Today was the 19th day of my freedom from alcohol. Till a few days ago I used to say “dry” but now I prefer the word “free”. Being sober is being free.
I stopped drinking 19 days ago. I went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed me some medication, to help me get over my anxiety, during my withdrawal stage. It helped. The medication managed to get over the first few days of acute withdrawal.
The biggest problem, during those first few days, was that I couldn’t take a break from my normal routine. I had to function normally at work. I own my own company. It’s a small startup, so I don’t get to take too many holidays. I have taken advantage of being the boss, and slacked off quite a bit during the past few days, to take out some quiet time for myself.
I joined a gym. Its been about a week now. I haven’t missed a day. I usually go in the mornings. The mornings feel so peaceful. I have been pushing myself. trying to channelize my negativity into my workouts, pushing myself harder and harder.
Exercise has helped a lot. It takes away my demons. It drains me. Empties me out. For a few hours after I come from the gym, the endorphins in my system, keep me in a good mood.
I stopped writing in this blog for a while. I kept giving up alcohol and kept relapsing. This time will be different. This time is the last time.
I will try to be regular on this blog. Put down a few thoughts everyday. All part of my therapy.
Today was day 8. It has been a very difficult week. but I have made it so far. The meds have helped. My family has also been quite supportive. There have been many times in the last few days that I’ve almost slipped back.
The 6th day was the worst. Went to meet a client in a nightclub! He owns the nightclub. We went to meet him because we were pitching for his business. I own a digital marketing agency. I was sitting there taking him through the presentation, talking about the benefits of digital marketing and how we would make his business more profitable and all I could think of was the bottles behind the bar!
Once the meeting was over, he showed me his bar, which has a unique design (it’s made of beer bottles – I mean the whole bar is made of empty beer bottles) and invited me for a drink. I don’t know how I did it but I politely refused, telling him that I was getting late for another meeting. A very close call.
The craving is still there, as strong as ever. Probably not as strong as the 2nd or 3rd day but it is still there lingering like a malignant growth at the back of my mind. It is not possible to ignore it. I just have to keep telling myself that this is natural. I can fight it. I will fight it this time.
I’ve been avoiding my drinking buddies. Making excuses, not taking their phone calls. I have know a few of them for several years now. A few I’ve known since my childhood. I know that if I go out with them, all these 8 days of hard work will just go poof. I won’t be able to resist the temptation. I am not that strong. Maybe I will lose some friends but if they are really my friends – they will understand.
Today was day 5 of my journey to sobriety. It was difficult but I made it through. The pills are helping. They make me sleepy and slow to respond. But they also take the edge away. The craving is still there. It’s always there. As soon as I think of alcohol, my mind tries to make up excuses. My mind keeps telling me that I am okay. I have made it through the past few days and one drink will not matter. But i know where that road leads. I have been down that road too many times. Once I start I won’t stop, till something bad happens. After that it will be the same old vicious circle once again.
I have been very busy at work. Running a company is many times more difficult than working as an employee. Too many things to worry about. Salaries, deadlines, clients etc etc… Someone or the other is always there, asking for advice, asking for help, or just asking. It’s very stressful. The thought of the bottle of whisky is so tempting. My busy schedule keeps me distracted, but the thought still lingers in the back of my mind somewhere.
When I go out for meetings and pass a wine shop, I always look. It would be so easy to just stop the car and…
In the evenings I watch movies, play games on my phone, drink lots of juice, read books. Anything to keep myself distracted. It’s working. Every day is another victory, every day is one step closer.
Being dry (I won’t use the word sober yet) has given me a new perspective on the people around me and my surroundings – some of it is good and some of it is bad. I am not sure how much of all this is influenced by my craving for alcohol. But I am not going to sit here and analyse it too much. I am dry and I have been dry for 5 days now. That’s all that matters.
