Tag Archives: slip

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.

Reality check

3 Apr

10:22 pm

I got a big gush of “whoa” tonight in my attempt to re-read some of the past year’s worth of journal entries. I’ve journaled my entire life, but over the past decade, a lot of it has consisted of miserable, self-hating rants about how horrible I feel to be hung over, what a shit I am to keep doing this to myself, and how lame I am, in general. However, this past year takes the cake: my journal entries were so rambunctious in just how GRUELING it is to get and keep sober, I had to stop reading somewhere around July! It was tiring and confusing and downright tedious going in and out of it all–I mean, the physical and mental stages of withdrawing, and craving, and fearing, and doubting, and wondering, Can I really do this?

For me, that analytical mess has passed, thank God(dess). Yet, I’m not that self-delusional (anymore) to note that, yes, while I’ve changed and somehow managed to outgrow (or, outrun?) all those thoughts, the bottom line is, I still have the tendency toward compulsion. I appreciate all your comments, but mostly, I appreciate the ones who’ve said, A slip IS a big deal because of what it allows you to think, which is, Oh, sure, I can drink! I’m healed!

That’s the voice of compulsion. It’s more like, I give up my autonomy for a prison of the mind. That prison is the need to drink, the compulsion, the wanting, the belief that it’ll work this time. And the door to that locked cell is booze itself.

Confession: I bought a bottle of red wine the other day. (Remember when I said I spent ahem, a “while” staring at the shelves and shelves of cheap, good red wine at a big box store? Well, yeah. I took down one of those bottles, then put it back. Then, took down another, with .5% less alcohol content, and bought it. I know, that .5% is really going to make me SO much less drunk.) It’s been a few days, and I’ve had it in my desk drawer. Well, I finally uncorked it this afternoon and poured it down the kitchen sink. Along with a half-bottle of Stoli and two mini-bottles of Jager (purchased in a near-blackout state; obviously, one almost NEEDS to be unconscious to want to drink Jager).

No, I hadn’t had any of the hard booze these past near-6 months, but…I never dumped it. I guess I never really committed to being sober. DING DONG. Reality check.

I have to say, I was shaking as I opened the bottle of red. I mean, I was nervous. What if my hand suddenly turned and started pouring it down my throat? What if I licked my fingers and just couldn’t help myself? As I watched it drain, I realized I still don’t have much control over my compulsion–it still affects me. Of course, I had no intention of drinking any of it, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure that somehow, it wouldn’t end up in my mouth.

I took a few sniffs of it as I poured, two or three really big whiffs. I thought it would give me the sensation of nausea, but it gave me what felt like my drinking life passing before my eyes in a series of images/memories, most really horrible but some good. And then, to my surprise, came the slightly panicked thoughts: Holy crap, what about all the good times? Am I really giving them up forever?

With the hard alcohol, I was like, Pfft, whatever, don’t let the door hit ya on the way out! Yet…as I proved to myself last year, I would SO totally drink that shit if I was already drunk on red wine. So Totally. And, I know it. DUN DUN. Reality check number two. (I NEVER did that prior to last year, ever ever ever. I wasn’t a hard booze person. Yet, I must admit, as my alcoholism got worse last spring, I WAS hitting the tumblers of vodka, often (depending on how drunk I felt) skipping the mixer entirely.)

What’s the lesson? I’m a bit scared. I thought I had this licked, but yet, I was shaking with an actual fear that I–my physical person–was not one of mind. That somehow, I might lose my head and in a flash, start gulping down wine! And, that this is a compulsion that I can’t seem to manage.

In all my journaling and thinking over the past few days, I can sum it up in a few sentences: I like living without a crutch, without having the option of running home to wine. Drinking is a prison; outside of this, I learn–mainly about myself, what makes me tick. And, it’s a given that, regardless of how I FEEL about not drinking, when I don’t drink, my life moves forward and when I do, it doesn’t.

