Tag Archives: relationship

Choosing not to drink…because my life depends on it

26 Jan

4:01 pm

Literally. Having a life depends on me staying sober right now.

I’ve been seriously thinking about drinking the past few days/weeks. I mean, why not? The other night in bed, I got a text from a friend, who is 40, I guess will be 41 this year, who just popped out her second kid. As usual, I felt the wind-tunnel-in-my-gut feeling, and then, the curtain of sadness. It’s brief, and irrational–I’ve done some awesome shit in my life, right?–but…it got me thinking: I have to make some decisions.

Moreover, I have less than a year and a half; said another way, I have 16 periods left in which to get preggers.

It’s not so much that the possibility of not having kids of my own makes me sad, it’s the fact that I LET so much time pass, so many opportunities. Did I let life roll me over? Did I stay with men who were noncommittal, like me, out of fear…or was that just the way it went, was supposed to go? I mean, I am definitely of the pre-online dating generation, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have gotten on the bandwagon in 2005 or 2006 and like some of my friends, made a list of “to do” and “to have,” and got on with it. Like picking a career, or a place to live, or a job, should I have prioritized having kids in this way? Instead, I wasted a lot of time bouncing around in my 20s, and didn’t really pick a career (one that, of course, I’m no longer happy with!) and start on it until my 30s. How could I have both invested most of my 30s making a career for myself in journalism AND finding a man and having kids? It just seems that no matter what decisions you’ve made, you’re going to end up regretting your choices in some way(s).

I think I’ve spent the past decade, at least, drowning out the inevitable, NOT making a choice and then drinking to avoid the entire affair (not choosing, feeling bad about myself for not wanting to deal with not choosing). Now, with less than a year and a half until I turn 40, I wonder: is it really too late? Could I have made any one of the shitty relationships I was in work, back then, if I had chosen to have kids? Would I have picked different men, or more importantly, would I have stood up for myself and forced us to decide? It’s hard to tell, but one thing I do know: drinking played a major role in where I am today. It’s not that I’m unhappy to be here by any stretch, but I think if I had gotten sober earlier and stopped using wine to basically avoid these so-called “hard” and “scary” decisions… I don’t know.

I’m a biologist; I know that I’m not unique, reproductively-speaking. Every year counts, once a woman gets past 35. Past 37, every month. I don’t think I want to be childless at 50, I really don’t. I don’t know why, and I’m not sure I can even stomach the thought of giving up all the dreams I still have in order to raise kids, but… I don’t know.

What I do know is, these things can’t wait to be examined, just shy of 90 days sober or not. At 20, I remember having All These Options. In a way, I still think of myself as 20, or 25, or 30…not pushing 40! How do I reconcile the sadness of realizing that my options are vastly different now, if not limited, and the necessary acceptance of this truth? I have to accept it in order to move on, but more immediately, in order to not freak out and start drinking alcoholically again.

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