“I am stronger than this pain”

From me:

Summer. Still gigantically hot here. I have a summer cold (my favourite). Today is the day where I have no sense of taste. Now that i’ve been through this 3 times before in the last year, i know that nothing bad will happen. I will just have a day where I can’t taste anything! Wolfie will leave me alone. if i wasn’t writing this blog, i wouldn’t remember …

If i wasn’t writing this blog, i wouldn’t wake up both yesterday and today to an inbox FILLED with positive happiness.  Honestly, I usually have a few “reset me to day 1” emails, but not this weekend. OK, you’re all on vacation maybe! Instead I’m getting lots of this:

Notes from my inbox

Jessica (15): I’m still here and I am still sober.  Wolfie couldn’t trick me into drinking, even though it was Friday night.  I went for a run instead.  And now I am awake and alive and refreshed this beautiful Saturday morning.  I am more present for me and I’m more present for my family.  I think I can get used to this sobriety thing.  One day at a time.

Camla (58): My birthday is Monday and I don’t think I have celebrated a birthday without alcohol in 44 years!  I’m not worried about it though as I’m committed to the 100 days

Shannon (23): Just wanted to check in and say I’m still sober. I’m almost a quarter of the way through the challenge. WOW!  I haven’t had any strong cravings. I walked to the frozen yogurt shop this evening and had to pass several restaurants and bars with people sitting outside having cocktails. I admit the thought crossed my mind that I would like to be sitting there listening to music, drinking a beer. But then I remembered that I can’t drink like those people. I would not drink one beer. I would drink many. And then I would come home and drink more, until I passed out. Tomorrow I would wake up sick, throwing up, and miss church. I don’t want to waste any more days of my life being hungover/sick. Plus, if I’m sick tomorrow, who’s gonna do the yard work I have planned to do? So, I walked right past all those drinkers, got my frozen yogurt and sat down to people watch.

Durfee (24): Tonight I took my son to Target at 8pm on a Saturday night.  I would never have been able to drive my kids anywhere on a Saturday night before the 100 day challange!

Susan (14): I was waiting for today.  I knew my old wound would come forward at some point … I knew it would come and I would have to work my way through it without alcohol.  The pain sits with me but I know it will pass. I like feeling the strength to say yes to sobriety.  I am stronger than this pain.

Tatiana (3): So much better sober!

Quill (61): Craaaaaaaaaavings.  But I’m not worried. Because I’ve been through them. So bad I thought I really was going to die without a drink. And I know that short of maybe setting my hair on fire, cravings have no power to move my limbs. They can’t make me get up and get a drink. They’re just wasted mental energy, or a flight of fancy, like daydreaming about dying my hair red and learning Spanish. They’re just thoughts.

Sara (71): Never, ever, ever could I have imagined … what a great summer this would be!

Lex (13): Sober..  Had an ah-ha type of thing … I canceled our family trip and will be taking my gals to my parents and to safe sober friends, and giving myself 10 days for sober drama free vacation.

Roxanne (95): Sober Saturday!  Cake day! Yay! (she’s 96 today!)

Colleen (87): I really wanted a drink Thursday.  This was a surprise as I haven’t been tempted in weeks!  I thought I as in the clear but the itch for a drink was back. My husband was away and it would have been a perfect set up for a few glasses of wine (or more) while making dinner for the kids after a rainy hectic day.  I texted a sober friend and even before she called back right away, I had lost the urge.  Just taking action and getting out of my head – reaching out was enough to stop my crazy thinking that alcohol would be a good idea.  But when we did talk, she helped me verbalize why I would be a sucker to drink.  The remorse, the poor sleep, hangover, irritability, feeling crappy.  Then it was gone.  Of course I was sooo happy I didn’t succumb to the illusion that I would get anything good from drinking.  It is a such a lie.  There is nothing there for me anymore.  Nothing but pain and sadness.

