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Loosening the reins (not caring), committing fully, or both?

28 May

12:11 pm

I know, the past two posts have been about not caring, and I apologize for that.

It’s not exactly “not caring,” it’s more not having the energy to care THAT MUCH about the “whole mess,” as I’ve been referring to my drinking life/getting sober. Life moves on, and well, I have to let some things go in order to make room for others, right? (My brother called me the other day, but I just can’t be bothered; there will be no call back, mainly to preserve my momentum and because, well, I don’t feel like engaging anyone, including my own family, in a passive aggressive relationship. In a nutshell, I just can’t care. I feel bad, sure, but I can’t care about that either.)

(And, this will be a very lame paragraph in an effort to preserve my anonymity, so bear with me:)

I’m going [out of town] tomorrow to check out a graduate program I’m interested in, to check in on my storage unit, to see some friends, to go to the DMV, and to hit the dentist and hair salon (there are salons down here, of course, but you know, creature of habit). I’m thinking (we’ll see tonight, after my Skype chat) of volunteering for about six weeks teaching English on [a neighboring island] this summer. We’re going to [another neighboring island] for my birthday. I’m running, making (some) money, and trying to begin the thought process involved in re-inserting myself back into the “real world” workforce without having a panic attack…

Panic attack? Nah. I know that I’m beyond that kind of thinking. But, drinking? Well, I do have butterflies, mainly because I wonder if I can do this sober? This real life thing? Or, is it just that this all scares me NOW, at this moment, because I basically “hid” on an island for about 18 months (in order to get sober) and now…? Maybe it’s that I KNOW it’ll all unfold smoothly…if and only if I don’t drink? Is it that wolfie’s simply looking for an in here, and I have to put my foot down (on its skull) and close that door?

I admit, I have thought about drinking once I get on the plane. You know? Like, I made it to 70 days again, and damn it, what else is there to do in my old big city but drink?! Drink drank drunk! Sigh. That was my OLD life, I have to keep reminding myself. I have to have the foresight (check; shit would be so disappointing if I wound up back to square one within a day) and courage (um, check?) to believe that I can do it. I just have to take the first step, then the second, then the third…

Almost subconsciously, I alerted the friend who I’ll be crashing with that I was sober. She already knows, but I guess I figured, I better remind her…so that I don’t have an out, you see. Which, the next day, a part of me (wolfie-boy) was like, Aww, damn it, now I really can’t drink if I’ve promised her not to let me! Boo.

Then, it quickly crept up on me, like a fast blush, that I really don’t want to drink. Why? For all the same God damned, motherfucking (yes, I need that ;)) reasons I haven’t been drinkin’ since last June (thick skull): don’t want to get too drunk on the flight and get lost at the airport (or worse); don’t want to show up at my friend’s place drunk and/or angry (or worse); don’t want to sleep until 10 or 11 (uh, 2?), hung over, and mess up my schedule, which has my days packed with activity; don’t want to be THAT girl, who has not only offended and let down her big city peeps, but who wants to prove to them that she really IS changed.

Things are different. I believe it. They are, aren’t they?

I think I just have to take some deep breaths, rely on my well-trained sober muscles, and go forth. Like a track star. Which I am, right? There will be scared-y cat moments, there will be awkward and weird encounters; but, if I commit to being sober, all will go well. There will be no events, no crises, no hangovers, no ruinous bullshit. And, I can come home and be on my way to 90 days (again)…making Belle’s 100 Day Challenge a success…and building toward 180, where I’ve never been.

(The truth is, I could probably drink on the flight, but not more than two. And, I could probably drink on my own, but not with my friends (I will never go there again, mainly because I have NO idea what might transpire)–but, what fun is that? And, it’s like, duh, this all feels so familiar, limiting and rationing and blah blah blah. In fact, this leads me to remember an incident I read about and one of my own, about some kid who died because he tried some stupid stunt on the subway tracks while shitfaced… There is no other option but to not drink. For now. And I know it.)

It’s OK to not care (that much) anymore

23 May

7:46 pm

I’m here, and nothing big to report. Still got blue skies, sparkly water, green trees, and very little desire to fuck it all up by drinkin’, let alone care about the whole mess. I’m gliding, and it feels good.

