Day 168: planning a relapse


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,



6 thoughts on “Day 168: planning a relapse

  1. I really LOVE the poking the bear analagy!
    Thank you for being courageous and sharing your old journal entry.
    It is part of being authentic.
    Part of the journey.
    And so helpful for all of us to get to read and relate to. 🙂
    Happy 168!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You know, I’ve changed my opinion on this several times. I think that it is certainly possible to moderate. I know several people who drink in moderation after dependency (or addiction, or whatever). I do, however believe that the work to get to that point is exactly the same as the work you need to do to embrace sobriety. Not just quit drinking – do the whole thing – actually work on all the empty sad spaces in your life and fill them with joy, not wine. And when you can do that, well, I think you can probably moderate your drinking. But what would be the point?


  3. I did the same thing… gave it up completely for 8 months on July 6/16, then let myself be convinced by well meaning friends that I couldn’t possibly enjoy our vacation at an all inclusive without drinks! That went well so I decided to attempt moderation which went ok most of the time but I could feel myself slipping into my old ways and it was so much damn WORK!!! After a massive anxiety attack and then drinking wine to try to get through the evenings of anxiety for 3 nights in a row I decided I was done for good (this was about a year after the all inclusive vacation that led me to decide to let alcohol have a space in my life/thoughts again), I’m currently on day 84 and thankful to have my positive (mostly) mindset back and be regaining my self confidence (again)! Alcohol just makes me feel like shit about myself and slowly but surely chips away at my self esteem, even if it’s only drinks 2 or 3 times a month, it takes up way too much of my energy, time and thoughts! This time around is so much different, I don’t feel like I’m missing out, I don’t feel deprived in any way, I don’t miss it do far other than the odd thought of how it would be nice to shut my brain off occasionally BUT I’m happy that I now recognize that for what it actually is. I’m grateful to be sober and I’m grateful that I tried it again so that I have the perspective I have now ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My birthday is December 8.

    I had thoughts about drinking again, but I had decided to give it a year early on, and I was determined to stick it out.
    I realized I need to leave alcohol out of my life if I wanted the stillness and peace I had found. By the end of year one yoga had already become part of my life and my whole philosophy changed. I wanted to be me. For the first time ever.

    Hugs. Moderation is just a mirage.

    Liked by 1 person

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