This is how I will feel if I drink

It’ll start with the justifications. Even before I choose the bottle – a nice bottle, a treat, one of my favourites, because it’s been so long without – I’ll have a list of reasons in my head. Look how long it’s been without a drink, I don’t have a problem. Look at how surprised everyone was when I said I wasn’t drinking for a while. There weren’t any looks of relief, any knowing nods. It was all seriously? That seems extreme. Are you, you know, pregnant? And if I had a problem, obviously people wouldn’t be surprised, or they’d make a joke about never thinking I’d manage it. In fact, if it wasn’t so very normal to drink they wouldn’t be surprised either. Everyone drinks like me really.

And even if I do have a problem, well. Most people relapse at least once, it’s almost necessary. It doesn’t mean I won’t get sober later, if I want to. I mean really, it’s one night, it practically doesn’t even count. I’ll go back to not drinking tomorrow, I don’t need to tell anyone, it won’t be like a proper Day One again because I’ll have had all that practice at saying no and staying sober, so it’ll be fine, in fact I don’t think I even need to reset my days. I shouldn’t bother counting days, it’s meaningless.

Also, it’s been a really hard week or a really special occasion or there’s something else going on that hardly ever happens so it’s not like real life anyway, so I’m not drinking in real life, this is just…an anomaly.

And that first glass. Familiar sensation in my hand pouring it out, and I’ll pause, feeling like there should be a sense of occasion here. My first drink afterwards. But then I’ll laugh at myself. It’s not a big deal. It’s just wine. Really, it’s making a big deal out of it that is half the problem. I’m sure that if I didn’t obsess about how much I was drinking, I wouldn’t have drunk so much.

It tastes good. Well, actually. It tastes kind of sour and a bit…not as good as I remembered, anyway. But nice! I’m sure it’ll taste nice, like it used to, once I kind of remember how it’s supposed to taste. There, that’s better, a few sips in and it’s coming back. I even feel a bit warm, tingly. Mmmmm. My tolerance is down, of course, which is great, I can get tipsy on a normal-person amount of wine.

I might as well have another glass. It’s just this one time, after all.

Should I drink a third? What harm can it do, honestly. But I might regret it, because I told myself I wasn’t going to drink like I used to, and this is waking that line, but on the other hand if it’s just once I might as well make the most of it. And anyway I’m sure that most people, normal drinkers, get a bit loose and drink three glasses of wine if they’ve had a really stressful week like this, or they’re celebrating. I know lots of people who don’t drink problematically who can drink a whole bottle every now and then. My friend A drinks a bottle on a Saturday night and she’s fine. My friend F definitely has 3 or 4 beers when she’s out and nobody would ever think that was wrong. I’ll have the third glass.

The bottle is mostly gone. Might as well finish it. That way it’s gone and there’s no temptation to drink tomorrow.

Shit. I’m pretty drunk. Shit. This wasn’t what I wanted to happen. Maybe I can’t drink normally. Maybe I’m really an alcoholic. Look at how I drink. Obviously I’m an alcoholic. I can’t even quit when I try really hard. I fucking relapsed. I’m a fuck up. I can’t get out of this. I can’t quit. I always thought I could quit when I finally decided to and I can’t. I must be an alcoholic, and most alcoholics relapse and can’t quit and keep drinking and ruin their lives. I’m just going to have a crappy life, I’ll be one of those people who disappoint their families, I’ll always regret never making anything of myself. Poor me. I didn’t mean to be an alcoholic but it’s too late, I guess. Life didn’t turn out like I thought it would. Sobriety is just beyond me, I have no willpower, I’m just a pretty crap person. I might as well learn to live with that. Fuck it. Lots of people are crappy. We all grow up and learn the truth, that we are just not that great. So I drink. So I’m a drinker. What the fuck ever. I wish I weren’t, but also I wish I were thin and dynamic and good at crafts and successful and I’m not. We can’t all be perfect. I’ll just accept that my life isn’t great. At least then I can drink, which gives me something to look forward to when I’m bored and depressed.

