I stopped drinking two years ago next month. I really needed to stop drinking. I was going to have health problems of the irreversible variety if I didn’t get control of the alcohol situation. In just five or so years of drinking too much I was bloated and pale and sick to death of waking up with my heart racing and smelling of vomit. So I quit. But I think I’m doing it wrong.

To address the alcohol first, I have had a few (very few) beers after a year of completely abstaining. I don’t like the taste. I don’t like how it makes me feel. Alcohol basically sucks now. I don’t think about it, I don’t miss it, I regularly pass when friends are drinking and it’s no longer because I’m trying to stay sober. It’s because I don’t want it. That’s cool I guess. I had a patient last week wake up from surgery and the first thing he told his friend was that he needs to stop and get whiskey on the way home because he doesn’t have enough to get through Sunday. I don’t miss the constant buying of booze, calculating how long it will last and rotating liquor stores. Happy to leave that behind.

I do miss early sobriety. I had an excuse to do almost nothing but take care of myself even if that meant staying in bed with a book all day. That is long gone and my life is a bit of a mess. The way I isolated myself when drinking hasn’t changed. My ability to deal with life seems somehow WORSE. I hadn’t noticed my fence was about to fall down so my neighbor just fixed it himself. I have leaves from last winter in my back yard. I hate myself a lot of the time. I’m easily made anxious. I seem unable to deal with simple things and it’s all piling up. I GAINED weight after I quit drinking. I feel like alcoholic rubble. A pile of wreckage after the storm. Ugly and disorganized and useless.

The psychiatrist I was seeing for about a year before and after I quit drinking wasn’t all that helpful. I started medication a bit before I quit drinking. My anxiety was never well controlled though. It was better for a while just from getting the alcohol out of my system but that was temporary. With SSRI’s and SNRI’S we could not get the dosing right. I was having vomiting and weight gain but not great relief of symptoms. In the end, he actually said he does not believe that anxiety disorder is a real thing. I was like whaaaaat? Are you sure you have a license? He put me on medication for bi-polar disorder with which I have never been diagnosed just because nothing else was working and after about two months I weaned myself off because I was having no improvement and that drug has deadly side effects. I stopped seeing him and found myself worn out again from trying to get help and it going nowhere.

Anthony Bourdain hurt my feelings when he killed himself. He reinvented himself at 44. He was impossibly cool. He went everywhere I want to go and his curse words were like fine oil paintings. Several years ago I was drunk and struggling and I spent a lot of time watching No Reservations and cooking badly. It helped. I mean shit. That was someone who gave me hope that you could get your shit together and still be badass over 40.

I feel like I should clarify that I am not suicidal, no need to try to get my ISP to 911. There is a life I want to be living and I still feel like getting sober was a step toward that. I just can’t seem to get myself there. Life doesn’t need to be this hard. I don’t know why I make it so hard. How do I make it less hard?

10 thoughts on “I think I’m doing sobriety wrong

  1. Alcohol was my solution, until it stopped working and became my problem. Sobriety, or “Life”, was my problem. This is not at all to diminish the seriousness of alcoholism, which IS a fatal illness. Problem is that too many people treat it like a common cold and passively wave at it when they get sober. Hell, why get sober at all if that’s ends up being one’s effort. Five years sober is early sobriety. I was 9 years into recovery before I reconnected with the world and started living a life that was free from the bondage of self!

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  2. I understand anxiety, depression, disorganization all too well. What helped me was not waiting to feel better or waiting until I felt like it, to make the changes I need. I started doing things because I knew they would make me feel better later, not necessarily better at that moment. I made a list of things that annoy me that I do (leave dishes in the sink, fold laundry but don’t put it away, going into another room and leaving behind what I needed to bring with me). Then I made an agreement to make changes: do dishes immediately after using them, put the laundry away after folding, stop before leaving and room and asking myself if there’s anything I need. Slowly, I got better and better. And the better I got at it, the better I felt. The same applies with socializing. My default is to always come up with an excuse. I make myself go out and see people and I never regret it. Same with exercise. I make myself spend some time every day doing something for exercise (even if it’s just a 10 minute walk…and so often, those 10 minute walks turn into 20, 30 min.). Exercise releases feel good endorphins that are necessary to my well being. Finally, taking time each morning to give myself a mantra for the day. I sure hope you feel better soon. Congrats on staying sober through it! xo

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  3. Do you go to AA? I found the steps an excellent path to self awareness. Combined with Yoga and some good therapy to help me find some unconditional self acceptance I have found contentment.

    I have been sober for 4 1/2 years. My life is definitely more interesting now, but I definitely do less and expect less of myself too. I spend my energy where I want to. Mostly at Yoga, concerts and travelling.

    Embracing recovery opened up a new world of friends and ideas for me. I was lonely and disconnected. It helped.


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  4. I struggled with anxiety and depression for years.
    A doctor put me an a heavy bi polar med that I finally got of. I felt better off of it!
    I always say, I agree with Anne, because I have found what she says to be so true! AA and volunteering really helped me get out of isolation!
    I do less, and I’m happier!
    Another hug!


  5. I don’t think so much that you’re doing sobriety wrong but rather your sobriente might be stagnant. Try changing it up a little bit. Maybe go to an AA meeting and make some new female friends. If that’s not your thing, then try memorizing Bible verses and studying The Bible. This has helped me a lot to sure. I am also 2 years over and I also feel like I’m in a bit of a rut. So I started up my blog again and I would love for you to come visit my blog and read some of the articles I’ve written maybe they will inspire you and help you. http://www.soberchik211.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

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