My recovery is working for one simple reason – I don’t want to drink anymore.
- It’s not willpower
- It’s not a spiritual awakening
- It’s not a sobriety program
This time something clicked and I finally was ready to quit drinking. In previous attempts I felt deprived, like someone was stealing my best friend. My mind was divided: On one hand, I wanted to avoid the trouble of addiction. On the other, I still loved the way alcohol made me feel.
Of course, I was wrong. Alcohol was never my friend and only brought me problems. Today, I’m overjoyed to be free of that prison – to leave behind my obsession with getting a buzz. There’s just one question. How do I know my mind won’t switch back to the old pattern of thinking? How can I be certain I won’t wake up next week with the desire to drink again?
Yesterday was the perfect storm for a relapse and my first real test.
I hadn’t been feeling well and was dealing with some bad news from home. That’s when I walked into a big mess of relationship stress. It’s a long story, but nothing unexpected. What surprised me was my intense emotional reaction. I couldn’t handle a simple argument without feeling like my life was falling apart. My brain still interprets every negative feeling as infallible proof that I need alcohol.
Then the opportunity appeared.
We had planned a dinner party for a friend’s birthday. It would include visiting one of my favorite nightclubs. The addiction demon had me hostage. In those moments of struggle all I could think about was erasing the flood of negative feelings. I didn’t crave the drink itself, just an escape from my emotional chaos. But this time was different, for all the temptations I didn’t really want to drink.
I’d rather die than fall back into the alcohol trap.
I am several weeks into recovery, but last night was my moment of truth. I started digging around the internet for coping strategies and any cognitive behavior hacks that could get me through the night. I refuse to become powerless again.
- I read a chapter in my current recovery book
- I had a snack and a cup of coffee
- I enjoyed the music and attempted a little dancing
- I found reasons to laugh and clown around
- I reached out to my support networks on Twitter on Facebook
That’s me enjoying a Coca-Cola at the nightclub. My cravings disappeared the minute I ordered this non-alcoholic beverage. Once the battle was decided, I felt the weight lift. I actually had a good time.
Today is day 28 of my sobriety. Last night was the first time my recovery was in danger. When the stress came, I discovered I was able to be rational, make the smart choice, and work through the emotional cravings.
It was just one more day, but today I feel stronger than ever before.
Winning feels good.