Tired of Thinking About Drinking

Sobriety is like a little car

I started writing about the ideas of early sobriety (less than 15 days) on Suzy’s blog, and also on Jen’s, but want to elaborate …

Right when you first quit, there are lot of questions, a lot of unknowns. part of why we ALL struggle in the first days is because it’s all so new, so foreign to how we usually live.

Questions like: “How will i go to a party and not drink? I won’t be any fun! How will i manage sober sex? Sober dating? How will i deal with stress?” and my personal favorite: “Is this no-drinking thing forever?”

And so on.

The initial question-asking stage of sobriety is deafening.  there are a billion things to consider. Or so it seems.

and yet, bit by bit, it gets easier. we read a few books and we  blog and/or read other sober blogs, and we comment, and maybe we do a meeting (or not). We run more (or not), we sleep better, we begin to feel more comfortable in our own skin.

in a few more days, some of hazy grayness starts to lift. For me it was around day 34 but i started off intending to quit only for a month, and so i farted around a lot in the first month with what-if ideas, and maybe everyone does that, or maybe you’re more focused than I was and your grayness will lift sooner.

Now here’s my metaphor:

Sobriety is like a little car, rolling downhill, that gathers momentum as it goes. But if you stop the car too soon (by giving up, by having just one drink), then you never get to experience the momentum it can gather with time, and you’ll just get to experience (repeatedly) the ‘starting over part’. which we agree, stinks.

it doesn’t take very long to feel better and to have a clearer head. so keep the car rolling, and feel your way through the grayness.

Sobriety is like a little car, and if you’ve got the little car already on its way downhill, however slowly, don’t do anything to stall. don’t change your medication, don’t suddenly quit your job, don’t buy a dog, don’t stop going to meetings. You want the car to keep moving, right? Downhill, yeah? Slowly gathering momentum. Don’t get impatient that other people don’t notice how great you are. Don’t confront your spouse about their radically different life plan. Not now. Not now.

protect your little sober car.

(and now, to mix metaphors) You need to walk around like a blind person with your arms outstretched, saying “don’t come near me with your drama, your shit, your demands. Stay the fuck away from me. I’m protecting me. See my outstretched hands grasping for the wall, grasping for something solid? Stay over there and gently guide me if you like, but do NOT dare come inside my arms-stretched-out space and fuck with my sobriety. Don’t tease me, don’t cajole me, and don’t bait me.”

(back to our regularly scheduled metaphor)

“Because i’ve got a little car of sobriety rolling downhill,” you say. “And some days it’s all i can do to keep going. but i ain’t pulling over. Not now, not for you. If this car stalls, it might not start again.”

Get out of my way. Sober car coming through …


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37 thoughts on “Sobriety is like a little car

  1. Perfect perfect metaphors! Even mixed! I do feel I have gained momentum, (12 weeks) but still think I have not reached the full speed, free wheelin’, wind in my hair stage. I REALLY want to feel that! xx

  2. facingfactsaboutmyself on said:

    I’m picturing Samuel L Jackson getting sober in his little mini rolling downhill

    “The path of the righteous (sober) man, is beset on all sides (by blind people)”

    “Any blind fucker crossing the road in front of me, seeking to assert their lack of vision on my sacred life’s direction had better have fucking excellent hearing and fucking, and I mean Usain-fucking-Bolt like fucking fast reflexes cuz this little car, this little auto-fucking-mobile ain’t stopping for no-one.

    Stevie Wonder himself could stand in front of me waving his arms around wondering where I am, saying he misses me and all, and I’ll run him down with great vengeance and furious anger. And his guide dog too. And pop a cap in his ass just to prove the point. And he will know my name, for I’m a determined and righteously pissed-off mini-driving slurpy-sipping sober fucker tonight!”

    Thanks Belle, I feel much better now [feel free to edit or delete as required : )].

    • edit? god i’m crying laughing. I’ll pop a cap in his ass… I’m a sober fucker tonight … that’ll be my mantra now : )

      • facingfactsaboutmyself on said:

        It was lots of fun to write. I’m sure Tarantino enjoys his job for that very reason!

    • runningonsober on said:

      I’m rolling here! I’m a huge Pulp Fiction fan!

