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Dodged a huge urge tonight to grab a bottle. Iím scaredÖ

Old 08-05-2021, 12:00 AM
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Dodged a huge urge tonight to grab a bottle. Iím scaredÖ

Not sure anyone will remember me.

So Iíve been sober for a year and 3 months at least and the last time was not a major slip up either, so before that probably a couple of years or more. Iím pushing into something now again though thatís obviously a trigger for me. Dating, and relationship. Iím 39 and been single my whole life, havenít even kissed. I had an overprotective childhood and, had few friends and was bullied so isolated myself a lot of my adult life. Socializing isnít easy for me. I got into drinking to a degree to numb loneliness and other emotional pain. Iíve done well getting off it though and have found I can on occasion even have a few drinks for the right reasons. But I know what the wrong ones are, and tonightís urge was huge and not at all the right reason.

Iíve been trying to dabble in dating over the past 3 or 4 years with limited success, Iíve gotten to 3 or 4 dates a few times but usually it doesnít work or it seems I tend to sabotage things. I thought Iíd been doing well emotionally again so I wanted to try again and I started using dating apps. Matched with someone started chatting and weíve been on 3 dates so far. And the same pattern starts emerging where I like the person but feel insanely uncertain and increasingly get more and more anxious.

I believe this is likely a fear of intimacy and the fact that this is all just new to me. Instead of being able to hold it lightly as simple dating with not too much attached my brain treats it as life or death and my nervous system goes into fight or flight 24/7 for weeks. I thought though to myself that I really have to push through this if I want a different outcome. And until tonight I didnít have any urge to drink. Iíve just been horrendously anxious, which Iíve been managing. But yesterday I took things a step further and decided our next date to invite her over to my place for dinner and a movie in. She quite likes the idea and seems excited. Amazing right? Oh no! Lol my brain after choosing to do that basically exploded, and I knew full well it was going to. But I figured I have to push through discomfort if Iím going to teach myself not to be terrified of intimacy. And if Iím going to ever overcome this fear. Fair enough this sounds good.

But I found myself suddenly sitting with an old friend after meditating tonight. I was feeling terrifyingly anxious as usual and meditated for 40 mins. The anxiety largely dissipated but what rose up underneath was a desperate urge to run away and drink hide. Actually for weeks there has been this desperate want to sabotage the dating which Iíve not been listening to. But this was the first time the old grab a bottle and drive away from the city and rent a hotel somewhere and drink your problems away fantasy came back. I had this same fantasy come up the last time I broke up with someone I was dating and it was over a similar intimacy block I think. That time I did end up drinking but this time I havenít though I came pretty close.

Iím lying here now wondering what to do? Part of me wants to take this as evidence I canít date. To call it off with her. ButÖ that is also the same urge to run from all of lifeís difficult problems that I always listen to. Indeed drinking itself is the same urge to run away from difficult feelings for me. I feel like the healthy thing to do would be to continue on and go on the date and see what happens. It certainly doesnít even have to be successful for me to count it as a win. But itís very difficult for me because dating and relationships definitely bring up old feelings of being trapped, smothered, unable to get out. I donít want to listen to these feelings because I donít want to be alone my whole life either. I do have a therapist and see her regularly in case anyone is asking. Just wonder what advise others have?
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:28 AM
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Hey Smilax - welcome back

Its difficult to take that leap of faith that we can do things sober.
Our fear tells us we must solve this now, crash through now, be complete now...

Its not true.
Its not a race, and if you don't do anything now you're not doomed to a life of loneliness and celibacy.

I think it's ok to take things as slow as you want to take them. I reckon any one who really likes you will understand that Smilax .

D
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:37 AM
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Well done on getting to one year and 15 months Smilax! Your date is not a ',problem so definitely don't listen to that urge to run away and drink because that will just make you feel disappointed with yourself (in addition to the physical discomfort of course) For most people going on a date is quite a big deal so you are not unique or strange for feeling anxious.

Just be yourself on the date and remind yourself that the absolute worst that could happen is that one or both of you is not compatible and that it goes no further. That's the worst thing which would be disappointing but not the end of the world and of course fingers crossed it will go better than that.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain so go for it Smilax. Good luck!
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:43 AM
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Thank you Dee. I still think Iím going to go through with this date if I can. Though I will play it by ear. I agree with you that itís not a race and that I donít have to be complete and whole now. But I also do think that if I always listen to that voice that tells me to cut and run when emotions become difficult that Iíll always get the same results. This doesnít mean putting too much pressure on myself either mind you. I think perhaps I have done that mentally with this last date. Iíve been thinking of it as a huge intimacy leap, got to kiss her maybe things will even go much further. Why canít it just be dinner and a movie in? Lol. That much alone is a win.

Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
Hey Smilax - welcome back

Its difficult to take that leap of faith that we can do things sober.
Our fear tells us we must solve this now, crash through now, be complete now...

Its not true.
Its not a race, and if you don't do anything now you're not doomed to a life of loneliness and celibacy.

I think it's ok to take things as slow as you want to take them. I reckon any one who really likes you will understand that Smilax .

D
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:53 AM
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Thank you. I keep seeing this truth then losing sight of it. Like you said dating is anxiety inducing for most people, and I definitely have an anxiety disorder ontop of that so something to be kind with myself for. While I factually know that you speak the truth that the worst thing that can happen is it just doesnít work, my panicked brain doesnít understand this lol. It leaps to levels of anxiety that feel life threatening. I believe the only way to show my brain that you and others speak the truth is to go through the process, without running away lol. Every time Iíve run I prove to my brain that some terrible scary thing lurks around the corner. This is easier said than done for me though lol.

ĎAt any rate being kind with myself and realizing that the only thing can happen here is me gaining knowledge I think is the way forward. Even things not working out is a huge skill building exercise for me. I just have to learn not to listen to panic. Thatís the hard one. Lol.

Originally Posted by saoutchik View Post
Well done on getting to one year and 15 months Smilax! Your date is not a ',problem so definitely don't listen to that urge to run away and drink because that will just make you feel disappointed with yourself (in addition to the physical discomfort of course) For most people going on a date is quite a big deal so you are not unique or strange for feeling anxious.

Just be yourself on the date and remind yourself that the absolute worst that could happen is that one or both of you is not compatible and that it goes no further. That's the worst thing which would be disappointing but not the end of the world and of course fingers crossed it will go better than that.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain so go for it Smilax. Good luck!
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Old 08-05-2021, 02:35 AM
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This is not the best it will get Smilax

This need you feel for you to do this now can be healthy but...not if it puts your recovery at risk.
Only you can can weigh that up.

best wishes
D
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Old 08-05-2021, 05:44 AM
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You would be well served to get a counsellor to help you navigate dating and things are causing you problems. You are the poster child for counselling whilst you explore your life without alcohol so i really hope you get one. IMO you won't be able to go the next 40 years alone and happy not to drink! Do not make your counselling about your addiction as that will ensure it is a waste of time, tackle the issues as you are a normal person who used to have a problem with alcohol, do you see what i mean?
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Old 08-05-2021, 06:17 AM
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A tremendous milestone at a year and a quarterÖHang in there for more sobriety time! Itís worth it!
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Old 08-05-2021, 06:26 AM
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I agree with Scd619x. Relationships create approach avoidance dilemmas, and are fraught with all sorts of emotional twists and turns, and counseling can help you sort much of that out. Also, you seem open to yourself enough to capitalize a great deal on counseling. I get the feeling those parts of you that you don't understand very well, are not inaccessible under lock and key.

While I think this is part of you worth the time and effort to investigate further, I would congratulate you on avoiding that close call with a relapse. These kinds of situations happen when triggers (like relationship triggers) test your commitment. And if you are serious about exploring your dating difficulties, I guarantee you 100%, that you absolutely will not be able to solve most psychological problems effectively when you are drinking. I know this from personal experience. Effective problem solving under addiction was all but impossible for me.

As for dating, I say go for it. The worst thing that can happen is that the relationship fails. But guess what? Most relationships fail. That's why we don't marry the first person we fall in love with. Even most failed relationships will offer something that was worth the risk.
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Old 08-05-2021, 10:01 PM
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Dating is anxiety prone for everyone, and for some of us much more so because like you say we make it into a huge deal. When I was younger I couldn't date without drinking due to all the anxiety. Now as I'm older and have been through it, I no longer find alcohol necessary, but I still get anxious due to being introverted, and having social anxiety. One thing that helps is knowing they are probably anxious too. I really commend you for continuing to work at it, and doing so without drinking. And for 15 months. Great job!
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