16 weeks and…I have the choice to drink

30 Jan

9:23 pm

I do. I have the choice.

I would say this: AA wants you to believe that you don’t have a choice; I contend that you do. It’s just HARDER to not drink/be sober if you allow yourself that choice, daily. It forces you to confront your reasons (well, rationale) for thinking about drinking; why you “want” to drink; and then, allows you, if you’ve practiced bringing it to the forefront and not burying it under the guise of disease, to once again see for yourself that you don’t really want to drink…

you want to escape.

That’s it. You want to escape in order to feel better. You’re not out for cocktails with the girls, you’re out for blood. (Well, I never really even WANT to drink unless I’m feeling sad, depressed, anxious, or like my existential crises are making my head feel like it’s going to cave in. But, that’s just me, and that’s just me NOW. Back in the day, I remember going out, I just don’t remember drinking beer while out or even caring that I was drinking beer. That’s why they call it a progressive disorder–it progresses, and it changes the way your brain works.)

The problem is, drinking gets you drunk, and then hung over; nothing changes. These days, I keep having to remind myself: the side effect of drinking (too much) is getting drunky drunk–I don’t want that.

I like having the choice to drink. It makes it harder, for sure. I wouldn’t recommend it. But for me, burying the urge–shutting it down, turning it off–is like being a “dry drunk.” Relying on a “higher power” is also externalizing it–someone somewhere will do the mental work for you, is how I see it (for now, anyway). That’s not how it works, at least for me. By allowing myself the choice, it’s like I’m working my “sober mind” muscle out every day, as it really needs to be. I’m present, and while it’s not enjoyable, I come full circle instead of taking the detour. And I’m stronger in the face of tomorrow’s craving. (Unlike some people, I haven’t lost my desire to get buzzed; I don’t have the obsession to drink anymore, though.)

I think that I’m much more apt to call substance abuse a “disorder.” Alcohol use disorder. And, while it might be the case that you “broke” your brain when it comes to booze, disorder implies the ability to rewire; disease implies frayed or short-circuited beyond any further use.

I’m in a “terse” mood tonight, whatever that means! I’ve been working, and walking the dogs, and getting through my runs (with shooting pains all over my legs and a lower back that feels like two hot knives are stuck in it most of the time!), and well, living. Life. My latest editorial project was on quantum physics, and it took me back to my college days, a time that seemed so…fecund. Full of magical unknowns. A time when reading about that kind of stuff could excite me beyond anything I had or even knew I wanted. Now? Well…I’m not sure where wine fits into this tangent, but I remember using wine to put me back in that state of mind–excitement for the magical unknowns out there, waiting for me. I guess, to escape being cynical, knowing too much. I have to work at cultivating this level of excitement almost constantly. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to stop using wine, too: I expect so much, and when I don’t get it, I feel anxious, unnerved, sad, restless. I can’t always be “high on life.” I have to sleep. Some days will be crummy, or boring, or tedious. This, I do not like. I don’t want to accept it! And you know what, I probably NEVER WILL. 😉

Anyway, happy sober days, friends! 16 weeks and counting…

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8 Responses to “16 weeks and…I have the choice to drink”

  1. carrythemessage January 31, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    I am in AA. I live and breathe it. I have worked the steps, and sponsor other men to guide them to work the steps and get connected to a Higher Power. I believe in God. I am happy, joyous and free….sober.

    There, said it – it’s on the table.

    Now, having said that, I really dug your post. 🙂

    There is no monopoly on sobriety – even AA says that. I know people who have stayed stopped in so many ways. Some swear it off forever, some do Rational Recovery, some pray their way to sober days…it’s all good. If there is one more person sober today, then I don’t care how they do it.

    Choice, I suppose, it what you make of it. It can be liberating or it can be imprisoning. We have choice to make choices, I imagine. You have described it as making it more difficult for you, but it is what you do to stay sober right now. And that’s all that is important. I feel that no matter what method you choose to stay sober, we stumble a bit like newborn foal trying to find it’s legs. I was the same. But we get stronger, we find our way through (hopefully) and we get to a place where alcohol isn’t at top of mind any more. We are in a neutral place considering booze. What freedom that is!

    But you are correct in the wanting to escape. I wanted to escape myself, period. I couldn’t stand where I was…in me. We learn to live with us, to love ourselves, to embrace ourselves, to forgive ourselves. Then we don’t have the feeling or need of an escape. We like, nay, love where we are.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂 Congrats on 16 weeks!

    Paul

    • Drunky Drunk Girl February 3, 2013 at 6:29 am #

      Paul,
      Great, great comment. I appreciate so much of what you wrote here. Even though I don’t grasp how some things will be in the future, somehow…I know what you’re talking about and am hopeful/striving to get “there.” Drinking is still top of mind, and I still feel the need to escape…something/everything. I don’t know. All I know is, I appreciate what you said about AA not being the only way, and that how I stay sober now is OK, but might not be the same way I stay sober in the future.

      Haha. Funny that after I wrote this post, I was like, Oh, geez, who am I kidding? I don’t have a choice. I wrestled with that early on, last summer, and it drove me crazy. So, I’ve been on autopilot, in a sense, not allowing myself to even think about drinking let alone giving myself the choice to drink. I feel like pushing the urge/craving down might not be the best, in the long run, but it is/was the only way. Now…I guess I’m wrestling with how, exactly, to convince my mind that alcohol is neutral without having to completely push it out of mind.

      Thanks again. Look forward to reading more of your genius commentary! 😉

  2. runningonsober January 31, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    Yes, ma’am… You always have the choice to drink. But you also always have the choice NOT to drink. As long as I choose not to drink, then I don’t have to worry about any of that other bad shit that comes with drinking and hangovers and regrets and illness and on and on and on.

    And oh by the way… can I just say that sixteen weeks is phenomenal?!? Following your blog for so long and seeing where you were vs. where you are… A-MA-ZING. I’m so very proud and happy for you. xoxo

    • Drunky Drunk Girl February 3, 2013 at 6:32 am #

      Thanks, you! I, too, have loved reading your blog and can honestly say, it’s you and others here that have meant SO much to me on this journey, and have helped me more than you’ll ever know. Really. I have a special place for y’all, and I don’t have any idea what you look or sound like!

      Yup, 16 weeks. And counting. My new goal is 6 months. I still want to drink (I do I do), but I don’t want to be sick and hungover and do stupid stuff–and retard my inner growth–a lot more than I want to drink.

      xxx

  3. Lydia February 1, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    I have a choice, until I pick up a drink. Then I can’t always stop when I want to. I can seldom stop when I want to. I struggled with this for six years. This time it will be different. I learned my lesson and won’t mess up like that again. But once the alcohol hits my brain, my choice, and my judgement are gone.

    Do not give it up easily. I know too many people who could not find their way back to sobriety. It is so much easier to stay stopped than to stop again. You have at least one more drunk in you, but you may not have another recovery. That’s just the way it is.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl February 3, 2013 at 6:34 am #

      Hi, Lydia,
      Your words really hit home. Don’t give it up easily. Check. It is so much easier to stay stopped than to stop again. CHECK. Thank you…
      -DDG

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