Returns and Temptations

I feel like an agoraphobic who has just let the situation get out of hand. You know, the longer you leave it to take those tentative steps outside the harder it gets. That’s how its felt with blogging, you leave it for a few days, then a couple more. You realise you really should look at some of your fellow blogger’s blogs and make a few comments.  Show you’re still part of the community, but you don’t  and then guilt kicks in. You deal with that by more avoidance and pretty soon it feels as if you’ll never get back. I say to myself that maybe I don’t need to blog any more.  I started it to help me give up the booze, well job done, its been 9 months without drinking. No need to blog anymore. Except of course if everyone did that who’d be there to support the newbies? More guilt. 

Time to stop the rot, open that metaphorical door and step out into open air of blog land.  I’ve missed it. I’ve missed the interaction. I’ve missed giving and receiving the support. I know why I’ve been absent. Family issues, lack of focus and motivation; all, in the end, excuses. So what to report?

I did nearly start drinking again. For real.

Not in some miserable, what’s the point kind of way more in a “it’s a sunny day, I miss the warm fuzzy feeling of enjoying a great wine whilst sitting amongst the flowers and feeling at one with the world” kind of way. This must have happened to a lot of ex drinkers I’m guessing. That remembrance of why you used to drink in the first place-it was fun, enjoyable, it made you feel good. I loved my beer and wine and for a couple of weeks I thought to myself ,”Why on earth are you denying yourself Jim?”

Fuck the blog I thought, fuck that austere, fun-less world you’ve inhabited for 9 months. Life is too short. Others manage it.  Everyone else on the regular Sunday Zoom family quiz was knocking back the booze and enjoying themselves.  Stop the nonsense and live a little I would say to myself. You can be sensible.  I pictured myself as a sensible drinker once more enjoying all the pleasures of booze without the downsides.  I’d learnt my lesson so can I now join the living and go back to sociable drinking.

I came close, very close.

I put forward some damn fine reasons for me to start again. But something stopped me.  I knew this was a big decision, a fork in the road that would shape my life’s journey for months or years to come. I gave myself a week or two to consider. If I felt the same way after a couple of weeks, I’d pick a day and I’d open a cold Guinness that I kept in the garage fridge, then I’d have one of my Belgian Trappist beers also in the garage. Oh this seemed a great day in the making.  After the beers, my visualisation was showing me, I’d have a glass or two of a lovely Malbec that’s sitting in my wine rack and finish off with some large gin and tonics. Oh dear. I saw it all clearly. That’s when I realised I can’t go back to drinking.  I wasn’t envisaging a single beer or a glass of wine, I was imagining a full blown binge drinking session which is exactly what would have happened.  I don’t drink because I’m shit at moderating and before I know it I’d be back to hangovers, excess weight, irritability etc etc. 

This, it strikes me is the real challenge of staying sober.  Reminding oneself of how bad things had been, how easy it would be to return to those grim days, the days obsessing about alcohol, planning things around the next drink, moving quickly from the first enjoyable drink to the 6th or 7th where you start to feel rough and wish you’d never started.  Looking back helped me make the right decision for my future. I gave up drinking for good reasons and those are still pertinent. It’s not always easy staying sober but it’s definitely better than what was there before.

A few days after my Jesus in the desert moment I decided to expand my range of alcohol alternatives as a distraction and investigated the making of Kombucha.  I love drinking interesting tasty drinks and felt that Kombucha could fit the bill. I’ll leave the report on that episode for the next post. Suffice it to say I’m hooked. My moment of temptation had passed.

In conclusion I’d say to anyone in the early days of giving up, yes, you’re more than likely to miss alcohol and start to think you could have a different relationship to it if you started again. Those feelings of missing the booze do go and just remind yourself of why you gave up in the first place. I know I have more freedom, peace of mind and happiness sober than I ever had whilst drinking, For that I’d happily forgo the very transient, fuzzy feel good of what was often only ever the first few beguiling sips of alcohol. I made the right choice 9 months ago and it’s still the right choice. It’s good to be back.

