Guest Blog – Belle Robertson*

The sewer, the manhole cover, and the forecast is sunny

*Quitting drinking is like getting out from underneath a manhole cover. It’s a big, weighty thing that threatens to slam back down on us if we aren’t careful.

image courtesy of Eddie~S

When we’re in the sewer (drinking) and we’re covered by the manhole cover, well, we’re dealing with a ‘known’ state. We know that the place smells, we know the view is terrible, that it’s dark. There’s no future. There is only regret and heartache.

When we get out of the sewer, and we stop drinking, at first we look over our shoulder, and we see the stinky sewer drinking hole. We let the manhole cover slam into place, and then we’re standing alone in the sunlight. Quite terrified.

We try to explain the sewer and the manhole cover and the desperation to normal drinkers, and they don’t really understand. We slowly, block by block, day by day, begin to walk AWAY from the hole behind us. With or without sober tools, with or without support. With or without knowing what the fuck we’re doing.

And now there are two choices. We can continue to look behind us. See the hole again and again. Periodically test how heavy the manhole cover is. Sample the delicious aroma of the sewer. Or we can walk forward, into a place unknown, where it is forecast to be sunny with cloudy periods.

Yes. Bad crap still happens in the sunny place (kids, job, money, health), and yes, you might be tempted to turn around and look longingly at the sewer. You’ll think that maybe it’d be a good idea to go back there, just for a minute, because at least it’s dark and quiet and stinky and depressing in there …

But my darling, let me say this: Booze isn’t a solution to a problemIt’s a very temporary pause button (manhole cover) with horrendous consequences. It’d be like turning to heroin. It isn’t the right solution for the problem.

You might need time off, help, someone to talk to, a break, to cry, to yell, to vent, to write, to run, to sleep. You may not know yet what you need to do to feel better. But with 100% certainty, slamming your hand in the manhole cover (drinking) isn’t a solution. I agree you need some solutions. You don’t need to add problems. Let’s find you a solution.

*Belle Robertson is a sober blogger (Tired of Thinking About Drinking), has written a book by the same name about how to quit drinking, and has worked as a sober coach with 2,727 individual sober penpals (as of today!). She works as a caterer, and lives in Paris, France. More here >

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