the un-secret

LotusI remember the day I decided to stop drinking. I honestly thought it might be a little challenging, maybe even uncomfortable, but it never genuinely crossed my mind that it was going to be difficult—near impossible. I still believed I was a normal drinker and normal drinkers can stop. Yes, stop.

I couldn’t stop. I said I wanted to, but still, I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.

I’m still not sure how it happened but it was as if someone else was opening the wine bottle, pouring the wine in the glass. (Let’s rephrase that, hastily opening the bottle and drinking warm chardonnay from an empty coffee mug in my bedroom closet. That’s the type of classy I drinker I had become.)

I remember thinking, Who is in my body? Who’s opening this? I thought I was quitting? Why am I doing this? I don’t want to do this, is there someone else here besides me? What the [bleep] is happening to me? Maybe I should stop tomorrow, I’ll stop tomorrow when I get this all figured out. I’ll drink and do some journaling, I’ll try and figure this out. After all, if I was an alcoholic I wouldn’t be trying to figure it out. Right? Right.

That was a Thursday. Two weeks later on a Sunday I was still trying to stop (really, really, really trying) every night and I could not. I observed it too. I was determined to figure it out. There must be a loop hole in here somewhere. Every day the same ‘girl’ came to visit around noon time. She usually showed up after I’d eaten breakfast, kids were off to school, and I’d gotten in a run. Every day she told me how well I was doing and how much I deserved to drink. Every day she reminded me how hard my life was with these people (aka, my family). Every day she wiggled her way back into me and the two of us waited for 5 o’clock to arrive.

I just tried to be okay with it/her, because I did not know how to stop it/her.

But something different happened that Monday morning. I got to my journal and I got to my phone, before my ‘girl’ got to me. I called the hospital for an inquiry-only conversation. When the woman asked whom I was calling for I was planning to tell her it was for another employee.

“It’s for me,” flew from my mouth.

Whenever I have daydreamed how great a drink would feel, I think of this moment. I am an alcoholic. Whatever that is, I’m it.

I didn’t drink alcohol in moderation. If I could have—I would have. I couldn’t.

I don’t choose to try drinking anymore. I tried it for a long time. It didn’t work.

There is no secret to sobriety.

The people that choose it, have it.

It’s for the taking.

No one was handing me sobriety.

I had to step up and take it.



Blogger update: Due to my increased work schedule with coaching and ThetaHealing™ I will no longer be blogging weekly but semi-monthly/monthly.

Here are some of my favorite blogs for fellowship:

A Hangover Free Life

Bye Bye Beer

Carrie on Sober

Changing Course Now

Dangling on the Edge

Drunky Drunk Girl

Fit Fat Food

Life Corked

Mended Musings

Message in a Bottle

Mished Up

Mrs. D is Going Without

My Recovery Diary

New Adventures of the Old Me

OA Writings, Poems, Paintings

Oh for the love of … me

Recovery SI


Rising Woman

Running on Sober

Sober Boots/ Heather Kopp

The Soberist Blog

The Miracle is Around the Corner

Tired of Thinking About Drinking/100 Day Challenge

42 Responses to “the un-secret

  • Wow. Powerful. My drinking was classy at the end too. I too have no idea why I stopped the last time, but you’re right that there’s no secret. I want sobriety way more than I want a worsening hell but yeah, I happily take it. Glad to hear you’re busy with coaching, and look forward to reading posts on your future schedule. Thanks for the mention!

  • I have been thinking lately of how I distrusted people that would have two drinks and then switch to water. I thougth “what is wrong with this person? Only 2! Äre they a wimp? Wait.. are they judging me if I order another?” I was the one doing the judging. I could not understand why someone would only want 2 drinks because I would never want ONLY 2 drinks. I have to keep that in my head when I start to try to figure out if I could be a moderate drinker.

    • I love the increased logic in our post drinking awareness. I continue to be amazed at the things I thought I knew vs. the things I actually do know. (Just today my daughter pointed out one of my not-so-nice habits when I reply. I bit my tongue and told her thanks for reminding me.) I do next to nothing in my life with moderation—still. I don’t think drinking will change if I decide to go back. Thus my big idea to stay sober—today. Looking forward to getting to know you better. Love this blogging community.

  • Great stuff- I decided I was finished drinking while sitting in a local jail…

    No tries before BUT glad I did then.

  • Great post–but what will I have to look forward to on some Sunday afternoons now? I guess you must have some time consuming clients 🙂

  • Wow, Lisa. It’s amazing how so many of our stories are intertwined. I never ended up in the closet, but I thought about it. As we like to say, it hadn’t happened to me “yet.” So glad to hear work is going well, but I’ll miss seeing you on here. But, I get it. Life happens and we have to reevaluate. Best wishes and thanks for the mention! Hugs!

    • Thanks for the kind words. I’m going to be around. (I love you all too much to not hang out.) Interesting what a difficult decision this was, but like you said “life happens.” Your blog is great. You are so focused on solution and growth. You consistently inspire me.

  • This is EXACTLY my story. The experience you write of is almost mine, word for word, apart from the family. My single existence meant I had to hold it together slightly less.

    Thanks for reminding me of why I’ve stopped.

    40 days sober today, finally, and I’m sure as hell not going back.

