I’ve Been Sober For Awhile Now, Do I Really Have a Problem?

 

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Over the past couple of days, I have been kind of craving alcohol. It didn’t last long, but it happened. I know that it’s totally normal to have these feelings from time to time, but a couple of thoughts that crossed my mind were: “can I ever drink socially again?”  “I’m so young, how am I supposed to live a sober lifestyle forever?!” “If I just have one, that can’t be bad… right?” and lastly, “I’ve been sober for a while, do I really have a problem?”

I had to pump the brakes REAL quick.  The unfortunate truth is that I will not be able to socially drink again.  A recent study showed that when an alcoholic has even a sip of an alcoholic beverage, it triggers chemicals in the brain that mimic a reaction to when an individual shoots up heroin.   And then I thought, how many times have I thought that I could have “just one?”

The answer to that question is a big, fat, NO. I can’t remember a single time that I could have one alcoholic beverage and be done.  Social drinkers can be one and done and go on with their lives.  Alcoholics can’t. Sure, I could have one or two drinks at a social event, but I would leave early so that I could get more. I have to remind myself that this is a chemical imbalance and I need to treat it like any other disease.  For example, I have had sobriety 3hypothyroidism since I was in the 4th grade.  I have to take Synthroid every single morning so that I get a thyroid hormone in my system that my body is not making on its own.  If I don’t take that medication, I will gain water weight, lose my hair, feel exhausted 24/7.. the list goes on and on.  If I abstain from taking my Synthroid for a long period of time, I could develop thyroid cancer.  Same analogy goes for alcohol. If I have “just one” drink, one drink becomes 6, and before you know it, my life is spiraling out of control.  If I drank like I used to, I would slowly die- just like if I did not take my thyroid hormone.

And the answer to “if I really have a problem” is a big, fat, YES.  I will be completely open about this- when I drink to excess, my world slowly falls apart. Emotionally, physically, and I hurt others around me.  I turn into a person and do things that I would never do when I’m sober.

Then, the anxiety of “never drinking again” came to mind. I’m pretty young for deciding to be sober and I (hopefully!) have many years ahead of me. I’m 23 years old and the majority of people in their mid 20’s are still going out to the bars and drinking on the weekends.  I mesobriety 4an, you just don’t see many 23 year old’s who abstain from alcohol completely.  More often than not, I am the youngest person in the room when I go to my AA meetings.  But, when I have this “stinkin’ thinkin'”, my automatic reaction is to call my sponsor, spend time with my sober supports, read AA literature, or distract myself with doing something fun, or bless your eyes with a blog post ( You’re welcome! πŸ˜‰ ).  If anything, getting sober at a young age is literally a lifesaver.

I guess the moral of this post is that it’s normal to miss the aspects of alcohol that were once pleasureable– that rush of euphoria, the feeling of relaxation, the feeling of numbness of all negative emotions…  With the help of outside support and Alcoholics Anonymous, I have learned the tools to not only let these emotions come in, but to also always have a “plan B.” Instead of slowly dying by the bottle, I am rebuilding myself with the gift of sobriety. As beautiful, talented, gorgeous Leonardo DiCaprio said in Titanic, “Life’s a gift and I don’t intend on wasting it.”  As always, One Day at A Time.

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27 thoughts on “I’ve Been Sober For Awhile Now, Do I Really Have a Problem?

  1. Yeah, I told myself at 22 I was too cool/good looking/fun to be alcoholic…hahaha. Ego cityπŸ™‚Took me another while to realise that a 30 something mother of 2 doesn’t look cool/ good looking/ fun drunk!! Got there in the end. S x

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  2. I agree completely and think it’s great you’re doing this young. It keeps you from years of damage!
    I wasn’t an alcoholic at 23. But I was on the verge of becoming one. Now in my mid 30s I’ve spent the better half of a decade over drinking and wish I hadn’t.

    You’re an inspiration and it’s great to see young people being so open about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhhh I have been in your shoes exactly. I started my sobriety journey when I was 23 as well… it took me a few years to figure out that just because I’m young doesn’t mean I’m not a raging alcoholic πŸ˜… now I’m 26 and couldn’t be more happy with my decision. And yeah, I’m usually the youngest one in meetings too! It’s super weird and sometimes hard to talk to older women but it’s all part of the journey… at least we get to skip out on the 20+ years that all the older people spent drinking and ruining their lives haha. So, yeah, I feel you 100%.