I’ve been ping ponging between a few days of sobriety followed by binge drinking. I guess I am just an alcoholic in denial. I can’t keep from thinking about alcohol. It’s an addiction, and every time I think of alcohol I think of how good it would feel to have a drink. I tell myself that I shouldn’t but the need remains. It eats me up from inside.
I was in an online support chatroom and someone told me about the things that I should avoid during my quest to get sober. They can be remembered by the acronym H.A.L.T. which stands for Hunger, Anger, Loneliness and Tiredness. Someone else added Boredom too, but that doesn’t sound right as a part of the acronym.
I have been trying to avoid these and it’s working. In my case, I think the more dangerous ones are Anger, Loneliness and Boredom.
To overcome Boredom, I can find something to do, some hobby. However it’s been so long that I have associated alcohol to every pastime of mine, I don’t know how long it will be before I can enjoy anything without alcohol. I cant think of a trip, or a party or even watching a movie without getting drunk. I will need to re-learn how to enjoy simple things in life, without depending on Alcohol. Knowing that alcohol has just been a crutch and in the last few years it has not given me any real pleasure, will probably help.
Loneliness will be more difficult. I have driven away everyone from my life except for my immediate family – my wife and two sons. I have no friends or extended family left. I will have to start with my family and build up my circle of friends once again.
Anger will probably be my worst enemy. I need to stop being angry with the world. After all I have not been the most likeable person. I have done terrible things and hurt a lot of people, so why should the world be nice to me? I need to keep telling myself that I am in control of my anger and not others. I allow myself to get angry and I can control it.
Someone once told me that there are three factors which make us Angry. Expectation, Aversion and Ignorance. Expectation is when we expect something from others and these expectations are not met. Aversion is when we dislike something in others. Ignorance is when we are not aware of all the facts and we let our biases and life experiences to overcome our self control.
I think the first two are the worst – Expectation and Aversion. If I can understand why I get angry, I can avoid anger. I hope this works.
This is getting repetitive. I relapse for a few days and then I count days of sobriety. So far the count has not gone too high. Somehow or the other I trick myself into drinking again.
This time the relapse was really bad. I did some things that I never should have done. I don’t want to talk about it now. Maybe I will be ready later.
So here I am. On day 3 of sobriety. Each time I have a thought of alcohol, I feel my mind pushing me to go out and get a bottle. Sometimes the craving is very strong. When I am angry or happy or in some emotional mood, I can’t control myself. Again I relapse.
Here I am at day 3. I hope this time it lasts. I don’t want to go on like this anymore.
It’s day 2 of my sobriety, and I am already feeling restless and edgy for a drink. I keep making excuses to myself, to persuade myself to go out and get a drink. Fortunately there is no alcohol around me, or I don’t think I could have stopped myself. The only way I can get a drink is if I go to a wine store and get one. I am trying to stop myself, from going out.
It’s late afternoon. If i can get through the next few hours, I will be okay. I don’t want to go out and drink. I need to stop drinking. It’s going to be hard.
I am not having physical withdrawals. I just keep getting irritated by small things. I know it is just the craving for alcohol which is making me irritated. But knowing doesn’t stop it. Knowing that this irritation is just craving for alcohol doesn’t calm my mind. The mind is cunning. It make me feel irritated and edgy, so that I will go out and get a drink. I know getting a drink will calm me down. I have to resist the temptation.
I have heard some people say that the first few days are the worst. I have to hang on and be strong. I am watching a lot of movies. I like watching movies and they distract me. While I am watching a movie, I am not thinking of drinking so much. But watching movies has a downside. Whenever I see someone in the movie drinking, I want a drink too. The craving kicks in.
Most of the time, I used to drink in the evenings. So, my urges become very strong in the evenings. The next few hours will be a challenge. I am smoking a lot of cigarettes too. But I can’t help it. Smoking calms me down somewhat. If I did not have cigarettes, I would be walking on the walls, right about now. Wouldn’t it be funny if I manage to quit drinking and got lung cancer?