Hah! No, not today’s me. Not at all.
But at this point in my sobriety in 2016, that’s exactly what I was doing. Of course, I didn’t think of it as a relapse. I had decided my relationship with alcohol had been “reset” and I thought I could convert my sober toolbox into a moderation toolbox. No kidding.
Here is part of what I wrote to my sober coach:
I want to be able to choose not to drink at all, or choose not to over-drink. I want to use the tools I have now to make healthy choices for me. I want to train my brain to be ok with one drink. I want to have it all. I know this flies in the face of the abstinence philosophy and I know you will think this is wolfie [addiction] talking. But I haven’t had a drink in almost six months and I’m fine with having a rough day at work and coming home for a cup of tea and a hot bath. I don’t think this is wolfie talking to you. I don’t have the urge to numb out or go on a bender or anything stupid like that. In fact, I told my husband a week ago that I plan to try some very careful moderation someday soon and since that day I have felt no urges. No excitement. But I feel more peaceful. Before, when I would think about an event where I would really like to have a drink just because everyone else will and I’m sick of being the loser who can’t handle one beer, I would feel irritated and sad. Now I think fine – I’ll have a drink with everyone and then I’ll switch to something else. I think this might be hard to do at first, but I also think it would make me feel really good about me. Even if it’s hard. I’m ok with being the girl who’s very careful with alcohol. In fact, I’d be proud to be that girl. Like you say, it’s harder to moderate than give it up completely.
Sweet naive girl. It was a little bit hard to moderate at first. I was right about that part. But then it got progressively harder, not easier. Instead of building moderation muscle each time I drank, I was actually poking the addicted bear I had finally soothed into hibernation. And once he was fully awake, I found myself right back where I had been before. And on top of that, my body seemed less equipped to deal with it. I knew I needed to quit again when just four drinks would put me into a blackout. But I didn’t gather myself up and actually do anything about it until I had experienced a whole bunch of those blackouts.
A little over a year after I wrote about my moderation plans, I decided to quit again. I just wanted so badly to stop feeling sick all the time. On December 8th, 2017 I started this blog with a countdown to my chosen sobriety date. By chance I wrote my first post on that date which also happens to be my birthday. And then I went out and celebrated with wine and came home and celebrated with more wine. But that night I also began telling people I was going to “do another 100 days” without wine.
And here we are on day 168. And I don’t feel like a “loser who can’t handle one beer.” I feel like I’m someone who could handle a beer but doesn’t want to. I’d rather save the calories for cake. And go to bed feeling healthy. And proud.
Happy Sober Tuesday,