I have been trying to get sober the past 6 months or so. I’ll do 2 months, a couple weeks then mess up. I dont know if I am an alcoholic but i know that everything I don’t want to happen (diet,drug use, being a dick) comes from having a drink. I guess I am finding really easy to justify having a drink and to talk myself out of it. As I haven’t hit rock bottom. Any tips to keep evil me from winning that internal struggle?
@HelenDanger Hi there, first of all welcome! Apologies as this ended up being longer than I expected it to be.
I’m in a somewhat similar situation. I don’t have a traditional “chemical addiction” to alcohol, however it is very habitual. I don’t crave alcohol, and I’ve gone a month or so without it (mostly for fitness related breaks… Not times I was trying to purposely cut it out permanently), but when I do drink, I don’t want to stop, in that moment, and pretty much don’t.
The way I can tell it’s an issue for me-- is when I think about “taking a break”, or completely cutting it out, I have this panic set in, and immediately start trying to justify or find excuses for when it might be appropriate to still drink.
“Well I do really actually like the taste of beer-- it’s not just about getting drunk”. Or “I just have to work on moderation”…
But for me, when I think of other people I know, who don’t have this kind of problem, if they were told to stop drinking beer for example, they could just do it and probably care less. And they wouldn’t go spiraling into this irrational justification of why it’s okay, and when they might be able to drink again.
I speak for myself, but having that kind of fear, and needing to find justification, says that it’s probably not something I need in my life. Even if it was doing zero harm to me, which is not the case, that is a really big crutch that I’m depending on, if I can’t even go a month or more without thinking about when I might be able to drink beer again.
Again, I speak for myself, but I would take it as a blessing to have not hit rock bottom yet. Why wait for that to happen, before making a choice? Maybe think of it as a blessing that you haven’t had to go through that hardship. Again, somewhat similar for me, because I’ve done so many reckless things while drinking. Purposely drinking while driving, just bring a 12-pack along for the road etc. Drinking while driving, when I was underage, with no license, in a car with expired tags, that wasn’t even mine-- passing right by the police department. I did so many stupid and reckless things, and I look back and think my God, how do I never get caught? I’ve never been arrested, I’ve never gotten a ticket for anything, and I thank God that I never hurt anybody else.
But it definitely could have been that way. There were many times I could have easily killed somebody and spent my life in jail. If you’re thinking about it, and even questioning, what’s the hurt of trying? Maybe you go six months, or even a year, and realize “actually I’m in a lot better place now, and that was more circumstantial rather than a lifelong habit that I’ll be fighting my whole life.”
Or maybe six months or a year will pass, and you’ll realize " I’m actually really glad I did that, because while I hadn’t hit rock bottom yet, I certainly had the potential for that to happen, and I’m glad I dodged a bullet."
I’m not an expert, and admittedly I’m only on one week of intentionally being sober. But I do analyze a ton LOL and have achieved other hard challenges in the past, not related. So I do know what it takes to retrain the mind, at the very least. It’s very hard, and has to be something you want to work for, or at least that makes it a lot easier.
But just like in fitness, a lot of people hate working out and feel absolutely miserable when they’re doing it and don’t see the point. “I’m not that overweight anyway!” Kind of thing.
But then flash forward to a couple months down the road, and they feel so much better, and it feels routine to them. The suck is gone, and it’s just a part of their life. And when they are really successful with it, it’s a full body thing – the exercise part, but also mental strength, nutritional strength etc.
Maybe to help with the justification, look at the triggers? What things are causing you to want to drink to begin with? And then you can analyze those situations more, and see if any of them are ones you can avoid going to to begin with, or if not, work on other ways you can approach them. Or maybe try finding a replacement for alcohol, for that particular experience.
For example, a lot of my drinking revolves around entertainment and sports. If I’m watching sports, that means I’m drinking. And if I’m drinking, that means I’m getting drunk. So I recognized that for me, I attribute it to being a sort of " special drink " for the occasion.
