Only I control my sobriety.
I am in control of my sobriety. No one can do this for me. No one can force me to choose not to drink. My reasons for drinking or not drinking are mine alone. It is not up to anyone else’s opinion about how much I drink or whether it is a “problem” by their own definition. It is up to me to decide what is enough. What is too much. When it is time to stop.
First let me say this: Friends that tell you your drinking is out of control are definitely friends you should listen to. It took a lot of guts for them to come to you and say those things. It was probably extremely difficult to confront you. Please listen to them.
In my case, it was the opposite. When I tell people about my desire to be sober, a few people have said “Hey, it doesn’t look that bad to me… How much are you drinking? Surely you can drink in moderation…” And their perception is what I wanted them to see. A ruse expertly executed to fool those around me. To them, I look “normal.” I usually drink a moderate amount and only really “tear it up” once in a while in front of friends. I don’t drink and drive or get into booze fueled trouble. I have a good job. My house is put together (until recently). I seem normal, high functioning, and social. But what they don’t see is the wine o’clock turning to a bottle (or so) that leads to 10 o’clock, nothing done, feeling like garbage the next day, on more days than not. That part of me has been safely tucked away where only I can find her. So, because of my ability to hide my intake (for example, recycling bottles/cans in stages), I can feign “normal” drinking. My desire to be sober is my own. It is my goal. It is my responsibility. Only I control it and only I can break it. Regardless of any outside opinions on the matter, I have to look at myself in the mirror every day and ask myself – is this right for me? Right now, the answer is YES.
Let people help me
Let people help me that want to and can. Not everyone will understand my journey, but those that love me will support it. Let them. Tell the truth, as much as I am able. I am not ready to tell all of my truths and that is okay. Let those that are willing to listen hear what I can tell, listen to their feedback.
Goal: Join a sober or sober curious group. I admit I have not done this. AA is not for me (I went to a meeting several years back). I have tried a women’s only sobriety group, but I do not think I was ready for that either. I applaud those that join these groups and think if that is something you need, then you should do it. I would love to join a group where alcohol is not even in the equation (for the most part). Something active perhaps. I will keep looking. Meetup.com is a great place to find groups. I have poked around, but as an introverted extrovert (I know, oxymoron), I am intimidated in new groups of people on my own. There is one gal I reach out to on social media and check in with her about my sobriety. We are not very close friends in real life, but are friendly on social media. She is sober and is very open about her sobriety. I have reached out to her over the past few months with my struggle. She is a pragmatic, kind, and a take no excuses kind of gal. I like her. I won’t call her “my sponsor” – but she has definitely become my “sober sounding broad” yes, I understand the misspelling. 😊 Find yourself someone that has gone through it. I think truly they are the best ones to understand and help you.
Forgive myself / Forgive others
Grace. Give it freely to yourself and others. I cannot wallow in my own self loathing and expect to not drink to quiet that. It is self-sabotage to remind myself of the shittiest parts of my character and past transgressions and expect to not want to drown out that little voice that keeps telling you that you are “just not good enough” or “OMG, remember that time when you…” That is not to say don’t take inventory of oneself. Do that. But when you do, give yourself grace. Give yourself forgiveness. Allow yourself to say “yes, that was shitty” and move on. Ask for forgiveness where required. Forgiveness is not guaranteed however, even if you are truly remorseful. Be okay with that. Forgive yourself anyway. I’m still working on this.
Conversely, I cannot hold the forever-grudge against someone that has wronged me. It has been quoted so many times, I am not sure who said it – but it has been said that “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Forgiving someone is for YOU not for THEM. They don’t need to ask your forgiveness for you to give it. And giving forgiveness does not mean you are weak. In giving forgiveness (especially where no forgiveness is sought) you are actually taking back your power in the situation. You are saying that you have put this behind you. You don’t have to forget, and it is sometimes useful not to – but forgiveness is a very powerful tool in feeling whole again. I am also working on this. But I must admit, it is much easier to forgive others than it is to forgive myself.