Warning lights


The cravings are coming thick and fast these days. I’m seriously having an uphill battle here. I feel really irritable, tired and want to curl up in sleep in a darkened room. I don’t want to see people, I hate everyone. Most people around me aggravate me and basically humanity as a whole sucks. As you can tell I am a regular ray of sunshine lately and it must be truly amazing to be in my presence. There is no farting glitter or pooping rainbows at casa Hurrah these days, just big, irksome rainclouds that won’t stop raining. My poor family are just patiently suffering through it. We had a meet up with friends yesterday and it just turned out to be ‘another thing to get done’ before I can rest.

I’ve also been feeling very uncomfortable in my own skin recently. I’ve picked up weight and feel like my skin is crawling with all the sugar and excess coffee. I can’t really stand to look in the mirror at all so I run past them like a mad person. During this stressful time of working so much and little sleep I really haven’t been paying attention to my nutrition, exercise or rest. These crucial things have all been on the back burner in favour of surviving because work and money has taken up all my time in the last two months. My word for the year is self-care and yes I stopped smoking and yes I’m not drinking but I am NOT taking good care of myself at all.

As you may or may not know I have been prone to relapse in the past, I’ve seriously lost count of the amount of times I started drinking again after making a solemn vow I’ll never do it again. I could call myself the ‘relapse queen’ but I won’t because I would like to stay stopped this time and don’t fancy being remembered as that.

Basically, I can feel myself slipping, so I’ve done a bit of research about relapses. This is my new thing now, I’m documenting my sober journey like an annoying little detective. (Sorry, but I’m seriously irritating myself to no end)

A relapse doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It just feels like it does, every time I’ve relapsed it felt like waking up out of a dream and not knowing how it happened. Like I had no say in it, it felt like my conscious choice was non-existent and my addicted mind took over my body. It felt very similar to the fight of flight response when your reptile brain is left in charge while your prefrontal cortex is taking a little holiday.

A relapse is a process,  not an event. It can start weeks or months before you actually pick up a drink.

The three stages of relapse:

Emotional relapse
You are not thinking about drinking but your emotions and behaviors are setting you up.
· Anxiety · Intolerance · Anger · Isolation · Not asking for help · Poor eating habits · Poor sleep habits – Not making recovery a daily priority

Mental relapse
You’ve started entertaining the idea of drinking, and the tug of war starts. You glamorise drinking and pine for the ‘good ol’ days’

Physical relapse 
It’s difficult to stop a relapse when it get’s to this point. (not impossible but much harder)

It appears as though there is a substantial amount of time prior to the relapse that gives you the opportunity to turn it around which is great news.

This is one of the reasons why AA’s maxim ‘one day at a time’ works so well. Staying sober is a daily practice of self-care, self-love, self-reflection.

This is not an easy thing for an addict to do. We tend to be all or nothing, go big or go home kinda people so the slow and steady, small steps every day is very foreign to me. I get obsessed so when I work that’s all I do, there is no balance!

I’m off to take a walk and then early to bed.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
— Buddha

79 thoughts on “Warning lights

  1. As someone who has her own track record of relapses and self-sabotage all I can say is do WHATEVER you can to get to the other side of this craving. Even when it feels like there is not other option but to drink or the feeling of “what’s the point” comes over you, it is so not worth it and so not what you think it’s going to be.
    Start with teeny tiny nuggets of self care, a herbal tea instead of an extra coffee(as a fellow connoisseur,my caffeine consumption has skyrocketed and it only makes anxiety and stress worse – for real), going to bed as soon as humanly possible after the work is at an acceptable stop point, a hot shower/bath and then full body scented moisturising. Do any tiny little thing that signifies you are still worthy and deserving and then promise yourself more sleep, more reading, better diet when work and time allow. Sometimes it’s not possible to slow down when you have work and deadlines and it can be too simplistic to say get new work or just slow down. I get that right now that might not be an option.
    Seriously look at reducing the caffeine slightly as it really can make a bad situation worse and I say that off the back of having to seriously cut back myself cos I was going a bit doolally from too much. If you can carve out an hour to stay in bed with a crappy novel or Netflix, do it.
    I’m sure you have said befor that all cravings go away eventually. Just notice where you are, how you feel, don’t forget to breathe and “one day at a time” it.
    🌟💫☄✨💫 there is some fairy magic in case all else fails.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Thank you for the fairy magic, I can always do with that! I know you are totally right about the coffee. I have to admit defeat, it isn’t all its cracked up to be. It does make me more anxious, going to try the herbal teas and also the moisturising, I totally forget about that. I’m basically an over caffeinated bloated crocodile☺