For example, I don’t necessarily just whip out a 12 pack on a Tuesday. Sunday is football day, therefore I drink. Because that’s "what guys do " right? Drink beer and watch sports. But yesterday, I decided to make myself a special coffee beverage instead (elevated from what I’d normally drink during my weekday mornings), and put it in a travel mug so it stayed warm through the duration of the game. While it wasn’t a perfect replacement, compared to the feeling of being buzzed, it definitely helped. And I was coherent enough to even know what the f was going on LOL and see the final score.
I believe that in time, alcohol will be reduced to being just a simple drink. Not something you need to justify for. is there anything else that you consume that you justify the same way? If you were going to stop eating yogurt, would you justify ways to keep it around and keep eating it? People would probably think that was kind of weird LOL
For myself anyway, I’m trying to look at alcohol the same way. Alcohol is just a drink, not a form of entertainment, not a best friend replacement, not a therapist. Etc it’s just a drink, and not one that’s healthy for me. If I were to eat candy bars or soda, as much as I drink beer, that would be a real concern also. but I don’t do that, because I know it’s not healthy for me (not to mention people would be looking over at me like, whoa dude, chill out on that chocolate bar!! Lol yet we don’t as much for alcohol… people cheer you on as you pound a beer etc)
Yet I justify, that alcohol somehow is different. In time, that will change, just as I think it will for you also, and if you are actively finding replacements and addressing the triggers, I think the justification will fade away. You’ll find a new normal. Normals that don’t bring on other unhealthy activity, like doing other drugs or being a dick like you said.
Good luck, and hang in there!!
Rock bottom is a term thats only defined by you.
I have spent most of my life trying to minimalize the impact drinking has on my life mentally. My alcoholism is a mind game I unconsciously play against myself.
I relapsed a couple of weeks ago. I drank on my way to Hawaii for a vacation i paid for with money i saved by quitting drinking for six months.
I kept drinking for a couple of days and
Sobered up on the beach in paradise. I was miserable. I felt as bad if not worse than other times I quit. I have been in worse scenarios in the past when i quit.
Its the illusion that im missing out on something fun that that tricks me into trying to drink like a gentleman.
Ive never lost a job, or been homeless because of drinking.
My latest rock bottom in Kauai is the one Im putting the shovel down with.
We hit bottom when we stop digging.
Rock bottom for me is death. Id like to postpone that as long as possible.
The only way to beat Mike Tyson is to never get in the ring. If you ‘give up’ and surrender to your drinking problem, you won’t have to ‘fight’ evil. Just live life with a better attitude. I’ve heard a lot of guys in recovery say, “yeah, I’m still a dick, but I’m a lot better dick nowdays!”
I think the problem with society is a lot of this binge drinking is considered socially acceptable. Actually it is probably strange to be that one person who isn’t having a drink. No I haven’t lost a job or missed a bill from being drunk or buying booze. But as you said if it’s not good for me why do it? The negative impact of my physical and mental health is enough to want to stop. I do have a fear that I am missing out on some fun if I don’t drink, however some of the most fulfilling weekends I have had were sober ones. I also find it difficult to socialize sober, people seem to like drunk me a lot more. I was actually thinking of drinking this weekend and I’m glad I revisited this post today for some back up! Thank you!!
So we looked up if I’m an alcoholic, apparently if you are, or are, doing a few out of 10+ things (I checked several sites), you’re an alcoholic… I though perhaps ish, maybe, or sort of had like a strange question kinda hoping I might not… I hit more than a ‘few’ in all I looked at… So. Yep. Emphatically. I mean I know I am, but odd seeing it written there in front of you. Said it out loud for the first time today. I’m an alcoholic… It just can’t be denied… I thought I had a drinking problem sort of, and seperated that from alcoholism… I’m an alcoholic. Done, for real. Actually for real. So there’s that…