What is your cycle?

Everytime I try to get sober, I fall into a particular cycle that ultimately leads me right back to drinking. So I want to share my cycle in hopes that I will stay aware and hopefully navigate breaking this cycle.

Day 1: I’m hung over and I hate it. I ask myself, “Why do I keep drinking when I know I’m going to feel like this.” I tell myself I’m going to quit drinking. I usually don’t drink this day. I eat all day long because my appetite is through the roof and it helps kick the hang over faster (or at least I tell myself it does). I end up staying up all night or almost all night because I usually just pass out drunk or drink enough to fall asleep immediately.

Day 2: I’m sober, awake and feeling miserable all day because I got little to no sleep. I drink coffee, which puts me on edge. By mid-day, I either take a nap or push through until the evening with more coffee.

-Most times, by the time night comes, I feel so miserable and high-strung that I drink again. Even after telling myself all day long that I wasn’t going to.

-Other times, I make it past day 2. Usually by sleeping extra early and waking up at 2 or 3am, or by pulling another all nighter because I napped mid-day.

Day 3: Either way, I’m exhausted. I drink coffee again, which still puts me on edge. But I usually find something to do like clean, organise or find a show to watch or a game to play. This day is rough because somehow I’m convincing myself it’s okay to drink because I made it to day 3 and that’s “better” than drinking every day. But I push through.

Day 4: Now I’m really struggling. My sleep is all over the place. I’m strung out on caffeine and nicotine and my head is killing me. I usually cave at this point and drink. But again I convince myself it’s okay to drink every 4 days because it’s “better” than before. Sometimes I make it farther, but the cycle is always the same. I convince myself I can moderate by only drinking every few days. Then that becomes every other day which leads to every day again. Now I’m back where I started.

I think acknowledging this cycle is really important for me to help navigate it. I have to ask myself: What can I do different? How can I break this cycle? What tools do I have at my disposal?

There’s a lot of work to do to find the right path but I’m always hopeful. The longest I’ve been sober in the last few years is 35 days. Journaling and exercising helped tremendously. I hope to use this platform as my journal because I’ve never tried this in a community before and I think it will do me some good. I guess you could say this is my"What can I do differently" approach. :sweat_smile:

What is/was your cycle? And how did you/can you navigate it?


My cycle lasted less than a day. For years. Until I broke it. I think you need a plan. I had one 1700 days ago. Seek support was the first part for me. Learn. Share. Support. Get supported. Learn to live life.

Anyway, Dan wrote it down perfectly. Wishing you all success. You can do it as long as you don’t go it alone. Welcome!!! :people_hugging:


Thank you for sharing! That post was the first one I read when I joined (which was today) and it put so much in perspective! It also very realistically lays out what to expect, which I really appreciate. I will be working on a plan for sure and I’m very excited (and terrified) of this journey. I will keep posting, reading amd researching. :green_heart:


My cycle used to be a bit like yours, just without feeling like crap and the smoking and coffee. I never felt particular bad after quitting, to be honest, but still I managed to convince myself that not drinking for a couple of days was an achievement I should celebrate with drinking.

I’m not entirely sure why I managed to do it this time, but I do believe this community helps me tremendously. Even though my life’s extremely busy and I rarely write much, just checking the forum every day reminds me of why I’m doing this.

Wishing you lots of strength


Thank you and to you as well! :green_heart:

It sounds like you should cut out caffeine for now, I really don’t think it’s helping you at all. You are aware of your cycle, so you need to put a plan in place to break the merry-go-round you’re on.

If I feel like caving in and need to get past an urge, I just remind myself that tomorrow morning I will be so glad I didn’t do it. I suffer from bad anxiety, so I only drink decaf tea and coffee (you get used to it!). I really don’t need a ramped up heart rate and something that messes with my sleep. I think I read somewhere not to drink caffeine about 8hrs before sleep.

I’m not great at taking the next piece of advice, as I’m so busy offline - but get involved with this community as much as you possibly can. It’s so sooo helpful in your early days of sobriety, and great support there after. Post how you’re feeling, tell us about your progress. Read other people’s posts to see if you can help them too. Being able to relate to each others journeys is massively helpful to ourselves and others. Addiction is a shitty, isolating world that wraps you in shame and guilt. Its hard to tell people you have an addiction and need help, but not here. There is zero judgement here.