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like you need a self-care extravaganza. That’s exactly what I’m due for and I just wrote about in my neck of the blogosphere. One self care moment at a time and you’ll be through this patch.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Yes, to above comments.
    I have coffe in am, then switch to herbal tea in afternoon.
    That has really helped my anxiety.
    Can you take a bath or shower before bed?
    That really relaxes me.
    I also understand work..there were times teaching that I too thought I was going crazy.
    You aren’t alone.
    We are here to support you!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hey, it will pass. But yeah, when you’re in it that means nothing… I know. I found writing down my first step really helpful. Times when I swore I wouldn’t drink or I’d have just one or the ” fuck it” moment. Then writing down what followed that. If you think you feel shit now imagine the whole new level of shiftiness that will follow a drink. Get a meeting, pick up the phone all the usual advice here but it works. Sending good vibes. S x

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Hug.
    Just be gentle with yourself. Take every opportunity to rest. Drink a glass of water. Maybe carry some essential oil you like and occasionally smell it and smile.
    It truly is the little moments of consciousness that keep a person grounded and mindful.
    And keep writing.


    Liked by 3 people

  6. I got: “Well, aren’t you a little ray of pitchblack?” on my timeline today. 🙂 Hope you can share the laugh at that. 🙂

    Sorry to hear that life is so stressful for you now. I read the first sentences and thought: you know EXACTLY what a woman who loves herself would do! So, go curl up in the your bed, chuck out the hubs with the kids and have a You Day. 🙂
    And as Saoirsek says: thanks for the relapse info. With 2,5 year plus I’m thinking I might be immune to relapse but just yesterday I jokingly told somebody my hangover cure like nothing ever happened and I was thinking “What?!” And then when somebody replied with “I knew you are an alco!” it did not even strike a nerve or remind me of something since the whole not drinking and the reason for that has been pushed to the back. Addiction is cunning and indeed the only way out is selfcare. Wishing you selfcare for the easter. Do what a woman who loves herself would do.
    xx, Feeling

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you feeling. ‘A little ray of pitchblack’ is the best way to decribe it! That made me laugh. I am going to remember your advice about the woman who loves herself. I need to take some time and regroup. Recovery isnt an ‘event’ either its a process and it has to be worked on and nurtured regularly. I relapsed after 5 years. I would have been really upset if someone said that to me -the alcho comment. I’m glad to hear you brushed it off. Now I’m off to find a dark room so that I can be a little ray of pitchblack in peace.xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m known to relapse too (many a time) I also have been feeling off lately. The amount of sugar I have beIen eating is unreal, I believe sugar leads to cravings. They are probably cravings for sugar, but for us they are cravings for alcohol.

    Every time I have relapsed there has been a recognisable series of events that lead to it. Like you said it can take weeks, until you get to the point where everyday is a struggle and you can’t go on like that, so you drink.

    I’ve never notice the pattern until it’s too late, you are recognising your pattern BEFORE it’s too late and you can make the changes you need. Belle calls this stage pre-lapse.

    Time for rest, work can wait. Good, healthy food, I agree coffee winds me up, makes me edgy. Even one cup can do this.

