Someone,and I can’t remember who, coined the term Limerance to describe those heady first days and weeks in a new relationship when you are just so caught up with your new love. You see only perfection, not the flaws, you feel strangely optimistic and heady and the flames of passion burn strong. Oh blissful days.
Then it changes! Time to move on to a new lover? No, no, no. That’s bad, immature. Instead it’s time to take the relationship to a new more meaningful, mature level! You have to put the work in and sometimes make compromises.
Well that’s a little bit how it feels for me after 4 weeks of being alcohol free. The first few weeks it was all heady optimism-; “Oh sobriety I love you, we were made for each other, let’s make love again, it’s been 30 minutes already!” (oh no that last one doesn’t really work as a metaphor does it?). Anyway you get the idea. It was all positive, loads of benefits, saying goodbye to hangovers and seeing a lovely alcohol free life stretching out unto the sunset. Bliss. Limerance.
Then it changed! A few heady weeks of limerance and then reality sets in- this is tough, the feelings more confused, the reality more nuanced, the pulls of the past growing stronger. Early optimism gives way to mixed feelings- feelings of loss, trouble dealing with boredom, dealing with nights out. A feeling of not being able to enjoy what others enjoy.
Divorce is in the air!
Except it’s not. It’s time to be more realistic, more mature. The honeymoon may be over but the hard work begins and the true nature of being alcohol free will hopefully emerge. I don’t want to experience just limerance in my relationship to sobriety, I want a lasting commitment where I sacrifice going off with that floozy alcohol for a one night stand for a more meaningful relationship with sobriety. Sticking with my new partner, sobriety, will give me more depth and satisfaction in the long term I’m sure.
I’ve not been a great one for relationships in the past so there are parallels for me between my new relationship to sobriety and my real life relationships. I have in the past become restless and sought new relationships always looking for some elusive “buzz” and often ignoring what was there all along. Steadfastness was
not a great quality of mine but that has changed markedly in recent years.
Sticking with being alcohol free is another chance for me to show that I can stick at something past the early optimistic stage and make a change that is profound and life changing. It’s going to be complex but then so is any good relationship.
So, come on sobriety, give me a cuddle. We’re in this for the long haul.
Having a one-night stand would make you feel guilty afterwards and you’d regret it. Far better to resist the temptation. You’ve done so well so far.
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Thanks Addy, and of course you”re right. Overall it is going quite well and this week I’m starting to feel some physical benefits.
It’s DAMN hard for sure, and why I haven’t managed to give it up completely! I still want to be 100% alcohol free, but then when it gets too hard to stay the course, I falter. However, I no longer beat myself up about it, because I have come so far from the hedonistic drinking days. I am not saying it’s the right way to go about all this, it’s what is working for me. You are holding steady, helping me to think “triple” before having a drink. I’m so glad to see you make your way. You are doing something great for yourself, and for others like me who need the inspiration you bring. Hold on Jim!
You are so right when you say “what is working for me,” there’s no right or wrong in this only what feels right for each person. For me it’s taken a while to get to where I am and a few spells at “trying” alcohol free convinced me with my naturally excessive nature, that giving up was easier than moderation. But finding your own path is the key. Really good to hear from you. You’ve been missed!
I’m here, cheering you on! I may not blog and reply as often as some, only because I’m not as gripped by the despair of drinking any longer. It took years to get here, but I’m in a much better place, even with not being 100% alcohol free. May seem strange, given how much drinking caused issues for me, that I’m not sober, yet. What I can say, drinking is less, and less of something I do. And, I know, I can trip up, drinking way more then I want to, like I did back in May (our US Memorial Day weekend), thus helping me to “say away” from wanting to drink. All I can do, is keep trying. xo, dp
Sounds like you have found a way to manage things and cut down which is great and shows that it’s not just a binary thing of drinking v total abstinence. I know some people have addressed the things that led them to drink too much and then gone on to change their drinking habits. My problem is that I do most things to excess so I needed to stop completely and figure some things out. I’m really pleased for you and your more nuanced position. Muy bien senorita!
