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This is community, not social media

13 Jun

12:44 pm

Hey, all. SO, I have been offline for a few days–it was my birthday yesterday, and it was one of those semi-perfect days that just unfold because you don’t make a bunch of plans and/or don’t put that much pressure on having the “perfect” day. ANYWAY, I ended up going on Facebook for the first time in literally 60 days, and what did I find?

The short answer is, not much! I only got three birthday messages, which might be because at some point, I hid my birthday from my profile (I don’t remember doing that, but apparently I did). I would normally have been bummed about that, because half the fun of Facebook was counting how many happy birthdays or messages you got from your “friends” on your day. I wasn’t bummed, though; I was just sort of like, eh. Aside from that, I really did not miss anything–maybe one event that I would have liked to have gone to, and maybe one or two things that I would have seen if I had been going on regularly these past two months.

What I didn’t miss was the overwhelming amount of not only useless and irrelevant information, but the inability to normally interact with “people” on the platform (normally, as in, what humans have been used to doing and what we are wired to do, which is thoughtfully and intentionally engage in a a social exchange, not a lobbing of comment here, sentiment there).

What I got in return was this realization that I was taking Facebook WAY too seriously–seeing how I never posted regularly, I can’t really imagine (and don’t want to) what it’s like for people who post everything, all the time. For me, it doesn’t mean that much after having been off for 60 days; when I’m on the ‘book, though, it’s like, that, inside there, becomes my world, the platform takes root in me and just sort of owns my mind, forcing me to seek validation from it.

Anyway, last night, I almost immediately found myself scrolling mindlessly again, not really all that interested in the posts, feeling actually more disconnected from people. I liked finding things out, but I didn’t like it enough–or more than I like/love–how clear and calm and FREE I feel when I’m not participating on this platform. It really just reinforced my desire to keep actually living, with intent; reaching out in person; finding out the news from actual people, local news sources, second-hand from my circles of in-real-life friends who are spending hours a day scrolling, mindlessly. I mean, the point here is that, I was mindless in my scrolling, and it was like, I wasn’t even able to engage with my so-called friends (which is maybe the point of social media, is that, you get to do and say whatever you want, in a relative vacuum). It was an exercise in frustration and disappointment.

I do miss “On this day/Memories,” but I have my photos and journal to remind me of my past life/lives, right? I actually miss my groups, but I can always go on every few months to catch up on those. I did miss a few events–someone’s going-away party; a business down here closing–but, eh, in the grand scheme of things, it’s SO worth the sense of clarity in not knowing everything about people in exchange for missing a few parties or events.

I have started blogging more in the past two months, have reconnected with this community, and truly get something out of blogging and reading/commenting on others’ blogs. It is a real exchange, a true sense of community–nourishing and stimulating rather than draining and boring! I am glad to be blogging more as it’s given me a comparison as to how one can connect and build community virtually, in ways that can actually work (for me, anyway). Social media dos not work, and I believe that it’s partly due to the lack of true exchange, a lack of anything but short sound bites (from you) and insincere replies (from others), insincere because no one is all that invested in you, in-real-life, unless you are actually friends (at which point, ya don’t really use Facebook to sustain your friendship, you call and/or hang out!).

Anyhoo, I had a good birthday: we actually went to a restaurant, where the tables were six feet apart, parties were limited to six people, and the servers has to wear masks. I mean, I felt fine, not in any way scared or paranoid. We have only had about 75 positive test cases in our area, which could be because there just haven’t been that many people tested rather than we just didn’t have the community spread that other places had. I will say that my family (living in multiple different US states) are really, truly scared. And, I don’t envy the sense of fear and paranoia that’s sort of infected the mainland alongside the coronavirus. I cannot comment on if that fear has been stoked, but I can say that people here are, in general, used to natural disasters like hurricanes (and the ensuing make-the-best-of-the-chaos-and-keep-living mentality that comes with these events) and therefore, I think, more community-oriented (what’s mine is yours, and vice versa; there were no land-grabbing wars around toilet paper here when the shortage arrived). That being said, it’s just going to take a while for things to go back to normal, but, they will; they very much will, whether we are ready for it or not.

