100 day challenge followup … “It’s like folding in the middle of a bad poker game”

I’ve received lots of emails from people interested in doing the 100 day challenge. It’s a pledge to not drink for 100 days, no matter what.  Even if there’s a zombie apocalypse.  Even if all the kittens on your block get squished the same week.  even if there’s an amputation. No drinking for 100 days. Some people are well on their way, and will be adding 100 days to their current number. Others are just beginning.  Amy is on day 101, Mystery Girl is on day 8. Lilly is 7.  Jenny is 33.

I’m day 260, nearly nine months. Sometime i think i’ll revisit the idea of moderation when i get to my one year soberversary. I’ll be on vacation July 1st.  I can picture it now.

But I recently wrote: “And really, moderation, god, I love the idea of that. I really really do. sometimes I think I’ll try moderation at one year.  but mostly I’m afraid to try.  afraid because of what I read online.  more than afraid, terrified I guess.  I don’t want to fall off and not be able to get back inside again. someone also wrote on my blog something about moderation working for people who don’t really need to moderate…”

for all the times that i half-assed tried to moderate, i was really only white knuckling it. Only drink every second day? OK, let me try to remember, is this an on day or an off day. Only drinking for special events, does today count as special enough? Only drinking twice a week, when does the week start (Sunday or Monday).

It was a lot of noise in my head. and this blog is called “tired of thinking about drinking” because i thought a lot about how much, when, too early, he drank more than i did. Too often.

the truth is, this is easier.  Sobriety is easier. I won’t say that being sober is a gigantic walk in the park.  it has its challenges.  but it is SIGNIFICANTLY easier than trying to manage the consumption of booze.  Why is it so hard to quit drinking, especially the first weeks? Cuz we ain’t equipped to cope with life without our security blanket. Our buffer, our ‘off switch’, our ‘equalizer’. But thankfully after 30 days it gets easier, then at 60 days we stop obsessing about reading sober blogs and books.  Near 90 days the clouds start to life and we feel more like our old selves.

Thus the 100 day challenge.  Our old selves + 10 days for good measure.

So will i drink on my one year anniversary? some days it seems pretty darn tempting. But really, what does that even really mean?

Frankly, it further convinces me that even almost 9 months later, the wolfie voice is still in there.  it’s still whispering sweet nothings in my ear.  I’m much better at ignoring wolfie. My life is gigantically improved now that i’m sober.  If i gave wolfie even a glass of wine, wouldn’t he just get up on his hind legs and start SCREAMING at me? Fun? Not.

In an email to Amy this week, i wrote: “I do not plan to drink. I sometimes play games with myself and say ‘in a week’ when I’m feeling crappy and that seems to be enough to move on through.  in a week’s time I’ve forgotten and all is well again.  I seem to be able to withstand anything if I think it’s almost over.  and then the times of ‘needing’ to withstand are now getting further and further apart, thankfully.  so I can say it’s getting easier.  a lot easier.  and I’m fucking proud of myself. There’s plenty of boozing and alcohol abuse in my extended family. I quit before I had any real problems. I got out early, like folding in the middle of a bad poker game. I just cut my losses and got out.”

if you’d like to do the 100 day challenge, you can read more about it here.  Or you can do your own version. Or you can keep playing poker with a loaded deck, cheaters, liars, and phonies… Nah. No time for that shit!

Belle

I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

32 thoughts on “100 day challenge followup … “It’s like folding in the middle of a bad poker game”

  1. I love your post! I feel the power, I feel the stremgth that you have given your sobriety! This is the easier, softer way. I’ve tried it all, moderation for me too was just white nuckling and the mental obsession was even crazier. I don’t have to do that anymore. I don’t have to think it and over think it to the point of neurosis. Giving up the fight opened the doors to freedom for me and it sounds like it has for you too! Congrats on 9 months! Whoot whoot! Yes, be PROUD!

  2. Wow 9 months. I’m almost to six. I’m a little past where you are on this maybe ill drink again thing, as I already did that and I fell further down 🙁 I had three years sober and then without a sober network or tools in place I slowly picked it back up. Moderated at first but only to prove something to myself. After about three months I was back into the drinking game and it took three years to get sober back. Ugh. I can’t even entertain the idea. I have too good of an imagination and my brain who romance me right back out there. At 43 with 2 children I just can’t risk it again.

