80 days sober

The last few weeks have really tested my commitment to sobriety. I’ve come really close on several occasions to throwing it all away. Walking home from my therapist’s house is the most dangerous time for me. I know how soothing hard liquor feels when you’re emotionally drained. I’m drawn to the warmth of it, nothing else feels quite the same.

What I’ve just noticed though is a significant difference. I’ve stopped counting the days. I’m not even clocking weeks anymore. I know I’ve been sober for a while now, but I was amazed when I just counted back through my calendar to work out how long. Eighty days. That’s the longest since I was in the psychiatric hospital. And not drinking didn’t take much willpower back then when I was under lock and key.

The last time I had a drink was back in November. I had more than a drink; it was a half litre of vodka. And I used it to swallow about sixty pills. It was a serious suicide attempt. I didn’t expect or want to survive it. I woke up in hospital wired up to all kinds of machines. The time in between is a total blackout.

I’d like to say I’ve come a long way since then. I’d like to be able to declare proudly that I’m not suicidal anymore. That there isn’t a part of me that sometimes wishes my wife hadn’t come home and called the paramedics that day.

Saying any of the above would be deceptive. And you know I always aim to be truthful here. It’s pretty much the only place I can be. I still feel like a ticking time bomb. Life still feels meaningless, and the more I try and explore in therapy, the less everything makes sense.

I’ve said to J a few times in therapy that I feel like I’ve flicked a switch in my brain somehow. I don’t believe that by instinct humans become suicidal. We’re programmed to survive, right in the reptilian core of our brains. I can’t help but think that once that instinct has been overridden, i.e. you decide to kill yourself, you can’t go back. Suicide will always be on the table, a viable escape route.

Perhaps I’ll be able to train my brain back into self-preservation, but I can’t see it happening anytime soon. I don’t want that level of commitment. I want to know I can make a quick exit if I need to. That enables me to continue viewing life as a short-term project. It makes it feel tolerable. It’s a macabre comfort, but a comfort nonetheless.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Just want to say congratulations and I am new to your blog and enjoying the honesty of it and how well it is written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. And for the compliment on my writing. That made me smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. loomy9138 says:

    I’m inspired by you. I’ve been trying to quit drinking for a few months, but every time my anxiety gets out of control I reach for a bottle to soothe my nerves.

    Stay strong- you help us all keep fighting. In the words of Hootie and the Blowfish:

    “Cause I understand your soul feels like cryin’
    Oh, you have every reason to there’s no denying
    But the last thing you should do is let them
    Turn your heart to stone”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thank you for that. I was only listening to Hootie and the Blowfish a few days ago! Alcohol definitely helps with anxiety, problem is it seems to come back even worse when you sober up. I’ve got Lorazepam to take as I need it and that really helps. Could you get something similar? I know there’s addictive potential with all Benzos, but if you use them cautiously they can be really good. Laura

      Liked by 1 person

      1. loomy9138 says:

        I take venlafaxine, tofranil, Xanax and seroquel. Lol.

        Like

      2. Laura Black says:

        Wow that’s quite a cocktail in itself! I know my psych said that drinking any alcohol at all reduces the efficacy of the drugs. So by drinking when I was anxious, I was actually stopping the anti-anxiety meds from working properly. Might take a few weeks to settle down, but it could be worth it. Good luck x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. loomy9138 says:

        Any tips for stopping?

        Like

      4. Laura Black says:

        I’ve found with self harm and alcohol that delaying is the only thing that works. It stops me acting on impulse, because I tell myself I can do whatever it is if I wait. I started with 5 mins, then 10 then gradually built up to a day etc. It really works because you’re not denying yourself what you want, you’re just practicing having control over it. And it gives you time to think about whether you really want to have that drink or not. Otherwise, it’s the one day at a time thing. Tell yourself you just won’t drink today. Then tomorrow, tell yourself the same thing. Hope something in that is useful for you.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. loomy9138 says:

        I won’t drink today!

        Like

      6. Laura Black says:

        Hooray! Good luck with it. Let me know how you’re getting on. You can drop me an email anytime x

        Liked by 1 person

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