Blessed relief…

Tuesday 8 Mar, 2016, 4:57pm by Mrs D 11 comments

I was interviewed by a journalist the other day (you can read the article here) and I was describing to her the crazy struggle that can go on in our heads over the course of a day when we are living with addiction. You know how it goes…

* Wake up at 3am hungover, guilty and miserable. Thinking, thinking, thinking about drinking….(“Why did I open that second bottle”, “I’d promised myself I wouldn’t do that”, “I let myself down again”).

* Eventually get up and drag your body through the morning feeling like shit. Thinking, thinking, thinking about drinking… (“I’ve got a problem”, “I can’t keep going on like this”, “I need to sort my drinking out”).

* Slowly through the afternoon begin to feel better and the messages your brain is sending start to turn around turn around. Thinking, thinking, thinking about drinking…  (“I’m not really that bad”, “everyone drinks it’s not a biggie”, “I work hard I deserve a drink”).

All day the internal struggle rages on. All day thinking, thinking, thinking about drinking… and eventually you succumb to the internal dialogue and make the decision to drink…

And that decision brings such relief!

As soon as that decision is made – BANG! – the fierce internal struggle goes away. The thinking stops. You are drinking alcohol. The  struggle is over for today. And with that comes a blessed relief.

And herein lies the rub. When you are addicted and obsessed and pulled constantly in the direction of a drink, when you finally make that decision to drink (and put the liquid inside your body) there is a calm that comes over you. Partly because you are under the influence of alcohol.. but also partly because for now the fierce internal struggle is over.

Problem is that this method of quieting the internal struggle (succumbing to the pull to drink) means it never goes away completely.. it will always come back the next day. At 3am the brain noise will begin again – the guilt, the internal dialogue, the thinking, thinking, thinking about drinking.

It’s no wonder we keep making that choice to drink. It brings such relief!

But here is where we need to be really strong and honest with ourselves. We need to keep reminding ourselves that the relief bought about from drinking is TEMPORARY. It is only ever temporary. If we keep making that decision to pick up day after day after day, then we are making the choice to have the internal struggle continue.

But if we resist, and keep on resisting, then slowly over time the struggle recedes.. and eventually (all going well), soon enough it will disappear FOREVER!

Short term pain for long term gain.

Resist, fight the urges, stay in that uncomfortable obsessed place.. stick it out.. resist… and slowly the struggle will go.

I used to be completely addicted to alcohol. Every day was a battle. Every day I would give in and drink. Day after day after day after week after month after day I would pick up and have a wine (or five). That is until I stopped.

It was hard work at first – no more blessed relief from the internal struggle – but slowly the fight abated to today where it has been silenced altogether.

And for once in my life I really am living in a permanent state of blessed relief from my addiction.

Priceless.

Love, Mrs D xxx

11 comments

  1. Every day for me is one of surviving until the evening. Staying sober is very difficult without support from family and partner, and in a stressful job. My period of longest sobriety was wonderful, until a personal crisis pushed me into terrible places, physically and emotionally. Now I simply hide my feelings and isolate, becasue for me that is the only way to keep safe. Inside I am a terrified mess, afraid to share my feelings becasue I get threatened with a return to hospital or rehab (where i had scary, violent experiences). I simply have zero self-esteem becasue ive been told by those closest to me that my feelings are wrong and shameful and that my (ever-shrinking) life goals are unattainable. I don’t want to talk to another counsellor, i want those people close to me to listen. When the loneliness, guilt, shame and fear gets too bad, drink seems like the only escape, even thought in the past it was taken me to hospital and jail many times, and god knows where else bc i cant remember.

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    1. Brave of you to put that out there @anonymous, given your experiences in the past. I’m sorry you’ve had such hard experiences. Yes you are isolating to keep yourself safe but here you are, also still reaching out and trying to be seen. Reaching for the possibility there’s something more. Yay for that piece of will.
      :)
      So, hi! It’s hard to be a terrified mess. And I agree with you, you deserve something more. :)

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  2. Mrs. D, I can’t thank you enough for this post.

    This will be my mantra:
    “Resist, fight the urges, stay in that uncomfortable obsessed place.. stick it out.. resist… and slowly the struggle will go.”

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  3. For me, just drinking on the weekends wouldn’t be an option. I have tried that and numerous other tricks to moderate. All of them failed, usually spectacularly. I found that the reward after a hard day (anyday actually) was in the opening of the bottle and the pouring of the glass and taking the first sip. I substituted regular Chardonnay for a dealcoholized version which you can buy online. I got my reward without all the downsides. Also taking dealcoholized wine to a party means you don’t get asked the hard questions. I am 67 days sober and I have never felt better. I can’t explain how great it is not to feel the guilt and shame anymore.

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  4. Hi – your blog is sooo me at the moment. Like it could not be more accurate!!!
    I found today at work someone annoyed me and the first thought in my head was “oh well, you will deserve a wine for getting through the day” – it’s never just a wine though. Today is my second day. Tough going. Someone suggested I only drink in weekends. Is that an option?

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    1. Hi! I tried moderating for years after taking a lot of time off drinking when I took time off work + lived a less stressful life. I thought I had it figured out, and I could be a normal drinker. Nope. I went out with friends after I went back to work and one of them kept ordering and pouring wine, and I kept drinking it. I was smashed when I went home + had a bad fall on my balcony. And I knew I had to stop or else I would die from something alcohol-related. Not happening. I did the 100 day challenge (tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com) and then kept going. Alcohol is not an option. I don’t consider it. And I am excited about my life again. Good luck!!! xo

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  5. So when you say ‘silenced altogether” do you mean you never have cravings? That would be amazing. I am at 13 months but deep down I still feel like it’s a committee of nine and only one wants to drink (still it’s a sullen, disgruntled, vocal ‘one’ :) At what point did you notice the cravings had disappeared altogether?

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    1. hi @sobriusmaximus I would say that the really intense cravings went after 8-12 weeks but the entire thinking-about-whether-to-drink-at-all went after 14 or so months (hope I’m remembering this correctly). It does happen slowly.. although I would say by 13 months it would be good if more of your committee members didn’t want to drink. Are you doing lots of concerted ‘brain re-training’? Search the tags on the left for posts on the topic.. hopefully they might help tip the balance of the battle in your head. Thanks for the comment! xxx

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      1. Hi Lotta, no it’s 1 for drinking, 8 against or I would be in trouble! I think I’ve thrashed that analogy sufficiently. I love what Alan Carr says about not feeling like its a sacrifice, but rather feel like you dodged a bullet. I do feel the latter now (otherwise it would be white knuckle hell) but it’s nice to imagine even that last dissenting voice will disappear. I think AA would say the one voice will never disappear but I have more faith in my brain’s plasticity ha!

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