from my inbox:
this is from B (day 299).
“I used to think that booze was medicine, that it would help me with life’s ills. I was compelled to drink because if I didn’t then something terrible would happen – I would have to face real life sober. Even if I didn’t feel like drinking, I would still drink because I had to take my medicine or I would get sick from the full force of my life.
I was terrified of getting sober, of how I would cope with the world without my medicine, and it has been really really hard sometimes because the full force of life can be harsh. But fucking hell it can be amazing too, this sober life! … and of course I have realised that booze wasn’t a medicine at all, it was a baseball bat that I would hit myself over the head with, over and over again until I fell unconscious. As I enjoy the real privilege of a sober life, of being fully present and being able to work on myself to become the best version of me that I can, that suddenly seems like the saddest thing in the world. I don’t do that any more. I have learned to take care of me.
Recently I’ve been passing through a time when I’m far enough away from day one to have forgotten what it was really like. The hangovers, the shame, the health fears, the isolation, struggling through a work day, struggling through any time that I wasn’t drinking, worrying about how much I was drinking, whether people could tell how much I was drinking, which shop to get today’s booze from so I wasn’t rumbled as a boozer, hiding the recycling, hiding my drinking, hiding my best self. I’ve been going through a phase where I have been remembering ‘the good times’, like a relationship break up where you start to remember the fun you had, conveniently forgetting all of the stuff that led to the break up.
Well that’s all bollocks. If there ever was a time when booze and I got along, that time passed a long time ago and won’t ever come back again. But I don’t think there ever was a time when it was ok – it’s all just stupid Wolfie lies. I am through with believing that bastard Wolfie, if I hadn’t clung to my sober supports I know I would have been sucked in, and I would be sat here now all alone, without you, without my self esteem, right back to where I was, feeling shit about myself and my life.
Emailing you, Belle, every day has been my number one sober support. Knowing that you genuinely care and getting your replies and suggestions (which are always right of course because you are a genius) has been the thing that worked where nothing else did before. And looking at the stuff you produced in your early days and the stuff you produce now and seeing how far you have come gives me real proper hope. And hearing about you having difficult things happen helps makes it all feel real and doable. Imperfection is required – booze is not.
Love to you Belle, and all the gratitude in the world to you for standing by my side while I go through this amazing transformation. Your virtual hugs keep me going 🙂 ~ B”
Thanks for posting this B. This was a real wake-up call for me as I approach day 100. I am starting to think about how I will be when that day arrives. Of course I am thinking about drinking again but when I do that cautionary voice comes into my head say “don’t do it”. I have been, like you, thinking only of the good times and not the bad. The lonely drinking, the shame and guilt, waking up feeling sick and still drinking, the deception, all of it. I think I needed to be reminded and I think I need to remind myself – again and again. I am enjoying life sober. Why do these thoughts even enter my head. They are not me. They are wolfie and they do not belong.
B, thank you for this and thank you Belle for posting it here. After a couple of years sober, that evil bastard is sort of nipping at my heels, telling me it’s OK, I’ve been sober a long time, I can handle it now,,,,remembering how much ‘fun’ it used to be. This reminder came along just in time. My favorite tool is to play the ‘tape’ all the way to the end. Could I ever have just one drink? No. Was it ever fun after the first drink? No. Did I always always finish the bottle? Yes. Did I have a hangover every day? Yes. Is that what I want to happen again? NO! So, thanks for the reminder and thanks for the memories, they were just what I needed!
Belle, I’m using this insightful entry to compliment you. I often forget that you continue to deal with the Day 0’s, the Day 1’s as well as the lucky ones of us who have been with you for months, even years. That seems to me to be a very hard balancing act, to be able to put your brain back to where it was before you stopped drinking and when you first did. This is the beauty of your resource, and all the posted blog posts and audios. We can all dip in for the level of support that we need at the time. Happily for me, and hopefully encouragingly for others, after 260 days it’s very hard for me to remember how bad it was. It does get easier every day. But I will never stray from my sober supports because I want to guarantee that it stays this way. I appreciate seeing comments from others on every stage along the way. We are not alone in our imperfections, just hiking along the same long path at different points. Keep posting those trail markers for us, and thank you.
What a powerful reminder of the importance of Belle, of sharing, of community. B’s journey is my journey and I imagine much like the journey we all go through. As we shed the booze, we open room to actually live life and that brings with it regrets from the past and exciting possibility in the present. All of it.
I am a few years down the sober road but I needed this reminder to refresh my memory of why I chose this path. So, thank you B.