Today I was cleaning out an old Gmail account and I found this Google Doc I created. I last edited it on February 16, 2014. That is 11 months exactly prior my true Day 1 of Sobriety: January 16, 2015. Reading it over I can see that I was trying, really trying but not succeeding again to limit/control/stop my drinking. Until this time, I'm succeeding this time. I'm at 6 and a half months sober and feeling strong, solid, fucking happy about it. I ask myself why this time it stuck and it is because I made it my own this time: by writing about it here and by not asking others to be an active participant in controlling my behavior. I control my own behavior, not anyone else. Others can give me high-fives about it, but I don't rely on them for the strength to resist a drink.
Here's the content of my Google Doc contract with myself:
Is Drinking Worth The Cost?
Benefits of drinking:
Benefits of not drinking:
Costs of drinking:
Costs of not drinking:
My drinking Goals:
Made Sunday February 9, 2014.
Hi good friends,
As you know, I like to drink and I like to drink with you guys. And you also know that I’ve been struggling with my relationship with alcohol for some time. I drink more than I want to way too often and feel physically sick the whole next day and that leaves me depressed, unmotivated and ashamed of myself. I need to cut back on my drinking, as I’m not ready to stop drinking completely at this point. Please help me by acknowledging and supporting the goals that I have made today and plan to keep until May 18, 2014.
I know that this probably is annoying... the loss of such an awesome drinking buddy. I may have to decline social gathering at times if I’m not feeling up to being around alcohol, as I know that my abilities to have only “a drink” at a big gathering usually doesn’t work for me.
Overall, I feel a bit silly asking for help, I’m not a “raging alcoholic,” but I need it as I continue to fall short of the promises I make myself about my drinking. This more public goal is the first step to acknowledge that I haven’t handled moderation very well, and that is very scary for me to consider that I might need to become a non-drinker one day...first step cutting back right now. And I’ll see how that goes.
Here are my goals:
Thanks for the love & support,
I Will Start With Water
Well, that didn't last the 3 months until my birthday, I can tell you that! Again, because I externalized the lotus of control from the beginning, I allowed myself to fold when they didn't hold up their end--offering me drinks, or giving me a look, whatever it was that had me saying, "fine already, gimme a drink!" And when I say "their end" it is as though it is if was a fair deal, like a contract I made with my friends. I was asking them to hold one side of my shit. No wonder it didn't work!
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. I like myself better for it and have a full life because of it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp