the end of an experiment

As I come up to my 60 day anniversary, i’m finding myself in a place similar to where I was when i was coming up to 30 days.  Am i continuing this sober experiment or not? I won’t bore you with all of the thought processes, because i think they’re predictable. I didn’t set out to quit forever, my goal was dry july. I’ve done nearly 60 days with your support and encouragement. but i don’t feel like i’m doing it for myself anymore.

i continue to vacillate between pink clouds and wishy-washy-ness in the same day, moreso in the last 10 days.

sigh. I feel like i’ve spent my summer doing this, and i regret it, which is ridiculous. But i feel like i’ve wasted my summer staring at my computer screen and trying to find answers in books instead of being out in the world (or baking in my kitchen). Being on quasi-vacation for the month of August is also turning out to be terribly long and hot and supremely boring and mostly disappointing.  Our ‘official’ vacation, where we get to travel, doesn’t start until August 31st.  And by then summer will be over.

I should have done this differently.

So anyway. I’m just announcing this now, so that there’ll be no big shocking ending, or weirdness.  I am going to end my sober experiment at the end of the month.  i am not planning to drink that day, and I’m not going to return to drinking every day, but i’m tired of this. Like, supremely tired. Yes, the wolf is getting quieter and quieter.  Yes it’s getting easier. But to what point? I’ve lost the plot now.  I’ve saved some money and lost a few pounds and i’ve exercised my self-discipline in ways that most people don’t or can’t. That’s super.

Yes, i’ve had lots of good days, and i’m happy that i’ve done this because i got to hang out with you-all.  amazing support and guidance and grit and warmth. But lately it feels like i’m spinning my wheels, and that my life is on some kind of gigantic pause. I know that drinking a glass of wine won’t lift the pause button, but over-focussing on not drinking certainly has put me on pause …

sorry. i’m not trying to be dramatic. i’m not crying or flailing around.  i’m trying to be real. every time i post something like this, i think i’m going to delete it in 10 minutes. i’m tired of thinking about drinking. that’s the name of this blog. i’m in a pit now of thinking too much again, just on the other side of the topic. I am not drinking. And i don’t have specific plans to drink.  I’m just really really tired of the pause button feeling. i don’t know how else to describe it.


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

  • Hi Belle
    I am not surprised, I am not disapoointed either. As you say you did this for 30 days initially and then 60. So you more than achieved what you set out to do. You never said you wanted to give up completely, forever – although I think you thought about that too at times. Everyone has to go through this stuff for themselves and find what suits them. The only thing that saddens me is that you think you have wasted your time – reading books etc when you should be “out there”. I dont think that time spent on self reflection is ever time wasted and for me some of the stuff I think I should be doing “out there in the world” disappoints me. I feel guilty for staying in and reading books, but mostly I prefer that to anything else I might do. But we are all different. But I cannot believe for one minute that, in time, when you reflect back on this, you will be disappointed in what you did. You have gained self insight and that is never never wasted time.
    I will miss you, but you have been great fun, and invaluable support to me. For an instant I wondered whether your decision would affect mine (as you have influenced me so much in the past) but it has not caused me to waver at all. Its made me realise that giving up for good is what I want to do. And that is progress for me. Good luck dear Belle!

  • Hey Belle, I read this post late last night and was thinking of you when i went to sleep. Errrm, but not in a blog-stalkery, single white female kinda way…

    I’ll be honest: I’ve read this a few times and I’m a bit confused … perhaps you’re a bit confused, too? You’re tired of thinking about not drinking? I am so with you there. It can be as consuming as thinking about drinking, and even thinking about giving up drinking. You set yourself a massive goal (to me) to blog for the first 60 days and that puts not-drinking at the forefront of your mind. All day every day. Every event or thought runs through the ‘blog filter’ – how can i fit this into a post? – draft posts flit through the mind and life is viewed through a lens of observing and analysing, not participating. And not drinking is supposed to make us participate more, right? Live in the moment and enjoy the new freedom from the very thing that held us back?

    Put the blog down and walk away [said in best NYPD cop voice]. But only for now, please, because i’m selfish and i want you around.

    There has been ambiguity in recent posts and the evening posts have shown a frustration that, as you say, is born of boredom. “I should have done this differently.” You can do it differently, do it the way you want to do it as of today. Get out there and enjoy the rest of your vacation!

