Why can’t I stay sober???
You’ve probably asked yourself this question before. Maybe hundreds of times. I know I certainly did. It’s a horrible kind of swirling storm in the brain when you’re in this space.
I remember feeling stuck on a rollercoaster. Up-up-up I’d tick, flirting with the idea of having a drink even though I said I was going to quit.
And the more I ticked upward, the more the anticipation would grow. The flutter in my chest. Adrenaline coursing through my body, making my hairs stand up.
That inner saboteur would sweeten her tone a bit. C’mon! You deserve this. You can try again tomorrow.
Down, down you go.
Funny thing about tomorrow, though.
It’s so easy to say, “Okay, maybe I’m not ready yet. Today I’ll drink, but tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow I’ll stop.”
On the one hand, you get to be bad right now which is great because your heart is racing a mile a minute and you can just taste that glass of Jack already. On the other, tomorrow is soon, so you get to believe your own lie and feel good about the tradeoff.
Today is going to be a failure, but tomorrow! Tomorrow is when I’ll quit for real.
Human beings are innately terrible at delayed gratification, but we rarely miss an opportunity to delay pain.
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
I say this constantly because it’s true.
If you do the same song and dance with yourself every day or week over your drinking, you’ll never stop. You’re stuck in an ugly cycle. I lived in it for probably six years — the amount of time I actively tried to quit drinking.
Does this sound familiar?
You wake up maybe slightly or completely hungover. Today is the day! You aren’t drinking today. There is a pep in your step about it. Your resolve (in this moment) is strong.
The day plods along and so do you.
And then you are hit with the inevitable trigger. For many people it’s simply the fact that you’ve finished work, maybe had a semi-shit day, and your brain is craving its little release.