My drinking past: a reminder

15 Mar

1:05 pm

Not to go into it in too much detail–to protect you from wanting to strangle me, and to protect me from my head exploding–but I went through my drinking past the other day. Yes, again. I wrote out all the drinking shit/stuff/shenanigans/problems/troubles/shambles that occurred since 2007. Why 2007? I don’t know; a friend emailed me and was waxing nostalgic about our “amazingly fun” (my words, but hers were even loftier, as if she had forgotten the Hell that I would go through) drinking binges at this one bar we discovered that spring, which would become our “go-to” or “local.” And which is where, over the next few years, my worst drunken mishaps would happen.

And, that got me to going into my past again, and realizing after I had written it all down in a text file, how draining, how sad, how wasteful, but yet…how painfully instructive it all was. Mostly, I saw just how wending wine was in my life–threaded into every nook and cranny. It was not just a part of my life; it became a driving force, a mitigating factor. It was, in essence, what everything else revolved around, and worse, sort of determined how everything else went, or turned out, or happened. In my worst of moods, I think back and hate myself for not seeing it, and my family and friends for not only allowing themselves the luxury of denial but also, for letting it happen out of ego, or spite, or resentment. In my best, like I said, I take it as a painful, yet instructive, part of my past.

Now? I’m pretty damn relieved to have stopped drinking; stopped the madness; to be making my choices, steering my ship, with a sober mindset; which is to say, my choices and driving force is about my essence as a person, about what I want, about who I am, about who I really want to be, about who I really want to be with and what I really want to accomplish.

I’ll be turning 40 in June, and realistically, I have a good 30 years left to do shit. That shit better be well chosen, you know? I can’t afford to waste any more time–and spirit energy–on drinking; on wrapping my life around a rotten core. On making life choices based on how it will or will not affect my drinking, and vice versa!

I hate to say it, but now, I’m actually living my worst fear. Quitting drinking has allowed me to confront what I was running from, and professionally, I think my worst fear was writing–working as a freelance writer! Which is what I’m doing now. As I was lying in bed last night, I realized that it was/is my biggest fear. I drank to avoid writing and then I drank to forget that I was running from what I should be doing. And, while I often tell myself, Enough is enough, you should simply give up and do something else–this is what I have to do. At least for now. Which, in a big way, has kept me sober.

I tell myself things like, I won’t drink until I get a story published here; or, until I get a story pitch accepted via THIS route of query. (I’m a biologist at heart, so I can’t help but leave no stone unturned, meaning, no estimates, and no shortcuts…which is the God damned mentality that made (makes?) me want to drink, but hey, we can’t strip our core overnight.) So, until I do this, and do that (pitch here, write this, volunteer there), I can’t drink. And, this is basically the hardest, scariest thing I’ve ever done, in my own mind; so, if and when I get over this hump, maybe I’ll drink then. Maybe I’ll be able to afford the time spent and the money wasted getting drunk instead of working on my life. Not yet, though.

And, that’s been good enough. So far. Lately, though, that drinking past of mine has come up again, and in realizing so clearly how drinking LED my life–it wasn’t something to fill the time, a diversion, an afterthought, as I told myself for years–well, it makes me really, really, REALLY not want to go back there. I mean, I COULD drink, but man, I’ve already been through that wringer. I’ve tried it all before. I’ve done it from every fucking angle. And frankly, I think I hit bottom. I think this is what they mean. YES, I could get that buzz again, and I could then be like, Woo hoo, my life is back to normal…

…but, THIS is normal now. And, that buzz comes with not just a bad hangover the next day, or the sober day count being set back to zero, or a sense of “Oh, I can drink now” and the obsession slowly but SURELY coming back; but, that buzz also now comes with my entire drinking past. That huge text file of a million words covering all the drunks and hangovers, and scraps of a night out, shrapnel of people and places and things–it’s just not worth it. As my sense of denial has disappeared in the face of remembering more accurately, that buzz HAS BECOME not worth it. So very much not worth it.

It pains me to admit it, it really does. And, I know I will continue to struggle with the IDEA of drinking again, of it being fun and a release and a refuge; but really, that is the old myth of me. I am coming into the new myth, and starting to believe it. Was it always there, lurking in the shadow? Or, have I torn down the old statue, and there’s a hole waiting for the new one–which I am building, and will erect in its place soon? It’s like changing religions, coming to believe in a new myth; and it takes time. It takes moving a boulder, inside and out. But, you do it, and you come to understand that you can change myths, you can tell a new story to yourself about yourself, you can become new. You don’t have to live in the drinking past, but you can use it as a tool to build your new statue.

THREE MORE DAYS, people! Till I turn one. Woot woot! I am planning a little get-together (at a wine bar, no less–no worries, I will not be imbibing, it’s just a really cute little place with lots of ambiance), and…I feel really good about that. Like, a birthday party that you weren’t going to give two shits about and now that you’ve decided to celebrate YOU, you’re at peace with that and looking forward to it.

It’s the end of the world as we know it…and I feel fine. 🙂

16 Responses to “My drinking past: a reminder”

  1. nomorewine4me March 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    That was an amazing post. And an early congrats on your sober anniversary! The celebration sounds perfect, enjoy yourself you’ve earned it.

