Yesterday was all like, “Yay! Sobriety!”
Today – not so much.
I didn’t drink, I had my first meeting with a new councillor who specializes in alcohol abuse. She knows my whole story…my periods of sobriety, my attempts at moderation. The whole meeting she was taking the position of harm reduction, rather than complete abstinence. Not that she doesn’t think I should be sober – she wants what I want, but she thinks my “all or nothing thinking” is going to get me in trouble either way. She wants to take me through from the ground up and identify my triggers, looking for healthier ways to approach them. She doesn’t want me to think in terms of never again, but come to a place in recover organically.
I gotta say initially, I thought not a chance. I’ve made a million rules around my drinking, and tried to moderate but it only works for a while before I’m back to where I was. But just her suggesting I might drink again was really inviting I gotta be honest.
I told her I was going to Italy next month and expressed a fear of losing my sobriety. This has been on my mind since day one; What will happen there? Should I drink? Will I hate myself for breaking my sobriety?
She is trying to get me to a place where I confront my over thinking with real solutions. She wants to help me put a plan in place before I get there. It might include abstinence but it also could be a plan of action which includes having one glass of wine with dinner and evaluate honestly how I am feeling; putting barriers and strategies in place to achieve this.
Very tempting, but I’m skeptical.
By the time I go, if I remain sober completely, I will have almost 6 weeks. I told her I’m fairly certain I could get through the vacation with boundaries because it’s a hiking tour. Every day I will have to be physically active – which means I won’t want to sabotage it by drinking. Also, I’m going with someone who is not a huge drinker and understands where I’m at. My worry is when I get home. I’m concerned I won’t stop. My inside voice will want to have plenty of drinks before I quit, “again,” and do I really want to quit again?
I understand recovery isn’t black and white. I get it, but I have a hard time allowing myself to fail. It is true with each attempt I come closer to my goal. I guess that’s the point? To naturally come to the decision? But how do I refrain from beating myself up? How do I stop obsessing about it, whether I’m drinking or sober? The year I spent sober was wonderful but I never stopped thinking about it. I just want to be me, but a calm, recovered me.
If I decide to drink in Italy, I don’t want to carry around the shame when I return of starting again, and I’m hoping if it is what I decide to do, I can do it and accept myself and my decision.
This is a learning process. Progress not perfection, right? Why does everything in my head have to be taken care of immediately? So what if I have been fighting this for as long as I have? Every time I do, I get closer to peace. I can feel it.
Holly Whitaker from Hip Sobriety wrote something today on Instagram:
“The goal we are working towards isn’t SOBRIETY in flashing neon lights, It isn’t measured in days and weighed in abstinence. The goal is self-compassion, self-love; to stop the shaming and the judging of ourselves, others. To loosen the shame; not tighten it.”
I came out of my meeting with the counsellor confused about what my goals are and Holly’s words were on my phone. They brought me a lot of comfort. My biggest problem is self-compassion/love and I often wonder if I could do the work on those things, if I indeed started to (gulp) love myself would I even feel the need to over drink? One thing I know for sure, I need to put the booze down now to do the work.
Will I drink again? I don’t know. I’m not even sure I will in Italy. Although I’m kinda feeling like I just got a free pass. I feel like I have a lot of thinking, reading and healing to do. Instead of letting this circle around in my head, giving me ideas to try to moderate again. I’m going to let it sit and continue on the path I started because I put the glass down again for a reason. I can’t live how I was a week ago. I only have my gut to guide me and it’s saying stay the path for now, keep going.
Don’t think too far ahead.