This is Sober Podcast Episode #179 for my weekly sober podcast series.
We all have a negative voice in our head, that says things like “this bad thing is going to be like this forever.” So if everyone has that voice, it turns out that pouring alcohol on it makes it louder. Much louder. Thanks to MelMel for sending me the email where she thought life sucked, so that i could use it for the basis of this audio 🙂 glad she’s feeling better now. i talk about life improving to 61% good, about having your foot nailed to the floor, and the efficacy of sober therapy.
Below i’ve posted a 3-minute extract from this longer audio (the complete podcast is about 24 minutes long).
You can listen to this extract now 🙂 And leave a comment – what do you hear in this audio? Can you rephrase it in your own words? hugs from me
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(ps, my blog allows for anonymous comments – so you don’t have to fill in a name or an email address to post your comment below).
Over the next 24 hrs, I’ll select 2 blog comments and each person will get access to a podcast of their choice from the archives.
Drinking to dull the bad makes the sober times that much worse – as you said, you are nailing yourself to the floor. Drinking was my Achilles heel. It made me feel stuck, less than others, weak, damaged. Now that I’ve removed the Achilles heel, I realize the potential is endless and growing and bettering myself is that much simpler. There are no more excuses.
Yesterday I had a really crappy day and it was Day 32 sober for me. It was the first time that I actually had a desire to drink to calm me down. I had struggled all day with challenge after challenge and I was truly ready to say, FUCK IT!! and mean it. Then I remembered the wolfie voice. That voice was right there with me saying go ahead, do it, you deserve this, just this one time, who will know, buy a good bottle of red wine with all that money you have saved, and on and on and on, I was quiet and just listened. I realized was angry, sad, and had a touch of anxiety. I also realized if I poured alcohol on top of that I would add remorse, shame and guilt. I took my three long, slow deep breaths( my first rule), grabbed my tool kit ( yes, I have a real cardboard mini suitcase filled with sober tools), I emailed Belle( so thankful to have that option). I took out the letter I had written to myself the day before I stared my 100 day sober challenge and read it. I was amazed at how my thoughts had evolved. So, I took my dog for a longer walk, I cried(unusual for me) and I had chocolate and decaf coffee for dinner. I am so happy to wake up feeling more empowered than when I was in the throes of making a choice to soothe myself with red wine or sober tools. Today is Day 33 and I am feeling good and proud of myself for making an adult decision instead of sucking my wine thumb to calm down.
What I take away from this is the following: we drink because we think we need it to feel better when in fact, it is most likely because we have shitty coping skills. We never learned how to self-soothe, self-care. We learned how to numb. Sure is quicker, right? Pour alcohol on the stress and voilà! A few hours of numbness. But the shitty feeling comes back tenfold the next morning. Why can’t we learn this and just not drink? We are all intelligent people here but the pull is strong. I call it my reptile brain where it has learned that wine makes it feel good so it wants to keep repeating the ritual every evening.
But Belle, you are right in that removing the booze does allow for change. The possibility of change and feeling “real”. No guilt-ridden mornings, worrying about wasting another day recovering.
Thanks for this 3 minute extract…I will listen to it again and who knows…it may help quiet the reptile.
Alcohol is an anaesthetic, and the reason for anaesthetics is to let bad stuff be tolerated. However with side effects of making you feel ‘out of it’ – passive and fuzzy, focussing on just monitoring the pain and anticipating the next hit of relief. Sure it’s a great tool in the emergency room, while time and medics are doing the fixing up. But for real life – hell no! That’s why getting sober is needed to make things better – to let you experiment and learn what to avoid and what to do, to stop feeling broken, and to move on from being stuck in that bad time or place.
I heard that there is no direct correlation between present or past circumstances in our lives and drinking. That we poured booze on pain and on joy. That the drinking, however, holds us in place and prevents change while removing the drink makes positive change and increased understanding possible.
