Moving on from thinkin’ about drinkin’, or, life after 90 days

12 Jan

1:54 am

Yes, folks, I’m actually not thinking that much about drinking. Say WHAT? I’m just kind of grooving on living, drink-free, and not wanting what I “don’t have” or wishing that “I could have fun.” (In fact, when I look around now, and see people on Facebook, for instance, lugging shittons of booze on like, ski trips with their significant others, I have to wonder WHY…but that’s another post.) It really is a rational thought *process,* convincing your brain–or re-setting it back to NORMAL–that being drunk does not equate to having fun. Much of my process of quitting drinking has actually been quitting relating drunkenness with fun, and stopping equating chemically-induced numbness with calm.

The other day in AA, I heard some woman lamenting the fact that she was still a “lunatic” until she started doing the steps. Well, if it takes you 11 years (as it did in her case) to realize that being drunk is not, actually, all THAT much fun (compared to having real conversations and doing real things with your friends and family), then… I don’t know. I don’t want to hate on AA again/anymore, but my 90-day chip meeting will likely be one of my last. At least for now. Meetings make me cringe; I feel very uncomfortable inside “the rooms.” But, I’ve realized that some people simply need that “tough love,” that rigidity, that almost thoughtlessness of approach–deviation from the formula can pretty much guarantee relapse, I think, for some people who simply want to stop drinking but can’t immediately (or ever, let’s face it) process the motivation(s) behind getting shitfaced on the regular. So, yeah. Check ya later, AA.

Anyhoo… So, I’m working on an editing project on memory–everything from how memories are encoded in our brains to memory and trauma–and I came across something that made me pause: problems with substance abuse and addiction, some researchers say, are actually problems with memory. For instance, associations, i.e., memories, take over when you think about drinking, which makes it hard to untangle the the associated memories from the getting drunk memories. How can I not want to drink when I’m at the beach, for example, when that’s what I’ve always done? When that’s what’s been encoded in my brain–thinking about one makes me remember the other, and vice versa. It’s why drinking becomes an obsession, I guess, because EVERYTHING makes you think about drinking. Like, I can’t forget all those times I drank at the beach so it makes it hard for me to go there and not drink, or not want to drink…unless they find a way to either erase those memories or replace them with something new or different. Therefore, can I truly be relieved of the obsessive thoughts while at the beach sober if I don’t work at minimizing or repressing these old memories? Interesting to read about an entirely new paradigm (that’s the word they used in the article, so I had to, OK?) regarding addiction.

It’s been a pretty slow past few days, which has been, literally, wonderful! Lots of dog walking, coffee drinking (decaf!), and reading/editing. I went running yesterday, and it was better than the first time. I liken my legs right now to baby giraffe legs–when I try to stand on them, they crumple. (While cute, it’s rather pitiful.) I think things should even out once I get on a normal (read: non-vampire) schedule, reign in the sweets (especially Diet Coke), and continue to push my legs a little longer each day/every other day. ‘Tread lightly’ is my mantra, and don’t worry about how far or how fast (“run” and “running” should be put in quotes until further notice).

Thanks, all, for your encouraging comments to my 90-day post! I honestly could not have done it without your support. Rock on, 93 days!

18 Responses to “Moving on from thinkin’ about drinkin’, or, life after 90 days”

  1. Belle (Tired2012) January 12, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    dear giraffe legs. you are adorable. keep standing up. keep walking (however shakily). we all have our own personal areas of giraffe-ness. we learn to be braver by watching you run 🙂

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      Aww, thanks! Yes, I’ll be takin’ these giraffe legs out for another “run” this afternoon, so wish me luck. xx

  2. madwomyn January 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Reading the part of your post regarding memory made me think of one of my favorite movies, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. Thanks for the read. Always a good one and most inspiring for me. I got 76 days less 2 when I slipped…enjoying life and having fun without it for now!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      GREAT! Yes, more than one of the pieces I was reading through mentioned that movie. I spent a long time thinking about it on a walk the other day, so will try to blog my thoughts re: memory, painful experiences, and drinkin’. Oy.

      Thanks for your comment…

  3. belowhermeans January 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    You are doing so great. That’s really fascinating about the memory/associate stuff. I definitely buy it.

    Decaf cheers!

  4. Lucy January 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Hiya DDG, You just blow me away every time I read your blog. You write so much of what I am feeling but don’t have the ability to express. And you just make it sound so damn fun too, I have no idea how you do that!

    So I’m sitting here writing this as I am skipping an AA meeting and then I read that you are skipping out on them for a while too! I only went to two but I did I met up with them an additional three times for chat. I loved hearing their stories, I wanted the friendships that they had formed, I loved the non-judgmental environment, but I never felt the kind of desperation for booze that they talked about. So, today on my 18th day, I’ve decided that I’m not going to go. I will keep it as an option but right now I feel like I am doing fine. Like you, I feel the most difficult part is breaking habits. I tried to tell them that in one of the meetings and just they gave me one of those patronizing looks that said, oh my dear you are in such denial and when will you learn.

    I’m loving my new booze-free life. I went out to dinner last night with a girlfriend and drank ginger lemonades, which were delicious, and it was fine. I ate whatever I wanted and I left feeling great. It was so surreal.

