In the first few days of recovery, it’s clear how great a toll drinking takes on your body.  I’m not experiencing “withdrawal”, per se, (no shakes or any seriously debilitating symptoms), but I’m exhausted.  My last drink was on Thursday night, and I slept 12 hours Friday night, had to take a nap Saturday afternoon (which I never do), and then slept another 12 hours last night.  I was mostly useless on Saturday – feeling generally worn-down and lethargic – though I did manage to accomplish a fair bit today.  I’ve no doubt I’ll be to bed early tonight, as I have to be up for work tomorrow and can’t indulge my body’s desire to sleep in until 9 or 10.

That said, it’s overall a good kind of tired.  I can tell it’s my body’s attempt to get on with the business of repairing the damage I’ve done… sleep feels restorative, not desperate.  It’s certainly a world away from the hungover brand of tired, where I’m woozy, shaky, and anxious.  Sober sleep might be the most underrated and immediate benefit of recovery.

I have happy hours to attend Thursday and Friday this week, which I’m sure most people would consider an obvious red flag, but I’m not presently worried (if I do, at any point, become concerned that it could compromise my sobriety I’ll certainly make my excuses and bow out).  Most of the reason why I don’t think it’ll be a problem is that I’ve had plenty of sober outings with my colleagues and friends, even when I had no designs to give up drinking.  It was never a big deal to volunteer as designated driver, or make a brief appearance and leave early.  Social drinking isn’t really my downfall, anyway… I was more of a solitary alcoholic.  I never looked especially forward to getting drunk with friends, but I would count the minutes until I could plunk down on my couch after work (or on the weekend) with a bottle-plus of wine at the ready.  It was a boredom-killer, a hobby, an “off-switch”.

So, in that respect, I’m much more concerned about the week off from work I have coming up than the 2 happy hours that precede it.  I’ll have to come up with an arsenal of things to keep me occupied, and indulge in loads of sleep.  I think that if I can make it through that week, it should be the biggest hurdle I have to face in the immediate future.  I do feel a little tightness and anxiety when I think about giving up cool glasses of sauvignon blanc in the sunshine, but then I play it forward and see an entire week’s vacation wasted in a cycle of drunken idleness and crippling hangovers.  And even the “cool glasses of sauvignon blanc in the sunshine” is just an idealized fantasy that my brain’s conjuring up to make drinking seem appealing… the reality would be tumblers of boxed wine in front of the television or laptop.

Anyway, I’ve loaded up my sober toolbox for the week with peach-pear La Croix, salted-caramel dark chocolates, bedtimes before dark, and a free pass to divert any alcohol cravings with junk food (I’m sensing a lot of cheeseburgers in the coming days).  Priority number one is to keep this momentum, and be constantly mindful of all the reasons I have to stay sober.

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3 thoughts on “

  1. You are absolutely on the right track all around – especially that you can see the ‘cool glasses’ as romanticising the actual reality of our drinking. This one is hard as there’s so much in society that tells us drinking is romantic, glamorous, fun, but it’s really important to keep breaking through that to remember what the actual reality was for you, which is where journaling/blogging can be soooo helpful.

    Heap everything you can onto that toolbox and dig in for the first 30 days. Give yourself permission for lots of treats, rest, sleep, whatever you need. Because you’re right that once you get over that inital hump it gets easier and you get momentum going.

    I see what you’re saying about the happy hours but you know what, I’d still say don’t go if you don’t have to. Why put yourself around booze and people boozing right now? You may not drink but it probably won’t help your mindset and those dastardly bullshit feelings of ‘missing out’ by not drinking. You can still go to those things, but maybe not right now? Just a thought.

    • Yeah, I’m waffling about the HHs. Not necessarily because I’m concerned I’ll drink, but more I’m kind of withdrawing into a turtle shell of self-care right now that I’m feeling it’s wiser (and, frankly, more appealing) to just go home, pull a few tools out of the sober tool box, and settle in for a delicious, deep sleep. I’ll likely skip the Thursday one, but the Friday one I’ve helped to organize for a friend’s promotion so I’m going to have to at least show up. The good thing is that it’s less of a “get your drink on” HH and more of a dinner & drinks get-together. So I may just fill myself up on food and bow out after I’m fat & happy :)

      Again, thanks so much for the words. Like you mentioned, I think blogging will be helpful if just to look back on what I was truly thinking / experiencing rather than viewing it all through whatever lens best serves my brain’s tricky need for alcohol.

      C x

      • That all sounds good and a turtle shell of self care is *exactly* what is called for in the early days. It’s really worth it and also makes it feel like an easier, nicer thing. And it sounds like you’ve got a plan in place – and practice not drinking at these things – for the Friday HH so that should be all good too. Maybe decide on what nice non-alcoholic beverage you’ll have beforehand and get it in your hand right away. And have treats planned at home for after so you’re not tempted to pick up a bottle on your way home if need be.

        I think that blogging and/or journalling about what my drinking actually felt like (where it led, how I felt after, why I wanted to quit) has been one of my absolute BEST sober tools. It has really saved me at times when I’ve started thinking longingly about drinking to go back and remember the reality. So blogging more about why you’re quitting and the bad places it took you now, while it’s fresh in your head, is a great idea.

        More than happy to help. Your words really struck a chord. I’ve so been there. You can get through this to the other side and it’s much nicer over here.

        Lilly x

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