    You have the strength, ability and wisdom to come out the other side of this with your sobriety intact. I know you will be ok, you have so many people in your corner cheering you on. X

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. Yes this is the first time I am actually seeing warning signs. My previous attempts I basically just read Alan car’s book and that’s it. Then ‘woke’ up after a relapse wondering what happened. There is a lot more to staying sober than just stopping drinking. I think you may be right about the sugar (and the coffee) My body feels cr@p when I have too much of either and that triggers cravings for booze. The brain scans to a quick fix and booze used to be a quick fix to feel better in my body. Sugar and caffeine are like drugs and I can clearly see this affects me more than I like to admit. Dangit!


  8. I have always tried to do what is suggested in times like these. Find a way to get out of yourself, by helping or service. My relapses were the result of experiencing emotional pain adequate enough that only using is a relief. taking steps to relieve that before it gets too intense. I’ve also found my close calls and times I have relapsed are cyclical or have a rhythm to the point I could predict when and could head them off. I’ll keep you in my prayers Happy Easter

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have been having similar battles in my mind. Those same old thoughts returning telling me that I can be a ”casual” drinker. Envy overwhelming me when I sit with a group of drinkers and can’t be one of them. I recently went on a camping trip and it SUCKED. I didn’t know what to do with myself at night. I used to sit outside the tent and get drunk. It was dark and too early to go to bed but sitting outside in the cold was NOT fun when all I was drinking was a cup of tea. I probably ruined the trip for everyone with my mood. I have to get rid of this ‘poor me…..I am missing out’ mentality. It really is a huge mind game. I know Joe Dispenza says we can change our brain pathways through meditating and envisaging ourselves in the place we want to be. I just can’t sit still for one hour to concentrate on his guided medication. I did it twice and it was pure torture. I make every excuse under the sun to do something, anything else but meditate. There have been a few moments where I nearly gave in. I wanted to give up six months of sobriety just to let my mind have its way with a bottle of wine. How sad. It is like a Jekyll and Hyde in my brain. Thank God there is someone battling on my behalf. Is it Jekyll or Hyde, I do not know but I sure am grateful for them. Hang on, if there are two people in my brain fighting with each other about whether or not I should return to ALCOHOLISM and I am fully aware of MYSELF standing on the outside then there are really three people in this equation~! which means that there are two people who truly DO NOT WANT TO DRINK. Me and Jekkyl……or me and Hyde. Forgive me, I am having an A Ha moment here!!! off to meditate (sort of) on that one………………

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m not surprised it’s torture. I would not be able to sit still for an hour! When I remember or make time to meditate its usually around 10 min, 20 min max. Also I just membered one of Eckhards quote where he says it doesn’t matter how long the moment of presence is it matter how often you are present in your daily life. I totally get your A-Ha moment. You have become present enough to notice the observer as well so you are not totally stuck in ‘mind’ maybe I have as well because I’ve ‘noticed’ the slip instead of sleepwalking into drinking again. Being surrounded by other drinkers and staying happy about your decision is also a continual practice I think. I have to give myself a massive pep-talk before I go out. Remember that they are drinking alcohol, which is addictive to all humans not just a select few. Just because they look like they are having a good time doesn’t mean that it’s all rosy. Notice how uncomfortable most get when they can’t drink or when they have to wait for a drink. You are not being deprived in fact you have the best deal, you’ve come out the other side. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, at least half an hour of the guided meditation is taken up with Dr Joe doing a body scan. He starts with the eyes and moves down to the toes………..very slowly. I am used to doing the body scan myself but in a much quicker and less monotone way. When he reaches the part on looking at a negative thought and turning that around I come alive. I might have to learn to skip the first half hour and do some version of my own then turn back on to the last half. Or come up with my own version which might work better!
        I am working with the ‘three people’ in this equation theory. It reminds me of what Eckhart said when he had his ‘I can’t live with myself anymore’ in his book The Power of Now. I am hoping it rubs off and I can sit on park benches staring in to space for the next year in a complete peaceful mindset. It sure beats having to deal with real life.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Do NOT pick up Hurrah. Do whatever you have to do, take all of the advice given above but step away from thinking about picking up. I had 144 days , then my husband & I went to Amsterdam for 2 night me to celebrate his 50th. We had the best time, but I drank telling myself it was just for the 2 days we were away. That was 5 weeks ago and I am finding it SO difficult to stay stopped again. So another Day 1 for me today, but please do NOT pick up. Catherine K x