Happy Saturday, all–may it be peace-full…

Never goin’ back to detoxing…

20 Aug

3:40 pm

A short post:

I fell off the wagon twice after 60 days of being sober and man, it sucked. But, it was quite anticlimactic in a way — same blackout, same hangover, same feeling like a piece of shit. BUT, I realized two things:

1. I will never again have to detox and go through withdrawal — both physical and emotional — or cravings like I did during the first 3 to 5 weeks of being sober. That was hard, and for the most part, I was sick, had intense cravings, and felt very, very lonely. BUT, I will NEVER have to go through that again! Sure, I drank last week and did and said some stupid things and spent two days hung over, but…no one and nothing can subtract my 60 days. So, it’s not at all like I’m starting over. I’m simply starting again continuing to build on my stronger body and mind.

2. I like being sober. I like the consistency and the predictability of it. Last night I had zero desire or inclination to drink; we had people over, and I even drank WATER as I was talking to them.

It’s funny, but I used to be a total dork, didn’t drink at all until college, and used to go to frat parties and pour my beers in the garbage cans when no one was looking. (I hated beer.) Then I went to France and discovered wine (and that I had a binge eating disorder), but that’s another story. Point is, I used to hate my old, goody-goody self, the “mold” that I was cast — and trapped, suffocating — in by my family, my small town, my siblings, my friends. (Myself, too, but I felt like a victim.) Which, I’m pretty sure, is one of the many reasons I started and continued for so long to “party” and binge drink, just to prove to everyone how “cool” I actually was.

Now, though, there is nothing to prove and maybe sober IS the new black. At the end of the day, being drunk is a prison, not an escape; learning that there is and never was anything to escape from — I can simply leave, say no, or change my perspective and/or reaction — is key to me staying sober and embracing living sober, or rather, LIFE. Time to be that dork again. ūüėČ

Drunky drunk girl says, I made it 30 days, what?!

12 Jul

5:46 pm

Yup, 30 days as of today. And no intention of going back to drinkin’ or letting up my vigilance.

I am, however, getting REAL tired of being tired. WTF? I think I’m ill, but I’m not sure if it’s general fatigue (am I officially getting “old?”), a flu, or long-range detox. I just want to feel better, and not have to crash out for several hours after a 90-minute yoga class or a 60-minute jog in the park. Jesus. Good thing I’m not working; in fact, I can’t imagine having the energy to work at the moment. Durr.

Speaking of which, I’ve worked my ass off for almost the past 25 years of my life, 15+ of which were, like, grueling. I helped start one, two, three, four companies; I worked in Silicon Valley for a total of, let’s see, six or something years, making anywhere from a 75-minute to three-fucking-hour commute ONE WAY every day by car or train; I went back to grad school at Columbia for journalism. Shit, no wonder I’m tired, no wonder I don’t want to work, and you know what, fuck that, I HAVE DONE SOME SHIT in my life so why am I beating myself up? Why am I making it seem, in my head and on my blog, that I haven’t?

I realized, for the umpteenth time today during my bikram yoga class, that I am WAY too hard on myself. I judge myself to a ridiculous degree, getting down on this and that, comparing myself to others all too often. We all do, but instead of droplets of comparing-self-judgment-type-thoughts, or a stream, mine can basically be represented by an ocean: my brain is literally submerged in a bath of self-criticism. For instance, I have slightly hunched shoulders. I have had this ever since I was in high school due to, what the fuck else, hunching over all the time studying! I’m not joking. My mother would watch me, day in and day out, study from about 9 at night after I got home from school (yes, I was THAT student who also had to be in the band, the play, all the sports, etc. etc. etc.) until 2 in the morning; often, she’d come over and peel my shoulders and chest back, up off my books and papers, straightening them out with effort as if they had been compressed by one of those machines that flatten junkyard cars. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but later on, I saw the effects: permanently hunched shoulders that have taken years to start to correct (one of the reasons I do things like bikram yoga and other spine-strengthening activities). Still, they’re not like most people’s, so when I look around the room at others doing this one particular asana where we have to reach our arms up and clasp hands, pointing them toward the ceiling as we hold our hands in prayer, I am constantly demoralized. Why? Because it feels and looks so much harder for me. Yet, must I beat myself up? No. But I do.

