Compulsion, obsession and desire

I drank my last drink on 14 May 2004 it was just before 7pm that evening. For a long time in early sobriety I kept a daily gratitude list at the top of each day’s entry I wrote “Haven’t had a drink today”.  I cannot say I hadn’t wanted a drink. Those first few months it was in my head constantly it was a silent inner battle I fought. One day, 9 Feb 2005, I wrote “Haven’t had a drink today” I continued to write my list. Then it hit me … I went back to the top and wrote “I haven’t WANTED a drink today”.

I hear many sober people say they put the last drink down and they never had a desire to drink again. Not so for myself. But for a long time I said that the compulsion to drink didn’t leave me. Not too long ago someone heard me share that then they spoke to me. They pointed out “compulsion” would mean I HAD to drink with no alternative. Given I didn’t drink in those 9 months I was obsessed but not compelled. A good observation.

Somehow even if through just stubborn pride and a decent dose of fear I stayed sober. I was a member of AA since I had a desire to stop drinking (the only requirement for membership).  That desire was clearly greater than my obsession and therefore the compulsion I had endured for years was abated.

This complicated issue for me i.e. Not drinking has that simple equation at its root. Keep my desire not to drink greater than my obsession and I’ll not be compelled to pick up again. So it goes on the “trudge to happy destiny”.

About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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3 Responses to Compulsion, obsession and desire

  1. sherryd32148 says:

    Simliar post for me today. (Get out of my head!)

    The pangs, and occasional thoughts are still there. They are quiet and much like a summer gnat that buzzes around my face and that I swat easily away or smoosh between my clapped together hands. More of an annoyance than anything else. Sometimes enough of an annoyance to make me angry but an annoyance nonetheless.

    But the peace came when the desire, obsession and compulsions left me. I can’t pinpoint when that was exactly (maybe if I go back and read through old posts?) but I know that one day I stopped and listened and all I heard was blissful peace in my head.

    That peace is all I need to keep the desire not to drink there.


  2. That’s a great way to describe it. When I first quit drinking, I had no desire to drink either. I think fear of death knocked it away. The desire to drink came back slowly. Not a compulsion, as you said, just a wish that I could be like normal people and have a couple to take the edge off. I noticed it quite a lot when my father-in-law died last summer. I am grateful my desire to stay not drinking and my desire to be a healthy runner exceed my wishful thinking. I am not a normal drinker and never will be.

  3. byebyebeer says:

    That obsession/compulsion took what felt like a long time to leave, though it quieted down a lot within year 1. Definitely have a much bigger desire not to drink that sometimes feels like it grows a little bit each day. Terribly grateful for that. Great post, G.

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