I just want to say I can relate to your cycle. I was a night drinker. Never allowed the kids to see me drinking, because I don’t want to advertise poison to them. But even though they didn’t see that, what they got was a mother just going through the motions every day, all I wanted to do is crawl into bed and not get out until I didn’t feel toxic anymore. I wasn’t present for my children, which hurts me in my heart and right down to my bones. I love my kids so much, I am putting them first every single day now.

Look forward to feeling sober and happier tomorrow by saying NO :raised_hand:to alcohol tonight. Use the check-in thread to stay accountable, use the gratitude thread, and I like the 100 day challenge thread. It keeps you motivated and accountable. On that note, I’m going to take my own advice and start a new 100 day challenge! You could join me if you want to :slight_smile:

You have got this, one foot in front of the other :two_hearts: xx


Hi, first off id like to send you some love and great big hugs! Ive been where you are…i see u and know how your feeling…its hard isnt it. Just reading your post i get a big sense of your sadness and desperation…its like your a million miles an hour . .heres what i think…first off slow it down girl and take a breath…stop trying to use other things like caffeine to run away from your hangover infact just stop running full stop…your running from life with the drinking then from the hangover with caffiene…what you need is to start treating yourself your body and mind with a bit of kindness…your hangover doesnt need caffiene it needs sleep, hydration and good food, your mind needs the same and some compassion…you have a drinking issue and will probably never be able to control it but thats ok because life when your sober is great if u just give it a chance, we are all here to help you and guide you through when your ready…are you at day one now?


Really great advice, thank you! I relate 100% to how you struggled as a mother! That’s exactly what I’ve done and exactly how I feel about it too. I’ve already been making so many choices on being more present with my child. More time together, more patients, more proactive in their schooling, etc. But I know that drinking gets in the way of that no matter how many changes I make. They need me and just as importantly, I need me. Thank you for sharing! I really appreciate it. Sending strength and love. :muscle::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


That’s a great post, helpful to think about. My cycle was similar, the intense feelings, all the shame, disappointment, guilt, all the why can’t I do this? It was exhausting and I rode that merry-go-round for decades. It was so soul sucking. I was more of a binge drinker and could go a couple of weeks max without drinking, but it was all the same.

As Mno suggested, Hoofhearted’s thread is a great one to read. A couple of observations based on what you wrote…I don’t think the caffeine is helping. Adding more jitters to an already stressed body mind and spirit IDK, I know for me, I craved calm and peace. I know it feels like you need it to function, but you don’t. Maybe ease off or nourish your body with some juices or fizzy water instead if that is do able for you. Nourishing our body with healthier food and drink can help the healing process.

Another thing I notice, and that is because it was such a big thing for me, is thinking of drinking as a reward or a treat or something that is adding to your life in some way. I too had this fantasy for a long time of what drinking was. It was helping me relax, or a treat or celebration or a drowning of my sorrows or xyz. The reality was it was a soul and life sucking hamster wheel of guilt, shame and bad decisions + more. It was not a treat that I deserved. It was not offering any relief. It was prolonging my pain over and over and over.

That was my cycle. Being on a hamster wheel of self hate and self recrimination.

Have you read This Naked Mind by Annie Grace? It helped me a lot. So did reading a TON of other quit lit and others stories…same for reading here. Just the act of being here, interacting, reading, taking on the suggestions of others…it helped me so much.

I hope to see you around! You can change the cycle. Seriously, you can. I know it feels impossible, but it isn’t. We can change our lives. :people_hugging::muscle::heart:


I absolutely love reading your insightful, thoughtful and helpful posts.
I really appreciate you here on this site and the time you take in responses.

Just wanted you to know that. :heart:


My cycle was typically 3 to 4 days; drink, recover, drink, repeat.

I realized 2 things. I couldn’t quit drinking because I wouldn’t quit drinking.


When a hangover is your only motivation to quit drinking, you’re only motivated when you are hungover.

I had to find other motivations and reasons to quit. Ultimately the reason was, I just wanted to be better (and all that, that encompasses).

Kicking alcohol sucks, like really sucks. The things that got me through it was embracing the suck knowing it gets better. Everyday, I woke up saying to myself, “I will be better today”.

You have the power to break the cycle, you just got to do it, and I know you can.


My moto!! Love it, Darwin on the Trail.


For real!! You will never know how good you have it until you know how bad it can be! Embracing the suck does that for you.

I often use hiking as a metaphore for Sobriety, there’s a lot of parallels.