We all do this, but I realize that part of my “issue” with drinking is that I am very hard on myself when it comes to anything and everything involving goals — quitting drinking ABSOLUTELY has not been easy to accept, as I know myself and how I react to goals. BUT, at the same time, I don’t see any other way to get sober at the moment, and that is the overriding goal. So, today, on my 30th day of sobriety, I am content. Not happy, since HELLS YES, I’d love to be drinking to my sobriety with a chilled glass of red instead of ruminating on all this shit; but, CONTENT. And that feels better than the up (and eventual down) of “happy.” Cheers (I’m lifting my seltzer with a twist of lime) to me!

Water is my friend!

11 Jul

12:28 am

Water

Who would have thought a tall glass of lime seltzer water would taste SO DAMN GOOD? I thought about getting a nonalcoholic beer tonight on the way back from a tough bikram yoga class, but by the time I got home, all I wanted was water. Gallons of it. WA-TER. (Plus, wouldn’t that be cheating? I actually dreamt I had a sip of a beer the other morning; one sip. SO. GOOD. I can still feel the bitter taste on my tongue.)

So, today is day 28 = four weeks! Wow. I have had a LOT of insights come to mind, but I’ll wait for another night to post those, since I’m falling asleep. I must say, however, that the cravings are almost nonexistent. I mean, I have them now and then — and the accompanying disappointment and mental tantrum — but WAY less than before. It’s like, I’ve accepted, even possibly embraced, a non-drinking lifestyle. A new habit. (Wait till I get off my exhaust-myself-beyond-belief schedule in the next few weeks, and we’ll see if I come crying to mama…)

I’ve been sick for the past, who knows, month or more? Tired/dragging (walking is tiring), with flu symptoms. I can’t help but wonder: is it that my immune system needs to simply bounce back from the years and years and hangovers and hangovers during which it was on overdrive? Like, I wore it out and now my body, no longer protected by an immune system working on overdrive to process all the booze and related metabolic toxins, is like, Wow, fuck you, dude. OR, I’ve thought that perhaps, as in a fast, when your body supposedly clears out the toxins once you give it a digestive break long enough to do so, I’m going through all the illnesses that I never got while I was drinking? My body is finally at baseline, and with all my sweating at bikram, it’s finally processing all those toxins that never got the chance to come out? I think it’s a combination of both, actually. In any case, it’s a boon: combined with making sure I make up a LONG to-do list every day and actually get out and exhaust myself trying to get everything done (mind you, my lists these days, as an “unemployed” person, include getting out of bed), I really have no time or energy to crave a glass or fourteen of red, let alone drink them.

Additionally, I can’t imagine pouring that acidic shit down my throat at this particular moment. I feel sick, and I KNOW that drinking will make me feel sicker. And a hangover? Ugh. Sounds intolerable. I’ve come enough to my senses to realize that when I have stomach cramps and a slight fever, drinking red wine will NOT MAKE IT BETTER.

Before I sign off, I was thinking last night: what’ll happen if I drink? I’m not expecting to black out and go on a murder spree, but… Will I feel less drunk? More drunk? Get drunk faster? Black out? Stay sane? It scared me a little to think about drinking. Which, to be honest, is a good thing in these early days. One more incentive to Just Say No! (More on that in another post, methinks.)

Drunky drunk girl says, My first sober wedding! Whew…glad that’s over!

5 Jul

3:15 pm

I just returned from a wedding in Seattle. ¬†AND…dun dun dun, still drink-free! ¬†WOOT!

(Granted, I feel like a truck hit me, and have been feeling like, TIRED as fuck, for the past two out of the THREE, yes, three, weeks of being sober, but I’ll get to that in another post. ¬†Who knew? ¬†I sure didn’t. ¬†Well, I know now — sobriety is like getting sick after weeks of running yourself ragged, amped up on adrenaline while the rest of your organs are crying out, Rest me, god damn it!)

Anyway, some things I learned at this wedding:

Old, good friends are the best sober buddies. ¬†So are former drunks. ¬†So are pregnant people. ¬†All in all, I had a great amount of support from the handful of friends who have known me for 15 years — and seen my drunky drunky ways in action, over and over and over again. ¬†The last time I saw these peeps, I: ¬†blacked out and went off at the bar about losing my “cool” black jacket, which I simply left on some barstool, which I was banging on and on about for several hours, I’m sure; blacked out and took the FREIGHT elevator instead of the one for hotel guests, ended up passing out inside the thing, and being woken up at 4 am (in my own piss, naturally) by one of the group who was the only member of its ad hoc search party who knew enough to “think like a drunk person” and realize that maybe I had taken the wrong elevator; blacked out during the baseball game and did who knows what, and then won the shirt (we have an annual “t-shirt contest” that involves vomit) by throwing up behind one of our SUVs in the parking lot after the game — turns out tailgating in the dark AFTER the game is not a good idea if you’ve been drinking PBRs since 1 pm that afternoon…

Guy “friends” who also wouldn’t mind getting in your pants WANT you to get silly drunk and don’t, actually, appreciate your sobriety.

