What I learned from being sober for a year (2017) and then drinking again the next (2018)

I started my sobriety journey on this forum in January 2017.

I took my last drink New Years Eve, December 31 2016 at 11:59p.m. and I didn’t drink another drop … until New Years January 1 2018, at 12:01p.m.

I considered the year 2017 an experiment (Do I really need alcohol in my life to have fun?). The answer was a definitive No.

Then, very foolishly, I played with fire and tried another experiment in 2018. (Even though I don’t need alcohol to have fun, AM I missing something by giving it up? ) The answer is also a definitive No. But I’ve had to learn it the hard way.

The book that helped me become sober was Alan Carr’s “How To Control Your Drinking.” The premise of the book (spoiler alert) is that there’s actually 0 benefits to alcohol, and all the perceived benefits are just an illusion.

The year 2017 proved to me that he was right. But the nagging (alcoholic) idea go lodged into my brain in late 2017 that WHAT IF Alan Carr is right, but that he purposely left off one SMALL thing that actually is a benefit that he couldn’t disprove. So in fact I might be saving myself from all the 99 illusions of alchol, but WHAT IF I was depriving myself of just 1 BENEFIT of alcohol.

Well, long story short, I learned the hard way (the only way?) that an alcoholic is an alcoholic. It was absolutely amazing to me how fast I slid back down the slide.

The biggest thing I learned, and now know with complete certainty, is that alcoholism is permanent. There’s no rehabilitation (aka you can drink without the urge to drink more).

I think most people (including me) intuitively think that abstaining from alcohol is like a RESET button on a video game. Like, if you abstain for a long time (a year, like me, for example) then when you hit the play button again, you’re starting back over (aka it’ll take you less to get drunk, you have less cravings, and your unquenchable thirst will go away).

Wrong.

Actually, abstaining from alcohol is a lot more like hitting the PAUSE button. You go away (again, for a year like me for example), and when you come back and hit play again, YOU START RIGHT BACK WHERE YOU LEFT OFF.

To me, a year might as well be two years might as well be five years.

If my system didn’t reset in that time, then it’s not going to reset ever.

When I started drinking again in 2018, I instantly had the same amount of cravings and drank the same amount of beer and whiskey (a lot) that I did before 2017.

That super simple fact really blows my mind.

Anyway.

After months and months and months of starting and stopping and struggling, I’ve decided to get back on the wagon again.

My son turned 1 year old on September 15, 2018.

I took my last drink on September 14th, 11:59p.m, 2018.

Here’s hoping it’s my last drink for the rest of my life.

And hello everyone (again). Looks like I’m back.

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Thank You for posting this. As I approach my 1yr in a couple of months, I will remember what you wrote here. I’ve long ago decided I was done drinking, forever, but a little reinforcement is a good thing.

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Hello! Your post is actually a wonderful reminder to myself that I can NEVER responsibly or casually drink another alcoholic drink again! I have thought about quitting for only a year and then I remind myself that if I can go an entire year, why would I chance going back to the same way I tried so hard to change from?
Happy Birthday to your son and congratulations to you for starting this journey again! Have faith and good luck!

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Thank you so
Much for sharing. I can see how easily we can talk ourselves in to having one drink or drinking for one day and thinking that things will not progress. I read something about alcoholics that said “a pickle is a pickle you can’t turn it back into a cucumber” meaning an alcoholic cannot turn into a moderate drinker even if they once were.

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This is an excellent post, thank you. I’ve been thinking that someday I could go back after a “reset” even though I currently have no desire to drink. This answers that curiosity and I’m better off where I am!

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Great share pal! Full of truth. I like your pause button metaphor. I’ve also heard it like this…

Being an alcoholic is like you turn up a radio to 11, then unplug it. Put it away for a month or a year or 10 years. Whenever you plug the radio back in the volume is still at 11. Right where you left it.

This is a progressive disease. We are never cured. We can live full and beautiful lives in recovery. But if we decide to try drinking again then we will find out what you did. That we are an alcoholic. For life!!

And I’m freaking cool with that! I never have to drink again. That’s freedom right there😉

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Thank you for depicting this for me. Every day I look for more stories. Just to persuade myself more and more why I don’t need it. You did a great job putting this together for us.

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Thank you thank you for posting that!!

Welcome back.

That message is so important for all of us to hear.

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Dude awesome post. I’m glad you made it back. Your one lucky Mutha F***er… Remember that you definitely have more drunks in you, but not more chances to get sober in you… Bc it’s never a promise that you will return…

Your post definitely reinforces stuff for me even at 4 years sober it’s always good to hear the experiences someone coming off a relapse… I’m praying for you and your son❤️ keep pushing forward… And get involved in YPAA

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It makes my heart sing that I was able to articulate that post well enough that it resonated with some of you. I think it’s such an important point and I really didn’t want to mess up the message by writing a crummy post.

