I read an article today that was shared by Kate from The Sober School blog. Her site seems to be aimed much more at people thinking about quitting or just getting started with giving up the drink, so it doesn’t apply to me as much anymore, but I still follow along because she’s pretty inspirational. When I first started to seriously look at my drinking and came to the decision that I needed to quit, I was pretty bummed about it. I worried about how uncool it was to have a drinking problem and expected to spend the rest of my life as an outcast, living on the fringes of society, but Kate’s site was the first I found that had a different approach and helped to allay my fears a bit.
Anyway, Kate’s awesome, but to get to the point of this post, she shared this article today and it really got me thinking…
I’m not really sure whether I’m doing enough.
I know that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, everyone’s journey is different, my path is my own, yadda, yadda, but surely there are some recoveries that are better than others. Surely there are healthier ways to go about things – specific things that make sobriety better/happier/more successful.
I don’t think that I’m living as a ‘dry drunk’ as described in the article, but I do worry that I’m somewhere in between white knuckling it through and having a deep, life altering experience. People have said to me before that “as long as your not drinking, you’re doing it right”, but there must be a bit more to it than that. Is connecting with an online sober community enough or should I be connecting with sober folk in real life? I’ve heard that real life connections are infinitely better, but I’m painfully shy and the thought of going along to a meeting makes me shake in my boots. I also have close friends and family that I’m completely honest and open with. They’re definitely a great support, but I wonder how important it is to have real life support from those who know exactly what you’re going through.
And then there’s the emotional side of things. The desire to numb my feelings with wine for many years must have stemmed from emotional issues, but I don’t really know where to start with identifying or addressing those problems. I suspect I’m just an overly sensitive, anxious, painfully shy person who is highly skilled in self-criticism and has a penchant for overthinking any situation. So that’s awesome – no idea what to do about it though! I’m loathe to go to a counsellor to talk about this stuff because I hate parting with money unless it’s for something physical that I can put in my house. I don’t even know whether a ‘counsellor’ would be able to steer me in the right direction – is it a therapist? Or do I need to be paying someone with a PhD to fix me? A psychiatrist? Psychotherapist? Psychologist? Or will I just naturally figure out new coping mechanisms by myself over time? (See, over thinking things again.)
I also know that a lot of people find something new to devote their spare time to. Hobbies, or yoga or running or whatever. But I haven’t really channeled my focus in any one direction. I’ve dabbled around, making a few healthier life choices and have enjoyed the freedom to think about stuff (like my career and big life choices) that I just wouldn’t have looked at seriously before (because wine was the centre of my universe). I wouldn’t go so far as to say removing alcohol has changed my life completely though… should it have?
In sugar quitting news, everything is going swimmingly. On Friday night I caved and had half a glass of ginger beer and I’ve had a couple of hot chocolates before bed. The ginger beer happened at work drinks. I was already feeling a bit deprived being sat in a middle of a bunch of people drinking wine, so out of the alternatives (ginger beer or water) ginger beer won. That was a lesson in poor planning. And the hot chocolates were the result of feeling anxious/overwhelmed and wanting the comfort of sugar. I’ve been really good with making sure there aren’t any hidden sugars in my food though, so I’d say I’m under the daily recommended amount of 6 tsps.
I’ve always said that this sugar free experiment won’t be at the expense of my sobriety. If it’s all too hard then I’ll be throwing in the towel, but I’m happy with how things are going so far. It hasn’t been as painful as I expected.