  2. jenisthesoberist March 15, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    I love this!!! It takes space away from drinking to gain this kind of perspective… I am just starting to see the ways that drinking controlled my life, and I agree- I don’t want to go back there! A future without escape is scary, but it is the stuff that real life dreams are built on. You are brave to write down your drinking past. It is something I want to do eventually but I have been too afraid to fully face it. It’s so exhausting to think about! I am so happy for you and glad that I found you through becoming a sober chick. Hugs!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl March 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

      Thanks, Jen! You’re right it is exhausting–I’m not sure why I did it that day, it was more a test of memory! And, sure enough, most of what I remembered wasn’t very much fun.

      On the other hand, I guess I really do miss drinking in a way–I miss the buzz, the fun times, but not as much as I miss the crazy. Then again, maybe I’m just missing the drama?

      Glad to have found you, too!!! And yeah, we are sober chicks and we rock! 🙂

  3. Mrs D March 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    Yay!!!!!!! Love a good sober party. Just read a fantastic article on the Guardian UK website about the TV host Davina McCall who said ‘you can be quite hedonistic completely sober, you know’.. Yay to forging ahead and planning parties in bars and celebrating feeling solidly sober and authentically happy. Great post xxx

    • Iambizi March 16, 2014 at 11:06 am #

      congratulations! great blog this morning!
      You will have a wonderful party!

  4. 365 Reasons March 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    I will be 40 summer 2015. I get upset when I think how much time I have wasted in the past 20 years drinking. But now I have so much to look forward to. I have to keep that in mind but also remind myself of all the shit booze has done to my body and life. I know this analogy is used a lot but it is like staying in an abusive relationship. “Oh it wasn’t always bad…”
    congratulations on 1 year. I am not looking forward to trying to get through birthdays and holidays and celebrations sober. But knowing people like you made it gives me hope that I can too. 🙂

  5. eedoubleu March 15, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    I’ve been following your blog since last July. You were the first sober blog I found. I was on a train to New York City and came across an article you had written, published on The Fix, “Blogging Myself Sober.” Is it too much to say that it changed my life? I was using my work computer, so emailed the article link to myself and then, of course, promptly forgot all about it for weeks/months. When I went looking for help again, there it was … Thank you for blogging. I’m looking forward your Big Day!

  6. lyn March 16, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Congratulations my friend – we are on the same path. I celebrate one year on the same day! What a blast. I completely resonate with your comment “about a birthday party you didn’t give two shits about” but now that you are celebrating YOU!!! So fabulous. Heart felt congrats to you. Here’s to many more and new beginnings at the beautiful age of 40.

  7. afteralcohol March 16, 2014 at 1:50 am #

    Hey, I hope you don’t mind a newbie crashing your sober party, but I’m finding your blog all sorts of compelling and…well, and I’m feeling isolated out here in Everyone I Know Drinks Normally land, so this is me sidling awkwardly up to the people who seem the coolest at the sober party and saying hello.

    Anyway, I’ve been reading your blog for a few days, and I’m captivated by your countdown on the sidebar so it’s great that you’re actually having a real party to celebrate. I know what you mean by missing the crazy. I don’t even fool myself that I can drink normally or recapture a warm glow that probably hasn’t existed since my twenties, I miss the real, proper checking-out crazy. But it doesn’t end well, my friend, it doesn’t end well.

    Congratulations on practically a year!

    • Lilly March 16, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

      Hi there,

      AA – I just wanted to wave hello – particularly as I see you’re a fellow Aussie. Our culture is so drinky drank drunk it can certainly feel like Everybody Else Drinks Land over here for sure. Welcome.

      DDG – I love this post. And I’m so goddamn glittery-unicorns-sober-motherfuckin-dance-party-parade excited that you’ve actually reached a whole ONEYEARWOW. So glad you’re planning a party and can’t wait to hear all about it.

      Lilly x

  8. JLForbes March 16, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    Thank you for sharing this. I can relate to it in so many ways – the approaching Sober bday (3 years), the writing and using drinking as an excuse not to, the approaching 40 bday (turning 39 in June)… I’m really grateful that I got to read this today. Keep going – it only gets better, and you’ll be amazed when you don’t even think of drinking at all. I’m going through a horrific breakup, and I live with the guy. There was a pretty bad argument last night and I sobbed for over an hour. When I went to bed, I realized that not one second of that time was spent thinking about getting loaded. Although my situation sucks, it feels amazing to go through it without a craving for a drink. You are well on your way, and I’m so happy for you! Thank you for sharing this.

  9. Cheese March 17, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

    Lovely and painful to read. Your wisdom and spunk are really helping me in this journey of rediscovery. Thanks spunky spunk girl. Thanks for your blog and your honesty.

  10. Belle March 18, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    happy happy happy one year sober to you. you have fucking earned it. for realz.

  11. Rebecca A. Watson March 18, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    Yeehaw girlie! Happy one year to you 🙂 Super happy for you and thanks for the post. I can relate to SO much of it. GAH! I don’t know if I would ever have the courage to write out all the things I’d done in 2007. Or any year drinking for that matter. That’s some deep digging right there.

    This about sums if up for me too: “I can’t afford to waste any more time–and spirit energy–on drinking; on wrapping my life around a rotten core.” No more spirit energy to that demon! Yes!

  12. soberlearning March 18, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Happy One Year to you!! Congratulations! Enjoy it, and keep up the great work!

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