Sitting around a table for hours talking with your friends while sober ain’t so bad. ¬†It’s nice to remember the conversations and it’s nice to not be the asshole stumbling out of the bar, who may or may not have hit on someone stupid, let someone stupid hit on her, said something stupid, or did something otherwise stupid.

Karaoking to “Don’t Stop Believin'” while sober ain’t so bad.

Flying cross-country while sober makes up for having to catch a 7:15 am flight. ¬†In fact, not having to fly either hung the fuck over or still drunk makes up for like, every morning flight I’ve ever taken. ¬†(There is nothing like passing through the AA terminal at JFK and realizing that the last time you did so, you were blazing drunk, having stayed up all night downing prosecco with a local guy “friend” (see above), and preparing to board an international flight headed to a post-disaster zone to volunteer for several months. ¬†Ahh, the memories… Seared into my mind and bloodstream — I can still feel that sense of impending doom/anxiety/pure anger that comes with being drunk for so many consecutive hours and THEN having to hustle to like, an airport.)

I’m sure there are other things, but those are what come to mind. ¬†I must say that I am proud (and bewildered) to be closing in on ONE MONTH sober. ¬†It feels…great/horrible? ¬†I’m not sure which, but it’s my own curiosity, I suppose, that’s keeping me on track now: ¬†What will sobriety surprise me with next?

More later!  Thanks for reading, whoever is out there.  It helps.  It really does.

Choosing not to drink is a luxury

24 Jun

11:58 pm

Yes, it is.¬† And, it’s only become apparent, after almost two weeks (no, I can’t believe it either), that I have a choice!¬† Like my counselor was trying to tell me a few months ago, You don’t HAVE to drink.¬† I knew what she meant.¬† Toward the end (the past year or so), drinking has felt almost mandatory, DESPITE feeling sick and hung over and depressed.¬† It was like, I approached getting drunk yet another night with something like dread, a whiney feeling in my gut that was crying out, No!¬† No more!¬† Yet, I forced myself to indulge, because…I guess I either felt like I had to drink or the cravings made me fear that I had to.

It was eye opening the other day when I came to that juncture like I do every day, craving a drink and wondering how to move forward, which way to go.¬† This time, I sat down.¬† I SAT DOWN there, on that figurative path, and looked around.¬† I weighed my options — to drink or not to drink — and even though I felt a craving to drink, I chose not to.¬† For various reasons, one being that I didn’t want to break my sober stretch yet again, another that I didn’t want to get drunk and then get drunker and then wake up feeling like complete ass.¬† So I chose to not drink.¬† Of course, I still wanted to, so I fought through the cravings.¬† But, I chose!¬† And I get to choose every single night, day, minute, second.¬† I GET TO choose.¬† That’s pretty amazing.¬† And not something I’m used to relying on, since for so long I actually didn’t have the choice, whether it was due to a physical or psychological (usually this) need to drink.¬† I still believe I have a strong psychological DESIRE, but I no longer believe it’s a need.¬† I don’t think it ever was, but I could be wrong.

I haven’t felt much like talking about all the bad shit, but soon, I must (Yoda says).¬† I know I can’t ride this detox/Hey, I’m sober! buzz for much longer.¬† Ugh.¬† The past few nights I’ve been fighting off the cravings by remembering the shit that went down, the belligerence, the blackouts.¬† If there’s one thing that helps me to not start drinking, I’ve found, it’s recollecting the horrific nightmares — hell, actually — that I’ve put myself and others through while blacked out.¬† It’s crushing, literally.¬† I have had to lie down and hold my head, that’s how heavy, how weighed down my brain feels when I go there.

