Tag Archives: goals

Not a Broadway show, but maybe off-off-off Broadway?

19 Jul

10:55 am

Drip, drop. Drip, Drop.

It’s the sound of the change going on in my life. At least the way I hear it. Drops. Falling. Out. Of. The. Sky. One by one.

Wait: I think I saw one go back UP. Oh, me.

I’m trying to be patient, and I don’t want to drink, but I feel like I need to do more, work more, pitch more, blah blah blah. The thing about getting sober is, you embrace a much bigger picture of who you can be, what you could do. Your to-do list gets really big, your bucket list, humongous. Which is amazing, right? To be able to dream like that is probably a distant memory for a lot of us, isn’t it?

Yet, you’re still you and things still happen and you still have to work and go running and make dinner, walk the dogs, visit family, and do all these things that you used to do and that are mundane and that seem to have nothing to do with that Big, Sparkly Unicorn Sober Life that “everyone” keeps saying they’ve been leading and you will be, too, once you…? I’m not sure what, but my sobriety has been pretty much drip, drop, drip, drop.

Another thing about being sober–and this has been my experience only–is that just because you’re not drinking doesn’t mean that your life is going to resemble a Broadway musical. (I have a twin brother who’s actually written a musical, so there ARE some people who literally strive for this, but they, too, have day jobs.) No, no musical going up in this house. There are no built gay men breaking out in song and dance here. No lights, no orchestra, no costumes. Just me. Just life. Just not drinking. Thank God(dess) the pangs have subsided–it only took a year–but beyond that, life is still just life.

Drip drop, drip drop. I want to see more and bigger and way different, but I just see…me, now. I see what I WANT to do more clearly, and that makes the stretch look even longer: How am I going to get THERE? All the way over there? Dude, I’m tired. I want a glass of wine, shit maybe I’ll drink at Day 180 (nah, yeah, maybe, nah, yeah, maybe)… Oh, wait, what? Right. Weren’t we talking about big changes and Broadway costumes? Sorry, got distracted there–AGAIN.

For now, until the show ends up at my doorstep, I’m going to keep getting up before 9 (yes, I’ve still got time to lounge, but will be applying for full-time jobs today, actually), processing my graduate school application/decision, banging my head against what fees like a brick wall to get some freelance science writing gigs, continue to blog and explore some of my personal writing projects (ugh!). Running, losing weight then gaining it back when I make a LOT of pudding and cake and cookies. Walking the dogs, petting the dogs, getting bit by one of the dogs. Maybe planning a trip home to see my mom before her hip replacement surgery in the fall.

Nope, no mid-air splits here. Just life, and dripping and dropping. Progress comes in tiny increments, which is probably for the best–I, for one, am not ready to belt out a Patti LuPone-style solo just yet.

And yet…

28 Jun

12:27 am

I still fantasize about drinking. Many days. Not every day, but many.

I still tell myself (subconsciously) that maybe I’ll be able to drink again some day (soon)–and that is what keeps me sober, honestly. For someone who used wine to self-medicate depression–anxiety, existential and creative angst, deep feelings of self-loathing, boredom–no, the urge has not left. But, it IS easier to deal with when I have a huge to-do list, goals; I ignore the voices that keep poking at me, telling me I can’t, It’s not going to happen, etc. etc. etc., and, well, just get to work. And then, I take breaks, I eat and drink way too much sugar, and before I know it, it’s midnight and I’ve gotten a lot on that to-do list done and it’s time to go to bed. And, I have no wine and even if I did, I know that now would not be a good time to drink it. (Going to bed kills wolfie; you can go to sleep and count on the fact that he will be gone in the morning.) So, I go to bed. And in the morning, I’ll get up, make my decaf iced coffee, walk the dogs, and gear up for another run and another long day of editing work and then, (likely) another night of on-and-off cravings.

