There is a good reason I still go to a therapy for my addiction. My stay in the addiction therapy facility was necessary, but I still need to continue my outpatient therapy. It’s not just that I feel secure going there every week, it’s not just a thing I do every week and is a part of my schedule. I still need it because I still have a lot to learn about myself and my reactions and actions that I need to take to stay sober. And I like Ada (my therapist) a lot and I see that our therapist — patient relationship is working very well.
Let’s start from the beginning —
Last Saturday I had an extremely strong alcohol craving. It came from nowhere (or so I thought — but more about it later). It started after I started working in the garden, the first time after the winter. I saw an empty beer bottle in my outbuilding, it was my brother’s, he put in on the shelf instead of throwing it into a glass recycling bag. For a couple of minutes I felt like I want to give up, like I don’t have a chance with my sobriety, like I will go and drink, like I am an alcoholic and I shouldn’t pretend otherwise. It scared me — it was so overwhelming and strong, I felt very close to giving up… But I didn’t — I kept working knowing that any crisis will pass. And indeed, it passed — in half an hour I already felt better, I wasn’t thinking about drinking anymore. I actually felt a lot of power in me, I had to keep myself from working too much and becoming overtired.
Reasons and triggers for this craving were plenty —
- difficult and nervous situation at work
- very unfair treatment from my boss that weighed on my thinking
- nervousness about upcoming driver’s test
- a sight of an empty beer bottle
- working in the garden, which is a huge trigger as is connected in mind to drinking
- no expected reward in drinking after said work
I knew all that afterwords and my discussion with Ada confirmed it. But she also asked — “if there were any signs that this craving is coming?”. I couldn’t answer that, I thought that I there were none. She insisted that cravings don’t come from nowhere and are culmination of several things and there are always warning signs.
And you know what — there were, of course there were obvious signs…. In a week previous to this craving I went back to my old habits —
- I stopped talking about my feelings, I was saying that everything is “ok” when it wasn’t. I was afraid of the situation at work and the upcoming driver’s test. I was afraid of being judged again, possibly unfairly as I was at work.
- I didn’t want to disappoint myself and my family as I did many times when I was drinking.
- I went back to creating fantasy scenarios in my head — all of them negative — and pertaining to the situation at work and with driver’s test — where I let my mind to loop on itself with all the negativity that my imagination was creating.
- I went back to trying to prove to, I don’t know who — myself? my boss? — that I am a very good and reliable employee, by working in the afternoons and evenings, checking emails, making phone calls, updating our system. That is something that I promised to myself I wouldn’t do, and I failed.
- I was wasting a lot of time on watching stupid videos and escaping reality on the internet.
All of that were so obvious, and yet I failed to see it. If I would see it I could react to it, change my behavior and avoid this craving. And if it wasn’t for Ada — I still wouldn’t know it. Now I feel more prepared and more on the lookout for the warning signs to avoid that situation in the future. Alcohol addiction is a terrible disease, but I will not give up!