FINALLY. It’s taken almost a year for my brain to repair itself; and, I really think it has, to a large extent. I’m not sure what to make of it, though, because it’s new territory. Simply put, I think I’ve just accepted that I cannot drink, for one thing. I don’t drink now, like I’m preggers or have a life-threatening illness. I can’t drink, won’t drink, don’t drink. End of story. I think I’ve not only given up (let’s just say) on feeling better, but I’ve stopped actually being 100 percent fucking CONVINCED that wine will do it for me! Which, if you look at it in a positive light, is a good thing.

Second, I don’t really have time to drink or think about drinking these days–I’ve got science and writing and travel and future plans to wrangle with, AND, I’ve started running again, so that means EITHER drinking or training, but not both (hangover + running = null set). I don’t really have the energy, either, to think about all the emotional whys and wherefores that brought me to addiction. I’m over it, and frankly, I think it’s OK to stop dwelling on it all, for now. Yup, you should say you’re sorry. Yup, you should connect your drinking to your (my) self-loathing attempts at self-sabotage. Yup, yup, yup. Let it go, though, friends. I’ve read quite a few posts lately in which peeps are running around in their heads, trying to figure it all out. It’s OK not to care about figuring it all out, for now. You can not care AND be sober. You really can!

Booze is not the problem, you (we) are. That means that other things will come up, like binge eating, or sugar, or coffee. Or, doing something instead of what you should be doing; by “should,” I mean your dharma, and we all know what it is we’re called to do, we just have to take the time to discover it. At the end of the day, only you can figure out what happens after the bottle of vodka or decanter-sized glass of wine runs out. I’ve read some posts dealing with filler addictions, replacement fixes. Look: if you can give up fucking drinking, DUDE, you can give up ANYTHING. I’m pretty sure the only thing more painful than fucking around in my head for a year, wrestling with wolfie-boy is, I don’t know, hanging from metal hooks latched into my skin? It’s a constant struggle for all of us, I’m guessing, to not cave into our other “vices” just because we don’t drink. Again, let it go. You’re doing your best. Cut back, or do one thing less than you’re doing it, or more. And, it’s OK to not give a shit about this, too!

All that matters is you’re not drinking. Everything else, if you’re a human being with a functioning mind, will fall into place…eventually. And if it doesn’t? Well, it’s OK to let that go, too.

What helps me now? Knowing full well that a “glass of wine” (haha) won’t make it better. Won’t even come close. I just KNOW THAT. Why? Because I slipped. And, I think about the scenario over and over and over and over…until it finally fucking dawns on me that wine is not really what I want. I want relief. From what, is the key question. And, thinking it through, and finding your way–like, a mental route–to that question IS sober living, whether or not you end up drinking to ease the pain. GOOD FOR YOU that you’ve arrived at that KEY question: hold it in the palm of your hand and don’t let it go, no matter how much the little jewel might burn.

I also fill my days as much as I can, and I run into the problem of feeling empty, like I have nothing inside me, like I’m just a shell of a person. And, in a sense, I am. But, I (we) are building, and filling, and creating, and being productive instead of destructive–so, move through the regret and embrace this probably common truth that we (I) are shells and start FILLING it up with stuff you like to do. Most of the time I think I don’t know what I “really really” want or like to do, but I know I like writing, and science, and I have degrees from schools, and there’s the dogs, and the boyfriend, and my cakes, and…why the FUCK am I being so hard on myself? I’m SO full, it’s ridiculous! So, even I don’t know what I mean by this “shell” thing, but again, I don’t care. For now.

Hey, I thought the other day, I can live sober. I can actually DO THIS. It ain’t that bad not drinking. What a fucking epiphany. LOL. (Hello, first 35 years of my life! Were you really THAT bad?) Even a few weeks ago, I didn’t really believe this.

The remaining immediate hurdle for me is getting over, somehow, the sense that there is nothing as awesome to look forward to as wine. Sure, I can do this and substitute that, but wine, oh, wine, there is no one but you. That goes in direct contrast to what I just wrote, about realizing that wine is NOT what I want, but hey, it’s the human brain we’re dealing with here: fucked up.

Yes, this post contains a lot of “fuck’s,” but fuck it, this is how I talk to myself sometimes. 😉

So, I’m on Day…I’m not even sure. 66. Tomorrow will be 67. Onward to 90, then 100, then…the gilt-edged 180? *glitter ball*

Another 60 days… (and I feel fine)

18 May

6:05 pm

I’m at 60 days again (well, 61 today), and for some reason, it’s not a big deal. Sure, I put my 60-day AA chip out on display on the top of my desk (alongside my 24-hour and 30-day, all three awaiting the 90-day chip that remains in my desk drawer), but, otherwise it’s become more of a given: I don’t drink.