    Liked by 5 people

  11. If you can take some time to get outside and take a walk. The weather is turning so much nicer and I find that 30 minutes to myself on a beautiful does wonders for my mood. There are no magic answers but I think trying to reset your mind from a self defeating, slipping down the hill to “I can do this, it will pass” mindset may make you feel more confident and in control of the situation. Your post “What my lapses and relapses have taught me” is one of my favorite posts ever. Go read that one! Sending you hugs.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I feel like this entire quit I have been on for 77-78 days now is one big exercise in white knuckling. I hope you (we) find more equilibrium & comfort soon. I hate feeling bloated. Try dandelion tea (add a bag of decaf mint, the dandelion is yucky alone, in my opinion) or spinach, kale and even cilantro and parsley are reportedly natural diuretics. Parsley, in particular, is said to increases the amount of urine your body produces and be naturally high in potassium, which minimizes the risk of low potassium levels as a result of using diuretics.

    Hang in there. I love your blog and you love you sober. Q

    Liked by 2 people

  13. You’re a very strong woman and you can get through this. Always there to encourage me and cheer me on, remember all the kind words you give to all of us and direct those towards yourself and you can get through anything. I hope you’re feeling better this morning. As for the weight gain and not taking care of yourself as best you usually do…it happens. You can get back on track though. Go for a run today, and maybe some hot yoga. It’ll make you feel better. Maybe go for a spray tan too!! Hugs xo

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you my love, that is so nice to hear. I did go for a run this morning and feel better for it. Will go to bed early again tonight:) I won’t drink, just need to learn how to get through feeling so gross without medicating with booze. xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Don’t be too hard on yourself!!! Even if your diet and health theme is off the rails, you are still NOT DRINKING which is HUGE!!!! Give yourself a hug from me 😊 and btw I have spent Easter weekend eating potato chips and chocolate from dawn to dusk…

    I’ve been relapsing all over hell’s half acre the past 1&1/2 years after long-term abstinence. So far I’ve had 33 consecutive days AF this year, then B-BAM 💥….refuckinglapse. I was tired/sick/pissed off at my husband which seems to be the perfect storm for me to default to alcohol as a means of escape and a temporary feel-good when feeling physically shitty.

    That genius decision to drink again included the purchase & guzzling of a bag-in-a-box wine seductively named after red velvet chocolate cake, followed by another perfect storm of hangover/migraine/projectile vomiting. (Note to self: should have just gone to the bakery to purchase & gobble an actual red velvet cake.Also, dispensing alcohol from a tap is never a good idea – as cute as it seems at the time.)

    Anyhow… Day 10 today. And I am now focusing on abstaining one day at a time ( that expression really annoyed me until recently). I’m gorging myself on sober blogs and yours are among my favourites (esp. “Things I Won’t Miss About Drinking”) Also Mrs D’s “Then and Now…” So I guess what is really helping me right now is “replaying the film.” Because let’s face it, our “films” are all pretty much the same just with different actors. It is so easy to become amnesiac about how shitty drinking makes us feel. Even for people like me who are only on Day 10. Thankyou for posting about relapse as well – it helps a LOT and I need to be much more savvy about it.

    I have sometimes glared angrily at my “toolbox” …which is why it is currently sitting on the bottom of the lake in front of my house….so thanks for lending me some of yours!!! Wishing you the best xoxo

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for stopping by and for the lovely words of encouragement. I can’t find a link to your blog, do you have one I’d love to read it? ‘One day at a time’ and ‘don’t quit before the miracle happens’ two of the most overused platitudes. They used to really annoy me too until I realised that these two statements are the only thing that will help me get up from being on knees over alcohol. xxx


  15. Thanks Hurrah! Thank you for throwing the hazards on. You’ve identified some personal patterns and how they fit into general trends. I know this feeling really well. My number one trigger is isolation.

