Hot on the heals of our very open and frank chat about quitting alcohol, we’re honoured to feature the writing of Tracey-Anne.
Giving alcohol the boot is a tremendous effort, full stop.
There are many opinions as to how to best achieve this goal – all are very personal. It’s true.
All are fraught with emotional & physical stress. Almost certainly.
In “How to make it stick” Tracey-Anne describes her experiences doing just that.
How she turned a decision into a reality.
I’m pretty sure much of what she describes below will ring true for many of you – it did for me.
How to make it stick.
First published by The Sober Bird march 20th 2018
How to make it stick.
By ‘it’, I mean getting and staying sober.
I’ve said in previous blogs, the actual decision for me was an easy one in the end. But then came the doing it. If your decision wasn’t easy, or you’re continually relapsing then read on my friend, because for me, it has stuck.
For 472 days at the time of writing. I know, I can’t believe it either.
First things first, who do you want to tell?
Telling people is just one of the tricks of the trade because it really, REALLY helps if you have some accountability somewhere. If nobody knows you’ve quit, then nobody knows you’ve not and thats not what we’re doing here, right? Everybody that knows me, knows I don’t drink now, the end. But not everybody knows why, and how far you go with that part is up to you to decide. My closest friends and family know, and everyone else?
“I don’t drink” is a complete sentence.
I told my husband first, and then sat on it for a while so I could figure out what to do next. Now I know that having a drinking problem is shrouded in secrecy and shame. Honest to god, I know. That shame is what cranked my drinking up to a full blown problem, and had me sacking off the nights out for nights in by myself. You know, so I could get properly drunk, without all those annoying people sensibly moderating their alcohol.
This meant that nobody really knew how bad it got for me… which made me feel really nervous coming out of the sober closet, so to speak.
The overriding feeling was gut wrenching shame. Blame my catholic childhood, but I felt guilty for what I was about to put them through. But to make it real, to make it stick, I had to come clean.
So the first lucky bunch were my husband’s family. My mother-in-law was the first to know after my husband and she said something that I repeated to myself over and over again for months. She said “You can’t fail Tracey-Anne, you’ve got a brick wall behind you.” I can hear her in my head and the wobble in her voice as she said it. I still can’t say those words out loud without getting tearful. And they gave me some sort of super human sober power whenever I needed it.
What I wish for you, is that you tell someone who has as much faith in you as she did and has, in me. Tell people that want you to win, that want you to succeed. They are a vital, essential tool in early recovery. They will be your brick wall behind you.
The friends I told I had a problem, reacted in similar ways. To be honest, they were shocked. And a bit sad I think.
All of them without question, were people I drank with. Two of them I drank with weekly for over 15 years, and I felt a kind of grief that that was over for us. I had ruined the party. That’s the thing with booze though… it tells you big fat lies.
It wants you to think you need it. And what I discovered by telling my friends was that without exception they swore blind that I didn’t.
And therein lies the beauty of normal drinkers, they just don’t see alcohol in the same way.
And that simple fact right there is how and why they help you to recover. Because normal drinkers know you don’t need it to be you. They aren’t friends with you because you knock back the Pinot, they are friends with you inspite of that. Who knew??! Seriously, they are golden.
So if you’re sat here reading this and waiting to take the leap and tell a few people, then please, just do it.
I promise you, you will be amazed and surprised in equal measure of their reactions and their support.
Chances are they are waiting for you to say it.
This getting sober shit is an impossible task alone, so find your gang, keep them close and go for it.
Sober fist bumps all round!
The Sober Bird xxx
About our author, Tracey-Anne:
Tracey-Anne would like to stamp out the current “rosé all day” attitude to alcohol promotion around women . Mother to four, and wife to one who has survived her 20 plus years of excessive drinking. Sober and loving life since December the 2nd 2016.