Normal. 100% normal. It’s psychological paths created by years of escape through addiction. (Think of it like trails in the forest.) As you continue working your sobriety you’ll gradually carve out new paths.
It’s worthwhile to develop some strategies for walking those paths. To help me stay present - not lost in the fantasy of what life “could” be like if I was somewhere else or living some “escape” “fun” “relaxing” life - I use a 5-4-3-2-1 grounding method:
5 things I see
4 things I feel
3 things I hear
2 things I smell
1 thing I taste
Then once I’m back to the present I can be helpful and constructive for myself. Get to the thing I really need (usually it’s some type of self-care that in the past I would neglect & escape to my addiction).
90 days tomorrow. I get the same damn thought every single day. But, I remind myself that the craving and crazy thoughts fade. It’s always so nice to wake up the next day still sober. While the annoying thoughts of drinking and the daily craving are hurdles, I’ve found it easier to live life sober. I know if I just drink for one day and start over it won’t be just one day. I will find myself right back to what brought me here in the first place. That’s not where I want to be.
I think @Eke nailed it. In early sobriety the reasons to stay sober are clear, as they are likely based on negative consequences from drinking. A bad hangover. A damaged relationship. A legal entanglement. So we quit.
Then things get a bit better. The dust settles. We fall back into our familiar routines and habits, except we aren’t drinking. When a challenge arises, or a celebration, or some other event we used to justify our drinking, it’s natural for thoughts of drinking to return. The pain of our last drink has subsided, and the joy if sobriety has yet to fully take root.
I remember when it happened to me. My wife took me out for my birthday. About 4 months sober…I ordered some lamb chops. They were prepared perfectly. With my first bite I thought “the only thing that would make this better would be a glass of red.”
Then I thought, “I wouldn’t be sitting here celebrating my birthday with the love of my life, had I kept drinking. A glass of red wouldn’t make this moment better. It would ruin it.”
I have stopped and started and I even went down to 2 days a week but i have 0 control once I start i have to keep drinking until i either go to bed or “fall asleep”. Our daughters wedding is coming up in May and I want to be in the moment and not drink that day or any day for that matter i don’t want alcohol to steal my joy. But i have a cousin who was always my wine buddy and I am afraid i might cave with her at the wedding! Any advice is greatly appreciated.
That thought tripped me up a few times too. And each time I didn’t go right back to sobriety. I shamefully slithered back to my worst. And then had to painfully drag myself back to sobriety. To be honest, I had to experience this a few times, until my brain finally understood what a crock of shit it was. So play the tape forward. Is it likely u would have wonderful drunk last hurrah, and then effortlessly go back to sobriety?
Choose to hold and carry around a non-alcoholic drink. Think about this being your daughter’s special day, how do you wish to be thought of at the wedding in the days, years and decades proceeding this wedding. Do you want people to remember you drinking or possibly drunk, or do you want to be the person who reminded sober? Let your drinking buddy know your intentions prior to the big day. I missed/ can’t remember a lot of special occasions because I was drunk. I don’t want to miss anything else. My last drink/bender was on my youngest grandsons 3rd birthday. No more missing birthdays for me. My children and grandchildren especially deserve my respect and sober presence.
Talked to a dear friend with 16 years sobriety this p.m. Asked her what’s kept her from drinking for all these years. She said it was the fear of the withdrawal, and her biggest fear is losing that fear, if that makes sense. I will be writing this all out tomorrow, as recommended above, to remind myself of the shitshow that followed thinking I could drink again.
I had over a decade of drinking because I was bored, because I felt insecure, because I wanted to avoid something, because I wanted to celebrate something, because the sun was shining… Etc. It would be kind of weird if that all just went away in a few months.
Every time you have one of those thoughts and don’t act on it, you are doing the rewiring you need to do, building those sober muscles
Another +1 here for making sure you can really remember the reasons you’re staying sober, and all the things you aren’t missing!