I can’t believe I only saw this today (when all along I’ve been impatiently thinking ‘when is Jim going to publish his next pooooost, I can’t wait!?)!!! I guess you disappeared from my Reader for a couple of days. Anyway, love this post! And love the relationship metaphor, which works really well and nicely echoes your previous “gotta end this co-dependent relationship with alcohol” post from this summer. And since you like a challenge and I wouldn’t want you to get bored after a mere month of hangin’ with that gal sobriety, here’s a challenge for you: what might you conveniently be avoiding by picturing your AF journey as a relationship with sobriety, as opposed to a relationship with YOURSELF ? Would that make it any different for you? Would you get bored of it then? 🙂 BAHAHAHAHA (my poor attempt at a parody of an evil laugh) xoxoxox Now I’m gonna read other people’s comments 🙂 xoxoxo Anne
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Ah, you’re back Anne. You and Nadine I actually miss (how weird is that) when you are not around. I feel there’s a mutual resonance and understanding between us and that feels very important to me. Things are a bit “wobbly” for me last day or two, been struggling with “why am I actually doing this sober kick” and more profoundly what’s my identity since removing a part of it and it’s associated psychological, social and cultural elements.
Here’s me disappearing down my own navel and I should be asking how you are. Hope things are settling down a bit emotionally?
Your question? Hmmn. Interesting yes why do I picture my alc free journey as a relationship. Very incisive question! Thinking about it, I’m someone who HAS to be in a relationship. Once or twice I’ve been genuinely on my own and hate it. I like the Stephen Stills lyric, “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”
I don’t like being by myself so I guess that’s why I picture myself and sobriety as a mismatched couple. It’s true alcohol was like some mad, crazy, exciting relationship where deep down you know it has to end. Sobriety is the type of gal you take home to meet your parents. Sensible, attractive but just a wee bit dull.
Wow, what have you opened up there Anne?
Please send me the invoice for your amazing therapy question🙂
Sending appropriate hugs and make sure you give yourself lots of treats. You deserve it.
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Awwww thanks Jim 🙂 ps. answering a question about you is NOT “disappearing down your own navel” 🙂 The hilarious part is you didn’t answer my question AT ALL hahaha ! (which was: why does your metaphor portray things as s a relationship with SOBRIETY as opposed to a relationship with YOURSELF ). I guess that the question popped up straight away when I read your post, precisely because (as somebody who, likewise, has always “not liked being by myself”) I am realizing that for me, being sober just kind of boils down to “being stuck with myself, zero distractions”, and whatever I say about “sobriety” turns out to actually be a commentary on my relationship to myself. Which I can fix/change, but it tales work. And I was wondering if your experience had anything similar in there- cause I really identify with a LOT of the reasons you gave for “why I like to drink”. My main one was: to not be by myself.) ANYWAY- sorry you’re feeling wobbly these days. It’s great that you’re writing that down here. You can wobble all you want here, I’ll be here to (???) catch/hold you as you un-wobble. (hahaha) As usual, can’t wait to read your next post. and yes: I miss Nadine too !!!!!! I hope she comes back soon, but I also hope that when she does she is HAPPY to be back
Didn’t answer the question eh? That sounds like me. I also think I’ve been avoiding posting this week because I’m off to see my son and his girlfriend this weekend and we get on well but particularly over a few beers and I don’t want to put that at risk. He is someone who has got through some really difficult episodes by supressing some emotions and they get to surface sometimes with a drink and I think I may be a little similar. We laugh, we sometimes cry and we can say we love each other and sometimes I think if that takes a few drinks so what. But I also know I’m not a good, sensible drinker and if I cracked this weekend I’d be on a month’s bender and I don’t want that. So I shall wing it this weekend. No intention to drink but more important is enjoying being with him. I’m not explaining this well but you might know what I mean. Hope you are doing OK. x
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Jim, you are strong and you can do this ❤ You don't need alcohol to say how you feel or access or handle your emotions, I promise! I totally know what you mean. I also have complete faith in you. Please keep us posted about how it goes !!! xoxo
Saturday midnight. Got through without a drink but it seemed almost churlish not to drink. Lovely food, some great wines, but then played board games and by end of evening I was glad I’d not had a drink. Tomorrow’s going to be easier as I’ll be driving home. I really missed joining in tonight though 🙁