@Yoda-Stevie Your reply made this post worth it. Trust me: I can tell you, with 100% confidence, that there is NOTHING you’re missing out on by not drinking. Whether you’re have a super shitty rough patch, or an amazing high in life where everything is going your way … alcohol in no way will make your shitty rough patch better or your high in life greater. You’re maximizing your happiness with an alcohol-free life. TWO MORE MONTHS MAN!!! HIGH FIVE

@EarnIt Thank you. Go kill it! :slight_smile:

@Stacie Thank you :slight_smile: I can’t tell anyone what to do, because I’m stubborn as hell and do what I want so I make it a point to not be a hypocrite … but all I can say is I 100% agree with your logic. As someone who treated sobriety as an experiment … I’m at least 1 person in the bucket that purposely relapsed after a year and can validate what you said: there’s no reason to go back once you stick it out for a year.

@Ap0611 It looks like someone lived and breathed the same thing I did and came out the other end with the same conclusion. So funny how universal this truth is. Still only 4 or so days into my sobriety, I’m still shell shocked on how everything went down. Did not expect these results.

@BruinsFan Dude, I’m super happy this helped. It’s that same “curiosity” that led me down the path of a relapse. The “reset” is definitely a myth. I think if you just remember that it’s a “pause”, it’ll keep things in perspective as you keep moving forward, no matter what you decide to do for your future.

@Gabe.G Just like the earlier reply of the “pickle” analogy … here’s another one that I think just validates the truth of it all. It seems like all of us alcoholics who went down the path of extended sobriety and then relapsed all experienced the same thing. It’s still an eerie feeling for me to realize and FEEL the truth of it all. (I’m gonna mention your reply one last time at the end).

@Wade_Aaron Thanks man. I’m really, really, really glad it helped.

@LNM No problem!

@Sober_gabby12 Thank you Sober_gabby!!! Appreciate the kind words :slight_smile: And four years is AWESOME. Can’t wait for when I say I’m 4 years in :slight_smile:

And for everyone else, I want to reiterate what @Gabe.G mentioned at the end of the reply: “And I’m freaking cool with that! I never have to drink again. That’s freedom right there.”

That’s honestly what I got out of all this: Complete and unshaking confidence that alcohol has nothing to offer me whatsoever. Or, in other words, freedom.

None of the super scary revelations of alcoholism being permanent and that rehabilitation is a myth scared me at all.

I more just have a sense of relief.

My experiment is over. The evidence is conclusive. I can leave alcohol behind now knowing, with complete confidence, that I’m leaving absolutely nothing behind.

–jdubs

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Hi @Jdubs one of the best posts I have read on talking sober! I am also reaching my 1 year milestone like @Yoda-Stevie ; end of November for me…

Your post is so relevant to me and the timeming is perfect… thanks :grin:

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Thank you so much. This is a reminder to me when I start wondering if I could try and drink in moderation now that I’ve abstained for over 4 months. The answer dear brain is most definitely no. Your post was really thought provoking. Thank you for this.

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Thank you so much for posting this. I did something similar-almost a year no drinking and then restarted. While it took me about a year to get back to drinking heavily, I did get back to it and in fact that’s when I started drinking every damn day.
I’ve got 94 days now and I know that I cannot ever drink again. I appreciate the reinforcement.

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Thanks for sharing this, this helps me alot with staying sober and not trying to have just one drink! :muscle:t3::+1:t3::kissing_heart:

@Robketts Wow. Thanks for that huge compliment. And I have such a different level of appreciate and understanding of 1 year sobriety now: Couldn’t be happier for your 1 year man! Congrats on 10 months of being true to yourself. Also …just so happens my birthday is in November as well, so there’s that :slight_smile:

@Sparkle No problem :slight_smile:

@Anneski That’s very interesting to hear that it took you a while. For ME, I set VERY clear parameters going into 2018 with a year of sobriety behind me because I knew how sneaky my brain could be. I wanted to be very clear with myself that if I could do X, then I was fine, but if I did Y, then I was lying to myself. I broke my promise the first month. (I told myself I would be drinking 24 times in 2018 … with 2 “tokens” per month to drink around fun activities. I drank 3 times in January. By August I was drinking at least 5 days out of the week.)

@anon60484762 Heck yeah man, no problem. Dunno it is what it is, but even though it SEEMS like there’s a lot of doom in gloom in what I have to say, it’s one of the most therapeutic revelations I’ve ever had in my life. The finality to it makes me able to move on with my life.

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Thanks for sharing! Great read! Glad you’re back!

This post is important for me to read. I sometimes fantasize that if I started popping pills again that oh it would be so much less expensive and I can just buy a couple low dose pills. That I won’t want or need to take my typical large dose. No need to take 60 mg I’ll just take 10 and life will be perfect. But I know it’s not true. Your post proves it. Thanks.

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OMG what a great Post mate! very very helpfull to all of us! keep being brave!

I’m in the same boat, my friend. Sober September 25 2016-2017 then decided to give moderation a try. It’s September 24th 2018, (yep almost to the date I decided to get sober again) and I’m on Day 2! Moderation is a tempting word for me that I think this time, I will remind myself daily that that word does not exist in recovery dictionary. One day at a time. I’m embarrassed, yes, but I’m excited to feel as confident and peaceful as I did when I was sober. Now I have two lessons to learn from instead of one. Thank you so much for sharing and reminding me I’m not alone.

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I have read this post a couple of times now - thank you so much for sharing this. It actually is what motivated me to go to a meeting for the first time since I quit drinking 84 days ago. I don’t know what is ahead of me, but I know what’s behind me, and it’s not a place I want to visit again. Welcome back xo

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