Tuesday, May 3, 2016

End of Day 3

So being a geek I've been trying to Science the hell out of this situation.  

Here's what I've come up with. It's a list of the most common suggestions about how to go sober.  And if you're wondering, this isn't going to be a good news story for me. I'm doing it all wrong.

1. Make your intentions known

Ok, so that's a big fail right off the bat. The reasoning seems to be that you'll fail without the support of your friends and family around you.  

I totally get why that would be sensible. But I also wonder how many of us in this position got there with a supporting, loving network still in place around us to call on. 

My family network is torn into pieces; one side is suspicious and angry about the road that got us here despite not being exactly sure about what that road is; the other is vulnerable because they're not sure what all this means, but dearly wants the shouting to stop.

So being honest would be lovely. I'm just praying for time. I just don't want it to all shatter yet. Give me time - I can't tell you why. But things will get better.

2. Avoid Temptation

How? 

No, seriously, how?

I can take every drop out of the house and still be within 10 minutes of buying enough whisky to fell a, well, a Scotsman in this case.

And all the way to work, and all the way back.

Then helpful little temptation bombs, and a consistent message - drinking is fine - wine is the answer! 

I get it that this is a difficult balance to get right. I'm pretty libertarian in outlook and don't like too many laws. Just enough to keep us safe. 

But for pity's sake don't say that the road to being sober is to avoid temptation. Don't make it hard on yourself, definitely. Don't keep alcohol around, but there needs to be something more. A way of coping with temptation that's going to be as overwhelming as it is inevitable.

3. Gradually decrease alcohol intake - don't go cold turkey 

I've tried that one. I tell you, it was a lot easier than this. I got so good at reducing my alcohol intake that by the end I must have been doing that two or three times a day.

Of course this one assumes that giving up is a matter of willing it and changing habits. It's a bit like joining a gym. 

It's a bit like joining a gym if your body feels terrified everytime you approach the building, and fills your mind with compulsive thoughts about running away from that gym, doing anything to stay away.  And when you do get away from it, rewarding you with the most relaxing, enveloping, beautiful daze you can imagine.

4. Reward Progress

Ok, so I've got to number 4 before finding a suggestion that I could actually do something about.

I've been treating myself wildly today :-)

I'll have to stop at some point, but, except for alcohol, it's like I'm my own rich, guilt-ridden Uncle who's come to stay for a while.

Yeah!

5. Enjoy the benefits that come from giving up

This is the whole reason for doing this. It should be front and centre in my view. We're not idiots, we wouldn't have started drinking if there wasn't a massive positive pay off. 

For me it was being able to function like everyone else. I always felt like I was just one pint of beer the wrong side of being a great, popular, successful guy.

Sure it stopped being fun. But do you know, when I think about it even this short time in, with a horrible ache across my body and a brain that's obsessing, constantly obsessing, it's still this good part that comes to mind. Just for an instant.  It lives in the space between refusal to give in and the pounding battle to drink, and your hand that reaches forward towards that glass without you even realising it.  In that space is good thoughts. Then the grim dog fight is back on.

So to have something to replace that with matters, I think. It's what I'm going I try. I'm going to short circuit the good alcohol feeling with a good something-else feeling.

I'm just not sure how to do that yet.

And the last one...

6. Be aware of potential withdrawal symptoms 

  • hand tremors (‘the shakes’) - yes
  • sweating - yes
  • nausea - oh yes
  • visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not actually real) - no idea. I don't think so...
  • seizures (fits) in the most serious cases - really? Didn't know about that one. That's bad.

Psychological alcohol withdrawal symptoms:

  • depression - I've had that on and off for years, so no biggy right now.
  • anxiety - yes
  • irritability - yes
  • restlessness - yes
  • insomnia (difficulty sleeping) - not so much. Bonus!

See you guys later tonight.