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    1. This is amazing! Knowing someone that has been though what I’ve been through at the same age gives me even more hope and inspiration! There are times when I feel like I’m the only one, but I know that’s for sure not the case! I’m soooooooo glad I skipped out on the 20+ years of chaos… my life was completely unmanageable after 2 years of drinking. Glad we both found the solution!

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  4. I cringe when I think back to how my 23 year old drinking was going. 20 years later I’m finally dealing with it. I really wish I’d had the courage and wisdom to start much earlier and I admire you for doing so. Best wishes πŸ™‚

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  5. My experience is that I can’t make a cucumber out of a pickle. When my head tells me I need a drink, I need to go meet some newcomers, ask them how it’s going and listen. On a side note — craving is the allergic reaction (for alcoholics) to drinking alcohol. No alcohol, no craving. It’s more than likely obsession. There is a cure for obsession. It’s in the steps. Keep trudging along. You are not alone.

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    1. You are absolutely right! “The Doctor’s Opinion” get me every time. Our allergy is no joke, my friend! Knowing that I’m not alone is the best feeling in the world.

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  6. Hi Sara!
    I wish I could have seen the train coming when I was younger.
    I didn’t have a problem until I reached my late 40’s early 50’s.
    As long as you keep on seeing things clearly, you will have more fun than young people who didn’t head the warnings!
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, its a curse and a blessing! But mostly a blessing πŸ™‚ Everybody realizes that they have a problem at different ages, every story is different, but if the end result is sobriety… you’ve won! Thank you for the kind words and reading my blog!

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  7. I spent my last year of drinking going through that wasted cycle of thought. Convinced this time I’d have one or two – invariably I did on the first day…. but the second, third, nth day guess what well… It was more than 10 probably less than 15 again.

    23 – good for you!!!!

    Finally when sober in my 40s I looked back and realised I’d never really drunk safely. At 27 (not that much older than you) I was clearly in a mess. I was really struggling – my solution was to leave working in the City of London since that was clearly the issue…. er… no! All that led to was another near 15 years of stupidly increasingly bad drinking. Just financially that probably cost me something like Β£75,000 in booze related purchases – yes basically my mortgage drunk in 15 years of boozing. That’s just the financial cost the emotional, physical etc. was a clusterf***!

    Stick with it I’m rooting for you

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    1. Thank you! Your kind words, it gives me additional inspiration to keep going! Thank you for sharing a little bit of your story with me, everybody’s story of getting sober is different! We can all relate somehow and it reminds me that I am never alone in this journey! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

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  8. I guess another way to look at your age is to recognize that you don’t have a *lifetime* of habits to break. I miss alcohol at some weird times. Sunday afternoon is probably the most common. When I know I’ve accomplished all of those weekend chores that needed to get done, and I want to sit with a book and chill. For me, it all comes down to keeping myself busy.

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    1. Exactly! I miss alcohol too at times, it comes very randomly for me! Keeping busy is very important for me too, and I have to remember that when I was drinking I didn’t want to do a damn thing.

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  9. Hi Sara! I wanted to thank you so much for following back. Additionally, I think I am in the process of denying that I have a problem with alcohol… Reading your posts makes it so much more real for me, so thank you.

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  10. It is so great for you that you have found out so early that you have a problem with alcohol. Instead of wasting so much time drinking alcohol, you now have plenty of time to do other things you like.
    This post opened my eyes in a new way to alcohol. Just this push i needed to keep staying sober. Feel free to read my posts about my journey as well to get inspiration. πŸ™‚
    – Keep up the good work.

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    1. Yeah, I find it a complete blessing. There are good days and bad days, by the end result is so worth it! I’m glad I could do that for you! And I most definitely will!

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    1. That’s a really super difficult position to be in. I’ve tried to moderate and cut back with no success. Quitting scared me too, but it has been the best decision I’ve ever made.

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  11. I can see that and probably inside deep down I know Ill have to try and give up. Trouble is my relationship with booze has been going for 45 years and it’s like trying to ditch a toxic lover. We’ve had some great times but she’s not good for me. I shall follow your progress with interest from this side of the pond. Jim

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