“I want to not WANT to drink …”

email from J: “My biggest fear is that I won’t quit wanting to drink…I really want to want to not drink.”

ok, yeah. i know this feeling. i know it entirely. i can get inside that feeling and walk around.

I have been on day 1 and day 7 and day 37 and day 287. I remember exactly how i felt. I felt like there were two versions of me: The ‘real’ version of me was the drinker … and the ‘new/shadow’ version of me walking alongside was the sober me.  it took a LONG time until i really really really felt that the new sober me was the ‘real’ me. But thankfully, while i was going along, it didn’t matter. I continued to drive along in my sober car, with both versions of me still present, and I just kept going until the fake drinking me faded entirely.

That you can see both versions doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. just keep going.

And the idea of wanting to stop thinking about drinking? for me it was right around day 60 that the worst of it was done. I still thought about ‘not’ drinking, but with less intensity. then as I went on, there’d be whole days where – holy shit – i didn’t think about drinking once. there have been vacations and events and i don’t think about it.

and when I do think “this might be a time when i would have been drinking” it’s more like a bug that flies into my view, then i bat it away, and keep going. the drinking thoughts now, when they do come infrequently, are more like irritating mosquitoes than white-knuckling-desires-for-alcohol. That part really does stop.

That you can see both versions doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. just keep going.

that you hear a voice saying “it won’t get better. this is too hard” doesn’t mean that voice is telling the truth. it means that wolfie is fighting with any tools available.

those of us who are longer term sober wouldn’t stay like this unless it was better. and it is.



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

  • eugh! just re-read my comment – does it sound unbearably smug?! Needless to say, I read Belle’s email every day, have jewellery and Mr B’s art and podcasts and it all builds up to sober calm. Bottom line is – it does get better and Wolfie slinks off somewhere else …

  • I found the most important thing was to count the days. I got a longing on Day 70 which was tough, but I was determined not to go back to Day 1! Now if I think “This is a time when I would have been drinking” I just feel sorry for the old me but don’t dwell on it at all – alcohol has no pull on me any more and I am so grateful for that and for you Belle. Now on Day 973 🙂

  • I did 1-27th Jan then drank at a friends 40th party I’m on day 22…. and managed two parties this weekend AF … feel good but know I’ve a long way to go I don’t want to run before I can walk and keeping all my tools in place … I know wolfie is shouting he was very loud this weekend but I shut him out 😍xx

  • those of us who are longer term sober wouldn’t stay like this unless it was better. and it is. IT REALLY IS ~ I was afraid I would always be thinking about NOT drinking – everywhere I went, every occasion, every day but that stops too ~ just a flutter now & again ~ FU wolfie ~ Thanks Belle –

  • 2 and a half years sober – It is so-o much better than I ever believed life without alcohol could be. And mostly, it’s just “life”, no reference to alcohol in my head at all.

  • Post it note for our fridge “those of us who are longer term sober wouldn’t stay like this unless it was better. and it is.” Thank you Belle.

  • Oh man, I felt it today too! Day 60 and it was strong! But I knew it was Wolfie and I was strong! I said, “Fuck you!” I shot that fucker down and it worked! Feels so good! Thanks you Belle!
    Hugs, Beans

  • What a fabulous visual: batting away a bug that flies in front of your eyes for a moment! Today there was some stress within me and sure enough, a quick momentary thought of drinking crossed through my mind and out the other side. And I thought: WOAH, that’s frightening! And then I banished it and it was gone! Whew!

  • I think as you go there are more reasons that make you want it. Money sleep memories health.
    Everyone has their own timeline I guess

  • I feel this today! Last night we hosted a huge going away party last night for ourselves. We’ve lived here 20 years and our social lives revolved around alcohol. I wasn’t tempted to drink, thankfully. And declining was easy. However today facing the aftermath, and the reality of leaving our lives that we’ve built has me in the doldrums. Someone hit my car on the way out and didn’t admit it. Someone else stole a few brooches from my special collection, and I’m just wanting some xx … I won’t of course, especially because I have a lot of things to do, but just feeling unpositive today. Glad to have read this email to know it will get better.

    • I should have added when I checked the mail this morning I was greeted with my sober treat! I ordered a brass hammered bracelet from Belle that says s’elever . It’s perfect. Put a smile on my face, and my husband thanked me for remaining so calm during all this turmoil. I am taking an Epsom salt bubble bath, and suddenly feeling very grateful for my 2+ month string of sobriety <3

  • Even though I don’t want to drink I still want to drink! Most of the time I’m ok but last night the desire was strong. I was upset and booze has been my default for over 20yrs. I felt panicked last night but knew that it was the emotions running wild so I forced my concentration and worked at bringing back the calm. I made a plan to eat and go to bed. The desire to get to 100 days was stronger and I am happy to say I have woken up on day 50 today, definitely a good day for a treat 🙂

  • Hello Belle
    That is so much ‘my head’ at the moment Day 51👏
    I keep debating about when will I drink again as I am so happy not drinking. My whole world has changed for the better but that conversation keeps happening in my head.
    I have no need to ever drink again but cannot accept that however I have no inclination to drink.. just wish that conversation would stop!!


