I chose to quit drinking alcohol. And dealing with chemicals around my sobriety has been a tuffy. I get hung up on the technical details of being sober so badly that I obsess over the chemicals I use. Did I use that chemical as directed by the directions?

Today, I rinsed my mouth out with Listerine. The bottle says to rinse for 30 seconds, but this morning I accidentally turned that into 20 seconds before I spit. Then I felt like I had cheated on my sobriety by only using the mouthwash for 20 seconds. A thought entered my head, was I subconsciously trying to get a high? I love that I'm sober, so things like this can reallly get me thinking. Then I thought, why not just swish it again for a full 30 seconds. But then I thought that might be following a compulsion, so as hard as it was, I didn't use anymore.

Later on, after I heard that there is no alcohol content in Listerine, I picked up the bottle to make sure of it. But I didn't find out for sure. The bottle has such a strong smell to it, and I put it back. Then I checked my fingers for any Listerine that might have been on the outside of the bottle by smelling them. I'm not okay with spreading Listerine all over the house, especially with regards to my sobriety and the other people who live hear staying sober as well. While I was sniffing, I realized that inhaling the fumes could be a bad idea. Perhaps the chemicals could get in my brain and get me high. Was I subconsciously trying to get high?

I had to go to the bathroom, but I ran out of toilet paper, so I decided to get in the shower. I cleaned off, then used a towel to dry off. I think I remember putting on deodorant this morning. So if the towel touched my armpit, then when I dried off the rest of my body, I could be spreading deodorant chemicals all over my body. Then if that deodorant got on my hands, or a part of my body that I would touch later, before handling food, is ingesting that going to mess with my brain?

Also I wasnt sure if I cleaned my hand thoroughly while I was in the shower, because I did not wash it deliberately; instead I was focussed on cleaning off my body. So if I have crap particles still on my hand, and I touch my face, is that messing with my head? Like can you get high on crap?

Through all of this, I havent washed my hands because that's one compulsion I need to give up in order to get better. But then again, all of this anxiety provoking in my thoughts is making me question whether it's worth it just to wash my hands…too late now.

So I just don't know what to do.

1 Comment
  1. Ablee 7 years ago

    Dont worry about it just buy mouthwash alcohol free, it seems to me like more of an ocd issue.  Sorry your going through this but if you are doing the erp you shouldn't be doing the washing/showering after the "listerine" issue because sounds more like contamination ocd ritual.  Perhaps you can put it in your erp to touch the listerine bottle and not wash hands.  Talk to your counselor about it, in fact ask if you should even buy alcohol free mouthwash as that may not be what the counselor wants you to do.  This is just my opinion, i have contamination ocd too so i know how difficult it is around these issues.

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