from my inbox:
From E (day 128): “I follow a sober girl and when she was starting off, I followed her, left encouraging comments on the blog. She relapses frequently … and i got frustrated; my reaction is initially to try to fix her. or to say bracing things to her. none of which will help her, I’m sure. but I do check the blog occasionally, like picking a scab that is irritating me 🙁 so my considered response is probably to back away, strengthen the boundaries between her and me. because her actions are her own responsibility and not mine … and I need to find a way of dealing with that. but when she leaves sad comments I am at a loss as to how to respond. I generally go for something non-committal, or don’t reply. any thoughts on how I can let this person take up less space in my head?! you must get this all the time in your position!”
me: I know this feeling, I think that reading blogs of repeated relapsers isn’t terribly helpful. except to remind us that we never want another day 1 again. there are some people’s blogs that i read when i first was getting sober, that started to blog about ‘moderation’ or about how being sober wasn’t for them, I unfollowed them. When i was starting, I want to surround myself with stories of how to be successfully sober … Do I now work with people who AREN’T successfully sober, yes. do I have a lot of patience? yes. do I overinvest in them more than they are invested in themselves? no. it’s about boundaries, I think … wolfie gets into some people’s heads. it’s terrifying to watch. they know that they’re being possessed. they know that the train is coming and they’re standing on the tracks. and they can’t get off the tracks. it’s not logical. addiction isn’t logical. that’s the horror of it. people die. they can’t figure out how to get off the tracks and then get squished by the train, by wolfie, by booze. it happens all the fucking time. all we can do is wave from safe land and say “come here” because while giving ideas is helpful, tough love doesn’t seem to work … huglets
E: “Tx for this. V helpful. Agree totally re harshness not working. I think for me, snippets of things other people have said have unexpectedly made a massive difference. But I can’t guess what those things will be for someone else 🙁 it makes me so sad for that person. Such a waste. Thank you for all you do to be a lighthouse!”
me: she will find her way. or she will get squished by the train. wolfie sometimes does suck the life out of perfectly nice people. what’s better? quit early. a high firm bottom. better.
E: “Absolutely. One of best things I recall from your podcast was you saying that we think we will quit later, when we HAVE to – as if it will be easier then. When of course the later we leave it, the more difficult it gets 🙁 earlier and firmer indeed!”
I love all of this. I was a consistent relapser. I always left the door open for one more (see 7 more) drinks. I guess I thought I could sneak in more drinks because I hadn’t lost it all. But, I realize that closing the door to drinking and abusing my body opens the door to so many other positive, beautiful, refreshing things that I want. Alcohol stands in my way. I am closing the door on it. Day 4 free of alcohol.
from NMD: “I seem to have a pattern of relapsing every 3-5 months. It’s also correlated with loneliness, depression and boredom. I live in a very small, isolated city with a huge drinking culture — it’s what people do here because there isn’t a whole lot of interesting activity at any one time, only the occasional Really Interesting Event that comes to town. It’s very expensive to go out or travel from here which compounds the boredom factor. I’ve also struggled with being unemployed on and off as we’re in an economic downturn, so it’s been a real challenge not to want to shut my brain down using booze as an anaesthetic.
I’m slowly learning to try ‘different’ as Belle says, which seems to be working. Also, layering supports and tools (even overdoing them!) works. Try reading lots of different books to arm yourself with education on what alcohol actually does to your brain and body over time. That helped me a lot as I’m now often terrified to souse the grey matter in poison, which is what it really is!”
Nearing one year sober. I will need to read this message for the rest of my life. I earned my high, firm bottom. Every single day of it. Every hour of it.
The thought of throwing it away terrifies me. What also terrifies me is how easily picking up a glass seems when I am vulnerable and haven’t been plugged into my sober supports.
Also, I just like saying I have a high, firm bottom! haha (derrière … yes, I have the humor of a teenager 🙂 )
You’re no longer a lurker. Take care of yourself at the lake house.
(Day 13) I’ve been lurking for a while now, however I do have your two books and the “Fuck you Wolfie” bracelet. I’m on day 13 again, at this time, I only have the energy to take care of me! I’m headed to our lake house, which is FULL of booze, many people coming for the weekend……UGH……I can and will be sober. Thank you Belle, after many, many years I thank my higher power you have entered my life.