    1. Hi Number 9. Congrats on 6 months ( course by now it might be a lot longer). Like you, I had some sobriety under my belt (21 months), and thought I’d like ‘a ‘glass of wine or ‘one’ rum/coke. I didn’t want ‘a’ glass, I wanted as much as I wanted, and there never seemed to be enough. I started out ‘moderating’ well, but slowly I got back to regular drinking , but bc I wasn’t ‘hiding’ it from my husband, I thought that made me fine with alcohol- that proved I could handle it. WRONG!! I am not good at moderating. I am great at drinking, really quite exceptional, but moderating is something I suck at. So far I’m okay at the sobriety thing ( Day 4 again), and being okay is good enough for me. ( FYI, I’m 44 with 3 children and I don’t want to risk it again either). Here is a toast ( diet Pepsi with lime), to another 24 hours 🙂

  3. “I just cut my losses and got out.” Yay for you Belle.
    Your 100 day challenge rocks. I imagine some ppl who are not ready to admit they have a problem can join your challenge for support. That is awesome.

    You mentioned moderation. I am too familiar with that. Yes I was successful with moderation on day a. Unfortunately on day b I made up for everything I did not drink on day a only to add to day b.
    It has taken me decades. I know I can’t moderate. All my friends with sobriety say one drink will eventually take you back to the the point where you left off. They all say it – so I think how can they all be wrong? I knew everything B4. Now I am humble and I listen . A drop, a taste , anything to do with alcohol scares the shit out of me. I know I won’t come back.

    I do believe some ppl can moderate but I also think they are not an alcoholic like me.

    So today I won’t drink. 🙂

  4. Lots of great comments so far! This thing about moderating is something that I hear a lot about from other alcoholics or those with dependency issues and have yet to hear one successful story of moderating. Not one. Maybe there is one out there, and that’s great. But I feel that when you are getting to a point where you start thinking about moderating, or cutting back or having a drinking schedule of some kind…then something is going on. I don’t worry about moderating my brussel sprout intake…because it’s not something that I think about. When I started to think about my alcohol intake, I knew I was already getting on a slippery slope. I tried the moderation things in my early days…and I even stopped for 6 months on sheer will and determination, but once I thought I could have a few now and then…that was the downfall, and a spectacular and long decline happened.

    So this 100 day challenge is great – and I feel that it may help kick start and motivate others who might be struggling and/or trying to do it on their own. Doing it on our own is so difficult. Support…any support, is such a huge thing.

    I love seeing this community of sober bloggers rallying around each other…it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

    Congrats to you Belle for 9 months! And congrats to all the other ladies here – whether they have a few days or a few years. Recovery / sobriety is a fantastic things….why go back?

    Blessings,

    Paul

  5. I have to admit that selfishly it makes me a bit sad, and worried, to hear first DDG then you talking about contemplating drinking again. Of course I understand the thinking (completely – duh – of course) but I’ve also read all the same stories re moderation so know the way out again may not be so straightforward the second time around and this makes me nervous for you both. But you both know all of that already of course.

    In any case, I’ll be interested (and delighted) to see you both get to a year and reflect then on how you feel about drinking. I wonder if there will be something in having gotten that time under your belt too that will reinforce not wanting to “start over” again?

    We got your back whatever you decide. But for now you’re doing brilliantly.

    Lilly x

    1. I think sometimes I contemplate it, when I’m feeling a bit low, like “this will end soon.” but the reality is that every time I’ve come up to the goal set (30 days, 90 days) I’ve continued onwards, sober. I think that saying “someday later” is my way of tricking wolfie. I know that if I could just say ‘never’ it’d be over and done with. but for now, this is working for me. and I really and truly do not expect to drink again. It’s just a game I play with myself when the world gets weird …

  6. I set myself a goal of 90 days and am on day 77 I think (I need a tracker, my math is crap). I don’t know what is different this time round as I have managed much better than other attempts, and there have been a few. However I am still doing the “can I moderate? dance in my head and it is driving me a little crazy. Perhaps I will extend to 100 days and take your lead Belle, maybe I just need to trick my wolf…..