  • I am 11 months continuously alcohol free today. Every day I break my previous personal best and in 30 days it will be my first soberversary. My First EVER 365 day streak of sobriety. Already wolfie is whispering. “You’re not an alcoholic, you can have a drink or two and stop”. Then I read the section from your post of 2 days ago and it brought me back to reality. I CAN’T have just one drink.
    E: “I’m a keep-to-myself type. I’m currently on day 65, started before Christmas 2020 and then saw your 100 day challenge and thought this would be a good idea to keep me on track. The longest period of time continuously sober in the last 5 years was 358 days and ended on 22 April 2020 because I had a little glass of wine. Just one little 125ml glass, then another the next night, and another on the third night and on the fourth night I finished the bottle. Then it very soon was back to a bottle a day, so now I know that I can’t have just one glass.”
    Thank You Belle for being here to remind me and everyone like me.

  • Oh did I ever need to read this today. I’ve had a very stressful day & REALLY wanted to drink. Now I realize it’s just because I’m not totally reconciled yet. I do believe I’ll get there, because I actually like myself more now. But today a voice came calling. I will send the beer-belly-bully back to his own miserable world.
    Thank you!!! ❤️

  • Very occasionally I get a fleeting thought about drinking and then I check my sober app to see how far I’ve come and I’m always surprised to see how many days have passed since I last looked. It’s such a relief to feel so free, life is so much better.

  • “that you hear a voice saying “it won’t get better. this is too hard” doesn’t mean that voice is telling the truth. it means that wolfie is fighting with any tools available.” This is perfect!!! Thank you for the words of wisdom

  • When I was still drinking, that’s all I wanted…. to WANT to stop drinking. Little did I know then, that stopping drinking would eventually make the wanting go away. Thank god for that, otherwise I’d never have made it this far. Approaching day 200 now.

  • day 50 today for me! im doing okay my daughter whos 6 said she prefers me not drinking as she hated the smell of it when i kissed her!!! i asked my eldest daughter if it felt strange me not drinking and she replied its all ive ever known! how bad is that!

  • It amazes me that my desire to be sober can be derailed by just the thought of wine. My entire body will respond to the desire. I can’t describe it. I do feel a bit like an alien right now as I figure this sober thing out. I’m 20 days in and it feels like years since my last drink. I’m encouraged by this note today though and glad to know things will change.

  • I have been sober for just over a year. And here is what surprises me. I put a dot on the calendar every morning when I did not drink the day before. Some mornings, when I make my dot, I feel a combination of guilty and scared. Guilty because, without even thinking about it, I had nothing to drink the day before. I put no effort into it at all, where it used to be so hard to “earn” that dot. And the scared feeling comes from realizing that I am so accustomed to not drinking and not thinking about it, that Wolfe could pop up out of nowhere and I would not have my defences ready. I am scared that I might look down some evening and see that I am half way through a glass of wine! So I read your daily email and try to stay “on guard”. It is as if I am falling asleep at my guard post, though!

  • I feel like this is just for me today. This is exactly what I emailed about today and I can really relate so much. I still feel like this sober clear headed me is a bit of an alien and wolfie is shouting to me that I am just pretending to be this sober chick. But I’ve got his number now and I see that I just need to hold on, even if it’s by the skin of my teeth sometimes. I am trusting that on day 60 or 90 or 300 that things will look much different and these two selves will somehow be reconciled. Glad to be on day 8 today.

  • This was me exactly. Down to the wording. That I wanted to drink was the problem, and I wanted to not want to. Literally that’s what I prayed for and tried to manifest when meditating, and somehow I guess it got into my head and it worked. Within days actually I didn’t want to drink anymore – not that it was easy, or sunshine and roses, but that was the turning point for me, suddenly I no longer WANTED to. It was kind of a miracle.

  • Me too. It’s the parties, catching up with friends that are hard for me. I don’t want to explain it, but, I know one thing, I don’t want to wake up feeling meh anymore. I have really good days, then I’ll see a glass of wine or a bottle of beer and think just one, I’ll be fine, but I have been able to talk myself out of it so far, phew!
    Interestingly before I discovered your blog, I did find my camera again, so who knows I may send a pic or two your way.

    Day 73.


  • I’m starting my 100 days on 21 Dec. The shortest day of the year on winter solstice. Each day will have more sunlight. Each day I will be more sober. I’ve planned this for a long time. I’m excited and scared.

  • I want to not want to drink has been my mantra for YEARS, years! These posts help so much. A few things have finally occurred to me 1) If I never really try, I won’t know if it gets easier and 2) others want to drink like I do and they don’t…day after day. Right now my mantra is Do the Next Right Thing. It helps as does reading this post as I will likely do 50 times day.

