What I've Come to Realize about My Sobriety
By Nancy Lindgren
July 7, 2015
Even after thirty-four years of sobriety, I have had strong cravings to drink! There have been several months or years that have gone by in my sobriety where I haven't thought of drinking, but recently, I wanted to drink. This craving really caught me off guard, but over the years I've learned that addictions are very patient and opportunistic, and the thought patterns can come back in an instant.
My recent cravings to drink started when I was planning my vacation to Italy. My thoughts started with all the beautiful places I'd see, wonderful food I'd eat and then the wine; don't Italians drink wine with their meals? Isn't it mandatory? I hope they're not offended that I don't drink. Then the preoccupation started and my thoughts took off like crazy!
The addict part of me hopped in the driver’s seat of my mind and drove wildly all over in my thoughts which went something like this:
I'll be in Italy...I can have a glass of wine or two with my meals...that's right, just with my meals...and just while in Italy....I won't drink when I get back...and no one will need to know...and it won't count because I'm on vacation...I just won't say anything to anyone...
Then I caught myself! I know in my heart that the phrase, "to thine own self be true," is a cornerstone of my sobriety. I wasn’t looking out for my own best interests. I called my AA sponsor immediately and we had a long talk about these thoughts I was having. She reminded me that I am powerless when it comes to drinking and one or two glasses of wine in Italy with meals was a seduction that I got caught up in. I feel much more confident about not drinking wine while in Italy, now that I have reminded myself of the tools I need in place to stay sober. The tools for me are: abstinence from alcohol, good nutrition, enough sleep, support when I need it, and exercise.
As I thought about the cravings more, I realized that I had been eating more sugar and carbs than usual. I got off track with my eating and exercise after a recent (and stressful) surgery. The antibiotics and pain meds that I had to be on created an imbalance in my system. Additionally, I was too fatigued to do the exercising that I was used to; my body needed rest. I was tired and just wanted comfort foods like chocolate, ice cream and popcorn. I had made some strides to get back on track, but the sugar and carb cravings were relentless.
I knew that in order to give my alcohol cravings the boot, I needed to recommit to good nutrition and kick my carb cravings. I restocked my kitchen with good foods and cooked healthy foods to grab-and-go. I made healthy snacks to keep me satisfied and balanced so I wouldn't be so preoccupied with carb cravings. It worked, as it always does.
Nutrition has played a big role in the quality of my sobriety and my life. I feel better, stronger, and more balanced when I eat good food and stay hydrated. I also take supplements to support my system. I've gotten a lot of good help and support at Nutritional Weight & Wellness over the years.
I used to be willing to go to any length for a drink and now I am willing to go to any length to protect my sobriety. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that good nutrition is key.
For more information on sobriety, listen to the July 18, 2015 podcast of Dishing Up Nutrition with special guest Nancy Lindgren.