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First steps in sobriety - maybe baby steps but we will get there

(58 Posts)
Failingbettereverytime Tue 04-Aug-20 23:54:19

Like many people, lockdown has forced me to face my drinking and I needed to admit I had a problem. Working from home meant taking the brakes off on my drinking and I was getting through five bottles of wine a week.
18 days ago I decided that I had to stop before I did irreversible damage to my health. I've been lurking on the alcohol support board since then but tonight, after reading a thread in AIBU I decided to be brave and start my own thread. I hope to use it to hold myself accountable and to maybe gather together some likeminded people to see this journey through with. I've given myself a target of 100 days to start with. So far it's been up and down, but I know that I am doing the right thing for me.
Please come and join me if you think some mutual support and encouragement would help you get started on this journey too. And if you are further along the path, come and share your words of wisdom - they will definitely help.

OP’s posts: |
BessieC Wed 05-Aug-20 00:01:36

👋 I'll join you.

Jaguarana Wed 05-Aug-20 00:03:57

Me too.

Failingbettereverytime Wed 05-Aug-20 00:04:01

Thank you, @BessieC. I knew I wasn't the only one out there. Was going to say 'hoped I wasn't' but realised that would sound like I was wanting other people to have alcohol issues.

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Failingbettereverytime Wed 05-Aug-20 00:05:13

Hi @Jaguarana Welcome to the thread. I am feeling much less alone. Haven't told anyone in real life about this yet.

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Els1e Wed 05-Aug-20 00:14:31

Please count me in too. Using the support of mn thread, I did dry January but have all over the place ever since. I really want to get a grip on my relationship with alcohol. I’m embarrassed and shamed to say this in real life.

Failingbettereverytime Wed 05-Aug-20 00:18:25

You are not alone @Els1e and hopefully we can all support each other.

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Els1e Wed 05-Aug-20 00:27:17

Thanks Failing. I am realising that I cannot do drinking in moderation. I think I might be better just accepting no alcohol. What about everybody else? Alcohol with limits or none at all?

Doggodogington Wed 05-Aug-20 07:45:23

Thanks Failing, I’m here, I’m in!

Cherrybakewellll Wed 05-Aug-20 08:10:03

I'm in blush

Patbutcherismyhero Wed 05-Aug-20 08:13:21

Hi I'm on another thread here but thought I'd join here as well because I need all the support I can get at the moment.

I'm sick of the way I look. I've put a lot of weight on and I drink probably 5 nights of the week. At one point I was drinking a bottle of wine most nights but I kicked that habit last year and managed to lose quite a lot of weight.

However during lockdown my drinking has crept up again due to boredom and stress. I tend to drink gin now which I originally told myself was a 'healthier option' but in the quantities I drink I suspect it's no better than the wine. I don't want to give up alcohol totally forever but I do need to cut back and I want to have a take-it-or-leave-it approach to booze. Not something I have to give so much headspace to. And certainly not something I do everyday.

Failingbettereverytime Wed 05-Aug-20 09:55:50

Good morning @Doggodogington and @Cherrybakewellll - it is great to see you on here.
Welcome @Patbutcherismyhero You sound just like me. I think lockdown was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me in terms of actually being able to see where my drinking was heading without the discipline of having to be up and out for work every morning to rein it in.
I started by thinking I wanted to be able to take or leave alcohol, but as I read more and more quit lit I am coming to the conclusion that I won't be able to manage drinking again ever. Two weeks ago that would have been too scary a prospect for me to contemplate, and in fact my first pledge to myself was not to drink for 30 days. I read Annie Grace's book This Naked Mind and signed up online for her free 30-day challenge. She sends an email every day with a helpful blog post and I am finding that waking up and reading it first thing every morning really helps me get in the right frame to start a new alcohol-free day. Like other people on here, I am sure, too often I have been waking up and thinking about NOT drinking - making myself promises that I end up breaking at wine/gin/vodka o'clock - now I am thinking about being sober in a more positive way.
I totally recommend signing up for the challenge but be warned, she does tend to spam your inbox a bit with ads for her paid-for online courses - I just delete those emails as they are a bit on the pricey side. The free stuff however I am finding a great help.
How is everyone else feeling today?

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Cherrybakewellll Thu 06-Aug-20 09:30:31

How are we all doing so far? @Failingbettereverytime @Patbutcherismyhero @Doggodogington ?