So, September 14th, folks. My 180-day mark. I feel relieved. And, strong. Happy to be (back?) inside what appears to be a clear bubble, in which the entire world is reflected back at me. And…one last thing:

*glitter ball* times two, heading right at me!

(*glitter ball* means, my unicorn has spit one out of her horn, and it’s flying your way in a tiny flame-tail of explosion and firecracker and goodness)

Unicorns and glitter balls all around!

3 Apr

1:11 am

So, I’m on day 15–actually, just finished my 15th day sober. For the fourth time. (Starting last June, I went 60 days, then 5 weeks, then (cringe) almost 6 months). And, you know what? Unicorns and glitter balls all around!

I’m going to take deep breaths more often this time. I’m going to celebrate my milestones, instead of gritting my teeth as they rush by. And I think that, while it’s going to be more difficult (that slip really dislodged the little voice in my head that is still on repeat somewhere, telling me that I can drink one day), it’s going to be more meaningful. How? Well…I think it’s simply getting back to believing the OTHER voice again, the one that says that I don’t want to drink. That is going to simply take work. Not necessarily commitment, or passion, or pink clouds, or planning or willpower. Just hard work. And, while it scares me a little to feel so…well, like, the tip of the pencil is dull and I want to stop writing, put it down, and look around; I know I can get back into the mindset again.

Anyway, yeah. Life is moving ahead. Job searching, grad school applying. I got back on the running horse today and did an easy 4 miles. I hurt my left foot the weekend before last on my long 7-miler. It’s taken over a week to “heal,” and it felt great to get back on the trail. The foot hurt a bit in the last mile today (like, felt inflamed), so I’m going to go back to my old shoes on the next run, see if the support might be better. If you want to train down here, though, beyond a few miles, you can’t really avoid going up and down the volcanic hills at some point…and pound-pound-pounding down them. Yet, all was well up until I got these new shoes, which SEEM to be a better fit, but maybe simply aren’t? Anyhoo…it’s a great incentive for me to stay sober; I associate running with sobriety, and the hard work taking it back; something that relies on my sobriety (and maybe vice versa).

So, yes, rewards. Treats. Celebratory high-fives with myself. Heck, let’s throw in some unicorn parades and glitter balls, too!

A little slack in my comments and posts lately, but…

1 Apr

11:43 pm

I’m on day 14 (again), and I just wanted to check in and tell you that…I’m on day 14 again. Why? I feel myself slipping. I feel like I can drink now. Or, I can contemplate drinking now. That’s better, yes: I can think about it again. Which is NOT GOOD. Which is, not easy. That little slip was bigger that I thought, I have to admit.

Today I spent a while, let’s just say, staring at the wine selection at a local big box store down here, thinking that I could just “pick up a bottle no big deal.” Except, a bottle’s not enough. And, two, as we have seen, is way too much.

So, I’m going to try harder to connect with this blog, try more and better to keep blogging–like I was last summer, feverishly–and keep replying to all the comments I receive. Granted, 98 percent of my lack of response (well, maybe 95) is a lack of time; but the remainder is the crack in the window, the wolf’s in. If I don’t reply, if I stay quiet…the more I let myself believe that I’m right, and you’re all wrong. That’s simply put, but I think you get it.

So, here’s to 2 weeks. Two. Little. Weeks. Sigh. And, wasn’t it just a few days ago that I was riding high on my unicorn, happy and proud of my “decision” to take the weight of All Those Days off my back so I could continue moving forward? Nonsense.

I envy Belle, hitting that sweet spot where things have changed. I can’t wait to get there, too.

(Btw, I’ve started to crochet again. I’m either old, hip, or a combination of the two. I used to do it as a kid, and I won some crafty awards. It was very meditative, and I hope to find in it that simple, mindful mindlessness that might improve the hours of ambivalence facing me over the next 16 days (I think getting a month under my drinkin’ belt again will help my MIND, alongside my heart, commit to being sober)).

