I was reading a book about sobriety, (Sober For Good by Anne Fletcher), and something in it made a lot of sense to me. One of the “masters” in the book (masters are people who have been sober for 5+ years) said that he realized that his drinking was out of control when he resumed drinking after a three month stint of sobriety. Only after this period of abstinence did he have the perspective needed to realize that something was wrong with the way he was drinking, and that he needed to kick alcohol to the curb permanently.
Huh. Kind of like the eight month period I spent being abstinent while I was pregnant last year, perhaps?
It’s not so much that my drinking was more out of control than it usually was when I started again, it was that I was better able to see it clearly this time around. I had never been abstinent for more than a few weeks in the past, and I had always found ways to minimize, rationalize, and compartmentalize my drinking behaviors. I wasn’t being honest with myself. Denial about alcoholism runs deep, so it is not a huge surprise that I needed a paradigm shift to make a change. I was no longer able to tell myself that my drinking behavior was congruent with my values… the truth had been exposed while I was living a sober life while pregnant.
Being a mother is another huge motivator for me to quit, but that is a story for a different day.
My advice to people worried about having a drinking problem would be to take a break from drinking.** What harm could it possibly do? One, three, or six months could help you to gain the perspective needed to see if you really have a problem. If you quit drinking with the intention of investigating how it feels to live life sober versus drunk, you could learn a lot about yourself. But many people have to hit a bottom of sorts, I guess, to be motivated to change. I certainly liked drinking way too much to try out quitting with no good reason, and needed to hit bottom. Even though there have always been a zillion reasons for me to quit.
Wow, though. I am amazed. Sober revelations rule! I never would have thought about this while drinking.
**Not that I’m qualified to give anyone advice. I am soooo brand new to all of this. I have a lot more time to think now, that’s for sure!