I have managed no alcohol so far since Monday. Sounds ridiculous but this is a record for me so far. I'm scared I'll give in to temptation tonight but I'm going to try my hardest to wait until 5pm tomorrow. Then it's a case of being conscious of what I'm drinking over the weekend. I can't go completely AF at the moment but I'm working on severely cutting down.

I went for a walk last night at 5pm which was a good distraction because that's the witching hour in this house and the time when I usually justify why it's ok to have a glass of rose.

Patbutcherismyhero Thu 06-Aug-20 09:36:26

Morning all. Been a crap week here I won't lie. I've drank Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. Only two drinks per night but that equates to roughly 15 units so far this week and now I'm on a roll I can't see it stopping.

Really need to sort myself out.

Cherrybakewellll Thu 06-Aug-20 09:40:37

Not to be preachy @Patbutcherismyhero but maybe you just need to be more realistic about your shorter term goals? If a night or two a week AF or drinking less each night is what you think you can manage, that's still better than necking a full bottle every night without fail.

As I said previously, mine is purely the calories which is the motivation because I've realised I am very bloated the day after I've had any alcohol. Which in turn means I get cross and grumpy and it all goes downhill from there.

Patbutcherismyhero Thu 06-Aug-20 09:44:02

Thanks @Cherrybakewellll nice to see you here smile

As I've said before I definitely have made reductions to the volume that I'm drinking. I think I'm just putting pressure on myself to have that lightbulb moment of stopping altogether and it isn't happening. I'll be lucky to manage 1 AF night this week at this rate but previously I've done weeks with 3 or 4 AF nights and that felt like progress.

Cherrybakewellll Thu 06-Aug-20 09:46:55

@Patbutcherismyhero the thing is complete sobriety is a major life change and I know some people (in typical MN style) make out it's as easy as pie, but it's really not. It's breaking a habit of sometimes decades. You're doing fine x

Amber0685 Thu 06-Aug-20 09:47:16

I was finding it hard to moderate so quit 3 weeks ago. So far so good, I am not missing the anxiety the next morning.

Rupertpenrysmistress Thu 06-Aug-20 11:39:41

I am just day 4 I feel positive but so tired. Pat I understand what you are saying I was like this, once I started again, what was the point in trying to stop, it felt like a given I would just continue. Like cherry says it is really tough for the majority it's a huge life change, alcohol is so accessible and acceptable that if you don't drink, you are boring, if you drink too much you are an alcoholic. It is a very difficult decision to make. Pat I may have missed it so you want to quit or moderate? For me I have to quit.

Failingbettereverytime Thu 06-Aug-20 12:43:19

Morning all. Day 19 here and shooting for the 30 days suddenly seems to be possible. I have found the last few days particularly difficult and particularly as my husband and adult children are still having a couple of drinks in the evening - difference being, as I keep reminding myself, that they can have one or two and stop whereas I keep going until I've drained the bottle (and opened another and drained that too). I'm trying not to look to far ahead, but for me I don't think moderation will ever be a possibility - I simply don't have an off switch. Like @Rupertpenrysmistress I have to quit.
So @Patbutcherismyhero there are some great positives from where you are right now. You can have two drinks a night and then stop. You know you are capable of having AF nights, even if you don't see them happening in the short term. Maybe look ahead to next week and plan in a couple of AF nights. Visualise how you will keep yourself occupied and what you will drink instead. I am finding visualisation a really helpful technique in stopping the six o'clock cravings. I ususally start the evening drinking with a cold glass of white or a gin and tonic when cooking dinner. Now I visualise myself drinking cordial or posh tonic instead and imagine myself enjoying the taste of it and the coldness - it really helps. I make sure to put it in the fridge beforehand and have a nice glass with ice and lemon so it feels like a treat.
I haven't tried the AF wines or beers because I fear they might be triggering for me but a lot of people swear by them.
What helped me a lot last night as well was reading Mrs D is Going Without, which I downloaded on my kindle. She is funny and very relatable and doesn't sugar coat how difficult the process was for her. My new quit lit habit is nearly as expensive as my wine habit was right now. I have made a folder on my Kindle and whenever I see something interesting on at a good price I snap it up. So far Craig Beck's book Alcohol Lied to me has been the complete game changer - I read it in one day and that was the last day I drank. Since then I have read Annie Grace's This Naked Mind, Clare Pooley's The Sober Diaries, Allen Carr's Easy Way to Control Drinking and Catherine Gray's The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober. All in two weeks! They have all been really useful and I plan to read them over and over as I follow this path.
@Rupertpenrysmistress the tiredness is shocking isn't it. I've taken to having afternoon naps. Luckily I am on holiday for the rest of the month, so I hope it lifts before September or I am going to have to find a cupboard at work somewhere!
This is really difficult as @Cherrybakewellll says so let's go easy on ourselves and not beat ourselves up for our failure to be perfect. For some of us, trying to be perfect is probably part of the bigger problem anyway.
Have a good rest of the day everyone and enjoy the sunshine. Like @Cherrybakewellll I will be heading out for a walk at the witching hour.

