It took me a while – but my 6 month Soberversary has triggered a few little jitters. I haven’t fallen off the wagon but I’ve had some challenging thoughts lately – mostly focused on ‘Really? Forever!?’.
One moment happened in the kitchen late at night while tidying up. My partner came in and said he was going for a shower. I caught a glimpse of the drinks cabinet over his shoulder and for a split second I thought “I can have a quick swig while he’s in the shower”. There was no strong compulsion to act on the thought (maybe a compulsion of 2 out of 10) but it still caught me off guard – it was just random and unexpected.
The other situation was actually a string of moments. We’re in the midst of planning a holiday and I’ve been remembering old trips and daydreaming how nice it would be to have a celebratory drink at our exciting destinations. It still isn’t an overwhelming compulsion but it’s more than the random thought (maybe 4 or 5 out of 10). It was also enough to make me Google new topics like “can alcoholics ever drink moderately again?”.
I’m trying to think of it as being like when I started running:
At the beginning: I would huff & puff towards the next 100 metre goal or struggle to get through the next 5 minutes. I had no choice but to focus on my immediate surroundings because it was such hard going.
After a few weeks of practice: I could go a few kilometres & had already run all around my neighbourhood. I was setting myself speed and distance goals. My attention was able to focus on the next kilometre or the next 15 minutes.
Now: I can run more than 22km and it’s usually quite easy. Other times when I’m on a big run I look up and see tall buildings far off on the distant horizon. If I look at them too long the idea of running to those buildings and back (20km) feels incredibly overwhelming. When that happens I have to forget about the horizon, focus on my immediate surroundings and a set a goal for the next 15 minutes… and then I do that over and over again until I miraculously reach the 21km mark.
But unlike running I probably have to keep being sober ‘forever’… ‘Forever’ is a really far horizon if I think too much about it. I guess I have to use my running strategy and keep my attention focused on medium term goals.
For now I’m going to try and stop focusing on ‘forever’ and focus on my 40th birthday in August instead… I want to be fitter and healthier at 40 than I was when I was 20. That seems achievable and not overwhelming.