I recently received this short email from a reader. I tried to reply to it, but the email bounced back. So, I decided that I would just make a post out of it, and hopefully the person that sent it, will be able to read it this way!
Here is the email:
“I am really struggling with accepting that I cannot drink and I want to pray but I want the ability to drink and have control over my life! I keep saying, take this merciless obsession from me God! But the desire to have a drink slowly creeps back into my mind and I am again powerless! I have been trying the sobriety path for a few years! I enjoy sobriety but then I just get obsessed and crave the effect of alcohol again! What do you suggest?”
Thank you for your email! I can totally relate to how you feel – I yearned to drink like a normal person for a very long time! I can also relate to the obsession that can be very strong and hard to manage. It is often stated that addiction is comprised of the physical allergy of the body, the mental obsession, and the spiritual malady.
For many of us there is no such thing as drinking safely, and although it may be a hard reality to accept, it turns out that giving up alcohol is really a gift rather than the end of all fun.
I do not believe that there is a middle ground, or the “third” option sort of speak, for me. I tried to manage my drinking for about four years before I finally stopped altogether. I struggled because, sometimes I was quite successful at managing my drinking. But most of the time it was a disaster, because quite often what I had planned to do, did not go according to the plan! After several drinks, and after which I was supposed to stop drinking (according to my plan), I would completely forget about the plan and continue drinking. Then I was off to the races without any control of how much was going to drink, or what was going to happen to me. Then, I would wake up in the morning, super hungover, wondering what had gone wrong!
I would like to share this paragraph with you, that helped me understand in some ways that I was not unique, and that my addiction was a real thing, and many others have felt, experienced and struggled with the same notions.
Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death. We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed. We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals—usually brief—were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better. ~ From: AA Big Book, Chapter 3, pg 30
You had also mention that you enjoy sobriety – and that is awesome to hear – but, then you get obsessed and crave the effect of alcohol again. Yes, this has happened to me many times also!
Everyone who is engaged in addictive behavior will experience uncomfortable cravings that feel like I want it badly and I have to do it now. They are normal – not comfortable – but normal. Fortunately, they always pass with time. At the beginning of the recovery journey, they can be pretty intense, but each one will subside if you can wait it out, and have a plan for how to deal with them. The good news is that the cravings and urges will decrease in strength and frequency the longer you stay sober. You can make this happen by adopting some coping strategies that work best for you.
*My Quick Check List*
When you get a craving:
- Talk about it: call or text someone and tell them how you feel.
- Write it out: write down your feelings and what you think might have caused them.
- Think it through: play the “tape” through of what will happen if you do pick up a drink.
- Get involved: change what you are doing, get involved in something else – go for a walk, read a book, watch TV, listen to music.
Cravings only last for a short period of time and if you don’t act on them, they will pass.
For more tips, please check out my post:
Here are also a few links to other pages that have great suggestions on how to deal with cravings:
- Coping with Alcohol Cravings
- Handling urges to drink
- Plan for triggers and cravings
- 5 Ways to Deal With Urges and Cravings
In closing, I would strongly suggest some type of support, whether it is one-on-one counseling, a 12-step support group, or none 12 step support group like SMARTRecovery, or online meetings. Recovering with other, like people, was crucial for me, and I know a huge help to many. It is always easier to walk the path of recovery together!
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.