Day 154

To get sober, all you have to do is not drink. Why did it take me so long to figure this out? I’m slowly figuring out why because if nothing else, sobriety gives you lots of mental clarity to reflect on why you drink/drank, and why you aren’t anymore. I think a huge part of my identity was tied to drinking. I knew it was wrong and I knew I wasn’t drinking the way I considered appropriate, but I didn’t know how to not drink. I wasn’t doing anything to learn another way, and sobriety seemed so boring and awful. I was drinking about drinking, but I was doing very little to learn how to live without alcohol. Nowadays, I shudder to think of a hangover again. I rarely crave the awful taste in my mouth after a night of heavy drinking. Not that I particularly enjoyed it, but I knew it. It was a comfortable, normal thing. It gave me something to focus on.

I’m traveling for work next week, and tonight I had a brief pang of panic over what that means. It means ME in a hotel, completely ALONE. I could drink a bottle or two of wine and nobody would ever know! I got this weird sensation, almost a pull to just do it. . .a secret rendezvous with myself that I could laugh about and give my inner self a little wink and a nudge about later. Alcohol is sneaky, and I think it won’t ever be completely quiet in my head. It snuck up on me today, and for a moment I indulged myself in a little fantasy. Big gulps of wine like I’ve never taken before! Spend $50 on a fancy bottle and live it up!! My imagination went wild, I drank the wine, went to an amazing club and met amazing people and laughed long into the night over cigarettes and conversations with my imaginary new best friends. (I was also very skinny and was wearing something silver and flimsy. . . it was a true stretch of imagination!). Then, my imaginary self went to work the next day. Fuzzy minded, with tired eyes and pounding headache. Embarrassed and feeling very obvious. Puffy, dull skin, and an impatient edge. Willing the conversations and meetings to just be over already. I instantly went from Studio 54 back to the mental dreads, and I felt a wave of shame wash over me.

Never again. I’m stronger and brighter now. I know alcohol lies and any fantasy is just that. Alcohol does absolutely no good for me in any aspect of my life. It is a saboteur and it’s really effing good at it’s job. Sobriety isn’t boring or scary or awful. It’s medium. It’s a balance between the 3AM self-hatred, and the 6PM seduction. It’s safe and patient and readily available. I don’t have to plan it, or pay for it, or even long for it. I am not going to regret my sobriety tomorrow, nor am I accidentally going to drink every bag of tea in the entire house and ruin my night of sleep.. . .or something?? Idk, that got away from me.

My whole life is subtly and naturally changing. My marriage is getting better, I’m getting better at my job, I’m owning my opinions, I’m arguing more – for things I believe matter in the world. My days of self-loathing are so much shorter and less intense. I don’t carry the weight of constant shame around all the time. I still say things that are insensitive or thoughtless. I still get caught making faces at my husband and kids (ha!). But those deep cuts of self hatred don’t cut as deep anymore. My wins in life aren’t celebrated with alcohol that cuts them down and makes them ugly. I probably pat myself on the back too much, but for fuck’s sake, it’s nice to enjoy the wins instead of having every positive thing I do be immediately put on a balance to hopefully outweigh the bad stuff!!

So next week, I’m going to be away, but I’m going to stay sober. No galavanting around town, dancing in silver heels (my imagination thinks it’s 1970, apparently). I’m probably going to work out, maybe visit an area haunted house that I’ve read about for years. Maybe soak in the tub, or read a book. I don’t care what I do, really, I just am happy to be there and not escaping down a bottle.

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114 thoughts on “Day 154

    1. Try and try again! Believe me, this wasn’t my first attempt at sobriety. . . it took me a few times to really learn my lesson when it comes to controlling drinking! As for writing, thank you for your kind words. . . I write how I wish I could speak in real time! Editing is my friend 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s true in so many ways. I could also add to this and say “try to become exactly who you want to be” because that’s been such a driving force for me. It’s easy to sit and drink wine while picturing this perfect life, doing the work to make that a reality has been the challenge!

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  1. Have you ever read The Good House by Ann Leary ? You might like it.
    Wishing you continued success. I could relate to so much of this.
    Thank you for sharing your story .