Day 12…and feeling proud to be starting over

30 Mar

1:00 pm

Well, I wouldn’t say I’m starting over; being sober for almost 6 months has left some profound imprints on my brain! However, for the sake of pedantry, I AM starting the count over (well, as of last Tuesday, which was my day 1). And, today is day 12. And, I’m really proud of that. Looking forward to celebrating the accomplishment a second time around: a month’s time, two months, my 90-day chip (oh, Hell’s yes, I’m bringing that baby out and wearing it around my neck like a medal that day)…

It’s going SO much easier–of course, it is. I’m USED to not drinking. I’m used to feeling better and managing the mind, as it were. Though, I think it’s more often than not that I don’t WANT to drink. I think I’ve either practiced telling myself for so long that I don’t want to drink that it’s become the norm, OR, that mantra is finally sinking in and I really don’t want to.

What I really think it is for me is, having experimented. Now, though, “relapse” would simply be a choice, not something that’s going to come over me like a tidal wave and smack me to the ground, helpless. That choice is with me every day, and while it’s a difficult one to make the first 30 days, the first 4 months–it gets easier and easier to not just say no to drinking, but yes to life! (cue unicorn and glitter parade) Plus, I’m in a much stronger–and different–place, and I know (from experiments) that drinking literally only leads to bad hangovers, wasted days, and spent money. The best part? KNOWING that I really can’t afford those things anymore. That is the process I’ve struggled with, letting go of this idea that drinking and being giddy for two seconds is worth having all of the above.

And, y’know, blacking out and calling my mom and calling my brother and feeling regret about having done both… Well, it’s a reminder as to how one drink can lead to four can lead to “Whoops, I did it again!” Unfortunately, my hangover lasted for three days. THAT was rough… Combined with my memory of my last bad drunk, which was a tremendous hangover the day I flew out last October–it all adds up to a huge incentive/preventive.

But, deep down, the reminder serves more to remind me of what I have, and not what I don’t want.

Not drinking for almost 6 months has allowed me to simply get USED to not drinking. Now, I feel much better saying no and letting others go on the same, boring circus ride of getting drunk and being hung over. I enjoy attending events sober; dinner parties are more fun for me now because I’m USED to being the “dork” who’s not gushing out some ridiculous (and irrelevant) storyline, the more reserved “adult”–in fact, staying sober has made me feel more mature. I used to feel VERY mature growing up, and I’m sure that contributed to my choice to veer off in the opposite direction with my drinking; now, I actually like that feeling.

And, honestly, I get somewhat irritated now with friends who have that first or second or third drink, and then start to mentally wander off. I KNOW what’s going on in their heads, and it definitely does not involve listening to what I’m saying! I see the immaturity and irresponsibility of drinking to excess, and well, for someone who can’t afford to do so anymore (time’s running out, yo), it just bothers me. I think it’s the case very early on with “normal” drinkers, where they realize that a tradeoff has to be made. It’s like, No duh, for them. With us, fighting a COMPULSION to drink, well, it’s a big, hairy, instructive lesson in life when we don’t drink and as a result, learn a lot about what we’ve been avoiding confronting or dealing with, personally.

What’s the point? Well, I guess it’s: months ago, I literally could not imagine feeling anything but this immense craving to drink, feeling like nothing would make it as good as a drink, believing that nothing could be fun without wine, trudging to this and that event feeling a literal hole pulling on my stomach–the hole of craving, I see it is now. It’s not lasting, and it goes away. Might take a while–I’ll tell you, I dragged my sober ass from day 90 until about week 21, after which I think I started to plan my next drunk anyway (which happened shortly thereafter). But, it goes away. Or, it’s going away.

I think I’m just seeing things differently: I’m HAPPY to be counting days, and at the start again. There’s less pressure, I suppose. It’s almost like, I don’t have to think about “possibly drinking” or “falling off the wagon” for a while now. WHEW! What a relief. Which, of course, equates to relief at having made a commitment to simply not drink, even if a unicorn explodes or the sky turns green. No choice, much relief.