    • high hopes on said:

      I know I’m a couple of years late to this awesome exchange but it is EXACTLY what I needed to read today. I am two weeks fresh in my decision to take a break from drinking. I can’t bring myself to say “forever” but I also don’t want to let myself off the hook. My little car is rolling slowly and I am feeling good. I’m going to protect its progress and let it pick up more speed. When I am tempted, I’ll narrow my eyes at my trigger and channel me some Samuel Fucking Jackson.

  3. Excellent metaphors and true at every stage of sobriety. Not that some things don’t get easier with time but there will always be the risk of stalling and encountering dangers to our sobriety. I love your clarity!

  4. Oh my god, I love this so much. The little car, the blind, cursing person with outstretched arms. So true, just all of it. Love this.

  5. Starting over sucks. I’m sorry Belle.

  6. love this metaphor… i just got a new sobermobile today and gonna start heading down that hill… and i’m not stopping this time.

  7. Love it. Great post. Great comments – go Paul! Love the metaphors .. both of them. I do feel like that…like this gritty phase I’m going through is a bummer for sure but it ain’t stopping my little car from rolling. I think .. what I’ve learned since becoming sober .. that these gritty phases are what living is all about .. natural ups and downs, I never had them before because I was kept on an even keel with wine. But I’m going to keep on rolling baby.. keep on rolling…

  8. runningonsober on said:


    Amen and hallelujah!

    One of my favorite posts Belle, great job!

  9. oh yes, this makes perfect sense! And I initially thought that if it stalled you would just start it back up, but that could also put too much stress on the engine. Now, I see that stalling is a non-isssue because if you have enough momentum, just pop it into neutral and keep rolling. Brilliant.
    And another thing, I always use the metaphor of getting to the top of the mountain as the goal…but maybe getting back down to the bottom is just as much an accomplishment. hmmm.

    • suzy, you could also see it as a snowball rolling down hill, that gets bigger and faster as it goes … but snowballs don’t stall (often) so the metaphor sort of ‘freezes over’ at that point : )

  10. sherryd32148 on said:

    You know what else? The longer you stay sober the better your car gets. I got me a mid sized baby now with air conditioning and power windows. I’m holding out for a Beemer.

    Great post, fantastic metaphor and keep that little car rolling.

  11. Oh my goodness, this is ME right now! I need to wait out the crazy, and let my sober car roll! Love it!

  12. mishedup on said:

    Love this!!
    glad i found it (or was sent here, actually)
    I’m aiming for the private jet, personally, but my car will do for now, thank-you-very-fucking-much!

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  15. Facingmenow on said:

    Probably my favorite-laugh out loud- I totally get it post ever! Well, so far…your journey is my comfort reading right now. I’m lacking confidence and “Samuel L. Jacksoness” now (day 9–feels more like hour 216 to be exact), but I am SO looking forward to it!

  16. You need to walk around like a blind person with your arms outstretched, saying “don’t come near me with your drama, your shit, your demands. Stay the fuck away from me. I’m protecting me. See my outstretched hands grasping for the wall, grasping for something solid? Stay over there and gently guide me if you like, but do NOT dare come inside my arms-stretched-out space and fuck with my sobriety. Don’t tease me, don’t cajole me, and don’t bait me.”

    ^ ^ This ^^ Tears pouring down my cheeks. 21 days sober and in tight protection mode. No more failures. Please, God.

  17. Great post! Exactly how I feel:)

  18. Tracey P on said:

    DAY 2…Just read your little sober car metaphor and its a funny little visual that speaks to me on a few levels. I hope I can do this. My drinking over the past few years has morphed (I was going to say “evolved”, but that implies a positive development!) from 2-3 glasses of wine a night to a bottle and a half. It’s a habit that started from a love of the taste of wine to (dare say “obsession”) fueled by boredom and and enjoyment of the buzz that comes from too much vino. Like others, 5:00 pm couldn’t come soon enough. And, being an early retiree at 55 (now), it became 4:30…then as early as 3. Not cool.

    So, I am going to try to eat the elephant one bite at time, day by day. My goal is 30 days of sobriety to start, until I can wrap my head around the idea I will probably never enjoy a responsible relationship with alcohol again.

    Reading you blog and others like it helped me feel less isolated…that others struggle with this and succeed. This is so inspirational.
    BTW…had the crappies first night’s sleep with no booze. I hope this improves!

  19. Kelly on said:

    You are so inspiring !
    I am now on my 5th day sober and it has not been to bad so far. I have made it to somewhere between 50 and 60 days before so I know it gets a lot easier . That is what is keeping me going.
    Tonight is going to be hard though. We are going out to local social club for dinner with another family. The club provides a free bus there and back and we always get this and drink lots of wine. The friends we are going with are big drinkers, as is my husband.
    I am going to drive tonight instead of getting the bus. I am really struggling to just not cave in and call and book the bus and have a few wines ! After reading this though I am going to drive and enjoy coming home sober and getting a good sleep. I will wake up feeling refreshed and go to my fit boot camp at 6.30am. I will feel great after that. Then I will takes daughter to her horseriding class and enjoy watching her. I honestly don’t know why I am even thinking about drinking tonight when I know exactly what would happen. I would come home and continue drinking after everyone goes to bed. Stay up until goodness knows when drinking alone, then stumble into bed. Fall asleep ( pass out) , wake in the morning feeling anxious and panicky, husband would be in a mood due to my snoring ( only do it when drunk ). I would have forgotton chunks of the evening so would be worrying if I offended anyone.
    I would have missed fit club as I would either still be drunk or feel terrible.
    I would go to horse riding but instead of enjoying watching my daughter I would sit there trying to control the waves of anxiety.
    I think the first scenario is much preferable ! So Fuck you Wolfie, this little car is going to keep moving Thankyou 🙂

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  21. Anonymous on said:

    Wonderful metaphor. I’m on day 4 of the 100 day challenge. Its my 4th attempt so I’m all too familiar with the concept of my little car stalling. I really sick and tired of drinking though, and this time I am committed to seeing the challenge through.

    I’d like to give up for good but at this stage “for ever” seems more than my brain can process so I’m focusing on 100 days.

    Its great to be able to jump on line and make contact with others in the same boat. Makes me feel i’m not alone and in no way am i unique with my struggle.


  22. Anonymous on said:

    I love this blog and can really really to it and the comments, thank you so much for posting.

  23. This is Tracey in CA. Day 5…not so easy today but my little sober car is on the move, albeit slowly. In addtion to being a newbie to sobriety, also a newbie to blogging. Trying to start now. After a terrible fall on Sunday after way too much wine during my brother’s visit to town, I’m officially done, done, done. I will be following may of you on the various stages of your journey. Yes..my little sober car is on the move, and I embrace the journey. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.


  24. Anonymous on said:

    This is beyond a true gift. Thanks

  25. MsShelle on said:

    I don’t even know why I drink anymore. It does nothing for me. I don’t drink daily. Maybe 2-3 times a week. But when I drink, it’s at least a 12 pack. But when I’m not drinking, I feel incredible. And by day 2 or 3, I’m craving it again and wake up hating myself. I don’t know how to do this. I keep telling myself it’s mental. It’s a conscious decision to drink. So if I can convince e myself so easily to drink, why can’t I convince myself not to?

  26. thegirlwiththebigsecret on said:

    when you drink it’s wolfie making the decision, that is gold! amen to that- no wonder it’s taken me so long to quit drinking. just been listening to wolfie. now on day 10 whoop whoop guess I’ve made it this far like twice these past three years. health, happiness, real life with true emotions and joys here i come

  27. Love this post!

  28. Danielle on said:

    Absolutely love yr metaphor, and esp.:

    protect your little sober car.

    Because, yes, no matter (1) how we feel about ourselves or (2) how anybody has treated or is treating us, we are VALUABLE and nothing is more worth protecting than the process (sobriety) that alone will enable our functionality and — dependent upon that — our true happiness some day (sometimes sooner, sometimes later).

    And to wrap it all up: ““Because i’ve got a little car of sobriety rolling downhill,” you say. “And some days it’s all i can do to keep going. but i ain’t pulling over. Not now, not for you. If this car stalls, it might not start again.”

    Get out of my way. Sober car coming through … ”


    (Me: A grateful recovering alcoholic thanks to AA, for more than a quarter century)

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