There’s a reason many alcoholics say “I’m an alcoholic”. Present tense. Because if you say “I was an alcoholic” you can fool yourself into thinking maybe someday you can drink again. Be normal. Many of us avoid alcohol like it’s poison even if it’s been years because we can’t trust that we will ever be able to have a “normal” relationship with it. There is no such thing as one glass of wine, or a champagne toast, or a nightcap for us. They are mines that could blow up the ground we stand on and create a slippery slope back into the hell from which we escaped.
There are two parts to sobriety for me: thought and action. It is a huge battle to eliminate the action and the first major step in sobriety. After many years of being a slave to alcohol and self-harm I have been sober for four years (alcohol) and close to two (cutting). I am not tempted to drink very often though the desire comes up periodically but it is cutting that still haunts me. It is so discouraging. When will I become “sober” in thought? The specter of always wanting to cut hangs over me almost every day and it wears on me. Sometimes I feel like what is the point of not cutting if I always want to anyway? Will it ever become less of a fight? I know rationally that even if it is always hard it will always be worth fighting. Yet one of the worst things about mental illness is that the rational gets drowned out by the voices of fear and depression and hopelessness and anxiety. Sometimes they are whispers of doubt and sometimes they are shouts of despair.
Somehow I have to keep on reaching out for the rational. I have to remind myself every day that the lies are just that: lies. Maybe nothing will make me feel better in the moment when I’m in despair, maybe I feel like I have no recourse, but I sure know from the truest part of myself that self-harm won’t solve anything. So although I may not be sober in thought yet I will cling on to the reality of the sobriety that I do have. And that is enough for now. It has to be.