This week marks 2 years without alcohol. For anyone who has quit, or has tried to quit drinking, you may be able to sympathize with the roller coaster of mood swings with alcohol cravings. Bargaining, joys, and frustrations… Quitting has been a positive experience, mostly. It’s not always nice. If it were easy, we would all be happy moderate drinkers who would never have to quit.
My Last Alcohol Craving
I had a bad weekend a few months back. I was volunteered to cook for guests without being asked. The idea of spending my Sunday afternoon, my only day off, in the kitchen preparing a main and sides wasn’t sitting well with me. I don’t like the feeling of obligation, who does? A simple conversation would have completely changed my feelings about this. But, I do this a lot so they probably felt like it was OK.
I prepared dinner, cleaned my house, then spent a few more minutes finishing dinner. Then, I went to bed and shut down. I was acting childish. They already assumed I would cook, but that doesn’t mean I had be present to eat. So, I went to bed, pulled the covers over my head, reflected on my week, client work, and dinner, and then the alcohol cravings started. I thought about how nice a drink would be; actually, I thought about how nice it would be to get drunk. I wanted to open a bottle of cold white wine and slip into my evening without guests, without responsibilities, and get fucked up.
Bring on the Tears
I started crying. Dinner was the cherry on top of the shit week I had. When the guest arrived, I stayed in bed while the party got started in the next room.
I couldn’t move. There were guests in my living room. But, with the alcohol cravings, if I excused myself, I would have headed to the nearest bar or hotel to drink. So, instead of pushing the reset button on my sobriety, I stayed in bed and my husband told guests I had a migraine. Yes, I was being rude. Fine with me. I can stay in bed, get over the craving, and come out when it’s over.
It Gets Better
This happens sometimes, but not as often as it used to. These alcohol cravings used to happen every night for the first few months into the quit. I would wage internal wars with myself, saying it was ok to have a drink. No, it’s not ok! Sure, it is. No, it’s not!
Getting sober is harder than staying sober. Once I had 6 months under my belt, the nightly thoughts become less and less frequent. Then, it’s just a memory. Cravings just don’t happen like they used to.
Every once in a while, alcohol cravings will flash my mind. I’ll think about the good times I had and fool myself into thinking that it could still be fun. Then, wisdom kicks in and I remember, I have a drinking problem. It hasn’t changed. It will be another slippery slope. I’ll have a drink one night, then I’ll have another drink a few weeks later because I did so well the first time. Eventually, I’ll get drunk; then wake up with a hangover and vow to sobriety again. But it will be harder this time. Hitting the reset button is never easy. Getting over the hump is the hardest part.
Don’t Quit the Quit
I know some sober folks are reading this, so are folks who are getting down on themselves for not getting sober the way they had planned in their mind. There is no secret weapon to getting sober, at least not for me. You deal with it and it’s hard. Your mood changes; anxiety and depression swings with your cravings; thoughts will try to get the best of you. Everything will be a mess, but you’ll get through it.
It’s extremely rewarding when you come out from the other side of it. You realize you can accomplish difficult tasks in your own undertaking, and you start to kick serious ass in other areas of your life. But, you’re not alone. Facebook has groups for people trying to get sober, there are AA meetings, and there are pros who will help. Don’t give up. You can do it. Here’s to two years of sobriety and more to follow.