I have been sober for eight weeks now. I’m very happy about this number. 🙂
Although eight weeks is not a personal best for me since I took off nearly six months in 2016, I can tell you that these eight weeks have been much easier for me this time around. Why? Probably a combination of needing it more and doing it better.
One part for sure though is this – I don’t think about wine. At all. Well almost. of course, those thoughts creep in, sometimes out of nowhere. But I very intentionally try to avoid them. And I certainly don’t talk about them. In fact, I’d like to give you some examples of the thoughts I try to avoid, but then I’d have to let those thoughts in, and I can’t do that because I’m avoiding them! Hah!
OK, for the sake of this post, I will make an exception.
Here are some examples:
- I like to listen to sober audios. But when they turn to the topic of bad behaviors around drinking – such as taking wine to bed with us, I quick hit “next” and listen to something else. You see, I loved doing those bad behaviors.
- The husband has cabin fever and suggests a quick trip someplace warm. My brain says – oh drinks with tiny umbrellas! And I turn my head the other way and think about warm sunshine and sandy beaches instead.
- Facebook memes for “wine-o-clock”? – scroll faster!
You get the idea.
You see, the last time around, I made a big mistake. I spent a lot of time in my first hundred days contemplating, debating, ruminating, and then discussing – how was it and what would I do after the 100 days were over. I was constantly asking myself (and occasionally the husband too) – is this life better? is it good enough? can I live without wine? do I miss it? how much do I miss it? what about romantic dinners? what about vacations? what about holidays? is all of this worth it? am I boring this way? am I nicer? how am I?
Oh. My. God.
And then on days when it seemed too easy – why is it so easy? what does it mean? don’t I miss it? let’s think about it and see if I miss it!
What?! Yes, I would sit and think about drinking wine to test it out and see how it made me feel. After 20+ years of drinking, I thought I should do this after 20 days sober. What was I thinking.
You see, here’s the thing. Of course my brain still loves wine. Of course if I think about it right now it will be appealing. That’s the whole point of taking a good long break. To undo those thought patterns and create new ones. To rewire some of that circuitry. But I don’t think the rewiring can happen if we continue to obsess over drinking – what we miss about it, whether or not we will drink again, when that might be, etc. I think we (I) need to intentionally think about other things.
So that’s what I do. I avoid. I turn and look the other way. I think about something else.
In a way it seems counterintuitive, the wrong thing, like avoiding a problem instead of trying to solve it. But, for now at least, it’s working pretty well. I think there will be plenty of time in the future to think about drinking, just like there’s plenty of time in the future to drink. But maybe if I wait long enough and avoid all of it long enough, my brain will find other things to enjoy, even love. And I won’t want to drink, or even think about it.
So right now – avoiding – is what I’m doing.