Tag Archives: craving

No pangs for parades

16 Mar

11:54 am

It’s St. Patty’s Day weekend, and we all know what that means:  beer, green, parades, fun.

In reality, it means:  beer, brown (vomit), blurred memories of taking off your shirt or falling down or crumbling into a heap of tears inside a bar or on the curb outside the bar while the dude you met is looking at you with mock concern; or calling your ex and begging that you get back together while realizing, somewhere in the back of your mind, you knew you were never really together in the first place; a pounding headache the next day as you come to and realize what went down.  Oh, the fun.

I know how these holidays can trigger cravings for going out and getting shitfaced with the gang–the fear of missing out is intense, and intensely ingrained in our memory.  My neurons still pulse with those memories, I have to admit.

These days, there is none of that intense craving; there is only the whisper of a pang–if only I could have fun this St. Patty’s day–only the brief momentary life and death of a craving for what was.  And what was, we all know, was always a lie.

These days, there is only getting up on a Saturday, after a LONG work week, realizing that I made it happen, I made money, we are working toward our collective professional and personal goals (getting back to our island in the sun!); looking out at the grasses draped in fallen drops of rain, wondering only, should we go hiking through the marshland today or tomorrow?  (I love the marshland here, the white egrets and the blue herons; so gentle, so tentative, yet still so graceful, admirable, strong; I wish the world loved appreciated herons as much as I think it should.)  These days, there are no pangs for what was, because what was never was anything but pain, and fear, and avoidance.

On a side note, this weekend marks ONE whole year since our beloved beagle-boxer mix “crossed the rainbow bridge,” and that’s also something that I thought about this morning, as I was doing the obligatory check for events going on in my ‘hood on Facebook (I try to steer away from scrolling/trolling my news feed, but I usually give in, at least for a few minutes).  Our sweet son–I still feel almost as sad as I did that day; I still cry when I think about him and his role in my sobriety, and my life, and our days and years of shared love.  The good news?  I am not drunk or hungover thinking about it, and I’ve processed it (as much as anyone can process the event of a death).  The good news is that I won’t be falling down into a pile of tears on a curb outside a vomitous Irish pub because I am also drinking 10 beers while thinking about it.

These days, it’s just moving through the mornings, afternoons, and nights, without much of any pangs–I have so much more to look forward to, like watching a sunset from a tower overlooking marshland to the sea.  And, while this life is a million times better than getting shitfaced in an Irish pub on St. Patty’s Day, entertaining the potential to flirt and hook up (all at the same time totally NOT wanting to flirt with just anyone, or hookup at all; all the while longing for love, a special person, a life together–all of which I have now), there are still remnants of those old longings.  I push them away, as a matter of practice–I am sober, and getting sober is about practice.  Getting sober is about the process of practicing being sober–which includes recognizing the whisper, the faint memory of a pang, and releasing it into the space above.

There is no need anymore for pangs, for cravings.  I can let them go, again and again and again, until they are, truly, no more.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend, all my fellow sober friends.  May your weekend be filled with everything you want–and maybe even some things you don’t–in service to your sobriety.  Ever growing, ever strong.  You got this.

It takes all kinds, even drunk people

26 Aug

7:31 pm

I went to a day-long “party” yesterday–started with a late lunch and ended with a dip in the hot tub, a home-cooked pasta dinner, a night swim in the pool, and watching the MTV music awards. All kinds of people were there: normal drinkers, non-drinkers, and drunks (at least for the night). And, after all this time, I’m starting to both know and respect my limits–and surprisingly enough, others’!

It was so ordinary for me to not drink that I didn’t feel any of the usual weirdness. I wasn’t drinking–normal. I wasn’t engaging in loud chitchat–these people have never seen me do that. I wasn’t stumbling around, being overly emotional or obtuse or offensive–not even in the realm of possibility when I’m my sober (contained) self. I also wasn’t thinking, Oh, I wonder if everyone thinks I’m as lame as I feel?…because I wasn’t feeling lame. I was feeling calm, proud, self-possessed. I was feeling perfectly fine being sober, as if, being sober was just one of the infinite variations on being. Being sober simply doesn’t matter anymore. It doesn’t separate me from others. It doesn’t distinguish me as something else. You’re drinking, I’m not. Carry on.

Am I glad I wasn’t babbling on and embarrassing myself through an acidic, blurry haze? YES. Am I glad I was able to get up at 11:30 and say, Welp, it’s time for me to go, I’ve got ‘Breaking Bad’ to watch at midnight? Fuck yeah. Am I glad to not be hung over? Uh, that NEVER gets old!

What’s different, I guess, is that I really wasn’t paying all that much attention to what and how much everyone else was drinking. Most people, I’ve realized, don’t even GET the concept of sobriety, let alone have it in themselves to judge anyone for being sober–especially in a setting where they’re getting their fix. I think most people are just too busy having a lot of fun, having a little fun, or not having fun to worry about what anyone else is doing at a party.

Sure, I noticed there was champagne, but I felt too bloated to really care. I might have said no anyway had I not been sober (I have a short fuse on champagne). I was actually really thirsty toward the end of the night, and as I was drinking my bottled water, I did notice one person cracking open beer after beer; and what I thought foremost was, Wow, that looks SO like the opposite of what I want right now (which was water), not, Wow, she’s drinking a lot and really fast, maybe I should waste two brain cells contemplating HER choices?.

One thing I do when I start to feel “thoughtful” about my not drinking (like, wondering what others are thinking of me, if they’re thinking anything) is I relax. I literally make my body go slack, take a deep inner breath, and try to project this feeling of inner calm to the outside. I KNOW from experience that when most people are drinking, they’re not thinking AT ALL about those sober folks in the room. And, if there is a split-second thought of, Oh, what a wet blanket, it fades in the next instant and is replaced by the all-consuming, Where’s the wine (or beer, or vodka, or weed, or whatever)? Projecting a sense of calm to those who have been reduced to lower-brained mammals seems to me the best way to say, I am doing fine, thanks, and get them to back down and think it was their idea. 😉

While I didn’t necessarily want to drink, I had one familiar moment of, Aww, this is SO not going to be fun/Aww, this would be SO much more fun and I’d feel SO much more a part of it if I was drinking. It was fleeting, a minor blip. What a relief, after over 14 months from my initial sober date, to finally be at a point where it feels practically normal–and good–to be sober in social settings? Let me be the first (not) to tell you: it gets better. It does, it does, it does. Your mind recovers, literally. You BECOME sober, which means that it doesn’t happen overnight. But happen, it DOES. I mean, I NEVER would have thought I could socialize sober and enjoy it– and here I am, beginning to do so.

What am I trying to say? I guess that both drinking and not drinking has become almost a non-issue these days. Within a matter of weeks, actually, that table has turned. There is a point–at least for some people, including myself, who maybe USED wine but wasn’t ultimately DEPENDENT on it–where the cravings and obsession and thoughts of drinking die down enough to be replaced by thoughts of what to do with your career, and what to do in your relationship, and everything else that’s important. I don’t want to say that I’ll be drinking again–most likely, no. However, nothing in life is black and white–a personal mantra that gets stronger and stronger with every single passing day of sobriety.

(Maybe my “dip”-turned-month-long depression finally lifted? Like someone smart once said, and I’ll say it again, Carry the fuck on!)

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