I’m not sure they’ll ever go away. A part of me wonders, maybe I just need something bigger to invest myself in, something mightily distracting? Like, volunteering in a foreign place, or, going back to school. Both are in the works, actually. Another part of me then wonders, well, maybe I’m still running, just replacing one escape (wine) with another (being busy, biting off so much that I can’t chew let alone drink wine)?

It’s like, I cannot seem to connect “fun” and “reward” in my brain as strongly to anything as wine. Only wine will do. I know, even to me it sounds absurd. But, that’s how it feels. Even now, a year later. There is no buzz as great, as satisfying, as wine. There is no reward worth having as much as wine. I enjoy things–everything, actually–IN SPITE OF IT NOT BEING WINE. I know, I know, there are plenty of treats that I can now partake in, give myself, now that I’m sober and have the time and extra money. What I really want, though, is to end my days drinking wine; more than that, I want to not want wine; and MORE THAN THAT, I want to be able to enjoy other things as much as or more than I enjoy(ed) wine! I’m tired of this–will I ever truly enjoy life again?

I used wine to self-medicate my depression, my restlessness, my anxieties–yes. More elementally, I used it to medicate my boredom, which, according to a recent article I read, is a pathological state of mind and not simply a passing mood. In this article, they find a link between agitated boredom (where you’re actively looking to not be bored, and not finding anything that will stimulate or excite you) and damage to a small area in the brain located above the eyes. It’s the same area that is involved when your brain makes the faulty connection between wine and reward. Great. I actually AM brain-damaged!

I’ve spent my entire life trying to not be bored. Which is why I wrote; which is why I danced; which is why I excelled at school, and sports, and everything under the sun that I could throw myself into. Which is why I’ve lived in about 30 apartments in six different cities since I graduated from high school! This is, however, not all that remarkable, except in the most literal sense of the word: someone who is not inside my brain might remark, Wow, that is fucked up. To me, it’s just that I need more. I need more. Some of us just need more.

What if I drank again to overcome this pull? I mean, maybe I’ve been obsessing precisely because I’ve been withholding booze. What if I started treating it casually, and in that way, it would become casual? Prohibition was an absolute failure. Tell kids they can’t do something, and they’ll go out of their way to do it! Maybe that’s what going on now, with me? The more I focus on not obsessing over how great wine would be, the more I focus on, well, how great wine would be?

(Don’t worry, I’m not planning on drinking. Just thinking out loud… Though, I did get a lot done, and some pretty fantastic things happened today, so…what the fuck am I whining about?)

101 days and counting.

100 days…and business as usual!

26 Jun

4:34 pm

That’s sort of how I feel. YES, I made it, but eh, I’m still sober and I’ve got work to do. Which is good. I NEED goals, otherwise I tailspin into the bottom of a bottle.

First up, thanks to ALL for the continued support–especially Belle for the shout-out today, and for the brilliant 100 Day Challenge. As you may know, this is not my first time at the 100-day mark, but I have to say, it IS the easiest. There’s an acceptance that drinking will *probably* (haha) offer me nothing; even my reward circuits have re-learned this, and they finally seem to be settling–albeit grudgingly–back into what used to be a natural resting state.

What’s different this time? Well, let me remind you that I first got sober last June and went for 60 days before falling off the wagon twice in one week. Both times involved me blacking out and, once, going swimming (always safe to attempt to swim while blacked out), once, texting an ex and babble-yelling at my boyfriend with two house guests in the next room (marvelous host, I am). Then, I went for five weeks, fell off again for about three weeks, and finally got back on after a horrendous last drunk where I ended up locking someone out of my apartment and having to repair the damage, move out of my place, and get my ass to the airport before 9–all while still flaming drunk and operating on three hours of blacked out sleep. I moved here, and I went for ALMOST SIX MONTHS, which I believe I had something close to 160 days.

Now, the last time I circled around 100 days, ALL I WANTED WAS TO DRINK. The urge had not disappeared, there was no fairy dust falling from the sky and blotting out all the bad memories, overwhelming loose ends and things I hadn’t yet done (which I still have yet to do, btw). My pulsating neuronal circuits still resembled a neon sign that read “Wine ALL Night” and kept throbbing to the beat of my heart.