For one thing, I know I have a lot I want to do in the next few months, both personally and professionally, and drinking will prevent me from doing it. Period. Drinking is the opposite of being productive, and I want to get shit done! After all this time, I know that it’s not what I want, and, I know that it’s counterproductive–and, being productive is the antidote to my cravings, for the most part. Drinking gets in the way of that, both before, during, and long after. As my Facebook friends so effectively illustrated this Saturday morning, I can either be going to the bodega for Advil, coconut water, and a bagel; or, I can be on my way to Estonia (or, whatever other country is on your must-see list).

Secondly, compared to my last time being here (mid-December), I really don’t feel like drinkin’. Really really. That dazed-and-confused feeling, that first-few-sips-and-I’m-already-starting-to-forget-things feeling, that nervous-because-who-knows-what-I-might-do-in-my-blackout-some-dumbass-shit-I’m-sure feeling–yeah, I really don’t want THAT feeling.

I’d rather get on with things. And those things–scientific editorial work, story pitching, trip researching, future job planning–can’t be done while thinking about drinking, drunk, or being hung over.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately grappling with the idea of slipping and/or relapsing. For me, slipping was necessary. I don’t like to be afraid, to wonder, and slipping was my way of dispelling my fear: What would it be like if I drank? Welp, I drank and found out! It was necessary, for me anyway, to finally know–deep down, with no lingering doubts–that being sober is better than drinking, and the very least, drinking does not help me now; most of the time, it makes things worse. One glass is more painful than no glass, mainly because I just want more, and more, and more. I know I won’t want to stop, and I’d rather just skip the whole mess.

I never got a pink cloud, but I do have a moment now and then; and one of the best pink-cloud moments is when you sit back and think, Look at what my Saturday is like NOW, versus what it was like when I was drinking? And, the miracle is not that I quit drinking, or reached 60 days. It’s that THIS is my new normal–I expect to get up at 8 or 9 or 10, do the dishes and make coffee, walk the dogs to the beach with my boyfriend, bathe the dogs when we get home, shower, and then drive to “town” to hit a mini-arts fest and shop at a big box store (yes, I can’t tell you how fun shopping for bulk items is, even now, on a Saturday, when any other day prior to last June would have seen me sick and in bed until 3 pm, barely breathing and trying to piece my soul back together form a night out that I don’t remember). Yes, this is my new normal, and how much glitter can I toss over my unicorn’s shoulder to celebrate such an awesome mental and emotional achievement in healing? And endless supply, friends.

No big highs or lows (or, maybe one low high?)

15 May

9:06 am

I just wanted to check in and say I’m here, still sober, and strangely quiet about it all lately. I think I’ve just been busy trying to sort out the summer, and next fall–plans are in the works, but the investigative process is tedious, I must say.

Anyway, no great highs. No big lows. I wanted to drink last night (I ran into a pocket of sober turbulence that lasted long enough for me to forget why I wanted to drink in the first place, if I even had a “reason”–who wants to be hung over in 95-degree weather?), but I didn’t. Do I still consider moderation in my future? Sure. But, right now, I am choosing to muscle through the future planning, the heat, and my “depression” (which is mainly a lack of direction, which I’ve said before, makes me feel low and sad, I guess)..and simply not overthink it.

Do I want to drink? Yes. Of course. I love red wine. That’s on the front page of my blog. Duh. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting to drink, and I’m OK with that.

What I want more, however, is to be sober. And, what I don’t want is to be stuck in this weird limbo of having gone–mentally and emotionally–nearly six months sober but yet still *technically* be on Day 58 (yup, coming up on 60 again). It’s weird, is all I can say, and I don’t recommend it! I mean, it’s like, those six months of days are in my sober bank; my sober muscle hasn’t atrophied, but yet…I’m trying squeeze myself back into my old clothes, those of my newly-sober self. I don’t know, I have to figure it out. It’s harder, mainly because I’m stuck on the pedantics of counting days. So it goes.

Anyway, I’ve got loads to share, but right now, there are about 14 mosquitoes having a field day on my right butt cheek, my “special girlfriend” dog wants to go for a walk, and I already feel like the day is slipping away and it’s only 9 am!

Thanks for sticking by me, friends. This month has been a hard one so far. However, I’ll have 60 days on Friday, and I am not drinking for 100, no matter if the sky turns red and the gravitational force disappears.

Wake up!

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