I’ve also been dwelling on the write-off’s, the people who have dissed and ditched, judged and walked away.¬† I’d like to be able to say, Yup, all y’all can go fuck yourselves for not seeing the obvious pain I was in, the fear that translated to anxiety and anger.¬† Yup, all y’all can go fuck yourselves for not helping me, for not believing in me, for making it seem that I was shirking my responsibilities.¬† Maybe the reason I drank was not because I never HAD them, but because I had too many, for too long.¬† Then, I take a deep breath and try to empathize by putting myself on the receiving end of some of my blackouts.¬† And remembering, not everyone is a jerk, an asshole, sans empathy.¬† There ARE people who have cared, who have supported me through this, who have done things that no “normal” friend should have had to do.¬† I let it go.

Anyway, I’ll delve into all that soon enough.¬† And I’m sure it’ll be cathartic.¬† But for now, I just want to turn it off, shut it down, and fall asleep.¬† Sober, of course.¬† (12 days!)

Mornings aren’t easy, grumbles Drunky drunk girl

24 Jun

10:37 am

I can’t wake up in the mornings.¬† Why?¬† Because I have MAJOR INSOMNIA.¬† Probably not unusual, or interesting, but true.¬† I can’t believe how cliche my detox is!

I am so tired of not being able to sleep, though.¬† It’s exhausting, not being able to sleep!¬† I’m actually coming to dread the hours I have to lie in bed, feeling manic and wanting to get up, wondering how the FUCK long I have to lie there, waiting.¬† And, of course, all the while I’m thinking.¬† Last night it was about the cosmos, the planets and solar system and galaxy and galaxies beyond ours; then it was about human evolution.¬† (Luckily, I had a friend keep me company on the phone, discussing the minute details until he hung up and I remained there, on my back, for at least another few hours, bright-eyed and definitely NOT bushy-tailed.)¬† In fact, I’m starting to develop a dread, a phobia, almost, of going to bed.¬† And, of waking up, since I can’t remember the last time I slept for longer than 2-4 hours in total.

I also wake up every morning feeling hung over.¬† Sick to my stomach.¬† Flu-ish.¬† And tired, so tired.¬† Like, can’t peel my eyes open and can’t manage to hurl my body up and out of the bed without some superhuman force of will.¬† Like, still in detox!¬† Worse, actually, since there’s no accountable reason for feeling as shitty as I do except detox, which I should be WELL out of, going on day 12, right?

But it’s summer, I’m in [cold east coast city], I’ve got limited time in [cold east coast city], I want to start working like I used to work, I really do want to try running or doing yoga in the early mornings (so far that would be me – 0, insomnia/detox – 12); so, I ignore it and move on.¬† (Maybe I’m just tired for other reasons, like, it’s hot, I’m working out a lot more, I’ve got some major decisions on my plate and have been mentally exhausting myself trying to make them.¬† Hmm.¬† Maybe getting sober is simply tiring?)

WHEN DOES IT START TO FEEL GOOD AGAIN, DAMN IT?

Oh, well.¬† At least the nights are getting easier, resisting the cravings, that is.¬† Last night’s (Or was it the night before?¬† The good thing about feeling too tired at night the past few nights is that I have also been too tired to drink!) big revelation was, I have a choice.¬† Yes, I have the CHOICE to drink or to not drink.¬† I don’t HAVE to drink.¬† More on that in a different post.

Drunky drunk girl says, Woo frickin’ hoo, I’m sober

22 Jun

1:45 am

I don’t feel like writing tonight, and I think it’s a combination of being HOT (my apartment is stifling hot and I’m afraid to turn my A/C unit back on because it’s leaking all over the outside of the building) and I’m tired. ¬†Bored. ¬†Restless. ¬†I just spent a few minutes discussing my “lack of craving” tonight on the phone, and why it’s so great, and now all I want to do is drink. ¬†Sigh.

Still, the reality is clearer than ever, and maybe that’s what’s making it easier to simply say, Fuck it, why bother? ¬†The reality is that being drunk is not significantly different or better than being sober, at least not anymore. ¬†It’s not different (i.e., better) ENOUGH to be bothered with, and definitely not better enough to break my winning streak of almost 10 days sober. ¬†It stinks of effort, as one of my friends would say. ¬†And that’s simply depressing. ¬†Might as well throw in the towel and go to bed.