    How long have you been running? I just started last week. I have always been an awful runner but I don’t have the time to go to the gym and really wanted to start working out so I’ve trotted out twice now. I also went to a yoga class last week which was heaven.

    Do you also feel like this huge, wet blanket of depression has been lifted?

    Congratulations on 93 days!
    ~ Lucy

    • Lucy January 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      Wow, I just read my comment and realized it was kind of all about me. So very sorry! I guess I have a lot to say. I think your writing brings it out. 🙂

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

      Hi, Lucy,
      Thanks so much for your nice comments! I think I am cursed with a need to process my thoughts (believe me, there are a LOT of them) through the written word. It’s also quite amusing to make fun of myself, and very easy. 😉

      GREAT news on your 18 days! That’s an achievement, for real! I remember my (first) 18 days…I think I was either about to go to or was AT a wedding, and that was not easy, not drinking at a wedding. NOW? Eh, it’d be a piece of cake. Practice, thinking it through, and simply relying on your higher self/your better self–if AA calls that your higher power, so be it–those were my “tricks” to learning how to live without alcohol, up until now at least.

      AA… I don’t think I should be spouting off, but I will anyway: imho, I think a lot of folks who stick around AA (and, you only interact with the people who stick around AA, right?) are people who NEED the rigidity of the program. It helps them put away the drinking and focus on “a plan of action.” Done and done, right?

      The drinking problem, to me, seems like sexuality–a continuum that includes everything under the sun. There is no one-size-fits-all, and this is my biggest issue/concern with AA’s program of action (not to mention, I don’t think the steps’ linear progression is conducive to healing for some people). I could understand drinking to harmful excess–I did it–but I also knew where it was coming from. My problem was habitually doing THAT instead of doing the other stuff, right?

      Don’t rule it out, like you said; keep it as an option. AA is for YOU, is there to help you. No one wants to hurt you, is what I have to remind myself.

      Running…Oy. It HURTS! I have been running since I was a teenager, and it still hurts. I think I would bike or swim now over running, but…the runner’s high is so nice! Yoga is GREAT–go for it!

      I do feel like some sort of cloud has gone. It’s more the anxiety, the sickening feeling of being weighted down, of being burdened. That is lifting more and more–more and more!–at day 90, though. I feel much better now than I have the entire 90 days. Food for thought…

      Keep going, it’s worth it. If for any reason but to free yourself of “needing” to drink all the time…

      Much love,
      DDG

  5. Lilly January 13, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    Loving this. It’s really inspiring. I remember that sense at 80 days and it’s so great. Keep going. Stay vigilant though. x

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 14, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      YES! I really do have to stay vigilant… Though, it’s still really fresh, my last hangover, and that’s really good. I mean, for some reason, that ONE memory has been seared into my brain, so when I think of drinking wine (I do know I won’t have just one glass), I think of that horrible feeling–HORRIBLE feeling. It’s weird, this “forgetting” and I think I will blog about it when I get my thoughts about it in order… I have been wondering FOREVER how it is that time after time, I can’t seem to rely on my memory about the drunk, the hangovers to override my desire to get buzzed, to zone out, to feel high for an hour.

      ANYHOO…

  6. Lilly January 13, 2013 at 2:00 am #

    Also, the whole issue of drinking being ‘fun’ is a huge one for me. And that I’m being ‘boring’ if I’m not drinking – society sure makes you feel this way. Which is crazy, really, as while drinking might be a lot of fun for other people – and might have once been for me – it is less and less and less so. Read my post from just now to see how it’s so not fun. Have you any thoughts/tips on how you untangled this though?

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

      Good question! I feel the same way–it’s why I started drinkin’. It made me feel more talkative, more interesting; I was shy, and thought I wasn’t good enough, sexy enough, pretty enough, interesting enough, etc. I also used it to avoid the weird and awkward moments in my life, and there seemed to be SO MANY…

      I came to realize, though, that everyone is boring in that they are all sort of thinking what I am–or have thought it at one moment or another. AND, if I continue to let what other people think of me, then I am doomed. So, I just stopped caring. Started letting the weird and awkward moments happen, started embracing the pregnant pauses and just…seeing what happened! Embracing myself; relaxing into who I am, which is NOT all that chatty, or gregarious.

      And y’know? IT ALWAYS TURNED OUT OK. Always, always…things moved on, nothing majorly horrible happened, and maybe we tripped over each other in conversation, or maybe someone then didn’t like me (who cares?), but…the moment passed.

      The more you do stuff sober, the easier it gets, too. Sure, I still have a mortal fear of speaking to groups (no idea where that came from, it’s recent), but…it’s a work in progress, right?

  7. Lisa Neumann January 13, 2013 at 4:00 am #

    You’re going to be in the three digits pretty soon if you don’t watch out. 🙂

  8. good2begone January 15, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    It doesn’t matter how you stay sober, it matters whether or not that you DO stay sober. Keep rocking along!!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 16, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Thank you! Great to hear that; I always feel like I’m doing it wrong, or I’m a “dry drunk” (whatEVER that means). Which is why I’ve stopped meetings and started other, more personally nurturing activities and “mind work,” as it were, to help me continue to get sober-er. 🙂

      xx

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