August 12, 2004
Demystifying My Drinking
One of the concepts I worked through while abstaining was my fear that I’d slip right back into bad habits after the abs period finished, or even see my drinking escalate beyond where it had been before. It’s a pretty common sentiment; an MM member who is 10 days into his first 30 expressed a similar fear, and I responded:
From: Steve Boese
Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2004 9:14 PM
Subject: RE: [MM]abstinence
> Maybe I am a natural worrier, but it
> seems like things are going too easy
> right now. Like it is just a matter
> of time before I cave in and have that
> bender that will put me over the edge
> and set me back again….
That was me, exactly, four years ago.
Over time I decided that I had been framing my drinking as something mystical, something that could rise up like a beast and erase all of my progress, and that such framing was neither helpful nor accurate. I started DE-mystifying it, and the more I demystified my drinking, the more effective I became at marshalling some control over it as a simple habit.
OK, so it was a habit with a compelling edge — the allure of alcohol is stronger for me than, say, Play-Doh or broccoli, after all — but demoting my old drinking patterns to simple habits also got me thinking about healthier patterns as tuned-up, very do-able habits.
Another way I framed things: I reminded myself that every day of abstinence (as well as moderation and harm reduction) changed me. Once I added those experiences to my life, nothing could erase them, nothing could take me back to where I was in June, 2000. Even if I went back to nonproductive drinking patterns exactly like before, the new experiences told me unequivocally that I would never be content again living in the old ways.
So, I’d encourage you to trust that these 10 days have changed you. They are not a magic bullet, of course, but you are not going to erase these experiences from your consciousness. You are proving yourself able and powerful, self-reliant and wise. You will — all of us will — take what we learn from the good days and make better days, better lives, with them.
That’s different from concepts that many A.A. members find helpful, that alcohol is “cunning, baffling, and powerful” and the path to better health includes accepting powerlessness, eh? We each need to figure out what works best for ourselves.
I'm thrilled to see a blog on this subject. Although I believe nothing but abstinence will work in my case, (at least right now) I have long thought that AA is not the ONLY answer to addiction as seems to be the consensus in the medical and psychiatric communities. I wanted other options and other opinions, but couldn't find them. I will be back to find out more.
12-Aug-2004 10:02 PM