Call me paranoid but things are going so well with quitting that I sometimes get suspicious. For the last 8 years my life felt like it was being controlled by alcohol and everything was brought to a head during 2012 & 2013 as I had my second and third rounds of cancer treatment.
Since I made the decision to quit (unconditionally, completely and forever) all of the stress, angst and uncertainty has just evaporated… like vodka off a hot tin roof. After so many attempts at moderation and quitting I can’t really pinpoint why this time has felt so different…
All I can put it down to is:
1) I (unsuccessfully) tried so many approaches to moderation and controlling my drinking that I realised that quitting was the only realistic option.
2) I had several attempts at quitting for short periods that I had some practice about how to do it. ‘Failed’ attempts are not always failures – they can also be learning experiences.
The situation reminds me of when I worked at a family mediation service working with separating couples. A common situation with some separating couples was that the partner who ended the relationship had spent months debating the options, being unhappy/angry, and trying to work things out before they made the final decision. They had often spent months, and sometimes years, grieving the loss of the relationship before it officially ended.
The other partner was often taken by surprise or was finally confronted by the situation and could no longer deny the problem. They did most of their grieving after the relationship ended. Mediation about separation agreements could be difficult with these couples because:
1) One partner was quite matter-of-fact, focused on the future and wanting to sort out the separation details (sometimes with an almost clinical, business-like approach).
2) The other partner was still deep in grief, focused on what has just happened and sometimes still clutching at straws hoping to reconcile the relationship.
They were awful and messy dynamics and sometimes if mediation could be delayed we would recommend waiting a few months so both partners could make clear-headed and rational decisions. I think I’m like the partner who ended my relationship with booze. I did my crying, wailing and gnashing of teeth for most of 2012 and 2013 – and now that I’ve ended the relationship I feel free and focused on the future.
After a relaxed and sober Christmas and New Year I’m looking forward to a great 2014. I hope the same for anyone reading this!