    A lot of the comments above seem to indicate you’re about to drink again, but i didn’t get that from what you wrote. Did i miss something? Although if you are, you’ve done a helluva lot of work and you’ll find something that fits where you are now. Either way, I hope you continue to check in weekly or something and that you find the balance you’re looking for.

    “I don’t feel like i’m doing it for myself anymore.” And if you’re not doing it for yourself, in ain’t gonna work. I support whatever path you choose, I just want you to be happy.

    Thanks for the honest post and I do hope you check in soon. Lots of love to you today xoxo

  • Hi!
    I love your blog! I feel the same way, always thinkin’ about not drinkin’, instead of thinkin’ about drinkin’…or worse, thinkin’ AND drinkin’. I love your Ode to Red Wine. 🙂 It seems like continuing to not drink — committing to it instead of resisting — might be a good thing for you to do? I was at day 61 and I drank. No trees fell down, the sky didn’t turn green…but, I came to realize how much had changed, even subtly, in the way I think about drinking. Hope you feel more at east with it all very soon…

  • Hey Belle, I’m not surprised but I am dissappointed naturally. But you need to do what’s right for you, and I think your goal was always going to be different from others around here, and maybe that’s because you didn’t “hit the wall”, I’m not sure. Having said all that, be aware it is very easy to slip into bad habits, and I speak of someone whose been abstinent for six months without issues in the past. Alcohol tolerance is only reset for so long and then only a few drinks doesn’t seem to cut it anymore…. I’m sure you know this so I’ll shut up now.

    Anyways, I’ve enjoyed your interest and support and hope you take care and enjoy your holidays, Paul.

  • Hey Belle,
    You’re a smart cookie, you’ll figure it out. Whatever you decide it will still be a day by day kind of thing. Almost everything we do it like that, “Today I will ___.” “Today I won’t ___.”
    Just don’t delete the blog…there are certain posts I read when I need a laugh!

    I’m not making light of the situation, but what you think today may not be what you think tomorrow. And, nothing is guaranteed to anyone, at the end of the day it’s you who has to go to sleep with your self. Its also possible to take a break from thinking without going back to drinking. There are so many possibilities, paths and outcomes. There are so many right and wrong answers. So many possible combinations for good choices – just by sheer luck you are bound to choose the right combination for you.

  • I’m not going to lie, I am very sorry to read this.

    It takes what it takes though Belle. It’s your decision, no one else can want it or make it for you.

    You’ve done amazing things these past 60 days, and I’m so glad I got to meet you. I hope you’ll stay in touch with us all.

    Lots of love, RoS

  • Disappointed? Not really, actually I’m very proud of you, you’ve put effort and thought and discipline into understanding the way you drink and the way you want to live. I think the continuing obsession with drinking is because you are still searching for the answers to those questions. I think that you will find once you start drinking again, you will be just as obsessed and you will stay that way until you reach the point that you are comfortable with your drinking level. It’s all trial and error and that’s okay as long as you are not doing harm to yourself or others or to your relationships.

    Absing only alleviates the obsession with drinking when a person comes to the acceptance that the only level of drinking they are comfortable with is zero, which is where I am, but it took me a long time to get here. I was never even able to complete a 30 until I decided that the only way my life was going to get better was if I quit completely and even if I did learn to moderate it wouldn’t make me happy because I’m an alcoholic and I always want more. That is my obsession, no more.

    If you were to decide to quit right now, you’d never know the full joy and serenity that total sobriety can bring you because you’d still be questioning if you made the right decision. You will find your answers because you are searching for them, so many people never even do that because they don’t know where to start.

    Best wishes and keep writing, I want to see where you end up. Kary

  • Well you are a wonderful writer. You are honest and inspiring. I hope even if you end your sober experiment you still keep the blog going in one sense or another. ((hugs))

  • Boy, did you hit the nail on the head! I seem to spend more time thinking about NOT drinking than I did about drinking…and it’s caused so much tension and stress IN ME that I gave in, surprise surprise. No, I don’t drink daily, either, and never more than a bottle of wine at a time (sometimes it’s even just one glass, which shocks me), but it got so that I was driving myself insane. I want to either magically be 20years sober or not worry about it ever again. Period. I even asked myself if I truly, truly want to be sober and I couldn’t even answer that with a full-on, definite yes. I couldn’t.

    Do what feels right to you. No judgement here at all.

  • I hope that you continue to write as well, because I enjoy your writing. I wish I could just drink like a normal person, I can’t. Bad things happen when I drink. I really do like your blog so I hope you continue writing!