    When I start to get that insatiable craving to hole away I. Some hovel, to get privacy…for a week, it’s time for me to get help. And that’s exactly what you’re doing. Reaching out for help.

    Holding you in the light, Hurrah, and I have faith that this community can lend you the strength you need to get through this without a drink.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I know I’m really amazed that I managed to spot this early on. I always thought the lapses or relapses happened all of a sudden, it turns out there is lots of time to turn it around. I’m so incredibly grateful for this new knowledge. Isolation is a big one for me too. When I start thinking and saying things like I want to curl up in a darkened room and not see anyone then I know something is UP. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  16. some of what you wrote here, i know exactly how you feel. it was weird to read, i felt like i wrote parts of it! you will get through. and then it will probably get hard again sometime. and then it will get better and so on.. I don’t know, i’m only 7 months in. i just keep riding the waves.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Not smoking and not drinking is def taking care of your self. Thanks for your honesty and the reality in your writing…. you give us more hope than you will ever know. Love you sister. Hugs in cyberspace to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I really look up to your experience, wisdom and great advice and this post, like so many of yours has lots of brilliant information. I’m impressed by how clearly and honestly you can see your own situation. So much great advice from others above, I don’t know how I can add to it. I feel you though, I also had a rough couple of days. As for the coffee, I’ve been practically racking up lines and snorting it, I definitely need to lay off too 😦 After my recent woodland lovin’ I’ve taken to having a couple of drops of pine essential oil in my bath which seems to bring a bit of the vibe home too. Take some time out for you and take care. Sending you hugs and sober strength, keep going xx

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Hang in there! Belle has some excellent advice about pre lapse. I know when I am in it my self care goes out of the window, or maybe its the other way round? Anyway once I start to feel that way I now consciously up the self care. Avoid overwhelm as much as possible. Cut down on anything I can, become a selfish sloth. I view taking care of me as number one priority, because if I drink again every one else will be adversely affected.
    I’ve recently gone through a number of lapses and wrote about it on my blog, which was hard to do, so I applaud your honesty and understand how difficult it can be to admit to lapses.
    Hugs x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you yes, there is more to lose you are totally right. I was sober for 5 years in my 20s, was whiteknuckling it and really had no support or much knowledge about addiction, then did strecthes of a couple of years, and then a couple of months at a time. This is the first time I can see the stages of relapse instead of sleepwalking into it. 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  20. The sugar thing is huge. In my first quit-drinking four or five months, I also quit sugar, and that lent so much stability to that time. I’m not off sugar this time but feel like I need to be, and am about to reskim the fabulous book _Potatoes Not Prozac_. Have I very loudly recommended it to you (yet)? 🙂 She not only has some brain chemistry to back up the link between alcohol and sugar dependence, but she also has a plan. A seven-week plan for dropping the sugar. The Amazon reviews are filled with hundreds of people who snapped on and off of alcohol for years and only found peace and stability once they quit sugar. And there are other quit-sugar books that I haven’t read. This one was convincing and actionable.

    And also in the world of tools, this just appeared in my inbox. Hip Sobriety is a fun wealth of experience, knowledge, experimentation, honesty….. highly recommend it if you’re not already reading there!: http://www.thehipsobrietyproject.com/making-sobriety-stick-6-tips. Hang in there. Don’t drink. Get the tools that you in particular need. Add some bliss-producing activities to your days. You will find your way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for the recommendation! Bought the ‘Potatoes Not Prozac’ book today. I can see there must be a link because I have the same shitty feelings around sugar as I did alcohol. I won’t drink, but I can’t keep mainlining the sugar either as it’s not a sustainable way to live. x

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m going to start it again TODAY. On the “same feelings” subject, yesterday I ate a pint of ice cream (at night (which isn’t good) and after yoga no less (prob. not a coincidence), and I watched something in me feel a certain feeling (guilt or dread) and for a second it didn’t know what substance it was worried I had ingested against my better judgment. Same reflex and “crap!” It was subsequently relieved that it was only sugar, but this is still not ideal, and the double take was comical in a way.


