Problem Drinking: That Little Voice

I’d had a big day. Not necessarily a bad day, just an eventful one.

I’d done my first out-reach clinic all by myself for work, which involves giving advice to people without the safety net of my colleagues being upstairs. I’d received an invitation to apply for a job with a different organisation, which had been a real shock. I’d spent a long time wondering what to do about that. I’d had a big chat with my boss about said invitation. I had been informed that I would have to attend an urgent and important meeting the next day. I’d had my first full league roller derby practice and I’d taken some comments there to heart and they upset me. I hadn’t had a full night’s sleep in a very long time, often waking with anxious thoughts about what I needed to do that coming day. By the time I got home and got into the shower, my brain was a chaotic place. Somewhere out of the recesses of my mind, a random thought popped out. “Well, getting shitfaced would stop all those thoughts going through your head.” For a moment, I considered giving into that thought. Then I realised that things were not quite ticking along as they should.


For those who haven’t read my big screed here, a few months ago I came to the realisation that my drinking was problematic, dangerous and upsetting to myself and those I love. I was an experienced binge drinker, able to polish off a large amount of alcohol in one sitting and then invariably making a dick of myself. After one particularly bad night and the following painful day cleaning vomit off every surface of my bedroom,  Mr. Cesy and I discussed what had happened and I made some decisions to change how I drank. Since then, I have been a lot more mindful about how I drink. Lower alcohol wines, volunteering to be the sober driver, and being more aware of how I was feeling and the situation I was in have all been strategies I have used to avoid getting into a binge drinking situation. To be honest, the shame of the Hall and Oates concert night is still with me (the stain on my carpet is still quite obvious), so I haven’t really desired to drink much.

But that night, it became obvious that the voice that had said in the past, “You totally should buy that second bottle of wine after you’ve already drunk the first!” is still in residence. I never expected her to be gone, but I have to admit that I did not think she’d pop up when she did. While coming to the realisation I had a drinking problem was hard, I knew what I would really struggle with would be the maintenance phase. I had been trying to keep being aware that I needed to be mindful, trying not to fall into the trap of, “Oh I’ve done so well recently, I can totally drink that bottle of wine quickly!” The temptation to get out of the shower and pour a big glass of vodka was incredibly tempting but I realised it wasn’t going to deal with anything. It would be a band-aid fix. Sure I’d be relaxed for a bit but it would not help the anxiety and stress I was feeling at the time.  At that stage, only time would do that.

So as I sit here writing this, I realise I don’t have the answers about what to do with this new development in dealing with my drinking, but I feel that being aware of this issue is certainly the first step. I will attempt to keep to my current approach of just being far more mindful of my drinking as it does appear to be working relatively well. If I can acknowledge the thought, work out why it is not right and not act on it, I think I’m succeeding in some small way.

By Cesy

Cesy grew up in a sheep farm in New Zealand. Accordingly some of her views are a bit strange.

17 replies on “Problem Drinking: That Little Voice”

Great to hear from you again – I’ve been wondering how you’re doing:)

You don’t mention this so you may already have it covered, but it struck me that you don’t mention alternative ways of coping when you have a day like that, whether that’s going for a run, a walk on the beach, cuddle the cat, dance around the living room to angry rock music, whatever. It can just be good to have a ‘I’ll do this’ instead of ‘I can’t have a drink’.

I am here to break the bad news.  Problem drinkers can not retrain their drinking habits.  I know this because I am four years sober.  I too tried to change my habits – make them less dangerous and more normal.  Yet, my mind always goes back to that place.  I tried out patient therapy and that did not work very well.  Then, I went to rehab for 28 days.  Been sober since and think it was the best decision I ever made.  You know when you will be ready.  You know that you already are ready.  If you need to talk – I am always here for you.

That is so true Selena.  What worked (and didn’t work) for me could absolutely work for someone else.  Abstinence was the only thing that kept booze off my mind and out of my body.  My personal favorite quote is “If I could drink like a normal person, I would drink everyday.”

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