My sober 2017 so far…

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[CW: Alcohol, alcohol issues, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts mentioned (non explicit)]

Hey… hi… hello there! I’ve seen there’s been views of the Facebook page for Moody Crazy Lazy and views of the blog, so sorry to anyone checking back here for more ramblings! Life has just been busy, juggling a new full time job with illnesses… (there’s been weeks where it’s been a vicious circle of mental health flare ups followed by pain flare ups) and wrapping up / handing over voluntary commitments… and wedding planning (which is in itself exciting, but some of the admin is as dull AF.)

Last weekend I drank alcohol for the first time in 48 days (so close to 50, annoyingly!) so that feels like a good topic to start up the blog again on. I wrote in my journal the following morning describing the dehydration, anxiety, crap sleep, headache etc that followed as a reminder to my future self of WHY I quit drinking in the first place. I was also reminded that moderation is just not a thing I can do. More often than not, once I have one drink, I just keep going. This has reminded me that I do definitely have a binge drinking issue, even if I’m not the stereotypical view of an alcoholic.

I discussed before my self medicating and self-destructive relationship with alcohol. That in itself has massive stigma attached to it. However if I’m honest I don’t even have that good a reason for yesterday’s drinking. I was just bored of being sober! I guess that is self sabotage in itself, though.

I wasn’t feeling high anxiety or depression – in fact I was having a nice time. It was just that little nagging voice in my head I gave in to. Which I regretted the next day. However I’m trying not to dwell and beat myself up. I need to learn from this because I got away with it this time without any major consequences – and it could have been a lot worse. There have been times where it’s triggered awful depression and suicidal feelings. I have to remember I could have gone back to that place.

Waking up with none of those feelings is massively preferable, obviously. Whilst it doesn’t magic away my mental health conditions, it serves not to make them worse. I’ve discussed this with a friend in a similar situation, and we sometimes trick ourselves into thinking that because it’s not a one stop cure all – and we still feel shit when we don’t drink – we may as well drink anyway. In all honesty, I think that is me trying to make excuses to drink again. But fuck feeling this gross when I have an option not too.

I’ve found my local alcohol services not helpful – I don’t feel they are set up for people who have secondary drink issues (i.e. associated to mental health conditions) which I’ve touched on before in this blog. I get seen once every month or two now and sort of get told I’m doing fine, which doesn’t really offer much advice or guidance. I understand they deal with people who are physically addicted and drink every day from the morning etc, so they see me as low risk. I often feel huge impostor syndrome going there in fact. However it creates a situation where it feels like they are saying ‘there’s no problem with how you respond to alcohol, carry on as you are’. Which kind of defeats the purpose of going. It’s not treated as serious enough when I fall off the wagon – it’s shrugged off. (I don’t mean to sound melodramatic here, I do understand people have worse addiction problems with me and there’s limited budgets, however I do think it’s important anyone who identifies as having problem drinking behaviour should be helped.)

Leaving AA, staying sober – website and talk by Jon Stewart

Yesterday I saw a talk by Jon Stewart about atheist recovery services (or lack thereof) and unhelpful myths AA still runs based on. One of them is this idea of the waking-up-drinking-at-7AM type alcoholic, then everyone else’s drinking is JUUUUUST fine (I’m paraphrasing here a little!) He mentions this is has been disproved – and it’s more of a sliding scale. This is not news to me, which is why I don’t take my binge drinking lightly, however I think it may be food for thought for some. I *highly* recommend cathcing this talk if you can. Here’s a link to Jon’s blog. I found loads of things pointed out and resources listed useful. The talk was fun as well as thought provoking.

Club Soda

Something that has worked for me better is a group, website… movement in fact called Club Soda. I massively recommend them for anyone who wants to cut down or quit. They have a Facebook group where members support each other through rough times and celebrate alcohol free achievements together. They work towards building a different attitude and culture around not drinking.

Instead of ‘abstinence’ or ‘sobriety’ its choosing to go ‘alcohol free’. It shifts the focus from missing out to making a deliberate lifestyle choice, which feels much more positive. There’s a lot of talk in the group about how drinking is an ingrained societal thing and how it’s normalised – which is problematic. I prefer and agree with this approach much more than the person/addict centred idea that it’s a disease that only some people have. The disease model ignores the fact that an addictive substance is sold to people and marketed as a stress buster / fun catalyst – all of which is hugely problematic.

Anyway, I’m setting a new target to do sobriety at least until the wedding in June. I plan to try my first sober clubbing experience in two weeks time, eak! Wish me luck 🙂