A river of tears

So last week-end I started on some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with an experienced senior practitioner.

Why?  Because I have this tiny little voice in my head that say’s ‘if I could get to the bottom of what my thinking around my drinking was and could fix it then all would be well and I could drink socially again’.  I know, I know – sounds like a wolf in sheep’s clothing right?

But this wolf/sheep is still struggling with how the rest of the flock get to drink and she doesn’t.  ‘Sheeple‘ is an oft used derogatory term for a person who follows the herd without thinking about their actions and this is part of my struggle too.  Am I wanting to drink again so that I fit in or is this just wolfie words to keep me struggling?  If the attitude towards drinking had changed as it has towards smoking, so that it was considered a more anti-social than social habit, would this decision be so hard?

These are all unanswered questions that I continue to struggle with.  I hate being a sheeple and feeling like one and usually rejoice in going against the flow so why is this issue different?  I struggle with the question of ‘am I an alcoholic?’ and that my inability to control my drinking isn’t a failing in me but a reflection of an addictive substance.  I know this isn’t new to any of you but that is what was going through my head when they asked me the question.

Then they asked me to scale/rate how hard this was for me to unpick and manage and that was a resounding 10.  This is some of the hardest shit I have ever done, and I’m doing it sober, and I am crying a river of tears.  It’s like a wine bottle cork was plugging the dam of tears that have been building up and been kept in check for as long as I can remember.   The no booze and tricky therapeutic conversations has finally forced the cork out of the hole and the full force of my tear ducts had been released.  As the lovely Mrs D would say ‘water keeps falling from my eyes’ and I feel unable, and unwilling, to control it like I did in the past.

I will share how the CBT goes and what I learn because I wonder if I am not alone in how I think and how it relates to my drinking and I find this therapeutic in itself.  I sense I know the answer to the question already but I’m just not yet ready to accept it and this is my way of delaying the inevitable.  But what a fantastic learning opportunity too and what doesn’t break us makes us stronger right?

39 thoughts on “A river of tears

  1. What a moving post. I identify with so much of what you say. You are courageous to go for therapy because it is a really big deal to start opening the can of worms, well done you and looking forward to hearing how it goes. xxx

  2. we can do all the alcohol dependency quizzes that have ever been written. but they don’t tell us WHY. I veer between having to know WHY and letting go of the need to know. I think the tears are a symptom of you opening up a tender place. make sure you are really well supported in the rest of your life while you are doing this. most of all by yourself. the amazing Brene Brown says, ‘Knowledge is important, but only if we’re being kind and gentle with ourselves as we work to discover who we are.’ Right, I had to go upstairs to get the book with that quote so you’d better jolly well do it 😉 take care of yourself xxx

    1. Hey Prim I can’t let it go unfortunately as while the question remains the danger of more alcohol experimentation is too. Mr HOF is being really supportive and understanding and I’m having a lot of baths, drinking a lot of tea, sleeping a lot – oh yes and chocolate and cake 🙂 xx

  3. This sounds so difficult, but I sure it will be worthwhile in the end. I am a huge weeper if I ever try to talk about deep seated feelings or try to unpick how I feel about *anything*. I tried to have some counselling last year and snotted my way through all of it. I hope the CBT goes well. I am sure that this stuff gets a lot less scary once you bring it out into the light and look at it for what it is. You’re very brave. xxx

    1. Thanks MTM. Weird thing is I’ve been having counselling since 2010 on and off and I have cried more in these 2 sessions of CBT than I cried throughout all my other sessions put together! And this isn’t about the practitioner. Wine was my armour and without I feel naked and vulnerable – daft but true xx

  4. Ugh relate to so much of this too. I want to drink again socially, I feel if I unravel what was causing me the urge to drink destructively I can, but I know deep down that in reality, drinking is the worst thing I could do.

    Well done for going to CBT and do keep us updated on how it goes.


  5. Good luck with the CBT, I went to some sessions before for a phobia and found it incredibly helpful, if overwhelming. Wishing you all the best 🙂

  6. Oh, Lucy, this is so brave- and so important! I have been doing a depth psychology approach, working with a great counselor for over 3 years now. It took me a year and a half before I’d worked on enough that I was even able to talk about alcohol at all! Without hauling out of dark corners things I’d been drinking to avoid, I would NEVER have come this far- heading for 6 months of No Wine. I am finding incredibly hard and disturbing work, at times a real emotional roller-coaster- but, oh my, the payoff is amazing! I’m really beginning to know who I am, and appreciate her, and become less attached to who I think I should be, who I think ‘they’ need me to be!

    I am very appreciative of the courage it takes to start something like CBT- and reopen old wounds and hidden places- Here’s my salute to you! (well, metaphorically speaking!).

    Keep us posted on whatever you care to share!

