Quitting Alcohol

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

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.