Friday, 3 March 2017

The Future

It's always in the unguarded moments, the times when you are the most relaxed about life or focussed on some other pressing matter, that thoughts of drinking again creep back in. 

For months on end I've opened the fridge and ignored the bottle of wine in the door, till last week when I lingered and I thought of all the 5pm moments of twisting the top open and pouring a hard-earned splash of chardonnay or a crisp, refreshing cider. I've been sober for 259 days now and I'm starting to think ahead to how I will celebrate day 365 - the end of my initial challenge to myself to go without alcohol for a year and change my relationship with it, forever.

I've been pretty staunch in my thinking that I will probably carry on with my sober life, because I know if I drink again I risk slipping slowly back to the way I used to drink. But just lately hairline cracks have been appearing in my thoughts around alcohol (Alcohol isn't all that bad if I drink responsibly. Alcohol isn't completely evil. You used to love it. You can handle drinking again, because you know you can stop again if you want to)

I met a fellow sober warrior on my way to pick up my daughter from school last week. She says she was sober for a couple of years but had gone back to drinking occasionally, which had been going okay. I had already been thinking about drinking again after my year is up so it was interesting timing to run into her.

Is this why I am feeling a little disconnected from Living Sober at the moment? There are a lot of people on there who are trying so hard to kick alcohol out of their lives forever and here I am thinking of turning my back on sobriety on a mere whim. Even though we all have to do what is right for us, and only we truly know what that is, I feel pressure not to disappoint others.  

When I started out on this journey I leant heavily on the experience of those further down the road. I imagined being where they were someday, notably Mrs D (her strength, enthusiasm, wisdom and encouragement were hugely valuable for me in the early weeks and months). When I was thinking about quitting booze, there were two friends from university I noticed had posted about their sobriety on Facebook. One was marking five years sober and the other eight years. They were extolling the sober life and appeared strong in their resolve to never drink again. I wanted to be like them. 

Now that I have the tools to live this life on my terms, and not have to rely on alcohol to navigate the inevitable stresses and hard times we all face, I'm letting thoughts of going back to the old way inhabit my brain. Perhaps I'm starting to realise what an pervasive force alcohol is in the world - in all of our lives, whether we like it or not? 

I know quitting alcohol has enhanced my life, and the lives of those around me. I know I'm healthier and happier. I know I'm calmer (generally). I know I have a greater sense of who I am and who I'm not. I know my self esteem and confidence has increased. I've developed better coping and social skills without the crutch of alcohol. 

So why am I thinking about going back to the old life?

Maybe you can tell me because my usually logical brain can't make much sense of it.   



  1. Hey Soberman, long time reader, first time commenter :) do ypu think maybe you now have the hang of not drinking, and now have to work out how to live sober? I am on day 289 and dont want to drink again, but am not sure what happens next. So have started more research. Am reading Okay I quit. Now what? By Mark A Tuschel. Just a starting point maybe? Good luck, i enjoy your writing and wish you all tbe best.

  2. Hey there, thanks for your comment ! Thoughts come and go, and I often think it's a small price to pay dealing with the odd yearning compared to the worst side effects of my worst drinking . I have been thinking of reading some more stuff so thanks for the book suggestion - have just finished reading Jimmy Barnes' excellent memoir Working Class Boy (of which alcohol plays no insignificant part) and am ready for something else.

  3. I thought for a long time about this myself.
    In sobriety I dealt with my mental health issues. I created a softer, supportive life. I found the real me and I love her.
    So, maybe I could drink again mindfully. Occasionally.

    In the end I decided the very word monful means present and aware. Alcohol does the opposite.
    My mental health is important to me. I enjoy being happy and loving my life. A glass of wine is not worth that.

    And, most importantly, I would want to get drunk. I liked the numbness and the release. That's not a positive sign.

    I have a fabulous life. Alcohol offers nothing to it. Honestly.