On the previous episode of The Scullery Maid Veers Off… I quit drinking. I didn’t quit for a Facebook challenge. I didn’t quit because I woke up in a gutter or got a DUI (even though I deserved many), I didn’t quit because anyone suggested it or because I was brushing my teeth with a bottle of Jack.
So why then? I could easily use the excuse of “health reasons” for jumping on the wagon: anxiety issues, leaky gut, high blood pressure or the ever-popular irritable bowel syndrome.
But the truth is that I quit drinking because I was addicted to alcohol.
A few years ago, I started dabbling with sobriety. I’d abstain a week here, a few days there and an entire month once. My experience was SO different from other bad habits I’d stopped before: playing computer games, eating sugar, fingernail biting, shopping online, drinking coffee…nothing, nothing, NOTHING has ever felt the way it did when I’d stop drinking alcohol. My physical withdrawals were uncomfortable but not severe. My brain, however, went ballistic and when I couldn’t stand my crazed, sober self one more minute…I’d start drinking again.
I couldn’t figure out why I could break other habits but not this one. I’d tell myself, “I’m just not the teetotaling type”, as I gleefully placed a bottle of Sapphire gin in my shopping cart. And returned to obsessing about how much I was drinking and how much other people drank and what they drank and when and where, and measuring, and moderating, and planning…
The definition of alcohol addiction is:
A chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive alcohol seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because alcohol changes the brain; it changes its structure and how it works. (Drugs, sex, shopping, gambling, computer gaming, food addictions, as well as others, have this effect as well.)
During the years I was trying and failing at sobriety. I continued reading about addiction and different ways others had stopped drinking. Their paths wound through the 12 steps, rehab and holistic practices in books and blogs from voices from every walk of life.
Finally in February 2017, I found a path that worked for me and sobriety stuck (I’ll go into what exactly changed in another post).
Today, I’m still retraining my brain. It’s only been seven months after all. My addicted brain still throws tantrums, begs, pouts and negotiates. It imagines and remembers, taunts and threatens and offers bribes. She screams and cries and, if I’m not careful, she blows fire. One of these days, I’ll introduce you to her.
Until then, thank you for letting me vent, and enjoy the Roslyn’s last Farmer’s Market this Sunday, October 1st from 10 AM to 2 PM!
Head Scullery Maid
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