from my inbox:
L: “I’m seriously about to give up on trying to be sober. I have been struggling since 2009 – when I first went to rehab. Since then I got married and had a beautiful baby boy and didn’t drink for about two years. When my son was about a year and a half I started drinking again at social events and it quickly got out of hand. I snowballed fast and hit lots of rock bottoms. Last weekend was my worst – I drove after going to an event all day where I was drinking. I was blacked out. I got behind the wheel blacked out and tried to drive to my old friend’s house … all while my wonderful husband and sweet boy slept innocently in our home. I was out doing bad things. I have the worst anxiety. I thought that was my break through “aha” moment. But no. I drank yesterday at a baby shower then took an uber to a pub near my house and drank alone bc we have no booze in the house. I’ve been going to rehab after work 4 days a week. I don’t know why I can’t even get ten days recently. I’ve never been this bad. Or sad about everything. I have a great life and I’m ruining it with drinking.
Your podcasts are so inspiring and I can relate so much to you and what you say … I wish I wasn’t wired this way and/or I knew how to rewire permanently. I’m so fed up. I don’t know I am just venting but felt like I needed to actually send this to someone. You are amazing. I wish I had 1/4 if your strength and outlook. Thanks for making me feel like I am not completely alone.”
me: my lovely, don’t confuse my strength and outlook with anything other than being sober. I’m not some special creature. I’m a fucked up human like everyone else. I just happen to have quit drinking.
and you can do that too. and you can kick some major ass once you quit (for real).
that you don’t yet know how to get there, doesn’t mean it’s not possible – it means you don’t have the right tools and accountability (yet).
so here’s what I’d suggest (and I’m not a counsellor, and you should ignore me):
- 2 weeks of anti-anxiety medication + antabuse for 6-9 months
- daily accountability to someone (me, sponsor, therapist)
- weekly one-on-one meetings with someone who’s a booze specialist (me,
- continue with your outpatient treatment
- sign up for my jumpstart class so that we can be daily penpals, and then
email me 4 times a day to begin.
- remove the booze from your home.
- do not socialize outside the home for the first 6 weeks. going to a baby shower is asking to drink. I have a high bottom and I didn’t socialize outside the home more than 2-3 times in the first 6 weeks, I was too afraid to drink and I didn’t want a new day 1.
if booze is an elevator that only goes down, then you stop off now. right now. whatever it takes. there is support for you. but as a group, us boozers, we suck at asking for it. support is right there. you have a brain that says it isn’t. your brain is incorrect.
if you do the jumpstart class, then we’re penpals, then you can set up calls with me once a week for 6 weeks, that might help get you going. and a trial of antabuse + of anti-anxiety medication for the first for the first week (or too) might be really helpful, too.
I know you don’t WANT to do any of this. but you want to be sober. so you do some new things now. and get away from day one.
again. please ignore me. I don’t know you. I don’t know if your situations is truthfully expressed (or if it’s worse or better than what you describe). I can just talk about what I’ve seen in my inbox from other penpals. all i know is that you’ll need tools + support + accountability. and more of it than you think you ‘should’ need. hugs from me
L: “Belle, thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. I read your email over and over and I couldn’t believe you were so responsive and real. You gave me hope when I was seriously ready to give up on this whole sobriety thing. I emailed you 10 days ago. I have 10 days sober today. I am so grateful for these ten days. I know I’ve had more time in the past and 10n doesn’t sound like a lot (hmm, I think that’s wolfie telling me that) but this time around 10 days seems like a fucking long time. I am grateful for each one of them. The urges are definitely not as strong, but I need to stay on top of this and use these tools every single day. Actually every minute of the day. Because I know this shit can sneak up on me and come out of nowhere and tell me I can have one.
But screw you wolfie! Screw you alcohol! I am over you and getting stronger everyday, and quieting the voices slowly. I am going to sign up for your jumpstart class this weekend. I am really looking forward to it. As far as your suggestions, thank you! I am on medication and I think they are starting to kick in … I’ve cancelled every commitment and social event that has been on the calendar and am ready to turn down any that come up. I simply can not even be in the room as it. I can’t thank you enough for your support. I’ll be in touch this weekend when I sign up. Thank you, thank you!”