Jim x

29 thoughts on “Returns and Temptations

  1. clairei47

    Well well well … the boy is back in town. It’s great to read a post from you and fab to have you back. I am really pleased you didn’t have that drink. Sobriety is different now than is was in the first few weeks and months but it still needs to be worked at and cherished. We have missed you Jim xx 🤗

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  2. nomorebeer

    YES TO ALL OF THIS 🙂 First of all, welcome back Jim 🙂 And sod the guilt, nobody cares about that. No guilt. Second, YES to brewing your own Kombucha. It saved my early sobriety. I’ve started buying it again instead of making it because my SCOBY died for some reason and my last batch went moldy and I got too lazy to order a new SCOBY and start over from scratch 😦 Thirdly, I’ve also been fantasizing about drinking a lot this week. My last post is about how I avoided it by just a hair. So no guilt there either. I think a ton of us are facing this, and us “newbies” are facing our first sober spring. I feel like I did in early sobriety, and lockdown is a actually a blessing in disguise – if bars were open right now I don’t know if I’d be at home sipping kombucha. But then I remember that I used to pay 10$ for a half pint of fancy sour beer which basically tasted exactly like kombucha…. And then I play the film forward like you describe here and I remember the shit feeling of coming up on too many drinks, like 7 or 8, and the nausea and dizziness and stupidity and excess and the horrible hangovers the next day and the shame and everything….. and that helps me come back to right now, and decide “not today”. But i sure do feel more wobbly than I did a couple months ago before the world went crazy and the weather got nice. Sending much love and unconditional acceptance + lots of gratitude that you wrote that post 🙂 xxx Anne

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Hi Anne, the only blogger that can write more in a comment than most people do in a post😉
      Reassurance to find out it’s not just me that had a wobble! Ah the kombucha. Am I secretly drawn to the fact that it can contain a small amount of alcohol? Nah. It’s lovely- pity you have to drink it in small quantities. I’ll read some of your posts later. Glad you’re ok . X

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  3. Dwight Hyde

    Welcome back, Jim. Definitely the right choice for us bingers! I definitely get those triggers …they were baked in for so long. It takes work getting out of those trenches, but this new path is so much better. Love feeling crisp, healthy, aware, and alive😊

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Yes you’re right and as well as reminding myself how grim things sometimes were when drinking I also remind myself how much better it is being free of it.

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  4. gr8ful_collette

    Great read your words again, Jim. You’re still as wise as ever and making good choices! Thank you for your honesty. It helps us all. Xx

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      1. gr8ful_collette

        Doing great now my husband is finally coming home from overseas. I was thinking about it though and I think sunny weather really triggers the old drinking habit. Glad you stayed strong!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. gr8ful_collette

        That’s fine, Jim. I know you’re embarrassed to me associated with my blog! 🤣🤣 Have a great weekend, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. drgettingsober

    Welcome back Jim! Glad you’re ok and got through that – I too have been thinking about drinking again but know that I don’t want a glass – a bottle wouldn’t be enough! I think the pandemic, the global threats and the social distancing are all making us wobble and alcohol seem an option again. Keep posting and being wise – I’ve missed you! 💞💞

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Hi There. Thanks and I’m with you totally on the bottle not being enough. I reckon it would have been a few days and I’d have been back to where I was before. I think the therapy work also has made a difference. Drinking has come up a few times with clients and if appropriate I have shared that I don’t drink and I can see that in itself has given one or two the motivation to cut down or stop themselves. It feels like something worthwhile and too good to throw away. Missed you too x

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  6. jacquelyn3534

    So great to read a Jim update this morning! 😃 Glad you’re back! Your posts are always so helpful! I truly think this nice weather is harder for me and I really had to change some of my routines to try to avoid trigger times. I have been drinking a lot of flavored water and I get all excited when they have a new flavor. 😂

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Jacquelyn, yes I am constantly looking for interesting flavours myself and quirky combinations. Have to say the Kombucha thing has really got me motivated. Keep experimenting. X

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      1. Jim Simmonds Post author

        And the kombucha is interesting and appeals to those of use who like the idea of fermented drinks but without the alcohol (or only trace amounts)

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  7. Addy

    So glad you weren’t tempted. It is such a slippery slope once you succumb. I know my hubby Greg kidded himself every time he came out of detox that he could stop at just one drink, yet he never stopped at one and would sink into the abyss once more until death finally got him. My latest post is also on temptation – a subtle one. Keep it up, Jim. You are amazing.

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Addy- I know I never got to the point your Greg did but I knew my drinking was problematic. I know deep down that I’d only go back to that way of drinking. It is sad as I did enjoy it but that’s the way it is but I have enjoyed being free of constantly working around alcohol> It’s been liberating and I’m determined not to lose that freedom.
      You’re pretty amazing too, and an important voice on these blogs. X

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  8. Untipsyteacher

    Hi Jim!
    I’m SO glad you didn’t drink. Lord knows, I’ve thought about during this time, but I always think through the end, as you did.
    I had to take some time off blogging, just for a bit, to process some hard times in my city of Minneapolis.
    Just hugs, honey.
    It’s hard, but I’m glad we are in it together!
    xo
    Wendy

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