The thing I seem to hear, read, be told over and over again is: Don’t think about never. Just tell yourself, you’re not drinking today. That’s enough, that’s all we can ever do, is decide not to drink today, and decide that over and over again.
I don’t really get this.
If I tell myself I will only not drink today, I’m giving myself tacit permission to drink tomorrow, and hopefully I will make the same good decision tomorrow but if I’m only confronting the reality of one day at a time, then I’m not confronting the actual reality.
The actual reality is that I can never drink again. Surely it’s more helpful to face that dead on, and do the work that needs doing to make sure that it happens? Surely if I’m thinking one day at a time, then I’m not trying to put into place the tools to stay sober – why would I? I might decide to drink tomorrow.
The problem with one day at a time is that the days, right now, are kind of hard. But I have faith that they won’t always be so; that there is an end point to this tunnel of Getting Sober and that end point is the sunshine-drenched reality of just living. Just living, without alcohol. Without thinking about alcohol. That’s a goal I can work towards. Forever – that’s a meaningful goal. One day at a time just means that I’m working towards tomorrow, and that’s not enough. Perhaps if my drinking was resulting in awful hangovers, black-outs, dangerous behaviour, then the promise of sobriety tomorrow would be enough to make sobriety worth it today. But it wasn’t. It was just long term, insidious, damage. It was dragging me down, stopping me doing the things I wanted to do, not to mention the health issues. So it had to go. But today sober is only worth it as a stepping stone to Sober For Good.
It took me ten years to make this decision. I only want to have to make it once. Not every day. Not every night. Once.