This is a post for myself to refer back to if I EVER feel like drinking again. If this helps anyone else that is awesome too.
I had 5 years sobriety in my 20’s but was white knuckling it alone. In my thirties 2 and half years, then another year and half. Then a couple of months at a time (3 to 6 months stretches). I know it seems like I was going backwards in my journey but everytime I went back to drinking I learned something new.
A lapse is one night of drinking followed by getting back on the horse the next day. A relapse is sustained drinking until of course you stop again (if you manage to stop again I should say)
Here is what I learned from all of my lapses/relapses throughout the last couple of years.
- It get’s harder and harder to get back on that horse. The longer you relapse for the more shit goes down you are ashamed of and the more you want to drink it away.
- Once you’ve realised that you are addicted to alcohol going back to drinking is like going back into a burning house. You know the house is on fire so the cognitive dissonance of the addiction is there all the time.
- Alcohol doesn’t silence the inner critic. If you are addicted, the booze stops working the way it ‘used’ to. Even when you are drunk you are still aware of the inner critic voice. And the next morning the voice is screaming not talking.
- Alcohol doesnt soothe depression it exasperates it. Alcohol is a depressant. If it did soothe depression why are alcoholics so sad and lonely?
- Alcohol does not cure or help loneliness, the addiction isolates you. You can’t hang out with normal people and you can’t truly connect with anyone if you are drunk because you are not present.
- Alcohol doesn’t help anxiety. Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can and does worsen anxiety.
- Your brain is permanently changed once you have repeated the addictive behaviour enough times you can never go back to normal drinking. This is not a ‘habit’ it is drug addiction and it’s progressive.
- Drinking does not relieve boredom. If you are bored with your life it’s because you’ve been drinking for most of it and there is nothing more boring that getting or being drunk all the time.
- Alcohol does not soothe nor help after a trauma. It makes the trauma ten times worse. All it does is press the pause button on what happened and the next day in the cold light of morning you are faced with two devastations, the original trauma which was bad enough and then the fact that you drank.
- It makes you sick. You body’s immune system is at an all time low and if you keep going back it’s just going to get sicker and sicker.
- Level of alcohol consumption will increase at an alarming rate if you keep doing what you are doing.
- The first three weeks are the hardest BUT I’ve also learned that your body needs at least 1 to 2 years of sustained sobriety to fully recover from the damage alcohol did.
- Depression is very common in early sobriety because your brain needs to heal and recalibrate. You’ve been messing with the brain’s pleasure centre in the most dangerous way so your brain needs TIME to recover.
- This addiction kills people but before it kills you it will take away your dignity and it can do irreparable damage to the people you love the most.
- You can’t do it alone and in secret.If you keep that back door open you will use it! You need to be accountable to your nearest and dearest and you need community. This time I have community(ya’ll) and I cannot begin to say how much it’s helping me to know that I’m not alone in this.