Deidre (28): I have been super busy with work and STILL NOT DRINKING! Had to go to another town last evening … at that last minute, and because I was sober, calm and clear headed no anxiety or crap. Went out for dinner with hubby and ordered Sparkling Water no problem, and had a nice evening. Up early this morning to meet client at  8:00 a.m. and probably won’t be home until 6:00 this evening. I woke up fresh, happy and ready to take on the day.

Thirsty (23): I know I always say thanks to you, but I really do want you to know how big a help the support you offer has been. Before I contacted you, I read and reread your blog, along with a couple of others, and your voices became part of the conversation I was having with myself about why quitting really did matter and how sober really was possible, and how it was going to be better than the mess I was in. (I really was a mess.) I had been seeing a therapist, and she is helpful, but there is no help like the kind you get from other people who have been through the same thing. Reading the blogs and commenting here and there and writing a bit myself and emailing you, it’s all such a huge help. But I know the fact that you are a  real person, and you are there, and you will read an email from me every day and even offer a little support based on that, I wouldn’t have expected how enormously helpful that is. I’m reading a book about habits right now (ah, apparently I have/had a really nasty one!) and the author talks about community as an essential part of habit change. Now I know how true that is. So a huge and heartfelt thanks from me to you for all you have done. You really are a star!

Ingrid (38): I feel like I’m in a really good place! You are right on about passing the 30 day mark.  It is amazing how tough it is for the first few weeks.  Right now I feel like I do not want go back to day 1 ever again. It is not worth it.

And Happy 100 days to Simpson Sister!

She totally deserves a lot of hugs and admiration for her bravery!  Here are a few bits from the very beginning of her journey:

Day 2; “You are right, this is hard. This is so hard. I feel like I am trying to climb a mountain without any shoes …  I am sober. I haven’t had a drink in 36 hours. I slept okay last night. Sleep can’t hurt. Going to see my pastor/therapist this afternoon. I am determined to stay sober until then. I will worry about the rest of the day later.”

Later that same day: “I am guessing you are still in bed but I said I would do whatever to figure this out. Voice is loud and clear right now. Wolf/devil is screaming at me to drink.  Excuse my language. SHUT THE FUCK UP. Wow does that feel good.”

The next day: “I am not going to drink. At least not right now. I am saying that I have to give it 4 hours. So if I still want to drink at 11, I can. But God willing, I won’t want to. I can just worry about the next 4 hours. I can do that.”

and: “Yes I made it to 11!  My new goal is 3 pm. I am working on cleaning. I am moving forward and fighting every minute. I had to stand outside a couple times and say fuck you to the wolf man, but I did it.”

several days later: “it’s an angry fire in my belly. I don’t give a shit why this happened to me, why I got to the place I got. I am pissed off at what alcohol has taken from me.  Now that I have come out of the haze of a major detox, I am one pissed off chick. You can take away a lot of things from a person but there is no fucking way I am going to let alcohol take away my children. Don’t get between a mama and her cubs. You tried wolf, you tried. But guess what? You don’t get to win anymore. Because I am going to win. One second at a time. Fuck you alcohol. Man that feels good to say!”

me: go, SimpsonSister, go. I adore you. I really really do.

SS: Thank you for saying that, especially because there are not too many people that adore me right about now.

me: in  my very full inbox, this is the message I was looking for first, and I found it 😉 I read your email first because I wanted to start my day knowing that you are well. And you are. love, me

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

20 thoughts to ““I am stronger than this pain””

  1. I adore you too Simpson Sister. You are one loving mama! I feel your pain and determination and anger all rolled up together making one strong fist. Look out Wolfie!

  2. I am in my second 100 days, but hey, why not? I love reading all these amazing stories, as this worldwide sober chic/guy awesomeness is baffling–how did we all get so courageous, and so awesome?

