Day 1 is hideous

From my inbox:


“Wolfie does say all kinds of things about moderation. All lies of course. You may want to reread some of your first week sober emails that you sent me. Day 1 is hideous. No place for nice girls like us 🙂 Go find one of the best early emails and forward it to me.”

Hank (who is a girl) (day 89):

“Well isn’t this interesting. I went back and looked for an early sobriety email and found an exchange from Day 9. It centered around a visit to my mother’s house. And when did the brilliant idea of having a glass of wine every 100 days hit me most recently? When I was visiting my mother for the first time since February. Can you say “trigger”? … So do I keep a clear head as I keep trying to find a way to make this family thing work for me or fuel the flames of confusion with alcohol? What would Belle say? Maybe I need a WWBS bracelet! Thanks for listening and for the good advice.”


And here’s an excerpt from her Day 9 email:

“I’m on Day 9 of sobriety and for the first time, I’m not feeling great. It’s like the old Talking Heads song: I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax.  I’m heading off to see my family in an hour or so … I’m not afraid I’m going to drink. I’m afraid that I’m going to have to deal with unpleasant feelings, and that’s going to suck!! But I take my pledge seriously: I can feel shitty, I can cry, I can curl up in a ball, but I will not drink!!!!!  I’d just rather avoid the feeling shitty part. My escape plan if I start to stress out is to head up to the guest bedroom, call my husband, and write to you. Thanks for listening and for being my safety valve!!”


So here’s my challenge to you. Go back through your emails and find one you’ve sent to me at the beginning … or pick an email sent after a new day 1. Find a particularly hideous moment. And post an excerpt in the comments below. (you can put your current day count in there too if you like. to show where you are now.)

I’ll go first:


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 just sent this email to Belle (I’m catching up on the blog now…I thought I had subscribed, but apparently I didn’t;-) I’m on day 22. This is my second go-around; first time doing the 100-day challenge, though. I had around six weeks from late January to March. Moderation didn’t work too well for me on my break (mid-March to Mid-April), even though I didn’t drink anywhere near what I had before. Here’s what I had to say about a hard (very hard) day yesterday:

    Today makes day 22…is that right?

    I came very close to flubbing yesterday. Mother’s Day, we had friends over (my college roommate and friend for 20 years and her family including her mom). “Jen” and I don’t talk often; see each other a few times a year. We’re in different circles, but we are still good (always there if you need something) friends. Since we don’t talk often, I hadn’t told her anything yet.

    Which is where your “what to say” podcast came in handy. I was teetering on the edge. I’d gotten everyone their drinks and was trying to find time to get my own which was becoming increasingly difficult with a 6 kids plus adults to play co-host to. It would have been so easy to “grab a beer” etc. A few deep breaths and a moment of clarity (is that really wolfie or am I really a party-pooper?) when I thought to myself in an auctioneer-speed voice: “You’ve been doing great…you like this thing you’re doing. You like it a LOT. You actually kind of love it. There are hard moments, but all in all everything else is EASIER than it used to be. Don’t screw it up. You’ve still got Europe. And you want to do this through Europe. Your husband just did his first four days sober EVER without any prompting from you because he noticed that you were doing better and he thought he might want to get a little bit of that too. Don’t feel the pressure. You’re in it for at least 100 days. Don’t fuck up now. Especially not on Mother’s Day when you’re doing even better at being a mom than you even thought you could. You didn’t even know you needed to improve as much as you’ve improved.” Another deep breath…grab my usual glass, put it back, grab a stemless wine glass instead because it’s Mother’s Day and I deserve to be fancy on Mother’s Day, right? Filled it with ice, grabbed my La Croix lime water, grapefruit juice and twist of fresh lime and get to work on my “usual.” It tasted just right and it totally took the edge off without a drop of alcohol. Jen’s watching me with a puzzled look as I concoct my non-alcoholic brew and I answer her look with a variation of your suggestion on the podcast: “I’m taking a break, and I’m kinda liking it.” That was it. End of story. Everyone else (except the kids;-) got kind of smashed and ya know, I actually had good time watching with a clear head.

