Tag Archives: milestone

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. 😉

Recovery meets real life, or, Time to get back to work!

19 Jun

8:02 pm

It’s not that I don’t like being on this inner tube, fizzy water in hand, floating down the calm waters of a river with no end in sight, because I do.

For me, recovery has been about stopping what I was doing and just…stalling for a while. Breathing. Doing nothing but focusing on myself, and my recovery. Don’t get me wrong: getting sober WAS work, but I didn’t have the stress of going into an office every day doing a job I felt was meaningless (a large part of why I drank in the first place). I had good reason to not work (and here, I use the term in the sense of “real world” work): I was getting sober. I was healing. I was putting all my energy–for once, for ONCE!–into saving myself instead of the saving the world, as it were.

Until recently. Lately, I’ve been pushing myself to get back into the world of science writing. Truth be told, I’ve been scared SHITLESS of writing on a freelance basis, well, since I graduated from boot cam—err, my master’s program in journalism. I tried, here and there over the past several years, wrote a memoir that I shelved, started and stopped a few other personal writing projects; but, I simply haven’t pitched many story ideas–what if I was ignored or worse, brutally rejected?! YES, I worked in the field, but my standards were high: in order to be a “real” journalist, I needed to be pitching and writing as a contributing editor, a freelance writer; not being assigned stories and story ideas by an editor.

It’s hard to explain this pedantic notion of what it means to “be a writer” in my mind. Whatever it is, I wasn’t it. No way, no how. Even though I WAS, actually, writing quite complex pieces every month for a magazine (and doing it well, I might add). Somewhere along the way, I lost confidence in myself as a writer–in my creativity and in my writing.

That’s been the story of my life, though: a deep-seated lack of self-confidence. Part of it is genetic: I’m an introvert. Journalism isn’t necessarily a good occupation for a lot of us writers who, yes, prefer to be alone all day. However, we grow, we learn, we stretch outside our comfort zones; it gets easier, and it becomes a job that we can do. Part of it is experience: my graduate program was pretty brutal, and I guess I internalized that criticism a little too much. I’m always fearing the worst when it comes to negative feedback and/or criticism. I was–I am–in abject fear of failure. Finally, part of it is being from the Midwest: we don’t brag. Bragging is just not in our blood. We’re nice, we let others go first, we say we’re sorry a little too much. (In fact, I wonder how different my life would have gone if I had been born and raised in New York…)

I KNEW this day would come, and maybe I drew out my recovery–quitting, staying quit, conquering the cravings, dealing with some issues–so that I could put off getting back into the real world of work.

Yet, I’ve made some progress lately on the pitching and writing front. I’ve also started the process of getting back into reviewing and assimilating the science news (which is a hefty amount of information, to be done on a gradual basis).

I think, actually, that the so-called “miracle” is on its way. I’ve noticed my confidence increasing: I’ve suddenly seemed to have arrived at this point of, Hey, I can do this, and I WILL DO THIS. It’s no longer a matter of, I’m not good enough, or, I’m afraid. I need to get back in the game. I’m a (damn) good player, and I’ve been on the sidelines for too long.

Onward! 100 days in one week… Unicorns, CHARGE! 🙂 *glitter ball*

90 days, here we are again!

16 Jun

9:56 am

Glitter balls and unicorns galore, we’re here! Well, we’ve been here before, but this time is much different.

I’ll admit, last night was hard. I had a moment. I was bored, existentially challenged–and I mistakenly went back to my old ways of thinking that wine would like, make that go away. Or, more incredulously, make it better. A good night’s sleep, a new day, the dogs waiting in the wings for a walk, and my 90-day chip from last January around my neck, I feel less whiny. 😉

I have SO much to think about regarding life choices these days that drinking is definitely one of the last things on my to-do list. Last year? Man, oh, man, I would’ve been downing Pinot and Shiraz (my favorite!) left and right in an attempt to avoid thinking about it all, let alone coming to some solid decisions and implementing steps forward. And that, friends, is the cornerstone of sober LIVING, of sobriety instead of “not drinking,” in my humble opinion. We can think a month, three, a year down the line and not hyperventilate or doomsday ourselves into inaction (It’s never going to work, I’m too depressed to make that happen, I know I’m going to fail so why bother putting myself out there, this plan feels precarious and is something I could never deal with).

The little things all add up, of course, but I’ve been working at this for an entire year, so those are actually givens at this point. Waking up with no regrets, no horrifying in-and-out memories of things I said and did, no hangover from the pit of Hell. A sense of self-reliance that almost borders on pedantry, or possibly smugness (I showed up 10 minutes early for my dentist appointment, how about you?). Improved everything, from workouts to relationships to digestion to skin tone! It’s ALL still breathtaking, in a way, previously imperceptible as relevant change. Now, these things continue to jolt me into gratitude, mainly because I can perceive them as that relevant CHANGE and GROWTH (I guess I really get off on growth, which is a great personality trait to have and/or cultivate when you’re getting sober, I’ve realized); AND, I can appreciate them as incremental steps toward what I sense is a Holy Grail of sorts–there’s more to come, and it’s golden and glowing and is wrapped in silk under a skylight in some big chamber in the desert.