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Doggodogington Thu 06-Aug-20 20:01:31

Went to a friends for a meal last night, (OHs friends)
It’s about half hour away so I drove. Hostess kept trying to push an alcoholic drink on me, telling me OH and I could stay over for me to have a drink (not even allowed inside her house due to Covid so I don’t know how that would work) I found the pushiness very frustrating. She poured me a glass of red with the food, my OH saved me by drinking it.
OH (unfortunately For him) consumed a lot of alcohol And I was very smug this morning, waking up hangover free having enjoyed a lovely evening.
Any tips on dodging the alcohol pushers? I dare say I’ve been one in my time 🤣

Doggodogington Thu 06-Aug-20 20:06:51

Tonight’s drink for me is Robinson’s Raspberry, Rhubarb and Orange Blossom cordial with sparkling water. It’s very nice.

Cherrybakewellll Fri 07-Aug-20 07:53:26

@Doggodogington are you over the age where they might think you're pregnant?  All of my pregnancies it was so obvious cos it's the only time I refuse wine. Well don't for staying strong!

I must report I had a glass of rose last night (was within my slimming world syn allowance) but I literally had one large glass (measured) and then went to water. So I feel like that was a good step for a Thursday evening. The wine was more expensive than I would usually buy because I'm fussy with rose so I think subconsciously that helped too. Savour it, don't just neck it.

I nearly posted on here last night @Patbutcherismyhero to say if you have had a drink don't worry because I have too!

Failingbettereverytime Fri 07-Aug-20 12:55:25

Morning everyone. Day 20 for me today and I am feeling tired and crabby as I didn't get much sleep and ended up browsing my phone until 4am. I think I will leave it downstairs from now on at night because it's definitely not helping. If anyone else has got any good sleep tips I'd be grateful for them. I had hoped that not falling unconscious into bed after drinking a bottle (or two) of wine every night and then waking up with the horrors a couple of hours later was going to help reset my sleep pattern but no luck so far.
I need to keep reminding myself that this is not a short term fix - Day 30 is my next goal now and after that Day 100 and I shouldn't be expecting anything much to change before the first 100 days, if then. I had all sorts of visions of this clear-skinned, shiny-eyed person looking back at me from the mirror by now but nope. None of that. Still me in there - grey faced and puffy as ever! I am taking a shedload of vitamins every day to try to repair some of the damage that drinking has done to my body so you never know, somewhere down the line they might start making a difference.
Congratulations on surviving a very difficult social situation @Doggodogington I haven't been tested in that way yet. Shamefully, I am sure I too have been that alcohol pusher in the past. I think we do try to normalise our drinking by surrounding ourselves with others who are also drinking to make us feel better about our own habit. But I will be glad to lose that inner voice that is always hyper-aware of what I'm drinking, what others are drinking, how I can get another drink without looking bad, who has had the most out of the wine bottle (always me) whether DH has poured himself a bigger glass.... it's no way to live.
@Cherrybakewellll I am so impressed by your one glass and no more. I think buying more expensive wine and really savouring it is a great tactic for putting yourself in control.
I am going to check the fridge now and make sure there are some nice cold drinks for me to have in the sun. I had a fevertree aromatic tonic last night and really enjoyed it. The Robinson's cordial sounds great too @Doggodogington I shall check it out.

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Doggodogington Fri 07-Aug-20 20:20:41

@Cherrybakewellll I am 41 so pregnancy would possibly have been crossing their minds. I may have to go down the medication Excuse route next time, I know there are certain tablets you can’t drink on such as ones for mouth infections.

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