Throw in the towel? ¬†I mean, I had a very productive day but yet, I don’t feel like I did enough. ¬†Or, I feel like my enforced (literally) “me” time wasn’t necessary, or was a waste. ¬†That’s the thing I’m trying to change, though, the idea that I can’t do anything fun, or easy, during the day. ¬†It’s what drove me to drink in the first place. ¬†I realize that I HAVE to turn it off, close the laptop, put down the book, stop the working out and just…chill. ¬†Balance — it’s absolutely necessary in that without it, I get frustrated, overwhelmed, and desperate to shut down with a glass or six of red wine. ¬†I need to remember that I don’t have to work 24 hours a day, I can take time to play.

Sigh. ¬†Good thing I’m tired, otherwise I’d probably stay up and feel depressed, my mind numb, my body lethargic, and say, Eh, why not? ¬†It’s just grapes…

Going on nine, b#tches!

21 Jun

1:46 am

Nine mofo days. ¬†Well, going on. ¬†And, man, that bottle of red at the top of my wine rack is lookin’ purdy damn tasty.

No, I didn’t blog last night and yes, I bought a bottle of red on my way home from another super-sweateous hot yoga class, but NO, I did not drink it! ¬†Not one drop. ¬†Sure, I thought (and probably dreamt) about it, but somehow my willpower sustained me through the gong of midnight. ¬†As it has tonight, to my amazement! ¬†(In fact, I can almost feel the release of the craving, as if it moves off me like a wave receding from the sand with every spin of that second hand around the clock. ¬†The further away from midnight I get, the easier it is to buck up for another day of sobriety. ¬†AND, be happy and grateful about that simple fact.)

I was talking to a friend of mine tonight, and he gave me some good advice, mainly, The cravings are never going to go away, it’s just going to get easier to deal with them. ¬†I think he’s majorly right, and that kind of majorly sucks. ¬†Tonight, for some reason, my craving is more intense than it has been since I quit, but not unbearable or out of control.

My friend suggested switching up my routine, too, becoming more of a morning person. ¬†Work out or do yoga at 7 am, and I bet that by 10 or 11 pm, you’ll be too tired to even think about drinking, let alone stay up to do it. ¬†I might give that a shot; what do I have to lose? ¬†The thing is, I’m a night owl and my “witching” hour(s) always involved sipping a glass or six of red while relaxing into the day finally being over; or, settling into a few hours of “me” time, which, to be frank, had become much less about me and more about the excuse to get drunk.

I still want to drink, but…tonight, I guess I do feel stronger, more rational. ¬†Like, I can definitely feel my brain centering itself, no longer TOTALLY tilted to the left in favor of drinking. ¬†It’s more…leaning to the right, with thoughts that are becoming louder, like:

If you drink, you’ll fuck up your EIGHT DAYS OF SOBRIETY. ¬†NO!

If you drink, you won’t be able to see what it’s like after eight days, and…you’ll have to go through another eight days to get here again! ¬†NO!

If you drink, you won’t lose that wine gut! ¬†NO! ¬†NO!

If you drink, you won’t be able to be that self-righteous prick at the wedding next weekend, the one who gets to look down on everyone automatically assuming she’s going to get shitfaced and do something retarded, and say, Ohhh, no thanks. ¬†I had my last drink on my birthday, a whole 18 days ago. ¬†NO! ¬†NO! ¬†NO!

If you drink, it won’t feel better for long. ¬†And, the down will feel worse than what you’re feeling now. ¬†I’ve been creeping closer and closer to full acceptance of the reality that, When you drink, you go up, but then you come down. ¬†And you feel even more down because you’ve been high. ¬†I’d rather just stay low, to be honest. ¬†That way, there is no crash, no reality check, no down.

If other people I know can do it, I can, too, damn it.

Drunky drunk girl says, I’ve been sober for a week, what?

19 Jun

1:13 am

And counting. ¬†As of now, I’m going on day seven — a whole week sans the grape! ¬†Holy shit, is all I can say.

I mean, it’s not that I haven’t gone, uh, a while sober (my longest in recent memory has been two weeks, and that felt absolutely miraculous to me), it’s just, well, I haven’t gone a long, intentional while for a while (almost a year now of practically daily drinking). ¬†Obviously, it’s really hard for me not to drink, to escape the habit of drinking. ¬†However, for some reason(s), this time I’m getting by and feeling stronger every day.