    • Don’t you just love when we ‘see’each other EXACTLY. I love that you shared that with me. Thanks for reminding me of why I started blogging 🙂
      If my calculations are correct, you’re at day 44 🙂 xox Lisa

  • I love this: “There is no secret to sobriety. The people who choose it, have it. It’s for the taking.” I choose sobriety. It took me a while to get here, but I choose sobriety now, with a glad heart. MTM (14 days). x

    • More to me …
      I love your WP name. I choose it, too. With a glad heart. Looking forward to journeying with you. Lots and lots of love. Me

  • As always, you spoke to my heart…thanks for this inspiring post & for linking me to this post 🙂

  • Glad you made that call before missy showed up, Lisa. We’re all the better for it too, reading your words here on regular (now semi-regular!) basis. I am glad you’re keeping busy, and while I am selfish and want you to keep posting, I know life happens 🙂


  • Just happy that I have been given the chance to make the choice myself rather than someone else making it for me. I am grateful for that and refuse to return to that hell. Love reading your blogs and will wait patiently for your words. Be well.

    • Thank you so much. I am so grateful for many blogging friends. You all help me stay sober. (It was hell, wasn’t it!)

  • Love you I turned 9 and hope we can talk this week

    I love you

    Sent from my iPhone

  • Wonderful post! I really identified with what you said in parts of it and as someone who is training to be a life coach with a specialisation in Recovery Coaching reading what you have to say is both interesting and inspirational from a personal and professional perspective. Thank you for sharing.

    • This is great. I love coaching. I think sometimes that I have turned everything in my life into a giant coaching question. My kids even say that I ask too many questions. Coaching is the best way to open my imagination. Good luck and keep me posted. I have many wonderful readers who can benefit. Much love, Lisa

      • Hi, thanks for that! I agree, it’s such a wonderful, empowering approach to everything really… I will keep you posted and all the best to you and yours.

  • “I don’t choose to try drinking anymore. I tried it for a long time. It didn’t work.
    There is no secret to sobriety.
    The people that choose it, have it.”

    Words to live by. Thanks! 🙂

  • I understand why you are backing off but I’m going to miss your more frequent posts. I love the way you write and your message always hits home for me.

    And your girl must have had a sister ’cause that same behavior kept showing up at my house too!


  • I’m going to miss your weekly posts! You have such a gift and I’m glad that you have the opportunity to share it more through coaching. I’m so grateful to have had the chance to work with you and I’m honored to be on your blog list!

    • Karen, You’re such a nice part of my life. You’re blog is amazing. I am often referring clients in your direction. Your grasp of sobriety is so full circle. You bring it all in. Look at all of life. Leave no stone unturned. Equally as glad for your support as you are mine.

  • yes! augusten burroughs writes in “This is How..’ that sobriety is simple. That does not make it easy. simple yes. easy no. And i agree that it is a choice we make each day. because we did try drinking normally. we cannot. that’s it

    • It never amazes me how complicated I can make a thing. Recovery has been the unlearning, not the learning. Thank you for your simple and eloquent words. Lisa

  • Oh man, this is a heartbreaker, first Paul, now Lisa! You will be so very, very, missed, Lisa, each week you do not post, but it will make me anticipate each post all the more! Enjoy the increased work, and enjoy the family!

    • Hey cutie, I’m around and I think with all the great bloggers you will hardly notice my absence. Besides, I’ll be here, just not as often. Working on some bigger projects, but my roots are here with you. xox

      ps thanks for reminding me to enjoy the family … they get shoved sometimes too when I get on a working climb… 🙂

  • Like everyone, I love this post Lisa. I wish there was a secret, but you’re right, there’s not. The closest I ever discovered, I heard in a meeting:

    “If you don’t drink, you won’t get drunk.”

    Simple, yet profound. By the end of my drinking, I got drunk every time I drank. The only way for me to assure that I won’t get drunk and do stupid shit is to not drink. Period.

    Good luck with your projects! Don’t forget you can always reblog some of your older posts too–it saves time, but also introduces some favorite material to your new readers or even serves as reminders for those of us that have loved you for a while. 😉

    Love, me

    • Hey you, I’m just reading this. I think I need you to coach me on running the blog better. I feel, quite simply, out of time. I want to bend time, but since I cannot, I need to learn to ask for help. I’m going to find you in April and learn more how you do this. Might you have time for me? I’ll send you an email. Thank you for the continued love. Me

  • Lee Davy
    10 years ago

    Powerful post as always Lisa and thanks for sharing it with us.

    How marvellous is it that you can look back at these dark times safe in the understanding that you not only came through it, but also use this period of time to help others to also get through it.

    Our paths are so very different and then so very alike.

    I too found it impossible to stop, but for very different reasons.

    The funny thing about my experience is I wasn’t hiding at all. Everybody knew how much I was drinking and everyone was fine with it. If I tell my friends and family that I was an alcoholic they would tell me I was making it up for effect.

    This is how powerful alcohol is. It doesn’t just control you and I, it controls whole societies, whole countries…hell I might as well go the whole hog…the whole bloody world.

    I was recently in Berlin and took in the DDR museum that was focused on life in socialist East Germany after the Second World War. I was reading about the process their children go through when they move from childhood to adulthood and guess what is part of the ceremony.

    Yes you’ve guessed it.

    They have their first drink of alcohol as a rite of passage into adulthood.

    It belies belief.

    That’s why it’s so hard to quit.

    Nobody should be ashamed about how hard it is.

    • Lee, Sorry for late reply here. I just love what you’ve said and want to touch on it. Alcohol does control societies and it scares me. I feel at times we are fighting a monster we can’t even see. I often feel I should be giving more, doing more, but frankly I am out of time (my theme for 2014—apparently). I love your last line, “Nobody should be ashamed about how hard it is.” This is so difficult to remember in the moment of a slip or near slip. The goal is to just keep trying. Never stop trying to figure out this ‘life thing’. I love your perspective and am always glad to see you’ve commented. You give me fresh ideas for writing and personal growth. Thank you!

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