Musings about addictions

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As I was contemplating where I’m up to in my relationship with smoking (not stopped but have cut down) and how long it will be before I decide it’s over; I got to thinking about how I got to quitting alcohol and whether that can help speed up the process this time.

I remember telling my brother Xmas 2011 that I knew I drank too much and I was going to cut down. He nodded sagely. I’d probably already started the trying to cut down; the no booze til Friday, well maybe Thursday as you’re going out anyway routine; that usually ended with a beer after a hard day tues or wed followed by wine Thursday as you may as well now and start again Monday. This went on for years. I’m sure you recognise it. The incessant bargaining with the wine witch. I didn’t know about her then though, just thought it was me myself I in the conversation.

At first I told myself I drank because I wasn’t happy in my marriage. I got divorced. I still drank. Even more. I was stressed of course, so that made it ok. I was also in a new relationship and in love. Whereas A had acted as my brakes in our relationship (or tried to) C was more of an accelerator. He would anticipate my every want and what I wanted was alcohol! Our weekends together were champagne fuelled and deliriously wonderful. I’d return home to stress at work and home; just me and my angry upset younger daughter. Wine got me through. Drinking for fun; drinking to deal with my emotions; drinking to manage stress – whatever the situation wine was most definitely the solution.

C moved up and our relationship shifted to more ordinary married life. The champagne was replaced by ordinary wine. I knew my drinking was out of control but I couldn’t talk about it. I began to realise that I had changed everything except myself. I had run out of excuses as to why I drank. I drank to drink. Simple. I wanted someone else to tell me I had a problem. In the end my daughter did and I stopped for a few months. On a Friday. No waiting for Monday. Just before Xmas. I reconnected with yoga during those months but then thought I could drink moderately again. It took almost a year of not so moderate drinking until I stopped again and here I am 8 months on; wiser and happier most of the time but still not addiction free. I have a foot in each camp – half sober, half addict. I worry this might be what leads me back to alcohol.

One of the most powerful motivators for me was not wanting to hit rock bottom – whatever that might have been for me. I’ve seen my mum living in a bedsit with a drunken partner; no money, no friends, no self respect. I seemed to be getting away with it or was I storing up a big load of trouble for later? This thought vexed me constantly. The other big motivator is my relationship with my girls and this may help with the smoking. Since my divorce I’m really conscious of being their only source of support. They don’t see much of their dad and they are both single. They have each other of course and friends but I fear not being around for them. Not enough to stop smoking so far though! Our ability to disassociate information when we want to is truly remarkable.

If I’m honest smoking is a habit and a hard one to break. I also think that staying in with C and smoking rather than going out when everyone else is drinking suits me at this point. I like our bubble; I feel safe, soothed and protected from the world. I thought not drinking would change it; it has and it’s better. Perhaps it will be better still without the smoking? When I finally get there I’ll let you know!

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  1. Ooof! Wonderful post – so real and demonstrating such awareness of our inner workings. Two huge, crucial reminders: “I had run out of excuses as to why I drank. I drank to drink. Simple”, and ” Our ability to disassociate information when we want to is truly remarkable”. I fully agree – and i guess recovery (as opposed to merely being a “dry drunk”) is also about learning to cut through the internal bullshit and self-delusion to get to the core of things and eventually get to that point where we don’t even NEED to delude ourselves (or drink, smoke, binge eat, gamble, whatever) anymore because we have learnt alternate, new, coping mechanisms. As an ex-smoker I 100% feel you on the “I’ll take this lesser-evil balance of choosing to smoke and be sober rather than indulging in my old out of control drinking, thank you very much” 🙂 And I really truly think that we’re all doing our best and if we can be gentle to ourselves we can remember that we’re doing great and if you really want to stop smoking at some point you will, when you’re ready 🙂 Thank you for the eye opening, insights as usual ! 🙂 ❤ xxx Anne

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  2. It’s all about honesty with oneself. Our internal denial only lasts so long, and then it causes anxiety.

    I drank to drink too in the end. There were many other reasons, but that was it finally.

    Hug. Awareness.


    Liked by 2 people

  3. 8 months is so awesome and that is when i really finally “believed” i was a sober person. Before that i didn’t trust myself. And i knew i would never quit smoking if i didn’t quit drinking first.( because i smoked like a chimney when i drank!)So, because of that-At 8 months , i no longer had any excuses. It still took me a few months to convince myself .I knew it would be much harder than quitting alcohol. If i had not had sobriety i would never have even attempted this. i had to WANT it, not just need to. At barely over 2 weeks, i am certainly NOT going to say i am a success yet. Only you will know when and IF it’s what you want. So, i would say talk to yourself about it for a bit:)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A really honest, no nonsense post. I just love the honesty and openness on these blogs. In itself I’m sure it makes a difference to all of us who are finding our individual and shared paths. I’m sure the fans will go when you feel it’s time. Jim x

    Liked by 2 people

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