As you prepare for a long hike, you are excited. You get to the trail head and excitement begins to slide into doubt. The first few miles goes good, but then you hit a wall. You begin to feel you made the wrong decision, you start thinking you’re not ready or prepared enough, you consider turning back. This is the point where it sucks. But you embrace it, yes it sucks, but I know it will be better when I reach the summit. So I push, step by step. Eventually, the pain subsides, I’m no longer out of breath, I feel good. Then you make it, and what a view it is!

My oldest kids and my 72yr old Dad, after embracing the suck!


I was on Antabuse in early days. That and AA as a community and a road map to sobriety were fundamental to my recovery. The Antabuse made it much more difficult to decide to drink. I knew I’d have to wait like 3 days or longer for it to clear my system and I didn’t think I could take three days of that. Having Antabuse daily made it way easier for me to decide to take concrete steps each day to grow my sobriety.

Welcome to Talking Sober, blessings on your house :pray: as you begin your journey.


So much life parallels between, hiking, life, sobriety. The perseverance, the determination, the focus and planning, the joy. My wife and I completing the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island (considered one of the best hikes on the planet) when we finished the trek. 5 days, 72 kms, everything you need you bring as there is nothing except wilderness and lots of very slippery wood ladders that stretch 30,40,50 feet, literally dozens and dozens of them and very little to zero cell service. Sleeping on the beach every night watching whales off the surf.
Freakin hard trek, but so worth it!


I made 100% wholesale change in my life. Everything, period.

Left white coller job, went to college 2yrs…wrote/passed 7hr exam to become a licenced Paralegal in my province…but went into trades instead… and at 60 yes, you can teach old dogs…thats what I did on my journey so far


I need this. I left my white collar job 2.5 years ago and semi retired at 54… now coming into 57 I need something.
Started a small landscape company last summer, which I love, but it’s 6-7 months and then I have 5-6 months down time…


My cycle lasted probably about 3 years. Exhausting to going through all this for so long every single day… I even remember times crying over a pint of beer that I want to stop drinking meantime getting drunk.
I guess that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Drink was the only ‘fun’ and ‘fullfilment’ of my free time I knew. And even after drinking stopped working for me I kept coming back to it because it felt ‘save’ and ‘known’.
I was lucky, because I eventually realised that drinking is the reason why I feel miserable if I don’t drink. Yes, it sounds weird but I felt awful when I got sober. There was no happiness left in my life and I wanted to kill myself in belief that the depressed feeling is how sobriety feels (and hence I always returned to drink).
However, when I was drunk I behaved awfully towards people I love and it happened without my later recolection. I hated how I behaved when drunk and that was the thing which finally made me realised that when I’m drunk I’m changing to someone I don’t know and who I don’t want to be. And that was a beginning of my sobriety.
With every new day sober and a good reason why to stay without booze my life gets better every day. Depression, anxiety, feeling of being lost, insecurities…all eventually dissapeared. I am a different person today and I know I’d never be if I kept drinking.
Alcohol made me stagnate and didn’t allow me to mature and see the world through the real eyes. All was dark and blury, sobriety brought colours and shapes. Literally.
I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and I wish for you and any other person struggling to find their reason to stay sober strong enough to have the ultimate desire to follow.


You’ve articulated something I can really relate to, about the hangover being the motivation. The worst hangover days I’d always say: “I don’t ever want to feel this terrible again”. The problem being…as soon as I felt good again I thought it was safe to drink again…until the next bender. I’ve alcohol free since December 29, 2023. I used to count days, a couple of years ago when I went through a period of 3 months sober. I’m not counting days this time, my thoughts being; it’s one day in itself and one day at a time, sounds so cheesy. To be honest, this time I’m doing one hour at a time.

The days can be so long, I’m single - two kids gone to university and one home who is shared custody with her dad. So opening a bottle of wine on a Friday is so tempting - today I’m struggling. I don’t often experience loneliness but today I felt intense frustration and sadness… a little lonely today. Ordinarily I would drink on a night like this, dance and have a great time to myself. This evening I am sitting, sober and facing the loneliness head on. It’s unpleasant. I will have a cup of tea and read and journal.

I’m really glad I checked in here tonight - I don’t feel alone in the struggle with alcohol. I found strength here just now. Peace and love to all of you. Be well, be kind to yourselves.


Thank you so much, I really appreciate your input! I totally agree with what you said and today I’m working on creating a plan. I’m trying to start small and simple, so I don’t get overwhelmed. Baby steps are hard for me, but I know it’s an essential skill for me to learn. I feel super optimistic right now and I’m just taking this day step by step. I will keep posting and sharing, as well as reading others’ stories. :green_heart: