James: “Today marks day 30. It’s been an interesting ride. Certain times have been tough, but I feel my urges to drink dwindling. I’ve realized that for me, alcohol is a self defeating and abusive substance for me. I’ve been used to being treated like shit, so I turned to alcohol as a means to keep abusing myself and keeping myself down. Those days are over. Today marks another day of respecting myself, setting boundaries, and becoming a better person.” [he’s now on day 45!]
I’m sure you can relate to James’s email. it is ever-saddening when we’ve been treated badly by someone/something external to us, but then we continue on where they left off and continue to do dumb, shitty, hurtful things to ourselves. sometimes it’s because we don’t know how else to cope, have no other way of being. sometimes it’s because we’re afraid to give up the world we know, even when promised that ‘the world over here is better’. if you’re in a shitty place, then the promise of a world that’s better simply by giving up booze can seem unbelievably ludicrous and unlikely.
this from B:
I hate booze with a passion now and don’t want it in my life. So [why am i still drinking] then? I’m still holding on, to what exactly? Maybe I’m afraid I’ll miss it. That I’ll have remorse. But right now this is what I want. I’m procrastinating about fully committing to quit. WHY? Jesus. …
I do have to say that it’s hard sometimes, even within the sober community. I know that the goal is to be positive and to help and to encourage, but I’ll tell you something honestly Belle (and this is not directed at your blog – trust me). For people like me who are still stuck in the starts and stops and all the Day 1’s, it’s not always so easy to only hear success stories. It sounds awful, but here it is: Yes, it motivates me beyond belief. I desperately, desperately want to know what it’s like to be on Day 30, Day 40, Day 60. I desperately want to be able to email you about the positives of sobriety. It IS motivational.
But there is often a nagging, tiny background bit of resentment also (which of course is totally unjustified). Of “that’s awesome but this is still really, really hard for me.” I’m sure that makes me a terrible person, but I feel it sometimes. I know that no one out there has to keep my own personal best interests at heart. And I’m fine with that. I go back to everyone’s early posts about sobriety, and the struggles, and the starts and stops. I don’t know. The micro-emails from you like the recent one about revolving doors and post-it notes help a lot. …
I am so grateful for you. Every day. Even on the Day 1’s. What you are doing is simply amazing — you are helping so many people. But it’s not just that you are doing it, it’s that you do it with sincerity. You care, and believe me, that comes across in every email and post. You mean what you say. Don’t ever feel badly about posting things where struggling people say “thank you” to you. That’s all it is – it’s not boasting or anything like that. It’s just a thank you. And don’t feel one ounce of guilt about the “tiny gifts” button. Many, many people want to say thank you with more than just words, and this is how they can do it. I’m so grateful, Belle.”
my response to B:
me: dear you, let me say this: you don’t have to tell your husband until you’re ready. there is no rush. no pressure at all. I told mine once I was 19 days sober. before that I just couldn’t face it. you don’t have to blog. you don’t have to keep up with anything. you just need to do what you have to do to support yourself. and you don’t have to commit forever, or make any big declarations, or do any fucking thing.you just have to do 100 days continuously sober, as an experiment, and see. that’s it. what good might come of it? maybe you’ll like it?
I know the resentment feelings too, I see them often in team 100 members. I try to present a somewhat balanced idea of sobriety – it’s lovey and hard and lovely and hard and then it’s just plain fucking lovely. and sometimes it’s plain fucking hard.
where you are now is hideous. hanging around day 1 is the worst possible place. you have none of the benefits of sobriety and all of the fears of future events and shame for past events.
if you’d like to feel bad, I’d recommend, instead, that you repeatedly slam your hand in a car door.
if you’d like to feel better, I’d recommend, instead, a break from the booze just to see if maybe any of the hype is for real 🙂 “Come drink our koolaid, it’s better over here.” How’s that?
thanks for the sincerity comments. I don’t write with any particular intention, or goal. I’m just trying to be me and I’m glad that comes across. the internet is a weird place. I’m glad that it seems like I’m truly being genuine. hugs, me
I think I had to work myself up to get started with the 100 day challenge. Like others I had been a lurker on this website while at the same practicing 2 days or 3 at a time not drinking. I have been trying for years to become a “light” drinker but that never worked. Without getting religious here, I can say that finally I just started praying that I wouldn’t want to drink. Begging for mercy, really and for a change to come over me. I think that is what led me to this site and what has sealed my commitment to the 100 days. I still want to drink but I have great hope that eventually I won’t want to and that is what is keeping me committed. That and this community of people keep me hopeful.
for B. I know I got to where I am circling many day 1’s – years worth. its sucks for everyone at first. I can’t tell you how to make it past day 1. I do know that the first week is dicey. tuck in, sleep just let the days roll on by until you feel ready to poke your head up and take notice of the world. i think for me – I struggled with so many day 1’s unitl I think, like others above- I just realized it felt worse to drink than it did not to. so in a way I wasn’t making a conscious move towards sobriety- just wriggling away form drinking. maybe that is a backward way to rationalize it. but it works. a little like magic. or Disney.. the lights gets brighter, food taste better, joy feels like you think it should… everything does improve. but we have all been there for sure. and now that we are through the first rough bit ( I am on day 83) I am beginning to see other areas of ‘improvement ‘ i should make, like exercise , sleep and learning to say ‘no’ to my over busy life. so there is a ripple effect in sorbriety to all areas of your life. the trick for me was not over thinking it and not declaring too loudly that “now I am not goign to drink’- just slide into it. no recriminations, no self doubt before you’ve even begun. go for it.
Oops, not sure where I got Day 15 from? No matter what Day you’re on B, you are working on this, and that’s fantastic!!! Hugs, Hana
Thanks for sharing B – I think resentment is completely normal and know from lots of experience that Day 1’s are such crappy let down because the plan was to drink, have a great time and feel better, and then you get wicked regretful hangovers and overwhelming ughs that can last for days… You’re on Day 15 and you’re doing fantastic! I used to never be able to get past Day 30, or Day 16, and then for the last few years, Day 3 or 4. I just couldn’t seem to break the pattern no matter how much it sucked. For me it took a friend getting a DUI after leaving my house. It wasn’t my fault that she drove and no one was hurt or anything tragic like that, but bailing her out and then picking her up at 5am when everyone was released from the drunk tank was just plain awful and eye opening. I felt really guilty and became determined to quit for 30 days, which it turns out I couldn’t quite do. But I got back on the sober train and went for another 30 days, and again didn’t quite make it. So I joined the 100 day challenge in August, made it 32 days, and then “attempted” moderation for a month + which honestly did not work (At All)! In total it’s taken me over 6 months of hard work to get here (Day 55). In the end I finally felt worse about drinking then I did about quitting and so I got really clear that this wasn’t going to be easy, and that ya, that wasn’t fucking fair. Once I accepted the challenge of the challenge things actually got more manageable! It was so simple, but it took a bunch of crap Day 1’s breaking my success to see that plainly. Some just climb on and go, and others of us take a while. It’s okay either way because it’s our experience and we are all just learning here. But Belle and everyone else is right, it does get better (and better) when you give it time. So go Team 100, wherever you are in the journey (:
Belle, I like the “Anthony Bourdain of sobriety,” and yes, it is a complement. His journeys with food around the world open people’s eyes to new possibilities they may not considered. Sometimes, he visits places where the food stinks, and he’s honest about that he doesn’t like it. He laughs about his job and he laughs about himself. And he discovers most of the time that his travels and who he meets and his discoveries around food are positive and make life that much more fun. Isn’t that what you’re doing here? I think so!
and he swears a lot…
and he smokes pot. and gets tattoos w his wife. and has a little daughter.
For James: Ohhh, can I relate to what you wrote! One of the things that occurred to me lately is that I drank because I felt like sh*t. I grew up in a sh*tty household, I was bullied as a kid, and I brought that into my relationships – choosing people who treated me sh*tty and then wondering why. Not trying to blame my past for a bad choice I made (drinking, when I know I can’t or with the family history I have, shouldn’t even consider it), but it’s helpful to know where the original feelings come from. I’m coming from the perspective of someone who was sober for 18 months, then convinced herself she could have “just one,” and proceeded to go on a several month bender. I’m on Day 31 now. You get to this place by realizing that YES, I AM WORTH IT and YES, I AM TIRED OF CONTINUING THE SH*TSTORM WHERE OTHERS LEFT OFF. You said it all: Boundaries, respecting onself, seeing alcohol for what it really is. Plus, Wolfie is not paying rent, so Wolfie has no business inhabiting your headspace. Congratulations on Day 45!
It is a terrific thing that you do here Belle. While I am not part of the tribe I do enjoy a number of the perspectives shared and am heartened by so much good-doing. Please keep on keeping on for all those that need you.
thanks for this glenn, please drop by any time and share some of your wisdom, too. we need more boy voices!
Good for you James–congrats on day 45.
B–come on–come hang out on the “dark side.” It’s really not that dark once you get a little used to it 🙂 Kind of like real life–dark sometimes, but some really sunny bright days too!
and Belle “if you’d like to feel bad, I’d recommend, instead, that you repeatedly slam your hand in a car door.” You make me laugh out loud at some point in every. single. post.
someone called me the anthony bourdain of sobriety… I’m not sure it’s a compliment.
I thinks that’s fitting. Take it as a compliment.
Oh yeah, you could be a lot worse than A Bourdain. He brought so much to the food industry and we learned many things from him that no one else ever showed us. I find the analogy fitting.