Alcohol thoughts…

monstersImage credit: Calvin and Hobbes –  Monsters under the bed.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been having random thoughts about alcohol. The first one popped up during our weekly Sunday lunch. I went into the kitchen to get some water for the table and the thought popped up out of nowhere…RED WINE! It freaked me out so much I ran back to the table like something was chasing me. Mr Hurrah and the kids just did their usual ‘mommy is being weird’ faces to each other and we continued eating as if nothing happened.

The next random thought was after a long day, mr Hurrah was getting some soft drinks out of the fridge at the back and the thought popped up …BEER! I shook my head as if to shake the thought loose from my skull and went about the rest of the evening but there was a niggling worry at the back of mind the whole time. Why now…am I heading for trouble?

The following weekend, I was on facebook and saw my old ‘drinking mommy’ group on a night out. I found myself thinking wistfully about glamorous cocktails and of the wild abandon of a night out. I’m not friends with that group anymore partly because we had very little in common except the mutual love of gin and also because they stopped inviting me to things. Now before you say anything…I know, facebook sucks and I do have better things to do with my time but I use it for work and also to stay in touch as working from home can be terribly isolating.

Because alcohol thoughts happen so infrequently these days the regularity and intensity of them freaked me right out. My first instinct is to run or walk very fast like I used to when I was a little girl. I always thought monsters were chasing me on the way back from the bathroom in the middle of night. The second thing I want to do is hit the thought on the head with a crucifix screaming ‘DEVIL CHILD, DEVIL CHILD!’ in an effort to exorcise the demon. Remnant tendencies from all the time I spent in my Grandmother’s church no doubt.

As much as hate alcohol, somehow I don’t think fighting with the thought is the answer. I’ve done that before and when you engage in any way, you start negotiating with your addict voice. Mine is called Jack and he can sell atheism to a doorstep Jehovah. As soon as I give Jack any attention, even negative attention he will start convincing me why I miss it and how over dramatic I’ve been about the whole drinking thing. So I sit with the thoughts, without judgement and let them pass.

On reflection the thoughts weren’t so random after all. The first one was just an ‘association craving’. We used to always have red wine with Sunday lunch and my brain just pulled that memory out.

The beer thought was after a long day and I was tired. I used to think alcohol relaxed me so that was an ‘make me feel better – craving’

The cocktail craving is me needing to go out dancing. Mr Hurrah and I haven’t been out dancing since we went to see Guns and Roses and I feel it’s high time. I’ve booked a Halloween party, bought a blue wig and plan on wearing my fake fur leopard print coat and heels. Comfortable heels that I can dance in mind you, I may be wild and free but I’m practical too.

My addiction stole so much from me I’ll be damned if it steals my love of music and dancing just by association. Dancing sober was a massive step for me I never thought I could do it but once I  did I remembered  that dancing one of the greatest pleasures in life. I never needed alcohol to give me confidence, it was all an illusion!

We have to make sure we nurture all aspects of ourselves in sobriety is this is to be a lasting change. Sleep when you are tired and go out dancing till dawn if that is what floats your boat. We have so much to celebrate, being sober is bloody amazing and we should make time to still do the things we love. Sometimes cravings or thoughts about booze can tell us where we need to work harder on nurturing our whole selves.

23 thoughts on “Alcohol thoughts…

  1. “I shook my head as if to shake the thought loose from my skull….” I do this a lot, and sometimes my family sees me doing it. I’m sure it was strange for them at first, but they’re used to it now. For me, the best thing to do when those thoughts come is accept them and be mindful of my breathing. Like you say, arguing doesn’t do any good and can make things worse. Now go rock that blue wig!

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  2. I LOVE this post! What perfect timing for me. I am at a Sonia Choquette conference in Chicago, and the emphasis has been on all of the wonderful and mind-altering things that dancing does for you. She regularly stops talking so that we can all dance to Wild Thing, or I Was Born Like This. To be truthful, I almost didn’t attend the conference for this reason alone … dancing sober was something I hadn’t done since high school. But I am slowly overcoming my inhibitions. And just like you, I found out that dancing is still really fun. Who knew? I actually danced with a bunch of drinking people last night, after a tall glass of decaf coffee. And I’m up this morning all bouncy and happy, hangover free!
    Thank you for this encouragement, because there will be more dancing today. 😊

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  3. Dancing sober was so uncomfortable for me at first. And I love to dance so it was really sad. Now I tend to be the first one on the dance floor because I don’t need to have a few drinks to get up there anymore. I don’t do enough of it, but still love it and still have a great time with it. That’s r al fun😀

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  4. This is an awesome post. Thank you for sharing your thought process.
    I know many of us (meeeeee) want to stick our head in the sand and pretend we don’t get those thoughts…but that never helps.
    All thoughts are just that. It’s the actions that matter.

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  5. Tell me if this is a completely mad idea? You mentioned wanting to run… would actually running help with the head box. Thinking about drinking is kind of normal when you think of it, I still have my moments, over 7 years on. But we think it through to the sorry end. It only took about 3 months for people to stop inviting me out after I had stopped drinking, I was a pissed off at first but then I realised I was actually relieved!!! I hadn’t really much in common with them at ALL!!! You’re doing brilliantly s xx

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  6. Thank you for this reminder! I am slowly realizing that when you allow yourself to sit with the craving, you are usually able to find the root cause of it which then allows for healing, learning and growth from it. When I only allow myself to stubbornly fight it, the craving usually intensifies 100-fold, and I only come out on top once I allow myself some time to sit and think about the craving instead.

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  7. Hello Hurrah! Love your blog and we can always use a new, fresh voice in our tribe.

    I’m a knitter too! Was so excited to see you picked up this hobby! Knitting and crochet soothe my alcoholic (but sober!!!!) nerves. I wanted to let you know that Vickie Howell was a big deal on the DIY network for years and had a great show called, “Knitty Gritty’

    She’s back on Youtube now with an awesome free new series called “The Knit Show”. All TEN SEASONS are available to watch now. Check it out.

    Craftsy has AWESOME knitting classes you can buy and you own them for life. I really upped my knitting game with them and when I’m feeling down and out and stressed I reach for these classes. For the price of a bottle of wine you can enjoy your new hobby AKA therapy sessions.

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    • An important reminder indeed. It is not surprising that the neural pathways built over years, the associations, the ritual, the long held beliefs of reward, pleasure, escape, and the saturation of cultural conditioning will cause alcohol thoughts to pop up. I can’t believe how sometimes, unexpectedly the thought is there “wine would be nice right now” with even more suddenness than I can type the words. It can feel jarring for sure. It is also so very true that arguing or fighting the thought leads down a rabbit hole of crazy thinking while pausing, allowing it to just be there, letting it flow through until it passes then getting on with what’s next frees me to move into the next moment and the next with so much gratitude for this fresh, beautiful, awake, real alcohol free life.

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  8. I get these sometimes…any alcoholic who denies having them is perhaps not telling the truth. I think the recovery process is acknowledging them, shaking our heads, and moving on to our lives. I get the beer thought on hot days – so really, it means that I am thirsty. And yes, there are some associations I still have with / to alcohol even after 6+ years. I don’t imagine they will ever go away, but certainly it keeps me on my toes!

    Great post! Hope you are well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post. Great blog. It really hits close to home as I often feel the same temptations. I have stopped drinking for about the hundredth time and am amazed at the magnetic attraction alcohol has on my mind. It needs to be put to rest once and for all.

    Liked by 1 person

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