and others describe. I like how Paul put it, “We’re alcoholics, for goodness sake, we obsess about booze.”

    • Drunky Drunk Girl May 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

      Yup! Same thing for me in AA meetings. I couldn’t accept that no one wanted to drink! Personally, I think peeps in AA are not encouraged to really go there, the same way they’re not encouraged to openly critique the program. All these things are reasons I left and never looked back. To me, this addiction is a disorder, not a disease. I have to ask questions, to be open, to be critical. I have to. Plus, I simply do not think that one NEEDS to equate their addiction to a lack of spirituality. YES, that’s part of it, and yes, things like sense of purpose are related, but…the problem is, AA is a blunt tool, and addiction is anything BUT one-size-fits-all.

      Just trust your gut; I love your mind and your writing. You are a thinker, and this will aid you in recovery! AA is not for all, and is not the only way to get sober. You don’t have to do the steps to be a good person in recovery, or to recover. You just don’t!


  7. myafterparty December 28, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    Great, insightful post.


  1. I don’t want to do early recovery again | Tired of Thinking About Drinking - April 25, 2013

    […] I was writing on DDG‘s blog this morning, as recently as last night i thought about having some […]

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