And, I had no idea that the next oh, two months, would be so hard.

From about day 90 (13 weeks?) to about 20 weeks–that’s almost two whole months–all I wanted was to drink. To stop this nonsense and just go back to normal, which to me was drinking. I wanted my LIFE back. The cravings were worse than ever! I had no idea how difficult it would be–everyone in AA told me that once I hit 90, I’d be OK. Well, it wasn’t like that for me. I felt angry, and bitter, like I had been cheated; here I was, TWICE past 90 days, and all I wanted–STILL–was wine! It’s just never going to get better, I kept thinking. I am permanently brain damaged.

So, I drank. That was one night, back in March, and guess what? Same Old Shit. Blacked out and said way more than I should have, passed out sitting up (I think I threw up on myself a little, too), and felt like ass for the next THREE days. It would not–could not–do. With literally no other option, I got back on the horse, (well, in my case, the unicorn), and let the slip pass.

This time around, it’s been much easier. I mean, getting back on the wagon wasn’t hard, though at the time it felt like three weeks was WAY too long to convince myself that I shouldn’t drink again. I think my sober muscles, which I had been building up over the past year, just PUSHED; and there I was, going on four weeks, then eight, and now…100 days.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the neurochemistry involved in disorders of the brain, and how it might work for alcoholism. I wonder what our drinking circuits look like: are these circuits so rigid, so inflexible, that they’ve almost solidified into place? I think so. I think it takes a lot of mental work to loosen these configurations and to dissociate them from anticipating a drink, yes. But, I think simply Not Drinking When You Really Really Want To goes a long way toward dissolving these bonds, let’s just call them. These configurations settle into a specific shape; and, that shape is kept in place by drinking when you WANT to, not necessarily because it feels good to drink. Think of it like this: add booze at any point in the early stages of recovery, and BAM, those circuits snap back into place and start throbbing again. Less and less so, the longer you are sober. But…maybe not. Everyone’s drinking problem is unique.

In any case, I’m OK not drinking, and I’ve come a long way toward replacing not drinking with like, real life, including work, friends, and future plans. I’m not so self-absorbed; I feel a lot more like myself again, able to be out in the world and not feel like my skin is as fine as butterfly wings.

I want to be excited about today, like uber-excited, but really, it’s just another day! I continue to appreciate every moment that I’m sober, but I whine a LOT less about wanting to drink. It’s been easier in that–and I think I’ve already said how incredulous I am about this development–I don’t have many cravings anymore. Like, yes, sure, OK, I GUESS it’d be nice to have a glass of wine, but, really, would it?

And, to be honest, a lot of the stuff I used to worry about, I just gave up on. Haha. I’m not going to be perfect, I may never publish a book, I probably won’t have kids of my own, I probably definitely won’t own a brownstone in Brooklyn. I probably won’t speak to my brother again. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Shut up, cousin of wolfie, who is the voice of pointless rumination!

The only thing that seems to really matter anymore is that I’ve got my foundation, my new sober house. And it is hurricane-proof. Can withstand the strongest flood. It’s like, when life starts to seem to real–when all that out there actually starts to look real–I just go inside my sober house and close the door. See ya, wolfie! See ya, cousin of wolfie! See ya, people who don’t matter and things that I’m making up about you!

MY HOUSE: cool cement floors covered in exquisite blue tiles; a tall ceiling; a breeze from the most glorious sea you could envision, twisting the sheer linen curtains ever so slightly. Oh, what? Is there a storm? Oh, wait, you said a hurricane? Nope, it’s like the dead of night inside my house, it’s that quiet. Oh, is someone coming over to knock on my door, breathe in my face, scream in my ear? OK; whatever. Tell them to go around the back, I’ll be a while. My house. Hurricane-proof. Avalanche-ready. Typhoon-resistant!