    I’ve done other social events over the past few weeks, and even before when, but this one was the first really challenging one. In a split second, that decision that seemed soooo freakin’ hard was taken over by that auctioneer-voice in my head, the weight lifted, and it was all good. Whew. So glad I don’t have to start over today. Take that…my auctioneer voice is louder than you, wolfie.

  • Around Day 12 I emailed:

    “Sober. And feeling like a crock of shit! I think the high of last week’s
    excitement at the possibilities of sobriety has eased a little. The physical
    recovery is in full flow. I have a headache, my eyes are sensitive to bright
    light, loud noise makes me jump, my mouth is dry and tastes funny, I’m
    slightly nauseous. I feel emotionally tender and vulnerable too, like the
    smallest thing could have me going from anger to tears in a matter of
    seconds. It’s just like being hungover!”

    I’m now into Day 117 I think. Re-reading that email I can remember how awful that felt, I just hid myself away for days when I needed to. Much, much rarer now.

  • This is day 8 for me and I just keep thinking how I have a little sober car gaining momentum. I had trouble sleeping for a few nights but last night I had the best sleep I can recall. Drinking diet root beer in my huge wine glass and it is satisfying. No wine cravings, suddenly I realize I was wasting every single night. Not reading or crafting or writing or cleaning or learning. Wasting time. I’m all done with that. Resting now, very tired still but looking forward to engaging with life again soon.

  • I needed this post since I am back to day one. And like Jocelyn this has to be the last time. Wolfie cannot and will not win. I commit to 100 days of sobriety because I need to do this for me.

  • from my day 13:

    Friday night last night – not easy. Possibly the worst night so far. It is so good having the certainty of the 100 days. I can so easily see how otherwise last night I would have crumbled into “suppose I just drink on Friday and Saturday nights?”

    I didn’t talk much to Belle or anyone about how I was feeling in the earliest days. I was curled up in a ball like a hedgehog trying to protect myself from the outrageous onslaught of feelings I was experiencing. it is really painful just thinking about it. never going back there!

    on day 185 today.

  • I also bit my tongue going through withdrawals. It takes so much courage and strength to not let wolfie lead you to believe drinking will take the pain, shame and guilt away! Congratulations of day 11 Wanda! That is huge. I had gone through so many episodes of serious withdrawals I knew this had to be the last time, at first I just focused on the physical health of my body. Mending patterns of thought, emotions, relationships etc. started to follow later. For many days I ended journal entries with a note to myself “BREATHE. JUST BREATHE.” Sometimes that was all I wrote. I am happy to say I am on day 214!

  • Day one was a nightmare. I vomited all day, chills, sweats, and then I slipped off to sleep and disjointed nightmares. Day two I can’t recall, I was in bed all day. Day three – the night for sweats and nightmares of carnage. Also the day I start to eat solid food therefore I had painful diarrhea all night. When I was drunk I cut my foot. When I was going through the withdrawals, I bit my tongue and my upper lip hard. The tongue hurts and the two little scabs on my lip are starting to heal. I have a sheet burn on my chin from flailing on the bed the first night I stopped drinking, it’s starting to peel.

    I don’t know what day I am on now (this time) Belle is keeping track for me (again).

  • I remember changing my screen name to “Hank” on Day 9 because I wanted something that sounded jaunty and carefree to help me deal with the anxiety I felt about visiting my mother for the first time without the numbing effect of alcohol. And while things are not perfect with us today, they’re a hell of a lot better on Day 89 than they were on Day 9. You’re right, Belle, Day 1 is hideous and no place for nice (and smart!) girls like us. 😉

  • Day 1 … I had a horrific hangover from the “so long alcohol” party I attended with myself, given by myself, for myself and the guests were … myself and alcohol. I was too hungover for a meeting, PISSED my hubs decided to go visit his Mother for 2 days (SMART man and it worked in my favor)…I was exhausted … so I went to bed at 430 in the afternoon … got those sober toes between the sober sheets … and woke up feeling much btr on day 2. Today I’m on day 1891 …. and it’s a good day!

  • Day 8: “I wanted wine last night so bad that I decided to buy some, then changed my mind, then changed it back again. About 6 times in one hour. I was furious that i couldn’t drink. Irritated, picking at my husband, frustrated. Generally itchy in my own skin.”
    Today I’m on day 675.