  • This is day 24 for me, almost 1/4 of the way. It has been the weirdest battle ever. it has always been about chasing the buzz for me. I have never been sober this long since I can’t remember. I was never falling down drunk but I did throw up in bed before. I am totally disgusted to say that out loud… And yet I can still hear wolfie growling at me. (Drinking makes me fat… )That’s my new mantra.. Before I go to bed I read everyone’s post and I pray that we all make it Another day, truly your posts have kept me going.
    Love you all
    Diana aka sashaD

    • Re: ‘I won’t say that thoughts of having a drink don’t come – they do. What has gotten easier for me is the ability to step back from that thought, and not give way to the formerly immediate response’.

      My penn’orth for what it’s worth… It’s worth remembering we boozers tend to be impulsive in our pursuit of pleasure!… really useful to be able to step back from the urge (I use mindfulness, urge-surfing also v useful, which is kind of a luxury model version of counting to ten). Hard though it can be to believe sometimes, the urge DOES pass quite quickly if you can step back and observe it rather than get caught up in it.

  • Thank You
    I have just found this site and Thank You .. I have never commented or put myself “out There” but Today is a new day and my day 1
    it was the title that caught me as it is the burning question in my head ..
    It has been encouraging reading all of your comments

  • The obsession to drink is removed by a power greater than yourself, even if it’s THIS GROUP … you can not do it on your own power. If you had that kind of power…you would not have a drinking problem NORMAL drinkers do not think about drinking compulsively as we do. The desire to drink comes and goes depending on the action you are taking for your recovery.

  • Even after 365 days, I STILL feel “My biggest fear is that I won’t quit wanting to drink” I want to drink. Yes, it’s less than it was on day 1 or day 30 or day 200, but I continue to want to drink. Maybe by 730 days, it will be gone?

    • for me, soberversaries are particularly weird, and i also felt very wobbly right around my 1 year mark. you’ll get your stride again. face forward 🙂 good stuff coming right up …

      • Thanks for this post. I would LOVE to not want to drink … not there yet in these early days, but I have to trust that all you beautiful people who tell me it is worth it are telling the truth. Hugs to all.

  • I too want to not want to drink. Lots of times I don’t want to, then it comes sneaking into my mind, the thought about drinking, the voice is so sly. I actually afraid of it. I’ve been trying so hard to quit. For such a long time. I have much more support now, which is really helpful, still there is a part of me that fears so deeply that I will drink again. Sober sleep is so good, it helps me to remember that if I do drink, I will wake up at 3 am, sweaty and full of shame. I really don’t want that! So today I am sober. Tonight and tomorrow too. Hopefully I’ll get to that place where I am not thinking about drinking so much.

  • This is such a great reminder that I needed TODAY! I’m on day 23, and I was feeling better then BOOM- the weekend and yesterday totally sucked and I started hearing the voice again, “if I’m gonna feel this bad, why not drink- if I’m gonna feel bad anyway”….I actually thought about drinking yesterday. But, instead, went and returned something I didn’t need and got some cash and then was elated to be able to buy 2 new sober memoirs. I forgot about drinking. It is imperative I go through those times and make it to the next day without drinking so that I can have these experiences of conquering those voices- conquering wolfie. This morning I feel well rested and proud of myself. This is a good day. Thanks Belle and J!

  • Wow.
    Thanks so much for answering my question in this thoughtful, clear, and empowering way. Your thoughts were as inspirational as they were helpful. You have a gift.
    J. Day 40

    • Just read the comments…such great perspectives. Thanks for them. I have to share early recovery for me has been the friggin pits regarding my sleep patterns. Every night, middle of night, I awaken.Guess it’s a Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome thing??? But hark! JUST last night, I slept whole night through! First time in 39 days. Is THAT normal? Maureen, your comment reminded me that sleeping without alcohol in my system is a blessing and a gift. Thanks for that.
      J Day 40

  • It really does get easier. I won’t say that thoughts of having a drink don’t come – they do. What has gotten easier for me is the ability to step back from that thought, and not give way to the formerly immediate response. I like the absence of hangovers. I like sleeping sober. Being able to make the considered choice is a great thing!

  • I saw a woman yesterday with a bag that said “don’t believe everything that you think”. I liked that and it reminded me how I should have stopped believing what I was thinking about alcohol and its role in my life a long time ago. It really does get better with time doesn’t it.

  • This has resonated more with me than any other post or experience. Bloody hard, but it does get easier – and I’m still learnng to challenge my thoughts with this. ‘Forcing myself’ not to drink is gradually being replaced by naturally ‘choosing’ not to and now, most often, being truly glad not to. This took time. Hugs to you on day 7 – it does get easier and happier – stick with it and stick with Belle xo

  • I’m there. There with wanting to not want it. But I’ve also seen glimmers of freedom. Hence, i am on day 2 for the, hmmm, 9th time or so. Wooo! Keep going! AEB (aka. Stinkydrink)