What’s next? Well, ending this long-winded blog post, for one. And then…working. Not drinking. Going to bed looking forward to tomorrow. The usual. 😉

Today marks my year soberversary! (well, sort of)

13 Jun

11:43 pm

Today marks a year since I quit drinking. And, while I drank a total of 10 times since last June 13th, I still call this day my sobriety date.

And, it was my birthday yesterday, and while I had a few “I wish I could have a glass of white wine right now” moments, they passed almost instantaneously when I realized how “a” glass of white wine would make me feel: even more bloated than I already felt (I think I caught a bit of food poisoning on Tuesday night), and hung over the next day in 1000-degree heat (we went south, to a neighboring island, for a few days; glorious). NO, THANKS. Plus, ewwwww, I hate white wine! (Maybe I’m subconsciously making it easier on myself by craving drinks I don’t really like? Stranger things have happened.)

Pretty much an about-face from a year ago, eh? I mean, the journey…! More ruminations on this in a later post, that’s for sure. (I’m about to crash.)

Anyway, with some perspective from my boyfriend, I have to stop and congratulate myself. Here I am, thinking, Oh, geez, it’s still almost 90 days (this Sunday), and I still have cravings, and I still have a shit-ton of things I want/need to do that I’ve been avoiding doing because I’ve been sober and/or getting used to being sober, and… STOP! STOP THAT TALKING SHIT to yourself, and listen to what your boyfriend just said to you:

“It’s been a year. A year ago today, you decided to change your life. And, you did.”

Yes, I did. I mean, when you put it that way… 😉 Pretty cool, eh?

Bobbing along nicely and–BAM! Another pesky issue…

10 Jun

1:52 am

That’s how I feel. I’m just bobbing in my inner tube in the middle of the ocean. There’s blue horizon everywhere–possibility–but I’m sort of just USED to it. No big whoop. And then…

CRASH! I run head first into an issue like, I have low self-esteem. Or, I may never speak to my brother again and I’m not sure I want to, and that feels really bad inside. And, all my hip-hip-hooraying for myself fizzes out of me like air from a wet balloon.

For the past several weeks (a month?), the urge to drink has been replaced by the urge to do. To Get Things Done. The necessity to move forward, before It’s All Too Late. I’ve got 12 weeks sober again tomorrow, which is good-fine-great-grand. Whatever, in a way. I really can’t even think about drinking, I have too many important tasks and decisions. Maybe next week, after 90 days? Nah, probably not. Maybe next month, after 100 days? I don’t know…I might be volunteering, or going back to school, or something else huge and stressful (what IS my problem?).

Fortunately, there are no real cravings, is what I’m saying; I’ve basically stomped them into the ground with my rationalizing and true-storytelling (i.e., If you drink, you will feel horrible and do and/or say horrible things). And, this has been absolutely amazing. A relief of the sort I never in a million years would have imagined, let alone hoped for, in sobriety. NEVER. Never never never. (I’m still waiting for the desire to guzzle vino to come roaring back, or even niggling its way in; but so far, so good. FUCK YOU, WOLFIE. HATE YOU VERY MUCH!)

Anyway, tomorrow, aside from finishing an editing project, I want to pitch a few story ideas to an editor. Yes, actually. And, no, I have no idea who this nebulous figure is, said editor, but I do have contacts at the magazine and why not? WHY NOT.

I discovered that, sans wine, I can no longer avoid confronting the existence of my sad, sorry self-esteem. I have major self-esteem issues, and of course, drinking made them worse but also, drinking was just a good cover. I didn’t have to confront them and therefore, I also didn’t have to deal with them. As for pitching, partly, I’m still making excuses why I shouldn’t, but mainly, it’s the rejection I fear now (I guess) more than the work involved in the ensuing project if said editor says yes (or the work involved in pitching more and again and elsewhere if said editor says no). OH, WELL. That’s the writing life, and I am SO SICK OF MYSELF for not actually doing it.

