my first reflex

I wake up in the middle of the night with stiff legs, tossing and turning.  too much running, too many hours on my feet in the kitchen. and i think: Well, here we are. This is sober life. This is real life. There are no blurred edges.  What would my husband do? Would he drink cough syrup so he could easily get back to sleep?

There’s a section in the Allen Carr book about sleeplessness — he says (not surprisingly) that this just happens sometimes. Some nights, you just can’t sleep.  Just like some days you have a cold, and some days you feel out of sorts. Nothing to do with booze.

So i got up and took one advil (ibuprofen) for my sore legs.

It sounds like nothing, but it’s something.

Carr refers to learning to live without alcohol is like buying a new make and model of car.

The turn indicator may be in a different place, and you’re going to try to shift gears with the windshield wiper handle … but don’t worry, that’s just your brain readjusting.  Your hands may reach out and you’ll turn on the wipers when you meant to blow the horn. and the solution is to just shrug, and then take the right action. Same with booze/drugs/medicating yourself. You may instinctively reach for a medicated solution, but that’s just because all of your motor reflexes haven’t been adjusted yet (to the new car!).  If you make a mistake and reach out for your old solutions, just wait a second and then readjust.  Over time your brain figures out where the switch for the windshield wipers are. And don’t give up. You wouldn’t return a new car because the lights are in a different place and your hands kept reaching for the wrong thing. You’d be patient while you learned new skills.

so, do I take a glug of Nyquil [nighttime cold medicine in north america] to help me sleep, when I wake up with sore legs? No. It might be my first reflex, but that’s just me getting used to the new model of car.  Instead, I take an ibuprofen and then roll over and go back to sleep.


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

  • I’m entering day 8, I’ve been lurking.
    Had a really tough evening tonight, not sure why. Maybe because my kids are with their dad so I’m “free” to drink.
    Anyway the wine shop shuts in fifteen minutes and I’ve read all the pages in month one tonight, got this far in to month 2 and thought, I’m not going to sleep. I literally just paused reading, made a cup of chamomile tea and drank the last dregs of the cough syrup, then came back in and read this!!!
    It’s ok though, I’m seeing the funny side, I won’t buy any more, I didn’t buy it as an alternative, just discovered it knocked me out as I’ve given up smoking as well as drinking after a (nother) round of bronchitis ( generally not taking care of myself and trying to murder my immune system for the past 7 years) it kind of made me laugh after all the things you’ve said about signs.
    Anyway, your posts are helping me so much, and all the comments too, ( thanks everyone) they make me cry, and laugh, and the bit about reading blogs about sugar made me cry with laughter, bloody brilliant.
    Thanks again
    Here’s to sobriety, ( and no more cough syrup) xx

    • no more cough syrup 🙂 if you feel crappy, you feel crappy. if you can’t sleep, you can’t sleep. your poor body needs some time to rest, repair, reset. day 8 is a big deal. sober momentum coming right up!

  • Reblogged this on Tired of Thinking About Drinking and commented:

    unplugged today, here’s a post from the archives when i was about 6 weeks sober. I like this part in the comments:

    “Isn’t it strange/awful/fascinating that we all think pretty much the same way and yet we all think we’re freakishly unique …”

  • I did not consider myself a meds person and made no conscious attempt to give them up when I stopped drinking. Yet looking through the cabinet recently I found Xanax, sleeping tablets, anti – depressants, – which I used to take – and now would not dream of doing so. I am sure I needed most of those to deal with the side effects of drinking.
    Re running legs – know the feeling!

  • I really like that analogy of buying a new car Belle! I recently bought a new car, and I swear, everything is opposite of what I was used to. It’s been quite a learning challenge- I still don’t know where everything is and I’ll be figuring it all out for many weeks to come. Similar to sobriety… I’m still figuring stuff out after 15 months. Thanks for the post!

  • Wow. I’m not really a meds person so I can’t relate. But I got some good information with this post. Good to know that some meds have alcohol. I’ve heard of mouthwash.
    I don’t think that taking meds or mouthwash would make me want to drink like we see on Intervention. But I won’t take the chance. …

  • Belle, this hits home. In the past I would wake up during the night with the start of a headache and would reach for my prescription meds for migraines. Fleeting thought would float through my mind, should I take these on top of the three glasses of wine? Check the clock – 2am – ok enough time has passed since last drink, need to get back to sleep……pop meds.

    Now – wake at 2am (so the headaches weren’t necessarily from the alcohol, interesting), headache, take two Advil and back to sleep. Wake up. No headache, no booze, no prescription meds in my system. We are listening to and respecting our bodies. This can only be a good thing on all levels.

    • missy, i agree … and you’ve just reminded me too that if i had a cold, i used to drink instead of taking cold medicine. then i’d wait till i woke up at 2 am or 3 am and then take the cold medicine figuring enough time had passed since my last drink. isn’t it strange/awful/fascinating that we all think pretty much the same way and yet we all think we’re freakishly unique …

  • sometimes i drink Kava tea (hot) with skim milk then read a little. Also, I run alot too, sometimes after a really long run i take a bath in epson salts or get in some water—creek, river, pool etc. It helps alot. : )

  • The alcohol content in NyQuil is unbelievable. I cannot even smell it, never mind drink it. I take that ibuprofen too and it makes the pain back off enough to get back to sleep. Good job, Belle.