You know how sometimes you read a blog comment that blows you away? You think to yourself, Dude, this comment is awesome, I hope everyone reads this. But then you know that while lots of folks read comments, not everyone does, especially not if they’ve already read or commented on the post. And then you get kind of bummed out. But then you remember, hey, this is my blog and I can post (almost) anything I want; I can let my readers know how awesome the comment was, and then you’re happy. And then you realize, duh, you can even share the actual comments in a totally new post, and you get even happier.
You see where I’m going with this, right?
In last week’s post on “Advice to Someone Quitting Drinking,” I asked if you had any advice or suggestions for someone giving up alcohol. And your responses were–yes, I know I overuse this word–awesome. I hope you’ll to stop by to read all the comments, but in case you get busy or only read via email, I wanted to spotlight a few of them for you here. (A special thank you to Thirsty Still whose brilliant comment inspired this post. I encourage you to check out her blog; she’s one of my favorite sobriety bloggers.)
I’m still working on that upcoming “Tough Love/Angry” piece. It’s coming along. I’m trying to balance “raw and authentic” with “compassionate and mindfully–yet not overly–edited” without losing any of its original intent. (I may just say f-it and post the “shitty first draft” (want more Anne Lamott? and more?) with a disclaimer and be done with it if I feel I’m losing too much in the editing process.)
And . . . I’m seriously considering setting up a new page (like my about page or resources page) specifically for all of your shared advice and ideas. So if you have some advice on quitting drinking, feel free to add it here or on last week’s post.
From TS at Thirsty Still:
I also get angry around some of the oh so gentle relapse talk. Not that I want to scold someone who relapses. That would be pointless. But when it happens and there are no hard questions, then it starts to look like, “Oh well it’s hard and sometimes being sober just doesn’t happen.” But I think being sober is something you do. It never ‘just happens.’ When people relapse, often from just reading their posts you can see that it’s coming. They have changed their minds about being sober, or lost their commitment. I know last year, before I started drinking again, I had started to find all the “sober bullshit” really irritating. Instead I fell into “booze bullshit.” Having quit again, calling myself on my own bullshit is important. Recently I got bored with blogs and sober stuff again, but I have seen myself doing it and I thought: No! You keep doing this, or you go to AA or find some way to keep this sober gig going. Or you will drink again. And one thing I do not want to do is drink again.
So my advice is, first, get some help. Blogs can be helpful, but for me, that only worked when they helped me make a personal connection with a real person. Like [SL at] Sober Learning, I kept going sometimes because I’d said to someone else that I would, and they believed even if I didn’t. Belle’s 100 day challenge was a huge help to me, not because of her advice, but simply because she was there and emailed me back and she seemed to care, even when I wasn’t sure I did. And blogs were helpful when I jumped in and commented and made connections with people, who were helpful and kind when I needed that. I might still try AA. But whatever I do, I need people. If you’re quitting drinking, my guess is you’ll need people, too.
And my other advice is this: forget motivation. Motivation is a myth. Motivation is just a word that describes continuing hard effort. There is no ‘magic motivation juice’ that gives you the energy you need to do the hard work of quitting. Yes, you have to want to quit. But that’s all you need. That, and some help.
From SL at Sober Learning:
I then needed human contact, and got up enough nerve to go to AA. I love my home group. Not all of the AA stuff fits for me, but I like being with people who are the same as me. People who can’t drink, can’t moderate, and who are willing to work every day of their life to remain sober.
The blogging world, the numerous websites devoted to being sober, the Twitter world, the Facebook groups, all of it helps me to stay focused on my sobriety.
If someone had told me last year that I would be comfortable sober, and not want to jump out of my skin at the thought of NEVER drinking again, I would have told them they were nuts. It is hard work, and you really have to want it, but I believe that anyone can do it. Like running up a hill, put your head down, and lean into it.
[. . .]
Sober really isn’t a hard concept, it just means DON’T DRINK, you really have to want it though, you really, really do.
From Karen at Mended Musings:
There is a cost for every piece of armor we put on and for every numbing behavior we make a part of our lives. Alcohol, drugs, buying things you can’t afford, toxic relationships – you name it – there’s a cost to it all. The problem is that when we’re fully armored up and numbed, we lose our ability to think for ourselves. We lose our imagination, our creativity and our confidence. There’s even a cost for recovery because when we fully accept responsibility for our choices, thoughts and behaviors, we lose the comfort of believing that a substance or thing can make our lives better. Personally, I think the cost is worth it. I drink occasionally but I needed to stop completely for almost 3 years in order to even be able to recognize what I needed to heal. No one, whether they’re an alcoholic or not, can see clearly if they’re constantly numb and armored.
If there’s a voice in your head that tells you to stop drinking, listen to it. It’s the only voice you can trust and it will never, ever go away until you listen to it or you’re dead. Don’t worry about tomorrow or forever because when you learn to listen to what your heart tells you, it tells you more and more of what you need to hear.
From Liz at Living With Autism:
For me, quitting involved changing ALL my routines; I had to create an entirely different life for myself to avoid the associations. That’s probably the key thing I did. It was tough, especially with an autistic son who loves routine. But I think that was part of my problem – like Dylan I had routines to manage anxiety but mine were way more damaging than his.
From Josie at The Miracle is Around the Corner:
Here’s my best piece of advice for the person who is starting on day 1 of sobriety: forget any timelines beyond the very day you are living. Can you make it through the rest of this very day without picking up a drink? If not, why not? What people, places, or things are preventing this? Then solve those problems, and don’t drink. Go to bed, wake up, and repeat this process, and I promise you, it will get easier over time.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment last week (read all the comments). Feel free to politely add your own suggestions or experiences below. Hopefully I’ll get the new “advice” page up by the end of this month and before the holiday season kicks into full swing. -christy
* Note: Although AA is mentioned, RoS does not endorse one recovery program or process over another. I believe there is no single right or wrong program, as long as it works for you. Other programs include (but are not limited to) SMART Recovery, WFS, LifeRing, SOS, and EATS: Eat ALL the Sugar (ok, so I made that last one up). Feel free to share what worked for you in the comments. If you’re looking for help, check out my resources page.