I can do this. And I will. I just have no idea why I haven’t believed in myself enough for this long to not even fucking try.

Like I said, bobbing along and then–BAM! Icebergs! (The good thing about being sober is, you don’t get stuck on the iceberg’s tip and start to freeze to death. You see it, drink in some of its actual stunning beauty, and then, push it aside with your toe. You are, after all, bobbing along in YOUR inner tube, on a summer’s day, blue horizon all around. And, wait, LOOK–there’s the shoreline, and there’s your Unicorn with Sparkly Teeth! She’s waiting for you! She’s still pulling your water wagon and YES, yes she IS holding a nice fizzy drink in one hoof JUST FOR YOU! And you look back, see the iceberg floating away, and sigh, Eh, it was JUST an iceberg…)

Do I see 90 days coming up? Why, yes I do!

5 Jun

11:27 am

It’s hard to know where to begin, but I guess I’ll start with, I’m still sober and it was beyond easy to not drink on my trip. And, sure I feel proud, and relieved–in that order–but above all, I’m surprised. I didn’t really want to drink! It was like, I had no time, and found every reason NOT to. I can’t drink now, but maybe tomorrow, I kept telling myself. Today’s not going to work, but maybe tomorrow I can fit in wasting a few hours sucking down expensive red poison water and planning the next 12 hours of feeling like ass? Sure, OK, maybe wolfie-boy, we’ll see.

In fact, I was so busy, and so head-exploding hot, and so…scared of what I might do, out and about alone, with no safety net and even less tolerant people of a drunken fool stumbling around yelling and throwing fists and nearly falling off the subway tracks…that it was quite easy to see disaster waiting in the wings if I took that first drink. So, I didn’t take that first drink. (Though, there was a moment on Saturday night, when I felt so weird and awkward trying to dance in front of people sober, that I was like, Give me a fucking beer; and my good friend, the one who bailed me out of many a hapless situation, both physically and emotinally, was like, Um, I don’t want to see you go down. And I was like, You’re right, fuck that.)

It was a busy trip, which helped. I do well when I’m busy, and working on my proverbial to-do list. I need to do things, I need to accomplish stuff. Which is a double-edged sword at times, especially in that town. But, I used the exhaustion factor to my advantage and simply didn’t allot any time to drink or be hung over.

It was also hot as a bitch (I mean, hotter than down here, if you can believe it), so that was a turn-off, too. Who wants to be hung over in a stanky apartment when you’ve got less than 72 hours in the Big Apple? A no-brainer…now, at least. Three years ago, I think I would’ve been busting open bottles at 11 pm, drinking until 2 (or however long it took me to pass out); and then getting up, hung over, at 8 or 9, just because I was that hardcore and had that much resilience. Not any more, and thank God(dess).

I also wanted to prove to my friends that I had changed, that things WERE different. No stumblings-home at 4 am. No silly arguments. No perilous shenanigans. Or WORSE. I wanted to be who I claimed I was and am, and I think I succeeded.

It was also, well, something freaky to walk by the hundreds of bars and restaurants, corners and crannies, old apartments, former school buildings–all places where DRAMA WENT DOWN. Drinking drama. Oy. The lack of self-care, self-respect, self-love I showed myself back then. It wasn’t about having fun, it was about fear, and self-sabotage: the blackouts, so very many of them, which hid from plain sight the horrible things I said and did and were done to me. Ugh. Anyway, these memories helped me to know that, NO, ONE DRINK WOULD NOT BE OK. One drink would likely mean at the worst, endangering my life, at the least, pissing off my host. It was like standing at the edge of a frozen lake, not wanting to step onto the thin ice and watch it crack. No, I simply could not do it.

So, lots of stuff got done, is all I can say. I got up early and went running on Thursday morning (which felt so…normal, considering that I NEVER did this in the five years I lived there); made it to my dentist appointment; went for a quick dress shop (unsuccessful); and then, hopped up to Harlem to attend what turned out to be more of an informal meet-and-greet than a new student orientation. Lots and lots to think about there, but that’s for another post.

