Two nights ago (my “Friday”), I got home from work and almost immediately experienced a craving. I had had a fairly decent work week and when I was driving home that evening, I had in my mind of making a mocktail (lime and tonic) in celebration of it being my Friday. But when I got home, my husband had already poured himself a whiskey and when I saw it my mind went right to “oh man, I want that buzz!” (Of course, nothing I was going to get from my AF tonic and lime).
When the craving came on, it was instant. From experience in the past when I’ve had a craving, I immediately recognized it and reached out to my sober community and shared I was having a craving and then I also let my husband know. Doing this did help and I got over the intensity fairly quickly. I “rode the wave”. However, as the craving was peaking, my emotions went straight to fear. Scared of what was happening, and even more scary, what might happen if I went into a full blown panic attack?
That night I went to bed and woke up at 2am and my mind started racing. I tossed and turned for about an hour and a half and this is when the anger started. Angry because I couldn’t stop my mind from racing. Angry because I wasn’t able to go back to sleep. Angry because of my craving. And, most of all, angry because that’s where my mind went the night before…right to the drink.
Why did my mind go there? How long am I going to have to fight this urge to drink? Why, after over 6 months of being alcohol free, am I still having these urges creep up on me? I hadn’t had a craving for over a month and this night in particular was longing for the buzz. That scared the piss out of me.
The next morning I had a laser call in my group with my favorite coach and I shared what was going on. I cried on the call and although later I felt a bit embarrassed because of my “breakdown”, the overwhelming support from my fellow teammates and my coach helped me realize I wasn’t alone and helped me get through it. I shared how angry I was. I asked how long am I going to have to deal with this? I don’t want to have to spend the rest of my life fighting off these urges.
I also journaled that morning and as I’m finding out the journaling is key in getting me through these rough patches. I journaled mostly about my anger and I remembered journaling earlier a “break up” letter of sorts to alcohol. It was about losing a friend. But this particular morning, I started realizing I was now angry at my past friend. Angry for muddling so many of my memories in life. Angry for trying to control my life.
But the thing that finally dawned on me, was the thing I was mostly angry with alcohol was that it tried to scare me. How dare it try to scare me, I started asking. I initially said I was even angry for being angry at alcohol. That I felt I was giving too much power and control to the anger. And that by being angry with it, I was expending a ton of energy that was not useful and ever so draining. But then I started using my anger to fight that fear! I am beginning to not be afraid of it and will keep on fighting each time it shows up.
Just another valuable lesson learned and I owe it to my tribe in the sober community, my support system from my family and friends, and, especially, to myself…the new sober warrior evolving within me…
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