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I think I’m starting to realise that just because society normalises heavy drinking, that doesn’t make it right? A few months ago I was drinking bottles of wine a night and I can’t remember the last time I had a night out where I actually remembered it the morning after… Once I start drinking I just CAN’T stop, something takes over and I just can’t resist opening that next bottle. My hangovers are awful, vomiting until 6-9pm the following day. I got practically nothing done ever because I was hungover half my life.
    When I went home from uni for Christmas my mum picked up on my drinking and since then I’ve felt so ashamed and disappointed in myself, but I’ve been taking steps towards a change… This was an inspiring post to read, thank you for sharing your thoughts xx

    https://tenmoreminutesblog.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Can’t wait to read your blog! And omg, yes! Society normalizes it in every facet of life! College student? Drink till you puke! Mother of children? Drink to handle them! Single female adult? Drink wine and get a cat! It’s EVERYWHERE!

      I too struggled a lot with stopping. Stopping at a good buzz was harder than not drinking at all! You hear “moderation is the key to success” and maybe that’s true for some people, but I rarely opened a bottle that I didn’t finish. It’s so easy to just keep drinking! It took me a lot of testing and a lot of bargaining with myself before I just said “Fuck this, I SUCK at rules! I need ONE rule to follow” and that’s been easier than any amount of “I only drink on Tuesday afternoons with these people, and I only have one glass of wine” because I failed that so many times 🙂 Good luck with your journey, and I hope you find what works for you! My sister got sober at 22. . . you’re never too young to not drink. And you’re never too young to realize that something isn’t for you.
      Take care,
      Jenn
      *Edited to fix a “to, too, two” error. How embarrassing! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure if I’m at the stage where I’ll stop drinking entirely but I have significantly decreased what I’m drinking which needed to happen for my own quality of life haha

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  3. “It’s a balance between the 3AM self-hatred and the 6PM seduction. What a poignant line that I’m sure none too many alcoholics can relate to. Great piece. Keep fighting the good fight. You’re worth it!

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  4. Thank you for sharing that. At one time I had the same problem with drinking just to drink. It became a part of me and I refused to see the damage it was doing to my family. I have been sober for 4 months and I never want to look back. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you!! 4 months is great! It starts to feel normal around that point. I had someone comment on my blog around my own 4 month point, warning me to not get too confident and to remember my reasons because it’s a tricky point in sobriety. You have the confidence of a toddler that just learned how to walk, so be careful and walk steady 🙂 We’re in the long game now! Sparkling water cheers!!

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  5. I’m three years in now and don’t regret it for a second. Your words really resonate with how I felt those first few months though I was much more anxious than you. Even now I get that urge to just have a drink on my own – who would know after all? But it’s exactly as you describe, I let it play out in my mind to its logical conclusion….at the best an awful hangover, at worst I will have had a complete blackout or meltdown. Not worth it.

    I admire your resolve and your honesty!

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    1. 3 years! I’ll be there someday too 🙂 Yes, the urge to sneak is tricky. I know it was my downfall when I was still trying to moderate. Especially having a family. . . if an occasion came up, it was hard to deny it. I’d lie to myself and then would wake up with so much ugly regret! I was constantly amazed in the very beginning how GOOD it felt to wake up UNASHAMED! Now I hold on to those memories, because I never want to feel that way again.

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  6. Absolutely inspiring!! I’ve tried to give up alcohol on so many occasions, but still can’t kick the wine. Well done, this post is amazing and has really provoked my thoughts on the subject again! Thanks! 🙂

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  7. This piece is so real! Author-that’s the spirit. “Between the 6pm seduction and the 3am hangover.” That was an apt description of the cycle. Being able to recall the headaches, dehydration, the soured taste in the mouth, the irrational behavior, the shame of not being able to stop having “one more glass.” When one should and the guilt afterward. It just isn’t worth the stress. Beside there’s this sense of accomplishment whenever one overcomes the urge. It’s not easy but making the aftermath a constant reminder and self discipline would do the magic.

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  8. What a poignant description of the way addictions toy with us to get us back in. “Only once” “no one will know”… those are what I hear from my eating disorder voice. I could relate so much to your first line- “all you have to do is not drink” I tried for many many years to recover from anorexia and bulimia without eating. It got a lot easier when I realized that in order to recover, I had to eat. Who knew?!? Keep writing!!

    http://www.finding-hope.net

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