The bigger things, of course, are absolutely grand. I can order my thoughts and, even though it feels uncomfortable–the doubt, the not knowing for sure, the leaps of faith that might end me up in a ditch instead of on top of the tallest building in town–I can make the necessary choices and move forward. I can sit through the angst and uncertainty that sort of pools in my gut and in my brain, and in spite of this, I can make the call. I guess it’s called dealing with life.

So, on 90 days, I celebrate the journey over my own personal journey. If we put in the work–inside or outside of AA or other recovery groups–we get better. We heal. We become stronger people. That’s pretty much it. I’m not healed, but I’m healing.

Unicorns: set, and GO! Parade’s on later, people, and I’ll be that Grand Marshall on one of the middle floats, her Pellegrino glass waving in the wind, calling out as we pass, “Sober parade, COMIN’ through…bitches!”

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?

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.

6-week intervals, or, Snapshot of life in 6 weeks

1 May

12:33 pm

I’ve decided that this time around (my fourth!), I’m going to take sobriety in 6-week chunks. Intervals of time that feel, to me, doable. Not too short, but not “forever ever.” Plus, I’ve found that you can set a significant goal or three and work toward actually accomplishing those goals in that amount of time.

This is new for me, to be able to look 6 weeks down the road and KNOW that I won’t drink. Wow. And, it doesn’t bother me, or make me fidget, or take my breath away, or make my head hurt. It just feels…like a relief. A relief to have made the decision–for the next 6 weeks–that I won’t drink. Done and done. Next?

Does that mean that I will drink after those 6 weeks has passed? Like, when mid-June (my birthday, actually!) gets here, will I be like, OK, DDG, since you’ve been such a “good” girl, here’s a case of wine–present from me to you–go to it! No, of course, not. In fact, it’s a bit nebulous: I know from experience that I will probably feel stronger, prouder, less affected by my cravings, and even more committed to continuing on to the next 6 weeks, the next 3 months. However, I’m not going to look beyond right now. Sort of like running 5 or 6 or 8 miles: ya can’t think about the last three when you’re lobbing your tired and heavy legs through the first five. What happens? Tripping, falling, spraining ankle, cursing, tears.

Nevertheless, I feel strong. I’m working more efficiently (shit, I’ve even applied and am considering grad school again!); I’m obsessing less about other people’s so-called achievements in my chosen field. I’m getting more and more of my sense of self back. The “old me” who wasn’t afraid of challenge, who didn’t second-guess her decisions and motivations all the freaking time. Who just went about HER business. There she is! I know her. It’s a relief, is all I can say.

And, speaking of relief, my cravings these past 6 weeks (save for that initial SHITTY hump of getting back on the wagon after almost 6 whole months of sobriety) have sort of morphed into reactions. The craving is no longer an immense wave of feeling that starts in my brain and then, instantaneously, floods my gut with romance and desire. I had quite a few pangs the past, oh, 3 weeks, but they’ve boiled down to reactions–easy to see/understand, easy to bat away. Like, when I sprained my ankle, I wanted to drink. Really? At high noon, in the middle of the jogging park? Please. I know you, wolfie. Be gone! Or, like, when I feel frustrated or angry driving around here, I can almost instantly go from, “I hate this place” to “Might as well fucking drink, I have no life, I’m a loser.” Ha ha. Try again, Wolfie-boy! Your tired voice is so last November, mmkay?

The difference between now, at 6 weeks, and let’s say, last summer at 6 weeks, is that I can observe these reactions, detach myself from them, and counter them with a rational thought process. Working my “sober muscle,” as I call it, has built up this rational thought process. My defenses are stronger. It’s such a relief to not be tied so closely, emotionally, to the addiction’s thoughts.

I think they call this mindfulness. Being able to look at–or over–your feelings, thoughts, and reactions (or, desire to react) as they come and then, let them go.

Anyhoo, I’m taking the day off today. Why? Because I can. Would the DDG of yesteryear been able to actually embrace “just being” instead of let’s say, feeling like she HAS to work 50 hours a week in order to feel valid? NO! Still, I continue to work on teasing out where sense of purpose/achievement end and conditioned behavior/workaholism begin…

6 weeks and going strong…

30 Apr

12:53 am

Ain’t nuttin’ gonna hold me down! Oh, no! I got to keep on movin’!

Welp, I’ve started like, four posts and can’t seem to organize my thoughts tonight, so I’ll be brief: 42 days again and counting. Six weeks has flown by, and I’m actually going to hit up my journal now and see what, exactly, I’ve done in those past 6 weeks! And, while I am looking forward to having 12 weeks under my belt again, I know the next 6 weeks holds a lot of choices and changes. So, I’m not looking forward to it going fast.

I remember how grateful I was when I had 6 weeks last fall. Now? Of course, I’m grateful. However, it just doesn’t seem like that long of a period of time. And, the cravings are still there, they just come in the form of reactions. I can see my reactions much more clearly than I can feel my cravings, so…in that way, it’s GREAT to be at 6 weeks again and be on such solid ground. Cravings have morphed into reactions, and the latter are much easier to observe and deal with.

I had a lot to say tonight re: AA, and cravings, and anger, and addiction, and… Alas, it’s not gonna happen. For tomorrow then. Say night, night, Unicorn with Sparkly Teeth. You’ve been a strong girl lately.

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