Had a super-lovely soberversary, lots of bloggy love and friends-and-family love and just a lovely day. Count the loves in that sentence! Here's another... LOVE!
Anyhoo got this comment from Bella on my last post and really wanted to address her question directly here. Be great if others could share their experiences as well to let her know what their point of change was.
Bella: "The one thing I really struggle with (as a mum-of-two who recently ruined 2 and a half years of sobriety with a 6 month bender, which to be honest hasn't finished yet ...) is precisely how and when and why people decide to stop drinking. Why don't we talk more about people's low points that catalyse their quitting? And why, even if we think we've hit a new low, do we sometimes uncork the bottle again? I know you often say about the memoirs that you've read, that they gloss over the actual recovery part and focus more on the lows. But I'm interested in the nexus between those two. Any thoughts?"
What is it that moves us to finally make the change from boozer (or user) to sober? Why do some people have to make the shift only once and others fall back and have to do it over and over?
My point of change came after two years of being hyper-aware of my worsening drinking problem and trying to moderate and control it unsuccessfully. The last straw was the night I secretly drank a bottle of wine while Mr D was out (despite us having agreed to an alcohol-free night) then knelt down to hide the bottle in the back of the cupboard so he didn't know I'd had it. My point of change came when my fucked up desire to drink brought lies and deception into my relationship. The next morning after that final miserable binge (we drank more after he got home) I got really fucking angry, really fiercely fucking angry and determined. This was my point of change. It came after two years of hard mental work and 8 hours after highly dysfunctional drinking behaviour.
That morning that I changed I had a very clear thought process. It went: "I have HAD ENOUGH of this shit (angry). This has GOT to stop. No-one else can do this for me. I have to do this. I have to change. If it's just me changing me then surely I can do it. I absolutely have to do it." I knew without a doubt that I was very very sick in my head regarding alcohol and there was no way that I could live happily with it in my life. Even now that image of my on my knees leaning into the back of the cupboard makes me shudder. I couldn't bear to continue down that path. I knew I had to take the alcohol away, had to learn how to live without it. I was very determined and I always thought to myself: "People do this. I can do this. I will do this. I will learn how to do this and I will do this."
(It's hard to make this brief but I'll stop now)
This is just my story. It might not be relatable to you. Read around other blogs and books (and hopefully some people will share here in comments their point of change story) until you figure out what it is that will work for you. I do believe everyone's drinking/using story is unique, just as everyone's point of change is unique and everyone's recovery plays out in a unique fashion.
I just read "Ninety Days" by Bill Clegg and the cliched "I got sick and tired of being sick and tired" is pretty much what finally triggered his move into long-term sobriety, the overwhelming feeling of exhaustion about his crack habit (it's a rip-snorter of a read and there's a lot in there about recovery - yay!). He went to 3+ meetings a day trying to stay sober, that didn't work for a long time but finally the exhaustion and wanting to be available to help a fellow addict stopped him from using.
I also recently read "Drunk Mum" by Jowita Bydlowska (also a rip-snorter, all about her crazy vodka-fuelled life, blackout after blackout, lots of sad & lonely boozing). This book really touched me. It is brutal and it is beautiful and unexpectedly quite poetic at the end (probably because she is so clearly not wishy-washy, when her truth comes it is very touching).
She drinks and drinks and hides bottles and tries to cover the smell of booze and fights with her boyfriend and constantly has a crazy, angry, defensive, dialogue going on in her head and then after one last miserable binge and more lies and defensiveness "..there's silence. My own voice in my head just disappears. And once it disappears, there's an absolute, vast silence. It stops all. It stops me. It's not a moment per se. It's the invisible, non-existent pause between time's passing, one minute turning into the next one. It's so big that it contains everything else - around me and inside me. I see me and I am looking back, looking for help. And with that glimpse everything crumbles. I'm a liar. I'm a liar and I can't afford to lie anymore. I'm an alcoholic, I'm a liar and I've lied about everything."
Bella, you will have your point of change. It will come and it will stick. People do this. You can do this too.
Love, Mrs D xxx