Dealing With the Emotional Rollercoaster That Comes with Sobriety
How to Cope When Soothing Yourself with Alcohol is no Longer an Option
I am an introvert, I spend a lot of time in my head and yes, I do have full on conversations with myself too. Thankfully though since quitting drinking over a year ago, my mind is no longer a crazy battlefield, the conversations are no longer fraught with negative self talk, shame, regret and fighting the beer monster. The chatter is often much lighter, it’s more positive, full of possibilities, there’s still lots of questions but it’s more like a tranquil oasis compared to the volcano it once was.
Even so, the thoughts and feelings and emotions are still there and can be difficult to deal with at times. When drinking, I would get tired of this constant noise and alcohol was my only escape, I could melt away into my own world and close the curtains on life. I would sit there with my wine or beer or whatever, getting sozzled and slowly retreat into myself, away from the problems, away from the world and sadly, away from my family and my kids. I would make plans, dream about my other life and soothe myself with the fact that when I stopped drinking, all of my dreams would come true. The trouble was that the more I drank, the more I forgot who I really was and what I really wanted and then I would lose sight of it all only to wake up the next day having actually achieved nothing, so much left undone, so many broken promises, pie in the sky ideas.
Although I hated this effect that drinking was having on my creativity, my ideas and my plans, it was also the part that I was worried about the most when I thought about quitting drinking. For so long I had used alcohol to soothe me and allow me to escape and daydream. How on earth was I going to achieve this peace, this relief, this momentary mental shutdown as and when required, without it?
When I finally stopped drinking, my dreams didn’t obviously come true overnight and I was shocked to discover that I still had raging thoughts, plans, ideas, dreams and feelings. That was a surprise. Suddenly all of these emotions, feelings and thoughts were flooding my very being all the time and I didn’t know what to do with them. When you are so used to blotting everything out with alcohol…