On Friday, I renewed my drivers license; shopped and walked and sweat; went back to my friend’s to change and take her out to dinner for hosting me. She drank, and by God(dess), I had ZERO PANGS. I mean, it was interesting to see HER reaction to my not drinking, which was to ask me if it was OK if she drank. And, to see just how little I actually know about hanging with drunk people. Like, I kept having to remind myself that she was getting drunk, which would explain her rising voice, her increasing talkativeness. It was weird. I mean, I have so little experience being on the receiving end of a drunk person’s inebriated behavior that it was, well, enlightening to watch it unfold.

By Saturday, I knew I wouldn’t drink (even though I still wanted to). I went to brunch and the park with another friend, who drank with our meal and who also asked me if it was OK. (Yes, I do feel blessed to have friends that are so supportive, but I’ve been pretty open about everything.) The big test came that night, when I–wait for it–WENT OUT sober. Not a drop! I’ve been worrying about this for a long time: sure, I can go out here, sober, but can I go out, like really Go Out, in a big city, where everyone, it seems, is drinking and talking and partying all around…and not only stay sober, but have fun doing so? Yes, it sucked at first. It felt hard (reawwy reawwy hard), but once I got over the awkwardness and realized that no one really fucking cares about me or what I’m doing–all was fine. Great, actually. I had just as much fun, if not more, than if I had been drinking.

The biggest revelation I had was this: I think and care WAY too much about what others think about me. In fact, I am about 99.5 percent more conscious of myself than anyone else. And, a sad point: I looked around and realized that I, too, had no idea about what was going on with anyone else. I am so limited in perceiving others’ realities, and vice versa. In fact, the only reality there really is is how we react to our thoughts and feelings. Anyway, I digress.

There could have been the full spectrum of drunkenness at the bar, and I wouldn’t have known by just looking at people. Were some peeps a little drunk, a lot drunk, blacked out? Were some dealing with the inner hell that is alcoholism? It’s likely. What was especially poignant was realizing that I was probably the only person there even wondering about who was dealing with a personal inferno, let alone CARING about it. People don’t care about your drinking problem. And, that’s what makes it so very difficult and distressing when you’re out, as an alcoholic: you’re in a hell, whether you’re being a “good drunk” or a blacked out asshole; yet, no one knows, no one CAN know, and therefore, you’re alone.

I felt sorry for people like me at that moment, and felt again that same indignation over peeps who have not forgiven me for some of my blackout shenanigans. It’s called empathy, people; get some.

Sure, I might have drunk a beer, but there was no way in HELL I was caving–and, one beer might have been all it would’ve taken. After that night, walking home feeling so alive and empowered, I realized something: getting and staying sober is the key to actually owning your life. It might be pedantic (people who drink only once in a while to escape or loosen up, let’s say, would categorize drinking as a small detail in their lives, for instance), but it fans out. It’s about facing your thoughts and feelings and learning how to own them. And, with that ownership comes true freedom–the ability to make choices and move forward, typically. Instead of stagnating, you get to choose how things go. It really is liberation. And not from simply being addicted to ethanol.

Sunday was tiring, as I walked, and went shopping, and got my hair cut, and finally, came home and packed and got ready to go. I overslept the next morning, but hey, no worries, I’m fucking SOBER getting to the airport and nothing could be better. HOW EASY is it to travel not hung over? Jesus, I can’t believe how hard I made it for myself, always drinking the night before flying? Even though I only got about four hours sleep that night and every other night, I’d pick sleep-deprived a thousand million times over hung over.

All in all, a very surprising trip. So, like I said, I’m the Grand Marshall and this sober parade is COMIN’ through, bitches!

I’m the Grand Marshall

5 Jun

1:31 am

I just wanted to check in and say howdy. I just spent about five days in New York, and I’m still sober. And, I’m damn proud of it. Who’s directing traffic? I am. Who’s on the master float in this sober parade? C’est moi! I’m the fucking Grand Marshall, people!

