Why do I want to be sober?

After my last feeling-sorry-for-myself-post I got a comment from Lilly that said: “Why do you want to be sober? Tell us. Even if you’re still drinking. Tell us why you want to be sober.” I will present my thoughts in the form of a list as I find it difficult to organize them at the moment.

  1. I feel like shit. The hangovers, the trembling, the wanting more to calm down, the drinking to get tired at night, the bad food cravings, the thirst, the itchy skin – the lot.
  2. Mentally I’m not as strong and determined as when I’m sober. Simple everyday tasks seem so hard and pointless. Why would I brush my teeth at night after a bottle of wine when I could just fall into bed and pass out? That’s just one example of many but kind of illustrates my point.
  3. I want to be fit and strong physically. My gym going is erratic (at best) while I’m in the drinking zone. With that comes feelings of guilt and being useless at the things I want to do most. 
  4. The above point is equally valid when it comes to work. I love my job but while not sober I tend to be late on a regular basis and I can’t be arsed to do my job as well as I want and could. 
  5. This time around relationships with friends and colleagues haven’t suffered. More through luck than anything else I suspect. And also, some relationships seem to thrive more when I drink because it’s just easier to do some things and be a part of the scene. Some of my friends (well just one really) seem particularly concerned when I don’t drink. She’ll be the one trying to convince me that there’s no other problem than my lack of willpower when it comes to controlling it. She’s even appointed herself as my “carer” (my word) in such a way that she’ll say “I won’t let you cross the line, I’ll stop you/send you home/control it for you before it goes to far”. Why would she want to do that and why on earth would I want anyone to do that for me? It’s baffling. The hard part about this is that when I decide to finally give it a good honest try, she’ll be the one that I’m going to have to watch carefully. Maybe I even have to cut down my time with her. She’s my best friend so that really hurts to think about. For all her faults and being rather big-headed, I love her very much. And for all my faults and erratic-ness she seems to love me equally. 

I’ve been sober before – two periods of 6 months each – so I know I can do it. And I know how happy/productive/confident/fit I can be with it. But both times I had hit some form of rock bottom before I decided to give it up. This time I seem to really want to stop but every now and again it seems pointless and more hassle than it’s worth because right now I’m not suffering as badly as I have done in the past, I’m not doing the crazy out of character things I did and my health is not quite as bad. 

At the same time, do I really want to go that far again? How long is it going to take before I reach a new rock bottom? And what needs to happen for me to see it as such? I don’t know these things right now but writing this post has helped me think more clearly about what I don’t want from life and what I do want from life instead. It’s also made me think more about the previous experiences of being sober during which I was truly happy and content no matter what else was going on in my life. I was able to detach myself from other people’s insanity which was an enormous relief at the time. Now I find myself having those internal monologues with myself and dialogues with other people that wind me up no end. And that’s not even real life!

I’m off on a rant here I feel so I’m going to stop for now. I’ll try pop back and unravel my thoughts a bit further. Thanks Lilly for prompting me to do this and thanks to Belle for your patience. I’ll be in touch.

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5 Responses to Why do I want to be sober?

  1. PourMeAMilk says:

    I had to get rid a lot of friends. It was actually easier than I thought. The ones that gave me shit and tried to pressure me into drinking are not real friends. I no longer hang out with those ones:) Also, your list seems very evident as to why you probably shouldn’t drink anymore. Some people can drink normally, some of us can’t. I can only speak for myself, but I could have made that same exact list and I know I can’t drink normally. I am convinced I NEVER will be able to drink normally. Sure, I could control it for a little while, but I’ll just end up in the same miserable place eventually. Why? Cuz I’m not one of them normal drinkers. Simply, if you feel like you should stop, then you probably should. I think that is a safe rule of thumb to go by. But, good luck with whatever you decide to do! You’ll figure it all out:)

    • anathu says:

      I agree, that list cleared it up for me really. I’ve been scared to look into the specifics even though they’re always there lurking in the form of regrets, guilt and feelings of inadequacy. Losing friends is hard though, maybe more so for me as I live a long way away from my family. They all live in my home country and the friends I have here are very precious to me. It’s true that I could make new friends… and slightly change my social landscape. I will try… Thanks for your kind words.

  2. Lilly says:

    Oh I’m so glad you did this. Firstly, it can help you see right now why you want to quit, hopefully, and secondly, I find such lists great to refer back to when I am not drinking but starting to forget why not. Now you have a great reference point.

    You know what struck me the most about this post? You say, twice, how much happier you were sober. HAPPIER. People pay a lot of money to try and be happier. Happier is so much better than miserable. Content and without the crazy voices is, if you ask me, even better than happiness because it’s more solid and impenetrable. And all you have to do is remove alcohol from your life. You’ve done it before. You know you can do it. You can do it again. And you know you will be happier, better, fitter, stronger, more productive. Sounds like a no brainer to me.

    But, I know it’s not that easy. I know because I’ve been right where you are. But I think you really want this and you are getting ready. Dive in. Try again. Focus on 100 days for now.

    As for your best friend, oh that’s tough. You don’t say if she herself has a drinking problem but I’d hazard a guess she has some measure of dependence to be acting that way. She’s afraid of losing her drinking buddy, her partner in crime. I have all but lost a friend like this – thankfully not one of my best though. We used to hang out almost weekly. Now she invites me out to brunch once in a blue moon. Can you have a heart-to-heart with her about how you really need her support and value her friendship but are going to have to distance yourself if she can’t support where you’re at?

    You can do this. Dive in.

    Lilly x

    • anathu says:

      Hi Lilly, I too see it as a no-brainer. But alcoholism is not logical or rational 😦 And I think you’re right about my friend. She doesn’t drink like I do, but she does become argumentative and seemingly annoyed if I don’t drink with her on certain occasions. And the way she thinks she knows what’s best for me really annoys me. Anyhow, thank you for your support. I’m feeling positive today and the last couple of days’ of blogging and reading have really helped me refocus. Maybe I’m ready… I’ll be in touch!
      x Anathu

  3. You nailed the one thing in your own comments…alcoholism is not logical or rational. It’s difficult to wish it away. If I could, I wouldn’t have needed detox, treatment and AA. The mental obsession is just too damn strong. People can and do it without the things I mentioned. I just ain’t one of them 🙂 But regardless, the voice, the wolfie, the alcoholism…it is relentless, and in the end, it wants us dead. Dead. That is why this is so important and vital…this is a deadly illness. So as mentioned, sometimes we have to go to any lengths to stay sober. And I too had to drop the few remaining drinking buddies I had. Your friend seems like more than a drinking buddy, and considering she too enjoys the bevvie quite a bit, it might be difficult to stay away, but it’s important to you to find some way to protect your sobriety…this is what it’s about. Protecting your sobriety. I would take being sober over a few hurt feelings any day. Stake claims in my own recovery is what I needed to do.

    Print up your post and keep it somewhere you can see it often. It could be a great reminder to why you are doing what you’re doing. The problem is that when we start to feel better, and things in our lives are getting better, the ego / alcoholism starts to rebuild, and then it’s a matter of time before the “one drink won’t kill you” things start to happen.

    Keep it up – keeping journaling here…it’s a good thing 🙂


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