What does it say to us when we think we know what we want only to find out the hard way that we were WAY OFF?
I’m coming to the conclusion – I think – that there are plenty of folks trying to get sober because they truly believe they want sobriety. And at first, they’re successful at it. Until the urge to drink creeps in. Or the romanticizing takes over. Or the this or the that…and then suddenly, our world comes crashing in on us because we are overwhelmed with one thought – one overwhelming desire – to drink. It’s all consuming.
How is this possible when just a month ago (insert time relative to your situation) all we wanted was to NOT Drink? What the fuck happens? It’s NUTS. It drives US nuts. It drives our loved ones nuts. It doesn’t make any fucking sense – whatsoever. It’s shaming and it leaves the alcoholic feeling like the biggest loser that ever took up a spot on the planet. It’s just awful.
I relapsed countless times in the past. I’d get sober for a week or a month and then drink. I’ve had every kind of help there is – even the unwanted legal kind. Nothing worked for me. So what did? Or – what has?
It boils down to the fact that I literally had to let my attachment to alcohol and drinking die. And the pain involved is absolutely NO different than the pain of the death of a romantic partnership. The loss of that attachment in both cases is severe, but it has to take place nonetheless for an addict to release oneself from the clutches of whatever addiction they’re struggling with.
The relationship has to die. Once it does, an internal shift takes place. At this point – alcohol does as much for an alcoholic as cancer does for a cancer patient. Not a fucking thing. We see alcohol and drinking through a new lens and it’s easy to conclude that alcohol consumption for us is a painful one way street toward dementia or death. Nothing good comes from it. Not one good thing.
I think that before folks decide they want or need to quit drinking, they need to do a thorough internal assessment of just how truly willing they are to NEVER drink again. E v e r. They need to think about the future for a few minutes because here’s what happens – we want what we want now – like our sobriety – except what we want changes over time. We’re always free to change our minds about anything – including drinking – which is exactly what happens when folks relapse. They’ve changed their minds.
Being honest with ourselves is the place to start. I think at the very least it’s logical to say “I’m going to quit for now (or insert a number of days), but I’m not ready to commit to never drinking again for the rest of my life.” If folks would be at least that honest, the let down of a relapse wouldn’t be near as crushing.