Being sober doesn’t eliminate crappy things from my life. What sobriety does is make it possible for me to take an honest look at my life and navigate through it in healthier, more empowering ways. When I was drinking daily, the metaphor of having my foot nailed to the floor meant I was stuck in wolfie’s destructive hold. I wasn’t able to see what was possible or what could be different. I am a better participant in my own life now that wolfie’s tamed with each day I don’t drink.
What I heard – I heard that for a long time (in my case) I have been standing in a dark room filled with shadows. When I look down at my foot, I see it has a nail in it (or what looks like a nail). My foot went to sleep long ago and I have just come to accept that nail keeps me here and I’m too scared to move for fear of the pain that ripping my foot from the nail may cause.
However, one day I look up in this room and see the sun outside and I think I’ll try and wiggle my toes as I’m tired of standing here and what’s outside interests me – I’ll take the risk. I wiggle my toes and then I try to move my foot. I realise that my foot isn’t nailed to the floor and I can actually remove it from its place. All this time I have been moving away from the original source of my pain but I have come to live with that pain and accept that is how I am. It is only now that I am coming to realise that it is my choice to move from this place, my choice to help me move towards the light and my choice to take what has appeared to be nailing me to one place and move around to change my perspective. I’m gaining strength and moving towards the window – it isn’t easy but it feels like my body is coming alive. Thank you Belle!
I love this!
I agree! Drinking keeps us glued in the past! Drinking is like pouring cement over our feet, and no matter natter how much we want to fly, the singular destructive element of drinking clips our wings!
Remove alcohol, and whole new world opens up, I can be present and happy now and look forward to the future!
If life is crappy and you keep drinking it’s like being stuck in the same place and not being able to move on. Stop drinking and you can move on from the crappiness by for example removing yourself from the problem. Boundaries!!!! You get them….I hear his and it is so true!!! When not drinking it becomes clearer and not just foggy in my alcohol muddles brain. I’m on day 178 today…almost 6 months and yes…I am using my boundries ?
We can’t change the past and using the past to make excuses for drinking only creates more problems in the here and now. To get better and realize that we have choices, we need to remove the alcohol to see the possibilities that open up for us.
The one word that came to my mind: hope.
Removing alcohol from my life began the return of hope. I was amazed at how quickly it returned. And I am amazed at how it continues to bloom.
What I enjoyed about this is it lines up with things my therapist and I have been discussing for quite some time. that although really shitty things have happened to me I don’t have to allow them to dictate my life anymore. That I can take control back from them and when it comes to alcohol that by taking away shitty childhood or shitty men in my life as an excuse for my drinking I am taking control back from what has happened to me.
Reminds me of reality therapy – yes, you had sucky things happen to you – now what are you going to do about it? Drinking is not a solution. Sobriety is not a complete solution either, but it opens the door. Drinking closes the door.
I listened to this twice. Amazing audio! I am 7 days into a broken engagement and every single one of those days have been crappy. I have been sober three days and am journaling, making lists about the relatio ship and how I contributed to the breakdown. There is SO much i. This audio that is hitting home with me. So much. I was stuck in this relationship and even while actively drinking thru most of it I knew I was stuck and dependent and being treated poorly. This audio makes me KNOW now that the possibility of improvement exists…once I eliminate the booze. Thank you!
The message I came away with was that as hard as this is (Day 12), it is well worth the clarity and peace I will obtain across all aspects of my life. Very timely as wolfie messes with me nightly for a couple hours!
Not playing any reindeer games. Not today.
The possibilities are endless when I’m not drinking.
I hear that I need to focus on the drinking and work on the rest later, because I was trying to do everything, and not this. I would eat perfectly. I would meditate. I would exercise. And the quitting drinking was in the context of the rest of it. Now I know that I need to focus on the drinking. THEN I can determine what else needs to happen (or that I want to happen in my non drinking life). This is amazingly eye opening to me.
When you’re stuck in that awful cycle of drink/regret/resolve/fuck it/drink, etc. you have no time or psychic space for learning and growing and understanding. When you take that out of your life, you create room, and you have the energy and confidence to fill it with useful lovely things.
So true!!! Keeps you stuck in a bad place.
