From Lurker D: From other experiences, I know that once “the click” happens [for me and sobriety] — the switch that says I WILL do this — it’s like invisible tracks are laid down and even though it’s still hard, it’s almost like a foregone conclusion … I’ve gone through periods of not drinking that actually weren’t too bad, I just can’t seem to make the CLICK happen now to want to be sober again.
Can you offer any sense of how you finally made the click happen — why was it different when you finally gave up drinking? What made the switch? I’m sure you’d thought of it so many other times. What was different?
me: You’re asking interesting questions. I think that a lot of people have to have some kind of a ‘bottom’ before they quit. Something at risk, something in jeopardy.
The problem then, of course, is that even when they want to quit, the wolfie voice that says “it’s not so bad you can just have one” is so loud that they can’t barely turn it off even when they’re going to lose their job, lose their kids, lose their marriages.
I didn’t have a CLICK either. I guess you could argue that I didn’t have to get sober. I hadn’t … lost my job (yet), lost my marriage (yet), gotten a DUI (yet). Except that I knew that I was missing out — on opportunities, on feeling good, on good sleep, on restful vacations. I knew that i was drinking more than I wanted to. I just couldn’t figure out how to drink less…
I didn’t have a CLICK. Instead, I realized that if it was so hard for me to quit even for a few days, then that was probably already an indication of a problem. And if it wasn’t a problem YET, it was going to soon become one.
So I thought I’d prove to myself that I was in control, and that even though my life was ‘fine’ (ha!), I tried to quit for 30 days (Dry July). It was hard. Very hard. And I couldn’t do it alone. Couldn’t do it without knowing someone else who’d also done it.
The feelings of being ‘outside’ when you first stop drinking are hard. But once you are brave enough to reach out to people who understand that, have ideas on how to navigate that, and who’ve lived through that — well, without support it was too hard for me to do. I couldn’t do it ‘alone’. [You do not have to be a blogger to be sober. At all. But if you don’t blog, you might benefit hugely from having a sober penpal.]
I didn’t have a CLICK. I did not wake up one day determined to get and be sober.
Instead, I thought “I’ll give up drinking for 30 days and then I’ll decide.” That’s all.
And at about 9 days sober I realized it was much harder than I thought… so I got some accountability and some help by commenting on sober blogs, and then I started my own blog. But not everyone needs to blog, that’s me.
But yes, I felt ‘outside’ and sad about being sober. But not for very long. I felt antsy and irritated that the rest of my life wasn’t magically glorious once I got sober. But that sad feeling didn’t last for long either. The benefits of being sober far, far outweighed the downsides once I got some sober time together.
in the early sober days, it’s just too hard to decide anything. The wolfie voice is too loud. The only way I know to get the fucking voice to shut up long enough for me to make a sensible decision was to be sober, continuously, for at least 90 days … which is why the ‘100 day’ challenge … in my mind, it gives you the gift of clarity.
If you don’t think sobriety is worth it, you could drink again at the end of 100 days. But if you get to 100 days, things really DO seem different just by being there. Every single sober person I’ve communicated with has complained that the wolfie voice won’t stop when they’re first trying to quit drinking. The only answers I’ve ever read (or experienced) that made any sense to me are: stop drinking and talk to other people who have been through the same thing to realize that you’re not crazy. Get a sober penpal. Read sober blogs. And have faith that it will get better.
And after a bit of time, when i was reading sober blogs, I realized that I ‘wanted what they seemed to have’: the people with longer term sobriety seemed to have a peace of mind and a relief from the compulsive crazy thoughts that just.don’t.stop. Well, the compulsive crazy feelings do NOT stop until you dehydrate the wolf… (I wrote this on day 50ish of sobriety: http://tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com/2012/08/20/dehydrate-the-wolf/ ). Get sober. Everything else happens after that point.
I hope some of this is helpful. hugs from me