Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sober Day #35- Sleep vs. The Attractiveness of Alcohol

Yesterday was the first time in a number of weeks that I felt a yearning for alcohol.  Specifically, I wanted the rosy-hued lenses supplied by about 2 glasses of wine.  I wanted that feeling of remembering all I had to do, all the commitments coming due-  and not really caring.  That feeling of being in a protected place where nothing bad could touch me, where nothing demanding really mattered.

WTF?  I said to myself.  Why now?  What's going on here?  I remain committed to doing these 100 days without alcohol, but found myself thinking longingly to Feb 2014 when the 100 days will be up-  wouldn't a nice glass of dry sherry taste good, sitting by the fire and gazing at the snowy landscape outside?  Mmmmmm.

And then I saw a possible connection.  For most of my almost-5-weeks of abstinence, I've been sleeping a lot.  Seven hours at a minimum- sometimes 9, once even 10 hours!  This is in contrast to my former staying-up-late-having-one-more-glass-of-wine, with about 4 hours as my usual time in bed.

Sunday night I stayed up late finishing a fabulous book.  It was after 1 AM when I got in bed, and I was up as usual at 5:30, meaning just a few minutes more than 4 hours of sleep.  It was the first time since starting this challenge that I got so little sleep, and the first time since starting this challenge that alcohol seemed so attractive.

I am guessing there is a connection, that insufficient sleep decreases my psychic resilience, my ability to cope gracefully with daily life.  Therefore leading to more stress (even though I didn't overtly feel more stressed than usual).  And this, in turn, leading to feeling the need for relief in the form of alcohol.


Perhaps a productive approach for me would be:  When alcohol is calling to me louder than usual, look carefully for what sources of stress might be in play.  And tackle the stressor directly, rather than seeking to quiet it temporarily with alcohol.


  1. I, too am noticing that I've been sleeping much more than usual and it's good quality as well. In fact, it's become my coping mechanism. My grandfather always says, " If you're struggling, sleep on it. Things are always better in the morning." And he's almost always right.

    I think you nailed it when you linked tiredness with wanting to drink. It gives us the idea that we deserve to shut down and invite alcohol in to dull our brain.

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    2. Your grandfather is obviously a very wise man! I'm working on retraining my brain to notice when alcohol seems most attractive- and letting this trigger a query to myself about recent sleep patterns. Sleep is the most amazing Reset Mechanism!!

  2. It's the old "hungry, angry, lonely, tired" (HALT) thing. While hunger doesn't trigger me, the other three, especially in combination, will get me thinking about booze.

    Maybe it all comes down to self care - something I'm still learning.

    Congrats on 35 days! So glad to hear you are seeing patterns and conquering this beast:)


I'd love to hear about your journey, and hear your take on my journey. Comments are very welcome!!