“I’ve been a prisoner all my life… Take, take me home!” -Phil Collins
When I was drinking to excess, I often felt alcohol was holding me as its prisoner. I felt like there was no bail available. Every time I said to myself I was going to get it under control, I didn’t.
Several rough nights, a few blackouts, lots of self-loathing, many broken promises, a lost job, two failed marriages, a few months in AA and many years in Moderation Management later, I can truthfully say, I’m home.
Home. Where I can wake up refreshed instead of hung over. Home. Where I work out in the mornings instead of sleeping in and calling in sick. Home. Where I have a nutritious breakfast instead of puking my guts out. Home. Where I look forward to the evening when I can relax instead of dreading that I might over drink again. Home. Where I can even make plans with my former drinking buddy safe in the knowledge that I have a plan, I will stick to the plan, and I’ll remember every bit of the evening instead of blacking out and forgetting how embarrassing I was.
There are three important tools that keep me home instead of in alcohol prison.
First, I always drink a large glass of water after each alcoholic drink. It hydrates me and forces me to pause between drinks instead of pounding them until they pound me into oblivion.
Second, I never drink more than four drinks in one day. Never. Not even if I had wine with lunch, which I seldom do anyway.
Third. This is the most important tool in my toolbox. It’s the tool that trumps every tool in the box. This tool will beat any temptation I’ve ever had. Are you ready? This is the tool I use every single time I am contemplating taking a drink. Here it is. I ask myself one simple but profound question:
How do I want to feel when I get up tomorrow morning?
This question is simple because if my answer is “I want to feel great” then I know whether or not I should take that drink. But this question is also profound because if my answer is “I don’t care – I just want to drink” then I know I need to stop myself cold in my tracks and reevaluate my relationship to alcohol. For years now, my answer has always been “I want to feel great tomorrow morning. I want to get up and seize the day – heck, I want to grab today by the neck and shake it until it succumbs to my will, not the other way around. I’m going to eat a nutritious breakfast, workout for a half-hour, get all my chores done, and do a bunch of stuff to make the world a better place.”
I’d been a prisoner most of my life. I screamed to MM, my support group to please take me home. They showed me how to take myself home. And I’ve been there ever since.
You can, too.
Post Submitted By: Just Plain Phil, Executive Director, Moderation Management