    Love how Simpson Sister takes it in 4-hour chunks–brilliant. That is what I’m still doing, but those chunks have gotten bigger, days, sometimes weeks, maybe even months now. I have little cravings (a big one last night), but that process of *remembering* why we can’t drink–cuz we will drink more than one, and then two, and then one big mess–Colleen has worked out perfectly.

    Congrats to all!

  3. Woop! Congrats Simpson sister! You are strong and brave – just keep telling wolfie to go fuck himself. Belle, you rock. Thanks for sharing these wonderful inbox stories.

  4. Wow, Belle, you have done so much good for so many people in the last…however long it’s been, that I am truly in awe of you and your influence and solidity in sobriety. Thank you for all that and more….

  5. Happy birthday, Camla!

    Way to go, Durfee.

    Big big congrats, Simpson Sister! (originally typoed “big bib congrats” which would be a whole other thing)

  6. You are simply amazing. I would have posted yesterday but I was in vacation with my family – something I wouldn’t have been doing if I was still drinking! I took the challenge, had to start over one time, and with your help…I made it! What a journey, and I am so glad you are part of it. Next goal – 6 months!

  7. Yay Simpson Sister! Congrats 🙂 I’m stoked for you. And Belle, thanks again for posting all this. Thirsty is right. Having a community of people to commiserate with and to feel understood by is SO huge. And Belle, you are facilitating that. Yay you!

  8. I could never have dreamed that such a supportive and massive community of people seeking sobriety existed until finding THIS blog. I have read many, but this is the place for me. It’s Friday. I want to sign up for the 100 day challenge like crazy, but my crazy mind is reminding me it’s Friday. Maybe sign up tomorrow…or maybe sign up Sunday, that would be even better. What would happen if I signed up today? Is that the ultimate Fuck you, Wolfie? It feels like it would be for me right now. I have already counted out the days…100 days from my last drink (which was 4 days ago) would be Monday, November 4th. Let’s face the hurdles head on- 1) Football season starts soon and the hubs and I have tickets to a game on October 27th. Not counting every Saturday and Sunday that beer/wine/drinks and apps would make an appearance as a hurdle for me is silly since I know it is. 2) Mother in law birthday dinner. Probably enough explanation there. 3) Hubs being out of town at least 3 scheduled weeks right now. Major trigger for me. Aware of and handily ignore logical thinking during these stretches. 4) Just about every Friday night- for some reason I must think of Friday as the guilt free day for drinking a bottle of wine. All the other nights are not guilt free, but certainly used to fuel my unhealthy and disgusting love of red wine. 5) Actually having to tell ANYONE (read:prefect stranger to dear hubs) that I am not drinking AT ALL scares the shit out of me. Still don’t know why. So, here I am at 8:45 am on a Friday hashing all this out because I know my drinking is a problem. I know if I continue to drink the way that *I* do, *I* will end up divorced, in the hospital or worse. The thing is, for the first time, really, I realize that I am not the only woman who feels like this. The past 4 days have felt good. Waking up has been the best part. I know I won’t physically feel like shit, wonder if I crossed the line with snarky comments with my husband or wonder if I brushed my teeth before getting in bed. Seems like the choice is simple, huh? Funny how it isn’t for a drinker. Oh Belle, promise, you’ll hold my hand? I’m such a wimp when it comes to drinking.

    1. all hand-holding is provided. But you’re right, you couldn’t *possibly* quit drinking until there are no more Fridays, because all Fridays are triggers, even nice lovely sober summer Fridays where you drink lemonade and rock on at LENGTH about how fucking great you are : ) are you ready now?

      1. You’re very welcome. I remember well when I quit that I would not have made it without my support net and it was in the days before the Web and online communities. I had a Very Good Friend who let me live with his sober self until I got my feet under me and were it not for him, I may be singing another song altogether.

        Thank you, Marc Sinclair Chidley, wherever you are these days. It will soon be thirty years…

  9. Thirsty- would love to know the name of the book you are reading- I find books and reading very therapeutic, inspiring and also distracting when moving from negative thought patterns!
    Thanks

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