No matter what good or bad things happened in my life, no matter what good or bad things are currently happening in my life and no matter what good or bad things will happen in my life, if I remove alcohol from the equation, I have choices. Choices for my attitude and response to the situation. Choices on what to do to handle the situation. Choices on how to move forward.
To me I heard all about possibilities that happen when you quit drinking. It is like a light opens up in your mind similar to when you open your door on a beautiful, sunny morning. There is potential for things to be better. It is a choice that is no longer clouded with the fog of the morning after because our minds are clear and can make better choices than they can when we are filled with the cognitive thunderstorms in our minds.
Always an excuse to drink like you say….crappy childhood,unhappy life,low self esteem ……but drinking only makes you think more about it ….always makes the negative talk worse as well as the situations in your life. The more you think and dwell on the negative the worse it grows and becomes overwhelming……..
I heard set limits with your family, don’t answer the phone after 6PM, don’t “nail your foot to the floor” in a situation that makes you unhappy, don’t numb out all the emotions by drinking instead don’t drink so you can feel the good stuff and do something to help yourself out of the bad stuff.
Thank you Belle. Great Message. Loved the nailing your foot to the floor. You have taught me that not today is good enough. Over time I have “had one beer” with that friend etc. Only to learn – nope. It is not for me. Thank you.
Alcohol halts development and potential. Drinking compromises a persons ability
to learn, grow & expand. Alcohol is a depressant. When anesthetized movement is halted, mental processes are slowed, and we often get stuck in a victim role. Riding an elevator, going down, with a foot nailed to the floor.
You are so right Belle. The problem with alcohol is that it doesn’t make anything better…only worse. The fact that there are millions of people at any given time trying to break loose from its grasp is proof.
First and foremost we must remove the alcohol. Then things begin to clear up so that we can have a better look at some of these so called “shitty” things. In the past, I tried to change so many things, eat healthier, hang out with different people, set boundaries etc. all while drinking… and guess what? Nothing changed! Remove the booze and the picture becomes clearer, not immediately better but much clearer, sharper and easier to manage.
Boundaries is the word that stuck out to me there. If I am sober around my family I am better able to see things how they are and not let them affect me. You are right about nailing yourself to the floor. If something is bothering you and you’re drinking because of that reason then it festers in your brain and you go inside your head (making up lies) instead of being present (seeing things play out). Drinking alcohol because of x,y,z only hurts you because either the situation already happened and can’t be changed or the other party doesn’t care. You can only control yourself and where you are now.
Really like the analogy of nailing the boot to the floor and keeping yourself stuck in the situation, as I’ve often heard that’s what addiction does to us.. Instead of the usual fight or flight mode people go into with difficult life situations or anxiety…addiction forces you to do nothing, your stuck, paralysed by the confines of your own mind. But as you said all we have to do is take the boot off and face the difficulties, the uncomfortableness, the vulnerabilities but also the greatness of life ?.
I heard that once you remove alcohol you have the opportunity to make better. The slate is cleared to be able to make changes. Note to self: things don’t just magically improve. It’s up to me, but is a whole lot easier without booze in the way. I have taken the first step to make things better, but need to do the work to actually improve my life. The empathy part also struck a note with me. Need to work on that one. Perhaps once i have forgiven and accepted myself i can do the same for others.
I heard how alcohol is so tricky. I thought it enhanced the good times but it numbed me to everything. I thought alcohol freed me up but it tied me down. I thought alcohol made me nicer but it closed me off.
What I am reminded of from this podcast clip is how drinking stops our development as a human in so many damaging ways: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, within relationships, etc. Drinking NEVER helps. It only gets us stuck. Quitting drinking allows us to see our potential in new and exciting ways. It also allows us to work on the parts of our life we were drowning in while drinking.
What I heard:
Don’t be scared of reality. You can grow into the you that can deal with it. But you will need help. You would not be here otherwise. Personally, there was the right kind of help available to me when I needed it. If you’re not living sober then just ask for more help. This is a safe place to be accompanied by those who understand towards the better future you long for.