For the past year I have struggled to quit drinking. I would not classify myself as an alcoholic. I drink large quantifies and don’t binge on the weekends. My reason for wanting to quit is mostly curiosity. How would my life be different if I didn’t partake of alcohol?
Over the past year I have tried various programs, support groups and apps with very little success. The longest I went without a glass of wine was 5 days.
The one theme that keeps coming up for me is that there is a window of time where I am the most likely to start drinking. If I can get past this window of time, I can usually skip the drink and be clear the rest of the evening.
The moment I get home, I catch myself thinking about a glass of wine. Actually, it goes back before I get home. I usually start thinking about wine around 4:30 as I am anticipating going home. Like Pavlov’s dogs, I start to salivate anticipating my reward.
What is interesting about this 4:30 time period is that this is where I start arguing with myself. My thoughts go something like this:
“I’m not going to drink tonight. But I’ve worked so hard. One glass is not going to make any difference. If it won’t make a difference, why not not have one. This is exhausting. I hate arguing with myself every day. I think I’ll have a drink when I get home. One won’t hurt.”
I get in a thought loop. It follows me all the way home. In my effort to not pour a glass of wine I sometimes (most of the time) chow down on a bunch of snacks and junk food. I immediately regret my choice and as punishment pour myself a glass of wine. I’m blowing it anyway. I might as well have a glass.
I hate the chatter. I hate the indecision. I hate on myself when I fail. It’s like a dog chasing it’s tail. I go around and around and around.
I believe the key to any chance of success is figuring out this window of time from 4:30 until around 6:30 when the urge seems overwhelming.
What is it about this particular time of day that is stressful or overwhelming that drives me to numb out?
That is the questions I will need to ask myself every day until I figure it out. I want to lay this out there. Be willing to fail and keep trying. There are other questions I have, too. Is it important to have a ‘why’? What if I don’t? Am I fully committed to quitting or am I just taking a break? Do I need to decide that now? Why am I waffling on this?
Just for today I will commit to not drink. Just today I will pay attention to what I am thinking around 4:30. Just today.