    1. TJ we’d be happy to have you join the 100 day challenge, just send me an email with your pledge and the date of your last drink, so i can put you in the spreadsheet : ) and my wolfie is easily tricked. it’s quite amazing, actually…

  7. Hi Belle, I am overcome with your generosity re the 100 days. However I haven’t signed up………..? We are all so different and I know for me in things like weightloss, and getting fit etc, I have always rebelled against programs of any sort. I start out all enthusiastic and then I end up hating “the program” and childishly rebelling against it all. So I am being tentative about signing up – not wanting to start to feel rebellious against it at 50/60/70 days and feel that its about the program and not me. i know there is so much crap thinking in all this – please don’t waste your time pointing it all out – I am all too aware of my own immaturity and commitment issues!
    Re moderation – where do I start? I do wonder if I had started drinking and continued blogging – I might have succeeded with moderation? Who knows? But in the 5 months or so of drinking, most of it was pretty moderate and a lot more moderate than I was before. But there were a couple of instances where I went over the top and ended up hating myself. I do love that you are blogging about this. I think those of us who have faltered think of you and others as being super human and never having these thoughts after a while. So its good that you are putting it on the table. I wonder if we put as much effort into moderation as we put into not drinking – would we be successful? I dont know – but the question is there for me. For the moment I am not drinking – but I am no way clear on what I want to do longer term. Thank you for your support and rallying us all – its so lovely to know you care so much. C xx

  8. I don’t give moderation a thought. Ever. I know the way I drink. One equals eight. I spent twenty plus years on booze. Booze had its’ turn. Now it’s mine. 🙂 It’s just much, much easier for me to say, “I quit forever.” Then I don’t have to give it much thought. “Drink?” “No.” Finito. More mental space for other stuff. Like the weather. Or cookies. Or staring at the ceiling.

  9. When I was sober and Having one of those “flat” moments, I started to entertain the idea of moderating. I thought if I was doing so well at having absolutely none, then it would follow that I would be better at having some, especially as I had been working so hard on myself. Life without it permanently just seemed too huge to contemplate. had I known how life changing removing it altogher would be, then I would have tried harded to moderate.
    So, I tried it to discover…
    It’s not that I am not any good at moderating….I just don’t enjoy drinking in moderation. That’s it. Simple. Takes all the “good” out of it. No thank you.
    That’s not drinking to me. Just doesn’t cut it. What’s the point?

  10. I know this an old post, but this quote screamed to be read and re-read: . ‘Only drinking for special events, does today count as special enough? Only drinking twice a week, when does the week start (Sunday or Monday).’ OMG- this is me!!! I am on Day 4 ( again), because I kept ‘playing’ with when I would and would not drink – bloody exhausting and time consuming. I would totally make ‘this day’ a reason to celebrate ( with a drink) and ‘that day’, another reason. Thinking about drinking and then not drinking and then drinking again. I hope this is my last Day 4 I’ve done the sobriety thing enough times – I think now it’s gonna stick – fingers crossed and sober blogs in ‘favourites’ 🙂

  11. I starting thinking I might have an issue with alcohol a few years ago, but figured since I would consider myself a “functional” adult, that it must just be me bring hard on myself about my level of consumption. All my close friends drink regularly and drinking is a BIG part of my social life. It wasn’t until I tried to start slowing down and moderating that I realized I am struggling. One ALWAYS equals six, the hangovers get worse, the blackouts happen nearly every drinking session, etc. Every time is say “I’ll only have a couple drinks” it would turn into “fuck it, I’ll worry about it tomorrow.” Sometimes I’m kinda pissed that I can’t moderate. I love drinking! Alas, it’s time to quit. I imagine sober life to be magical, but I know I have to put some work in first. 🙂

