Today I have a special guest blogger here for a visit, it’s Jenn from One Bottle One Glass. Having a weakness for alcohol myself, I’ve been closely following Jenn’s blog and her progress to sobriety from her first dry week. I was delighted when Jenn accepted my invitation to blog here. This is the low-down on how she’s managed to make those changes:
How to Survive 100 Days Sober
Here’s the answer in a nutshell. Don’t drink alcohol for 100 days. Easy enough, right? I’m sure for many people, it is. For a lot of people though (ME!!!) it ain’t so cut and dry.
“I could easily stop drinking for 100 days, but why would I want to??”
“I’m not facing that challenge, because facing it might tell me something I don’t want to know.”
“I could stop drinking, but I have events coming up that require me to drink!”
“Oh God, an article about drinking. I’m not even reading that, nope nope nope nope nope nope.”
I used to have a co-worker that would do ‘not drinking’ months somewhat frequently. “I’m not drinking until my birthday!” she’d announce, and I’d raise my eyebrows and support her. Then I’d go home from work and drink about it, mulling the idea over in my head. In the back of my head, I would think “I should totally do that, but. . . “
“I enjoy it so much!”
“I need it to stop the chatter in my brain.”
“I just need to relax because I work so hard!”
“I’m too scared to try that, because I’m too scared of the failure.”
That threat of failure at quitting kept me drinking for a long long time. From the age of 14 till 33, I drank. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, but it was always something I did. I was a master of excuses, until I finally ran out of excuses, and as of today, I’ve been sober for 110 days, and I know I will not fail. Not this time, not this life.
Here’s my how-to guide:
Step 1: Find your reason.
Don’t make it for anyone else, if you’re struggling, it’s got to be for you. Others can and will benefit from you not drinking, but it’s got to come from your inner self.
Step 2: Find your internal lawyer.
Your internal lawyer is responsible for maintaining the evidence to remember why you’re doing this. Make sure you give your lawyer lots of stuff* to bring up in the event you start to waiver on not drinking. Read any drinking program, and you’ll find variations of this step. “Sober Bank” “Sober Toolbox” “Step 4”, etc. This is the painful and embarrassing stuff. You have to really submit all your deep dark fears and secrets about drinking. I like to gather up all the ugly stuff and loudly proclaim (in my head) “SEND IT TO MY LAWYER!!” It’s the same concept, repeated in different formats over and over again. There’s a reason you will always find this step. . . it’s one you can’t miss. If you do, there’s no substance to your arguments, and you will likely find yourself staring at an empty bottle full of regret.
~A 2009 drunken confession that I was a hopeless alcoholic
~Memories of bruises that lasted beyond the drunken night
~Failed attempts at quitting, and my excuses to myself and others
~The plotting, the planning, and all the mental bandwidth drinking took up
~Time stamped memories or half memories of ugly drinking. Memories I only used to think about when ‘recovering’ from drinking.Memories I had to drink to forget.
Step 3: Pick a date in the next 10 days.
I originally typed TODAY but let’s get real here. The key is to pick a date in the very near future. No reaching to faraway dates. Because you’re going to forget, and you might pickle your liver between now and then. So just pick a date and stick with it. Once that date gets here, proceed to Step 4. In the meantime, keep sending crap to your lawyer.
Step 3.5: Prepare.
You’ve already prepared yourself, now it’s time to prepare for the outside world. Find someone you can talk to, start a blog under a pseudonym and start typing. Find someone to support you, even if nobody in “real life” does. You’ve done the work with your lawyer, now you need your hand held. Prepare your reactions to people asking you about not drinking, prepare your face when talking about it. Plan and prepare for the internal and external battle. Because you’re going to find reasons to drink, so you sure as hell better have better reasons not to at the ready. Remember and remind yourself, that this is YOUR thing.
Step 4: Stop Drinking.
Clear your house, clear your schedule, and clear your liver. Don’t reinvent your life, or stop smoking or commit to exercising thrice daily. Just don’t put alcohol in your body. That’s it, that’s all, and that’s enough.
Step 5: Continue not drinking.
This is the easiest but hardest part. It is new territory and the game totally changes. You’ll feel great, feel awful, feel nothing, feel ALL THE THINGS. Embrace feeling the feelings, embrace the clarity, embrace not having an effing hangover!
If you drink, start over. Sometimes the only way to quit drinking is to fail at it. I failed a few times, and it was terrible, but the plus side to that was I amassed a giant portfolio of experiences that became the very loud anti drinking lawyer in my head. “You can’t drink you fool, remember the last time you had ONLY a glass of wine?? Hahaha”
Step 6: Continue writing.
Seriously, this is a huge part of kicking a bad habit. So do it. Even if you think it’s terrible. Just do it. Even if you fail, even if you hate your voice, even if your blog repeats itself and it just totally sucks. Just put your thoughts somewhere, and let someone else read it.
Step 7: Maintain and thrive.
Here’s where you start to realize that you can do this. Babies are sober, kids are sober, and YOU are sober! Time to wrap your head around the fact that nobody *needs* alcohol. Ever. If you do find a proven way that alcohol improves your life, then do share…because my end date to sobriety is the day I find an answer to the question “how is alcohol going to improve my life?”
Jenn blogs under the stealthy pseudonym One Bottle One Glass. She picked that name because 110 days ago a bottle of wine was synonymous with a ‘glass’. You can read her blog, where she continues to write about drinking and her 19 year booze cruize that finally ended.