It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since I quit…nearly 60 days ago. Yup, true story! Woot woot. GO, ME.
How do I not drink? Well, I’ve come up with a variety of ways to — as I still see it, rather bitterly — trick myself into thinking and actually believing that drinking four Diet Cokes a day is better than drinking red, glorious red wine. Here’s my running list:
1. Stay busy. Real busy. I’ve realized that the more I do, the less I want to drink, have time to drink, and think about my “need” to drink. I try not to let myself get bored or allow myself too much time to spiral from “thinking” to “thinkin’ and drinkin’.” There’ll be plenty of time to think and ponder, and sometimes, you just have to Turn It Off.
2. Turn it off. Your computer, your work, your TV, your friends, your emails and Facebooks and Twitters and all the fucking rest. Turn it off. You can allow yourself to do that. You NEED to. What do they say in AA? Don’t get too tired, too hungry, etc.? Well, don’t get too thoughtful, basically. Unless, of course, it’s good thoughtful, and not bad thoughtful…
2. Surround yourself with nondrinkers. YAWNS…But, it’s true. Luckily, I have a very supportive boyfriend (Hi!) who happens to not drink, but who also realizes the benefits to me of his choosing not to drink around me. I’ve sort of “abandoned” friends who just want to get drunk…not like I’ve got a huge circle anywhere at this point and anyway, most of my besties are mid-to-late-30s, and we’re all sort of over the shenanigans and blackouts and hangovers.
3. Eat chocolate. And ice cream. Doesn’t matter if you put it on your list or not, you’re gonna end up doing it! Cravings for sugar, HELLO?
4. Remember the aforementioned shenanigans, blackouts, and hangovers. Remember them very clearly and, however painful, try to keep them accessible if not at the forefront of your mind. (One of these posts, I’ll include a list of “shit I’ve done” in order to have it written out, for you and for me, to refer back to whenever the urge to drink hits.) Like, I know this is cheesy, but as Candy Finnigan said on an episode of Intervention when one of the weepy victims asked her how she quit drinkin’, she said simply, “Well, I had had enough.” I’ve had enough. And I sure as hell don’t want to black out and do or say something that, once again, I can’t take back. So over it. So, SO over it.
5. Remember that:
a. Drinkin’ doesn’t make a problem go away, it’s just a vacation from it. BUT:
b. Drinkin’ is NOT a vacation. Bummer.
c. Drinkin’ is NOT a reward, it is a punishment — mentally, emotionally, spiritually, not to mention, physically. You’re awesome and you deserve BETTER.
d. You will black out, and you will be hung over. (And if you’re not, then it’ll be the first time in like, EVER. Accept that the experiment has failed and your experience has succeeded…in allowing you to see this pattern rationally, from an objective standpoint. You’d get an “F” in Statistics if you actually drink after tallying all this data up!)
6. Find something to distract you from the craving, and then convince yourself that it’ll be better, way more of a sustained (longer and more nourishing) buzz than drinking. Read. Watch a movie. Walk. Run. Write. Paint. Look at the sun or the clouds or the moon or the myriad of life and animals and plants around you — just look, they’re pretty distracting. Do yoga. Meditate. Whatever takes you out of your head, even for a minute, is another step toward re-building your mind, toward *practicing sobriety.*
At the same time, I can hear the call of red wine, even as I type this. So, once again, I have to check in with myself. Seems like I spend SO much time going back and forth in my mind, mainly cuz I guess I still haven’t accepted that I cannot drink. Le sigh.