Navigating triggers

So, here’s how my crazy mind works.  Wake up, feel convicted to abstain due to all the things we all write about:  anxiety.  insomnia.  shame.  remorse.  illness.  headache.  puffy face.  bloat.  foggy head.  lost brain cells.  Need I go on?  Then, the day progresses.  See a beer in the fridge at 11 a.m. and have fleeting thought of actually drinking it.  Quickly dismiss thought.  It’s only 11 a.m.!  Progress through day being mostly productive.  Checking things off list.  Feeling accomplished.  Inching toward 5:00.  Wine-o-clock.  I did everything I was supposed to today.  I’ll just have this one glass.  Okay, two glasses.  Might as well finish this bottle.  I’ll be fine, I’ll just drink lots of water.  Instant regret but still enjoying the buzz.  I’ll start tomorrow.  Sleep.  Wake at 2:30 a.m., repeat.  

When will I get off this ferris wheel?  I want to say today, I feel convicted now that today will be the day.  It’s noon.  I have no desire to drink.  

Here’s what happened the other day after I wrote my post and recommitted myself.  (I have been resistant to the idea of “triggers,” but apparently this qualified as one big enough to derail me on day one.)  I was feeling great about my choice to start again and looking forward to the improvements I remember seeing in my life last time I made it to 32 days.  I got lots of work done all day.  At 5:30, I was scheduled to meet my husband at our former law school to give a presentation to prospective students about our careers.  I put on a suit for the first time in a while, and felt nice and dressed up.  This made me think about happy hour, which I loved to frequent after a long hard day of practicing law, especially when I was looking chic and sophisticated.  Got to the school and we found out the husband had the time wrong, we didn’t have to be there for another hour.  What to do with that one hour?  The administrative assistant suggested we go get a beer down the street.  We laughed.  Then we did go down the street.  Internal wrestling commenced.  I’d just have sparkling water, I told myself.  Got to the bar.  They had an excellent wine list.  There I was, dressed up in my career (and happy hour) uniform, facing a presentation I was a little nervous about, with my handsome husband I love to hit happy hour with, at happy hour, with a good wine list staring me in the face.  Triggers, anyone?

So yeah, I figured, I’ll just have a glass.  One.  Not going to have more obviously, since we’re going to give a speech.  Had a delicious glass of pinot.  Went and gave the speech, which went very well.  Husband wanted a beer afterward which sounded great.  Hit the bar and had two more generous glasses of wine.  Internally, my head just said “fuck it.  Tomorrow.”  I didn’t get drunk or do anything stupid.  That’s never the issue really.  When we got home, I cooked us a great dinner.  Husband opened another bottle of wine, and I didn’t want any.  Didn’t touch it.  But that’s the thing with me:  I do have an off-switch once I start drinking and I reach my comfort zone.  I just can’t turn off the desire to get to that zone every evening.  

Yesterday, the remainder of that bottle husband opened was just sitting out on the counter.  He probably had only drank about four ounces of it.  Before he came home from work, between 5-6 p.m., I sat on the couch with the most recent episodes of “Parenthood” and polished that off.  Brushed my teeth and put the bottle in the recycling.  When he got home, we put on our running clothes and jogged down to the lake with our dog.  Yep!  I even exercised after drinking.  I didn’t want it to seem like I’d had any at all.  Came home, cooked dinner, and that was that.  Both nights, I woke up at 2:30, like clockwork.  I feel tired today.  

Lately I haven’t been suffering from the crippling level of anxiety that I was when I started that last round of 32 days.  But it’s coming.  It’s increasing.  Why wait until I feel horrible??  I’m here, I’m reading blogs, I’m writing.  I wouldn’t be taking the time to do this if part of me didn’t really want to be living booze-free.  It almost feels like I have two personalities.  Sigh.  

Today is a first.  The first of May.  I like firsts.  They feel clean and full of promise.  Like a good time to make a change.  I know that’s all a ridiculous mental game, but it kinda works doesn’t it?  There’s something about the first that seems like it carries a symbolism.  So I’m gonna grab onto that idea and hold on tight.  

Moral of the story:  avoid putting on a suit in the late afternoon if at all possible.  Avoid bars for now.  Tell husband I need to avoid bars for now.  Keep open bottles of wine from sitting around in the kitchen where they can talk to me too easily.  Keep busy between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m. doing something else… like going to the gym.  Avoid “triggers.”  

I hate that word.  


2 thoughts on “Navigating triggers”

  1. Its tough to get started. I know. I also started again yesterday – so maybe we can walk this road together. You’re still here, blogging – so well done. Its too easy to hide away in shame and that’s when the trouble really starts.

    1. So true!! It’s really hard, this whole thing. Every time I try and start again it’s harder. That’s the scary part though. If it keeps getting harder each time then I need to stay here this time! Let’s absolutely support each other. God knows I need support if I’m going to make it. Thanks for commenting! Hope you are doing well.

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