  21. Emotional sobriety is a topic that Bill W wrote a lot about. He knew that without it, the mental and eventual physical relapse would come. That glass in hand doesn’t happen overnight, as you mentioned in your great post. It takes time. For those with lots of time, it can take even years. A slow erosion in the things that have worked. I often think of this when I go on long streaks of feeling uncomfortable. So I halt it after a day or two and try to pull myself out. I know myself too well that I get a “buzz” from self-pity, so I force myself to do the things which center me. Exercise, meditation, writing, etc. It’s amazing how much we get caught up in our own heads. What I do know is that a drink will make things 1000 times worse.

    Anyways, I get what you say and I know how it feels. Staying grounded is key for me.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about the self pity thing or it’s like being addicted to drama or unhappiness. The ego feeds off these things. I need to work out a routine where I integrate things like exercise meditation etc into every day. Not just the days that I don’t have mountains of work. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Oh Hurrah, I hope the ‘feeling better’ you mentioned takes hold…and hangs on!

    I’m a couple days late to this post, but I felt soooo bad for you, reading your vivid account of struggle. Please give yourself credit for the hard-won knowledge and awareness…and progress that you have made. You DID gain something from those previous struggles/relapses. And a HUGE hurrah (!) to you for every moment of resistance that you have achieved so far – and can continue to achieve, I know.

    Have you had depression issues in the past…is it possible that something like that is creeping up (offered as a ‘depression veteran’).

    Also: I’m just recalling the very good advice I came across recently – when bad, difficult thoughts happen…don’t struggle against them. Sit. Think. Let them in and Acknowledge them. The times I’ve tried it, it’s really helped.

    You’re are a strong chickie….keep on keepin’ on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I was diagnosed as bipolar in my teens and was on many different types of meds for it. I’m not on anything now and am scared to go that route. I’m feeling so much better the last couple of days. I’ve been trying that suggestion of just letting the feelings be and not trying to fight against them or distract myself from them. They do seem to lose their power much quicker when you do that! Thank you for your lovely words of encouragement I really appreciate it.


  23. Such a great post and I love all the amazing comments. Learning how to manage the cravings has made all the difference for me this time (on day 43). I’ve strung together longer periods of sobriety the last year or so but couldn’t stick with it. I’m much more aware this time. Thanks for sharing the relapse info. Helps to see it in black and white. Hang in there! You obviously have a lot of people cheering you on and you can now add me to that list. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Suzanne! Learning to manage the creavings and also spotting the signs of slipping back into negative thought pattenrs and poor self care seems to have helped me string together some time. Thanks for stopping by:) xxx


  24. HEY, I’m sorry I’m late to see this post, but I’m loving all of the amazing support here for you ❤ ❤
    How are you doing today? Hopefully really good. I know what you mean about dashing past mirrors and chubbing up – I'm blaming it on the quitting smoking lol.
    Super busy at work but just wanted to pop in and give you some hugs and ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank you for the information about relapse, I shared it with my husband as it is something he is constantly working to recognize in order to avoid. Self care doesn’t always happen all at once the way many of us, me included, envision. We don’t wake up one day drinking green smoothies, no sugar, eating only organic food, and doing yoga, exercise, and meditating regularly. If we aim to do that instantaneously (which I have done with much disappointment), it can make us feel like failures. It is a process, you have taken major major steps in this by not drinking and smoking, wow!!! I have found that by making small manageable changes, “I will drink a green smoothie 5/7 days a week, I will go to gym at least three times a week, I will do yoga once a week,” I have success and I can slowly add these things to my daily routine with more ease and automaticity. And it’s okay to go through phases, we are not robots, we are human. You are not picking up, that is enough. All of this said I have not struggled with addiction in the way you and many others like my hubby have and I just want to say I think you are so brave, amazing, and strong. I am holding you in my heart as you struggle through this. ❤️❤️❤️ Marahu

    Liked by 1 person

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