I’ve been thinking about what’s been giving me that extra helping hand and here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. ¬†This blog: ¬†It’s serving as my anchor, so to speak. ¬†I like coming to it. ¬†I like holding it in my hands, as I would a cup, and filling it up with my angst, my craving, my pedantic need to expose — for some reason now — the minute details of my struggle with the bottle. ¬†It’s NICE to have this blog here, as a friend, in a way, as someone who will listen. ¬†And it’s public, which makes me feel like I’m really, really, really no longer hiding. ¬†And that gives me added strength, for reasons that I can’t quite articulate at the moment. ¬†(Even though I’m doing this anonymously, it still feels like I’m no longer hiding. ¬†It feels like I’m talking to someone, and they’re getting it, and they’re maybe going to leave a comment and then, we’ll be talking about it together. ¬†Warts and all, it’s coming out. ¬†And the fact that hiding my problem is less important, for once, than maintaining my sobriety seems to be an extraordinary source of strength and self-love.)

2. ¬†My work: ¬†I hate to say it, but above all else — and that includes the rock bottoms, hurting myself, and hurting my friends and family — is my work. ¬†I know that if I drink and get hung over this week, I’ll jeopardize my ability to turn in a good edit on time to an excellent potential client.

3. ¬†Fatigue: ¬†I’ve intentionally built a daily schedule that will either a/keep me distracted to the point of forgetting that booze even exists, or b/exhaust me beyond the ability to stay awake past midnight let alone drink! ¬†Of course I wanted to drink tonight, as I was walking home from a truly exhausting bikram yoga class (I wanted to celebrate sweating out all those residual toxins by…ingesting more. ¬†Makes perfect sense, right?). ¬†By the time I rounded my ‘hood, I had forgotten all about getting wine, though. ¬†I was so tired that all I could focus on was getting home, and when I finally did, I realized that it was too late to get wine. ¬†I may have looked, had there been an actual wine shop that was open, but honestly, I was counting on the craving to subside so that I could just laze through it and crash early.

4. ¬†Higher powah: ¬†Uh, I’ve been trying to contemplate this in concrete terms, and I think I can safely admit that I have NO IDEA what this means beyond the ability to resist your cravings, whether they be mental, physical, emotional, or all three. ¬†I’ve decided it’s close to one of two things: ¬†one day a few weeks ago when I was attempting to quit (I went a few days, but this happened on day two), I was suddenly awash (yes, it felt like a cool shower flowing down my entire body) in a feeling of deep calm. ¬†I realized that what I was experiencing was a complete absence of craving. ¬†Holy Jesus on High! ¬†It felt religious, actually, to be granted this reprieve. ¬†I have not felt SANS CRAVING for at least a decade, if not more, I guess. ¬†It’s a constant feeling, and a constant source of stress. ¬†In this state of “grace,” it felt like anything was possible, and that booze needed no role. ¬†I didn’t want it, didn’t see the need for it, and could imagine feeling excited, optimistic even, about life IN THE FUTURE without it! ¬†It made me realize how controlled I am by my cravings, how they trap and depress me, and how they affect my perception of not only the present, but my possible future. ¬†It went away after about five or six hours, but man, what RELIEF. ¬†THIS, I decided, was the sentiment I should bottle and label, Higher Power.

The second is knowing, like your worst journalistic story assignment, the one that is due in 36 hours and that you’re pretty sure you’re not going to find any sources for and your writing is probably going to suck, too, and your editor is going to fire you for missing deadline anyway — knowing that it will be over soon. ¬†Like feelings, and bad life experiences, cravings come and cravings go. ¬†It’s easier for me to grit my teeth and bear it, even a week into sobriety, because I’ve learned that my cravings usually only last for a few hours, or as long as it takes for me to distract myself enough to forget I was craving it in the first place.

Well, on that note, I’m off to bed before I find myself wandering out in my pajamas to grab a six pack.

(Tomorrow, remind me to discuss all things liver. ¬†I’ve been taking milk thistle for several months now, and while I thought it was helping (it’s supposed to help not only subdue hangovers but also heal a damaged liver), I’m not sure. Last week, my liver was feeling mushy, as if I pressed on it, my fingerprint would leave an indentation. ¬†Well, a week later, it still doesn’t feel hunky dory. ¬†In fact, even though it’s not aching and feeling mushy/sore, it still feels…gross. ¬†Like, solid. ¬†Like, hardened. ¬†Like, yikes!)

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