While I’m surely relieved that I didn’t cave, I’m mostly surprised at my utter lack of pangs and/or desire to drink. Even while out, dancing my ass off and observing everyone else getting drunk, or drunker. Then again, I think I’ve got it a bit easier than some: around every turn, there was a reminder of some truly soul-sucking, horrifying incident that happened or that I made happen. It was easy to see the disaster waiting in the wings if I took that first drink. And so, I didn’t take that first drink. (My friends know what a drunk I was, and they were supportive, so that really helped as well.)

Anyway, I’ve got lots to share, but I just wanted to say that all is well in my little sober world. 90 days coming up on June 16th!

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.

soberisland

recovery from booze, a shitty father and an eating disorder

Dogmatic Panic

just a dude writing about being a dude

Violet Tempest

Author of Gothic Horror & Romance

Walking in Sober Boots

Footfalls on a Path of Recovery

Out From The Void

Doo, doo, doo lookin' out my backdoor

Ditching the Wine

Getting myself sober; the ups and downs

The Sober Experiment

Start your journey of self discovery

Devon Maid

Devon Maid is a story about wellbeing and life in a rural playground

Sober and Well

Live your best life free from alcohol

The Phoenix Files

The Outspoken Opinions of S.M. Phoenix

cuprunnethover

Filling my Cup with what Matters

Lauren Steinheimer

healthcare writer. tarot reader. dog mom.

winesoakedramblings - the blog of Vickie van Dyke

because the drunken pen writes the sober heart ...

I love my new life!

Changing my life to be the best me. My midlife journey into sobriety, passions and simple living/downshifting.

Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

Navigating the second half of my life

Sunbeam Sobriety

Just a normal lass from Yorkshire and her journey into happy sobriety

runningfromwine

Welcome to my journey to end my addiction to wine!

Without the whine

Exploring the heart of what matters most

New Beginnings

My Journey to Staying Sober.

Sober Yogi

My journey to wholeness

When Women Inspire

Inspiring women in business, health, and lifestyle

The Sobriety Tree

Putting in roots; mixing metaphors at the leaf level

'Nomorebeer'

A sobriety blog started in 2019

A Spiritual Evolution

Alcoholism recovery in light of a Near Death Experience

No Wine I'm Fine

An alcoholfree journey in New Zealand with a twist

Untipsyteacher

I am a retired teacher who quit drinking and found happiness! After going deaf, I now have two cochlear implants!

Life Beyond Booze

The joys, benefits and challenges of living alcohol free

Functioningguzzler

In reality I was barely functioning at all - life begins with sobriety.

Mental Health @ Home

Building mental wellness on a foundation of strength

Faded Jeans Living

By Dwight Hyde

Moderately Sober

Finding my contented self the sober way

Sober Courage

from liquid courage to sober courage

Musings Of A Crazy Cat Lady

The personal and professional ramblings of a supposedly middle aged crazy cat lady

Life in the Hot Lane

The Bumpy Road of Life as a Woman 45+

Wake up!

Operation Get A Life

doctorgettingsober

A psychiatrist blogging about her own demons and trying to deal with them sober

Storm in a Wine Glass

I used to drink and now I don't

Off-Dry

I got sober. Life got big.

Laura Parrott Perry

We've all got a story to tell.

Finding a Sober Miracle

A woman's quest for one year of sobriety

Dorothy Recovers

An evolving tale of a new life in recovery

Lose 'da Booze

MY Journey towards Losing 'da Booze Voice within and regaining self-control

Laurie Works

MA., NCC, RYT, Somatic Witch

Drunky Drunk Girl

A blog about getting sober

The Soberist Blog

a life in progress ... sans alcohol

soberjessie

Getting sober to be a better mother, wife, and friend

mentalrollercoaster

the musings and reflections of one person's mental amusement park

%d bloggers like this: