Mind, Quitting Alcohol

A Tonic for Self-Loathing

The first two days of quitting alcohol were a failure.  I wanted to pay attention to my feelings and thoughts as 4:30 came around.  That seems the time of day as I am anticipating going home, that I start craving a glass of wine.

Here is where my mind went:  Are you sure you want to quit? Is it really necessary? Why not just slow down a bit?

I was surprised by this.  I thought that what I would be thinking would be more along the lines of ‘this is too hard’ or ‘I really want a glass of wine’. I was questioning myself as to why I wanted to quit.  This was a very valuable discovery.

What it tells me is that I need to know why I’m doing this.  It  has to be a strong why.  I need to be able to answer my brain definitely and with conviction that this is the right choice for me.  But what if I don’t have a strong ‘why’?

The universe handed me the answer like magic.  It wasn’t pretty.  Let me start at the beginning.

After work I was driving home as usual and I was trying to concentrate on pinpointing my thoughts about quitting alcohol.  I wanted to take note of what my thoughts were that triggered my desire to drink when I got home.  I was being super diligent paying attention to my thoughts.  As I mentioned earlier, what I was thinking was ‘do I really want to quit’?  Frankly, I could not answer that question with conviction.

As I walked in the door at home, I poured myself half a glass and promised I would only have a little bit.  I didn’t sleep that night as I was too busy beating myself up and berating myself for not being stronger. I woke up the next day with a vow to do better and a big bundle of self-loathing.

Day two came and 4:30 rolled around.  I started to have a lot of anxiety.  I didn’t want to go home.  I didn’t want to face the chatter in my brain about whether or not I would drink.

I walked in the door and poured myself a glass of wine.  Then I had a second.  Then I started to act like a complete ass to my family.  I started to make my discontent their fault.  I was making it everyone else’s fault that I was feeling like a failure. I was deep into shame and self-loathing and lashing out.  My kids were looking at me like they didn’t know who I was.  I’m not usually a yeller.

I was feeling such a deep sense of failure and shame.  I drank when I got home because I didn’t want to feel my feelings, but drinking amplified them and made them even worse.  I drank to go numb, but it made my negative feelings even stronger.

At least I had the courage to go to my room and close my door and go to bed before I said anything worse than I already had.

What I learned is this: alcohol (for me) does not numb me out.  It actually brings more negative stuff to the surface.  It makes me feel worse about myself than if I was sober. When I’m sober I can handle my feeling.

So for now, my ‘why’ looks something like this: I don’t want to hate on myself. I don’t want to ever make it my families fault that I messed up.  I’m stronger emotionally when I’m sober.