Might as well open the second bottle, then.

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25 thoughts on “This is how I will feel if I drink

  1. This is very close to how it has gone with me when I’ve drank again after time off, only add in that then it’s taken weeks or months to quit again even when I’ve thought I could ‘just start over’ (which I keep reminding myself of lately). No one in my life thought I had a problem either but you only need to read your post on alcoholics drinking in moderation to understand that one too – the secretive drinking and hiding helps a lot with that one.

  2. bang. bang. bang. bang. bang. bang.

    that was you hitting the nail on the head with every word of this post. this would be so true for me. I just woke up from a thankfully rare drinking dream and am still shaking with relief that it wasn’t real. and even in the dream I knew it would be a one-off and would have to go back to Day 1 again the next day. so why put ourselves through it? let’s JUST NOT GO THERE, eh? glad to see you back, have been thinking of you and trusting that it was internet access sagas keeping you away.

    fantastic post, After, thank you! xx

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  4. Ugh, yep. That’s what it would be, that’s for sure. In fact, I’m pretty sure there have been times when the only thing that kept me from relapsing was the fact that there wasn’t enough to drink in the house to make it worth it. Yeah, if that doesn’t tell me that I don’t drink like a normal human, then what does? Great post. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Yep, the first thought of having a drink makes me feel bright and excited, but then when I *really* think about how it will be, how I’ll want more, I feel myself start to spiral down to the dark place…the dark, lethargic place I fought pretty hard to stay out of for 100+ days…and I just say “no.” No, I’m not going to go there again. I’ve found that sober life can be pretty darn bright and exciting. Great post –

  6. You really nailed that alcoholic thinking right on the head. I can’t tell you how many times I have had those same thoughts, in that order, myself. Thank you for posting this. πŸ™‚
    ~Jami

  7. This really gives me goosebumps.. Yes, it is indeed -almost- exactly what happended before and will happen again should I/we be tempted by the first half of the story and take that first drink. Good to read this as a reminder of how it really will be; part II of the story – the very unhappy ending.
    Congrats on the move, I hope you’ll settle in quickly and can celebrate with something else than painkillers πŸ˜‰

  8. Wouldn’t I just make every single one of these arguments to myself? Yes I would. Thank you for this. I’ve copied it to my 100 day challenge diary so that I’ll have it handy when I feel the urge to drink again.

  9. Help!…a few hours ago, I drank 3/4 bottle of wine. And I have been going to AA! I resist AA ,I want to just decide for good and forever! Have any of you been successful with the commitment and decision. How?

    • Kat, I don’t think any of us have a magic answer, but I can tell you that I spent maybe 2 or 3 years convincing myself that I was going to need to stop once and forever, before I did. Every time I drank more than I promised myself I would, I filed it away in my “See? I told me!” file, and although I kept drinking, and I was also playing multiple rounds of Justification, the file got fatter and fatter and one day I just…decided this was it. I read an awful lot, and the memoirs and the blogs help me enormously. One of the overwhelming things is: not one of those blogs, not one of those stories, NOT ONE, ever relates a story of successful moderation. It’s just completely off the table.

      I don’t know how you need to come to the decision, but if you’re already going to AA, and reading blogs, and asking for help, then you know that you need to make that decision, and that’s half the battle won. Stick around, keep reading and talking and thinking, and … well, put down the glass!

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  15. Reblogged this on club east: indianapolis and commented:
    Of course, none of us have ever had this little scenario running through our head, eh? Right. And oddly enough, it really doesn’t matter how many shiny little tokens we have on our bureau at home either. It’s all just bad poetry. All that really matters is getting back on the horse. Only this time we’re going to ride that bad boy. Really show him who’s boss. Right again.

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  17. 34 days sober. This is perfect. And I felt every sensation/emotion you wrote about as I was reading. I have had a couple of instances of “thinking I was justified to drink” since I stopped…. Hard to battle through but so worth it once it passes. Printing this out and keeping it handy along with my serenity prayer.

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