  12. I have been on and off the wagon since I picked up drinking again three years ago after being sober for four..I remember quitting then, the leading up to it I cried all the way to work asking God to please please help me…I never drank or smoked again for four years…this time..not so simple it seems..or maybe I am better at makin excuses. Last night I had it…I was looking up symptoms of liver/kidney issues in relation to drinking and I accidentally ended up here…http://sobermomwrites.com/ (I don’t believe in accidents by the way) I emailed this blogger and to my absolute shock and surprise…she emailed me back right away..in her second email ..today she sent me the link to here…I need a 100 challenge and yesterday was my last drinking day..My life starts here and now and today is Wednesday October 7, 2015

  13. My day 1 was October 1, 2015. I am 7 days in and feeling proud. There were a couple of days that I was brought to my knees, it was almost too much to bear. I wanted a beer so bad my skin was crawling and I alternated between being MAD (not just mad, but MAD!!) and SAD (SAD!!). Today I felt a shift. I was more comfortable and didnt think about drinking beer tonight. What?? I know, right? Thanks Belle for the encouragement, and the awesome F-you Wolfie bracelet, I love it. Im in for the 100 challenge! Do I have to send you an email to officially sign up?

  14. Day 91 here! Feeling great, if you had told me I could do this I would have just laughed at you! I didn’t want to quit I liked drinking. Or so I thought… Now I can’t imagine going back to that. I think I’ll celebrate my 100 days with cake or maybe some really great tea ha ha!!

  15. My last drink was on Friday, April 22 @ 3am. So… nearly 15 days out! Feeling good today, but have had ups and downs over the past 2 weeks. Obviously, the first few days physically were absolutely painful and the doctor gave me medication to make it a safer situation/experience, but the moment I felt I was out of the danger zone, I dealt with the uncomfortable anxiety on my own for the remaining time and I’m now feeling so much better! Thanks for being here, you have been an inspiration!

  16. Day 7!! Last drink on May 18, 2016. Sadly, I had been sober for over 20 years and last summer thought, “hey’ I can drink now, in moderation, I’m sure of it”…boy was I wrong. I am now beginning a new, sober life once more!!

  17. greetings,
    I am Al, I’ve been thinking about giving up here & there for a while- I don’t drink that much more a heavy drinker rarely during the day as I am busy doing Charity work or Cleaning or Stewarding- Drinking can be fun but I tend to drink too much- this challenge sounds like something I could do-
    I have contacted a local service which I am going to use for one to one support & I will be attending that next week & will attend regularly- A.A isn’t for me as a lot of my issues are mental so if I can get round them I may not bother going back to it- I had a friend I attended his Funeral service this week a young lad only 40 but I woke up today after being wasted last night & thought I don’t need a new drinking friend better I think about stopping so this idea seems like a good way- even if I go Darts or Stewarding I will not drink no matter what- I will also put blogs on this site if that’s ok!1 today is my first day & though I got to go out tonight which is dinner & usually involves drinks I won’t bother ill just drink pints of diet coke so thanks for giving me a good idea im gonna stick to it
    Al

  18. December 3rd. I am tired of being depressed after a binge (I am a once a week binger.) I am tired of being embarrassed. I am tired of feeling like a horrible mother and wife. I am tired of feeling like I lead 2 lives. I am tired of the day ones. Today is my last day 1 and the first day of a new me…..of a sober me.

  19. This week has been a struggle but/ AND I’m still sober. It feels a bit like a fable – I’m lost in the dark woods and I can hear wolfie close by – sometimes he is so close I can feel his warm breath at my neck and his growl close to my ear (drink he growls, you know you want to). To add to this feeling I have not been well and my go to when not feeling well was to comfort myself with alcohol – why not feel crap when you feel like crap already???.

    I sleep soundly but dream of his presence near by. What has kept him at bay – in all honesty; there lives in this woodland; a lovely, kind watchperson (Belle) who, through her words provides a source of light which Woflie does not like. I feel she too is looking out for me and, when Wolfie is close by her strength (provided by her words – podcasts and emails) also shines like a beacon on Wolfie – and keeps him at bay.
    My comfort has been my go to drink and my podcasts and sleep – I have slept a lot this week but Wolfie remains at bay – hopefully he will recede more as I gain strength through my own self soothing.

Leave a Reply