Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Own your holiday

28 Nov

1:48 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Needless to say–but I’ll say it anyway–I’m so very grateful to have found this community, and to be a part of it. Just last night, I was feeling low, wondering things like, What’s the point of being festive without wine? Silly, and almost ridiculous after nearly 18 months of getting sober (and on Day 255 today of continuous sobriety), isn’t it? Maybe not.

I got some great insight from so many of your blogs, but the main thing I took away was to simply own my holiday. So what, I didn’t feel like going out last night to the first party of the season? I accepted it (after feeling bad about not wanting to go), didn’t overly dwell on how it related or not to my being sober, and prepared for today: friends in town, a new dress, a green bean salad, and homemade sorrel tea (my beverage contribution to the dinner we’re going to). I mean, I have SO many things that I didn’t have, let’s say, two years ago, it’s almost funny. Come on, at least I HAVE a dinner to go to, a dress to wear, and a body to put it on that isn’t being dragged around by my big, hung over head full of self-hatred. Yeah, there’s that.

I don’t know, I guess just owning my holiday is how I’m going to approach this season. I own my fun, my desire to socialize or not, my choice as to how I perceive all the “should’s” that go along with the holidays. I GET to own it, is the thing; now that I’m sober, I have a choice in everything. I don’t have to do what I don’t want, or what seems fishy or makes me feel weird. When I was drinking, nothing ever really felt right–especially my choices. Now, it feels like getting to choose what really makes me feel OK is what I can’t wait for, not the wine that made this all impossible to see clearly.

I can’t wait to see my old friends at the airport today–for many, many years, it was me going to them, and I’m glad that someone is actually coming to me this year.

I can’t wait to eat a HUGE fucking feast, and not feel too full because of all the wine I drank.

I can’t wait to watch others–yeah, I’m still in that place, but hey, it helps–get drunk and be out of control, compelled to drink more; and have it NOT BE ME. I am in control of my choice, and I choose freedom. At least for tonight, and the rest of the weekend. Whew, isn’t that a relief, too, to already have made the decision to remain sober? Now, I have the luxury of worrying about other stuff, like *everything worth worrying about.*

I can’t wait to put on my new red dress, and I don’t know, appreciate the color, the feel, and the fact that it’ll look almost as pristine after going out as before. I can’t wait to be that girl in the red dress who doesn’t “over-share,” or get sloppy, or get sweaty-headed (you know, that red, sweaty look you get when you’re drinking?). For so many years, I worried about people judging me for being too uptight (I was, I am, I own this now; I am guarded, and shy-ish), and so I drank and the pendulum swung HUGELY back in the opposite direction. I can’t wait to be controlled, to be direct, to stare at someone who is drinking and not flinch, apologetically look away, or make excuses for not imbibing. You can be you, but I’m gonna be me, mmkay? Here. Solid. Steadfast. Sober. And, fucking FUN to talk to for once–because I can carry on a coherent conversation. Shit, I can’t wait to be the “mom” to your 13-year-old tween. HA!

I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and not have taken the security elevator in a blackout, not to have vomited on the “vomit shirt” that I won, not to have said or done something horrible to a stranger, not to have a blurred recollection of the yummy food I just devoured, literally mindlessly.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Own it, people.

Home *from* the holidays: tired, but still sober!

24 Nov

11:57 am

My boyfriend and I spent three nights in Puerto Rico for Thanksgiving, which is why I’ve been offline for the past few days.

It was a packed, fun-filled trip, which included a visit to the Arecibo Observatory; a tour of the Rio Camuy Cave Park (underground limestone cave system); a night in Ponce; a visit to the Ponce Museum of Art, which, to my gleeful surprise, is the home of one of my favorite paintings, Flaming June; and a puertorican-style turkey dinner at a hotel on the Ponce town square. Among other awesome, vacation-y things. 😉

All in all, a great time. And, no drinky drink!

I have to admit, I did have a few mood swings; I’m not sure if it’s the 6 weeks sober affecting me, or if I really did want to drink and was just having mental tantrums, but man. All of the sudden, a negative thought would hit me, it would roll into a ball of thoughts, and before I knew it, I was a grump! Then, it would pass. At one point, I got Way Too Hungry and nearly had a meltdown, like a child. I used to always be able to manage my hunger (to a ridiculous extent, actually — I could go all day, hiking around a foreign city, without food), so this was weird.