Then, it was counting against craving, to just get by and not drink. Now, the pressure’s on, in the sense that I see my triggers–anxiety/depression/moodiness, things that make me feel uncomfortable and I avoid doing or pursuing out of habit or fear. What I don’t (or didn’t) need is the pressure of 6 months hanging over my head. I think I wanted to shift my mentality to, I don’t drink, is all, instead of, I am Sober. Which, I suppose, eased the weight enough for me to continue (and want to continue) the baby steps–OK, maybe a bit bigger than baby–I’ve taken to start unraveling why I drank and what I can do about changing things instead of drinking over them. Sure, it’s the real work of getting sober, and maybe I took a slight detour to dump off some shit (i.e., all those days), but it’s my truck, my gas money, and my road! 😉

Anyway, here’s to day 12!

So focused on life…I forgot to think about drinking!

29 Mar

1:31 am

Today, I had two firsts in my sobriety, and they took me by surprise.

One, I got so busy this past week that I forgot to think about drinking. Yes, it’s possible. Who knew? I mean, I didn’t even think about this blog once today, and it was only after I finished my second interview for a job I’ve applied to (we’ve been having them over Skype) that I realized I hadn’t thought about drinking or checked my blog.

Second, I went out tonight with a friend, and we ordered virgin “frou frou” drinks–all juice and mango and pink and swirls. So, I never understood former drinkers (or current ones) in AA when they talked about the anxiety that came with planning to binge or drinking that first drink. I mean, when I drank to ease my anxiety, it worked! Tonight, though, I felt physical aversion to booze; I think I may have even felt nauseated if I had had the chance to smell it. Tonight, as I stared at the tropical drinks being made for others, and when I thought about taking a sip and having that feeling of “hard booze-drunk” come over me–it made me feel anxious. Like, nervous. Didn’t I ever feel this way toward wine? Maybe. I think I just got used to blocking out that sense of foreboding when I would open a bottle, that feeling of, Oh, boy, here we go again. Tonight, I simply wanted nothing even close to rum in my drink, and most importantly, nothing even close to the anxious (to me, anyway), adrenaline-tinged high that comes with that first horrible sip infiltrating my bloodstream. From the very first sip, I thought, drinking is just…exhausting. (Disclaimer: I have never liked drinking hard booze, and liked the buzz even less. It was too fast, too harsh, and left me feeling like I was tottering on the edge of a cliff, my legs weak and shaking in the face of the precipice. Wine, on the other hand, all warm and fuzzy and making me feel excited and connected–well, until I didn’t anymore, blacked out, and woke up not remembering having said WAY too much to this person and done WAY too much with that. Plus, the wallet, pieces of clothing, expensive jewelry, and other stuff–thank God(dess), never a tooth–missing.)

This week has been busy with work, some interview prep, and the friend I went out with tonight has been in town, so I’ve been hanging with her. She’s a yoga teacher, so she’s a good person to do things with sober (and it really HELPS to do sober things with sober, or at least, like-minded peeps): it makes PERFECT sense to her to save her body instead of wasting it on the poisons of sugar and alcohol.

Honestly, I haven’t had many pangs this week, and the ones I have had have been quickly ushered out by what I learned last Monday night: while drinking may SEEM like a good option to resolve my negative feelings and thoughts/thoughts and feelings, it simply isn’t. After almost six months, it’s just automatic to KNOW, without giving much thought to the voice of craving, that it’s like, not a good idea AT ALL to drink the day before an interview. Or, the night before a get-together. Or, a day of hard work planned. Oh, and nearly impossible to train for a road race AND drink, whatsoever. After almost six months, I know that one slip will not lead me down the road to oblivion; au contraire–it’s helped to make clearer, to clarify, my commitment to not drinking as a lifestyle choice. I have too much riding on my sobriety, aka “my life,” to ruin it by drinking.

I have too much to do to remember that I want a drink!

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