How can I make myself actually *want* to stop drinking, rather than just intellectually *know* that I should, then feel guilty for not even trying? How can I motivate myself to keep attempting to quit?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I am a 26yo female who has been drinking for around 10 years. During this time I would estimate that I have been quite drunk around once or twice per week, on average (so maybe 10 drinks). I don't drink daily by any means, but the longest I've ever gone without drinking is probably a month or two - and that's only happened maybe twice. Sometimes I'll just have one or two but I mainly get very drunk. I'm guessing this is considered to be heavy use, although many of my friends probably have similar levels.
Over this time I have gained a reputation as a bit of a party girl / loudmouth which, oddly enough, used to be a source of pride... but increasingly is a source of shame. As my peers mature I am stuck in silly adolescent behaviour and am more aware of how selfish and attention-grabbing I am when drinking.. and sometimes sober I suppose. The line between the drunk me and what I think of as The Real Me is now almost completely blurred. Now, the mornings after, I have very strong 'emotional hangovers' with a cringeing regret about whatever I did last night. I have little idea these days about whether this shame has any basis in reality, but it doesn't really matter, because I feel so guilty in general for continuing to drink. This horrible feeling of being out of control, not myself, is the major reason I would like to stop (I have also habitually done many stupid and dangerous things while drinking, such as driving, random drugs, chain smoking and unsafe sex. My professional network is also quite small in this city and becoming increasingly aware of how drunk I get.)
I have been to AA (and decided, unequivocally, that it's not for me), various therapists, tried naltrexone for a couple of months with varying success, and I've read and tried to research almost everything I can find on addiction. I've sought out non-AA support groups but they are not available in my small city. I'm currently in therapy one hour per week (I've had about 5 sessions so far), which is helpful insofar as I am expressing my feelings about minor family dysfunctions (nothing terrible, just your average childhood really); dropping out of grad school; my relationship/s; my drinking behaviour; my identity; my run-of-the-mill graduate career crises etc. I'm not depressed, I'm in reasonably decent health (I hope) for someone who puts so much poison into her body on a regular basis, and most things in life are, on the balance, objectively pretty good.
Yet I STILL feel this compelling drive to get drunk at least once per week, always followed by a day or more of sickness, apathy and depression. It's getting to the point where I am extremely concerned about the effects on my health and wellbeing, on my reputation, my mental health and of course on the people around me. The thought that this could go on for another 10 years is utterly terrifying.
But it's that old conundrum - am I unhappy because I drink, or do I drink because I'm unhappy? After all this time, I just don't feel any closer to quitting drinking. It's like some part of me just doesn't even consider stopping. I can't seem to make a decision and stick to it (even as I say that, I realise it's just my own self-defeating voice speaking, yet from my experience, it seems so true.)
So my question is NOT a general, what should I do about my drinking, or, is it a problem. I feel like I am pretty familiar with the answers to those questions already.
What I want to know is, how do I make myself WANT to stop, to want to try? How do I differentiate this attempt from numerous others, whereby I actually believe it is possible? How can I best help myself? Is there something specific I could be asking my therapist, my boyfriend or my family to do to help me? What are the ingredients of a successful change to sobriety? (Please no Big Book quotes!)
Thank you all so much for any advice you can give - I am desperate to hear anything new on what, for me, has become a very old and tired theme.