While we tiptoe around our eventual path of sobriety we find lots of ways to try and rationalize our actions, justify why we do what we do, and make excuses for not doing what we know we need to do. Yesterday I talked a little about how good I was at justifying why I deserved to drink. I hope we all know and agree on how fucking stupid that is now. It wasn't that I was unintelligent in my actions, I was doing the best I could with what I had while dealing with one of the most addictive substances on the planet. I can honestly say that I was trying to find my way, but my way was lost in a myriad of personal and societal camouflage meant to distract me from the truth and lead me down a road of insecurity and self-destruction.
While zigzagging around the inevitable but somewhat hidden path I was meant to eventually find, I came up with a lot of ways, excuses, justifications, and lies to keep me blind from the path that actually laid right in front of me. Today's myth is one of those lies, and while it seems like a fairly simple one, it is one that we have all used time and again while negotiating our way through the alcohol-induced haze of our previous lives.
Sobriety Myth #6 - One and done
I imagine you all just smiled a little bit when you read that one. There are variations of the saying, of course: "I'll just have one," or "Okay, just one" or "One won't hurt me," etc... How many times have you said something like this in your life? Here is the better question, how did it end for you? If you are reading this blog I am willing to bet you are now shaking your head as you remember how not well you did with the one and done mentality.
By now I am sure we all know and understand that alcohol is highly addictive and like anything addictive, it is very difficult to just have one. I read an article the other day about a study that found how different shapes of salt crystals affect our taste receptors differently therefore making some shapes more addictive than others. What the hell? Unfortunately, alcohol doesn't need such a study because it does not matter in what form you consume it, you will want more. It's the reason Annie Grace, in her book "This Naked Mind" asks the question: How many people do you know that gradually drink less over time? The answer is very few; it just doesn't happen.
The immediate effect alcohol has on our body is truly unfortunate because it really does have a calming effect on our body and mind. That first drink slows things down a little, allows us to stop thinking about all the stress surrounding our lives, and gives us the ability to check out for a moment. That is all true, but Isn't that where the real problem lies? It allows us to check out, which we do for extended periods of time and for days on end until all of the things we were stressed out about in the first place are now compounded to a point of no return leaving us feeling completely helpless and worthless.
Alcohol does not allow us to relax, it allows us to forget and gives us permission to be complacent. Complacency leads to more stress and further substantiates our initial justification for wanting a drink in the first place subsequently causing us to drink another, and then another, and then another until it really doesn't matter anymore because we have now lost all of our faculties and abilities for reason. One and done is a lie we tell ourselves to justify having that first drink. We know there is not a single person out there who will place their hand on our shoulder when we order our second drink and say, "Hey, you said one and done. Maybe you shouldn't have a second."
Sobriety Truth #6 - One and done is a lie
Let's just make this really simple, shall we? If you are reading this blog, watching any of my videos, joining any groups on Facebook for sobriety, or even just asking yourself if you drink too much then you are not capable of the one and done option. I'm really sorry, but it's not for you. It was not for me and it is most likely not for anyone.
What is the alternative? This goes back to what I wrote about the other day in regard to the reasons we feel uncomfortable in social settings. Why do we put ourselves in social situations that make us feel uncomfortable in the first place? I mean, I get it, sometimes there are groups of people we would like to associate with or activities that we would like to be a part of, but at what cost? Are those people or those activities worth the consequences that come with drinking alcohol? Here is a way to find out for sure. Be honest with the people you normally hang out with and tell them you have quit drinking. You will find out quite quickly who wants you to go out with them after work. One and done problem solved (kind of). The point is, once you have whittled down that group of people, you will also open yourself up to finding people who don't drink or don't drink much, or who are fine with spending time with you without alcohol and soon your circle of friends will begin to be people with whom you do not feel the need to drink to be around. Isn't that what we would all like, anyway? To be with people who allow us to be ourselves? That is what I want and am continuing to search for and find, slowly.
Be patient with this process. What you are doing goes against the grain of social norm and acceptance so it will take a little time. One of the things about sobriety that I am truly enjoying is the fact that I have stepped outside the norm and am finding new ways to enjoy my life, the people around me, and the activities in which I choose to partake. I thoroughly enjoy not perpetuating the lies alcohol has told us for as long as we remember. I truly love that my son sees me making decisions to be different because it is the right and healthier thing to do. I am happy that my partner and I don't argue because we are always clear-headed and articulate. I enjoy waking up in the morning and immediately thinking about how grateful I am for my life and then start planning out my day so it is productive and purposeful. The benefits that follow our steps into sobriety are enormous, life-changing, and worth any discomfort you think you are feeling in the beginning stages. There is nothing like the feeling of feeling strong.
One and done? No, thanks!