  7. I am curious to see how the CBT works. I did a whack of therapy before I got sober (and some after) and I think it’s great stuff. I haven’t gone in a few years, but sometimes I wonder if I should go now and then. I think that any sort of tools or support we can get our hands on, and resonates with us, is never a bad thing. It can be a fantastic thing to have in your corner. The work, I found, is in uncovering and discovering…and that can be difficult. Unearthing things that we would love to keep covered is the challenge, but it’s worth the tears 🙂

    thanks for sharing this 🙂


  8. I had to be prepared for those thoughts of drinking with friends. I felt awkward but soon it became normal that “I” wasn’t drinking. Although it may seem intimidating to face a familiar social situation without the comforting familiarity of a cocktail in your hand, you can survive.I also changed some “friends”.Continued luck 🙂

      1. I hated that part but I had to do whatever was necessary. After a while they stopped calling or checking how I was doing. Today I wonder were they really friends? 🙂

  9. Hi Lucy. Very moving post indeed. I see you have the whole world here supporting you (hooray for that!) but I also wanted to chime in and wish you well! I understand that wanting to know “why” can be important, but I’m not sure whether anyone really understands (yet) why some people seem to drink with impunity and others get bit with addiction. But your questions are good ones, and as you say, coming to better understand how you are in this can only help you in accepting whatever you have to accept. That, plus taking really good care of yourself. I’m a river-of-tears sort myself, so I feel with you. Big hug across the water to you! Take care. xo

    1. Hi thirstystill and thank you 🙂 It’s been a tough w/end and every voice of support strengthens my resolve to power on and most importantly not pick up. Hug felt and take care of you too xx

  10. Hi Lucy
    Good luck with the CBT. I think it’s really brave to be tackling big emotional stuff at any time, let alone early in sobreity. The tears and pain we havr been supressing for years are better out than in, as they say!
    It’s ok to think about drinking again one, just not today, eh?!
    Lots of luck to you and hugs too..xxxx

    1. Hey Carrie! 🙂 I think I may have been somewhat foolish and rushed in where angels fear to tread to early in the game! Oh well it’s done now and actually although at the time it feels horrendous a couple of days later I feel better than I did before I went in. No drinking I promise 😉 xx

  11. Dear Lucy

    I completely identify with the mind stuff you talk about. When I gave birth the first time, I kept thinking that if I could just find the right position to lie/sit/stand in, then it wouldn’t hurt. Of course that position didn’t exist. It’s the same with my drinking, I thought that if I could just find the right formula, schedule, mindset, then all would be right, but of course, where alcohol is concerned it’s always wrong.

    Good luck with the CBT xx

    1. Hi Croydonite (love the name!) Thanks for reading and commenting. Good analogy about childbirth and thanks for sharing. It’s nice to know that you struggle in the same way as me! 🙂 xx

  12. Hi Lucy , I have been reading your blog for a month or so , picked it up from Soberistas . Totally identify with your wish to be a so called “normal drinker” hope the counselling goes well , tears are healing I think . I am struggling , get 4AF days then a bottle of wine , repeat — . But a big improvement to daily drinking . Just a word of warning , I did 3 & 1/2 years sober at AA 8 years ago , then after Divorce , thought my problems were over & started drinking “normally” again ! Haha , the joke was on me , soon became a problem again & even trying AA again didn’t help . So it’s a daily struggle of thinking yes I’m an alcoholic , then no , I just like a drink , over & over . Wish I’d just stayed at AA , Aah well as they say , One day at a time . Luck & love , Beverley x x

    1. Hi Bee 🙂 Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing. It’s so hard isn’t it to stop and stay stopped? The daily struggle as you say but we’re all here with you one day at a time too xx

      1. It is so uplifting to feel part of a movement all with a common goal , all struggling with the Demon Drink . Booze makes me withdraw & it’s great to know I’m not a crazy old bag , just an addict trying to get better one day at a time , feel surprisingly energised after a booze binge yesterday , thanks for the support , Bee x

  13. Although I am new to the journey of recovery, I am wondering if I will ever be able to drink normally again (deep down I think I already know the answer). I have not been able to cry for years and hope (?) that this sobriety endeavor lets the tears run so I can heal. Thank you for sharing your journey. The online community has been one of the greatest lifelines and motivators for sticking to this resolve and not feeling alone or defective in some way.

    1. Hi Kristy and thank you for reading and commenting. If my experience is anything to go by then the tears will be released and healing will happen. You are most welcome and I would not have made it to this point in the journey without this community too 🙂

  14. Hi Lucy, thanks for sharing this with us. Have you managed to get back for another therapy session yet?
    I think I may give this a whirl too, but I always stall with even trying to find someone. It feels like such a personal undertaking, I don’t really feel like just emailing or calling a counsellor unless they are personally recommended to me.
    I know you can obtain CBT (if you are lucky) via your GP, and to this end I am soon seeing a GP – for the first time ever on anything remotely resembling this subject. Scary! I have had to wait 10 days to see her, as I wanted this GP in particular as I feel I can actually be honest with her.
    Alternatively I would also consider going privately. What do you suggest Lucy?
    Is it worth it? x

    1. Hi Jude. Have been going weekly and have had 5 sessions so far. I would recommend if you are wanting to do the work. I was personally recommended this person. I could have self-referred to IAPT (or asked GP to refer depending on county) and would have been able to access CBT for free through this service but wasn’t sure how long wait was and so opted to pursue privately (although the person I am seeing works for IAPT!) Ask GP if can recommend personally maybe? Local mental health trust should be able to recommend CBT specialists too. I think it’s worth it and good luck with GP! 🙂 xx

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