I want a life much more than I want a drink

By Diane J.

L. wrote:

> I can really relate to this thread. At 5:30 pm I celebrated 5 months. Not bad for the first time in over 10 years of daily drugging. I wasn’t having a big problem with craving until about 2 weeks ago. Now I’m going nuts.


First, congratulations on the five months and it’s nice to hear from another five-monther here (I’m five months and ten days, personally). And let me throw in some hearty commiseration. I’ve been “going nuts” craving for a solid week myself, after a couple of months of mostly perfect good cheer and lack of strong craving. Last week it kicked in: constant thoughts of drinking (my drug was vodka, with the occasional bottle or two of wine for variation), drunk dreams, EXACTLY and PRECISELY the kind of “logical” thinking (hey, no problem, time for a little relapse, plenty of people do THAT, right?) that you describe.

A specialist friend of mine tells me that 5-7 months sober is often a time of renewed craving, in his observation. You feel better physically, the memories of how bad it got (i.e., why you got desperate enough to stop in the first place) dim a little, you get tired of how much WORK sobriety seems to be and how many changes it seems to require in your life…..maybe some of that applies for you, too? I thought it might help to hear that it doesn’t seem to be that unusual a problem for us addicts.

What helps me not pick up is, when it’s at its worst, keeping the memories dusted off. I don’t dwell on it, but sometimes I need to not-so-gently remind myself that I’ve heard that logic in my head before, and I ran right after it, it was so beautifully plausible. I damn near didn’t survive in one piece to “get sober again.” I’m glad there are people who have “repeater’s luck,” but any thought that I’m one of them is a dangerous fantasy.

Also, I remind myself that I’ve DONE that—and I’m sick of it. I’m tired of drinking/not drinking eating up so much of my life: alcohol can’t be worth the amount of intelligence and passion and effort I’ve devoted to it. I want to USE all of that for something else. And if sitting through craving for a while is the first step, I’ll sit.

>The only thing that got me thru this weekend was the free HBO and Cinemax on cable. I ended up watching a ton of movies which I found distracted me from my cravings.

I envy you this one, I really do. Television is a trigger for me, unfortunately. I can barely watch anything without an impulse to pick up a bottle of vodka. (Umm…that even includes the Moyers special last week (laugh). Saw that lovely close up of shelves FULL of Majorska bottles and thought, “gee, yeah, why the hell not”–which is an odd thing to be thinking.

I try to find enjoyable distractions–reading works for me–some addiction-related, some not. Going for walks works. Sitting quietly outside on a nice day and reminding myself that feeling this good and calm and pleased with the sun and the breeze and being in my own skin is NOT compatible with getting drunk. And I WANT this feeling. And I’m curious. I can see the progress, even in the craving, over the past months. I want to see what MORE and LONGER will be like for me.

I want a life. Much more than I want a drink.

Hope this helps some and congratulations on getting this far.

Take care,

Diane J.

8 Apr 1998

And a month later:

L. wrote:

Tomorrow will be 6 months for me. This is the first time in my life I’ve tried to get clean. Yeah for me and my program. It works.

Hip hip hooray from me too. And, BTW, I hit 6 MONTHS myself earlier this week. I’m astonished–that’s the longest I’ve been sober in a quarter of a century!

Thank you, ALL of you, for being here! I had almost absolutely NO hope that this would work when I finally came off a rough long mostly self-detox at the end of October, except for the encouraging words from the detox doctor I finally called when I got too sick to move (“Ummm….yeah, you can do it that way, but why don’t you let me take a look at you and make sure you’re not going to kill yourself in the process”…listened patiently to my rant about how I wasn’t going NEAR anything that LOOKED like AA and about how I wasn’t going NEAR anything that looked like my previous experience with ‘treatment’, and then said the magic words:

“Hey, you know, people get sober without AA all the time. Why not give it a shot? You don’t sound like you’re having much of a good time drinking any more.”

Onward to another six months!!

Thank you all.

Diane J.

(“Hey, I’m an alcoholic–it’s not like I’m powerless or anything.”)

7 May 1998