I also really, really, really wanted to drink while we were eating our TG dinner at the hotel (Holidays = wine, right?) and then again while watching Flight, the new Denzel Washington flick, at a local cinema. Oh, well, is all I can think of to say. It comes, it goes. It’s not easy. There is no magic bullet “protecting” me against my urge to drink, and all the temporary emotions that come with it. However, the key word here is *temporary.* (Btw, I found it more than a tad offensive how proselytizing the film was re: drinking and AA. JESUS, we get it. Bad shit happens to drunks and addicts. I don’t know, maybe it pissed me off more than I’d like to admit to see everyone and their uncle “beat up” on Denzel’s character; I mean, YES, he made egregious mistakes, but the film made it obvious that alcoholism is a disease, and not a choice, so what the hell?).

Instead of a 30-minute flight back, it turned into over two hours flight time: our plane couldn’t land due to weather and wind (Ugh! Talk about channeling the movie!), so we had to fly back to San Juan after circling over [beautiful island] for about 20 minutes — in a lot of turb — and then deplane, and then re-board and fly back to [beautiful island]!

I’m here now, and feeling more tired than I think I should! Like, I just want to retreat, re-collect myself, and avoid AA and people and anything (holidays, films like Flight) that tempt me into thinking, Oh, come on, Just One Glass wouldn’t hurt

Though, on the very bright side: on Thanksgiving morning I woke up at 9, worked out in the hotel’s gym by 10, took a dip in the pool and then the hot tub, had my coffee, packed, and got on the road to Ponce all by 1! I ONLY could have done that because I was/am sober — and it felt amazing beyond words. Really. Despite the moodiness and fleeting desire to imbibe, waking up sober and knowing that there is nothing that is worth drinking over is wonderful. It sets a long road ahead, rather than cutting it off at the corner in a dusty cul-de-sac.

Depression, purging at AA meetings, and cosmic consciousness — oh, my!

20 Nov

12:51 pm

That’s pretty much all I have to say!

NOT!

Things are still drama-free (in my head), and life (and death) are still presenting themselves at face value, with no hidden meanings and/or tricks up their sleeves. Which is nice. For once in a long time, I feel…a monotony to this sense of peace and calm about being alive and being human. Kind of like I used to feel. Secure in my choices, personal and professional.

Which makes me think, maybe booze DID have a serious effect on my state of mind? Duh. It made me depressed, and what a strange feeling to come out of that, look back, and notice it. It’s subtle, but at the same time, it’s everything. It’s hard to articulate, and it makes me think of my dad, who is struggling with a serious bout of depression — going on 5 years or something. I wish he’d take meds again. Oh, well, not mine to worry about.

Many a thing I’ve been learning in AA, just from listening and identifying:

1. I don’t have to believe — internalize — other people’s anger and/or accusations. I don’t even have to acknowledge them besides letting them go in one ear and out the other. I know me, and I know what I’ve done wrong. I’ve tried making amends with certain crazy-bitch “sister-in-law”-type people, and well, I don’t need to worry anymore about it. Does it/she still piss me off when I think about it? Yup. Do I need to hold onto that? No.

2. AA meetings are place to vent! To purge, as it were. I think I’m beginning to understand the group therapy aspect to it: if you vent your anger, frustrations, difficulties with drinking, remorse, etc. to others who care and identify, you don’t need to bottle it up; which inevitably will lead to drinking, exploding on someone in a drunken tirade, or any other self-destructive behavior. Here’s a spot-on excerpt from a post at October O Nine, with credit to Running On Sober for featuring it in reference to purging at meetings, holidays, and staying sober during them:

We now celebrate everyday and we purge our fears, anger and sadness daily to our sober sisters and live happy, joyous and free. Most Earth People don’t; they swallow their anger, bury their fears and suppress their sadness, telling themselves that soon it will be the holiday, they will have their food, family and drinks around them for the day and everything will be alright in the world. But today’s expectations are tomorrow’s resentments and they will be into the drinks and that anger, fear and sadness will start to bubble to the surface and whoever is present is going to bear the brunt.

3. I can’t overreact to, control, or fix other people’s problems. I don’t have to care. The last part I wonder about, but I’m feeling like, no, it is NOT my responsibility to care. I WANT to care, most of the time, and I do. I’ve made an effort to be more in touch with my family, to call more, to simply make myself available. However, I don’t have to care if they don’t respond or reciprocate.

4. Meditate. It doesn’t matter if you sit and don’t think, or sit and think; just try. I don’t even like trying to “not think” anymore; I just like to Sit and Be, thoughtlessness be damned. Try anything that takes you out of your head. For me, that’s physical activity; or, working (researching and writing).

5. I think there are a LOT of people in AA who have serious difficulty conceptualizing “God” and “how to meditate,” just like me! After almost 20 meetings in a row (I will miss one tonight; too bad), I’ve realized: there is no one way. There is no one way to understand it. Maybe I’m totally close-minded for NOT believing that a benevolent god oversees our daily activities, but that matters less to me now. I do believe in something — cosmic consciousness is as close to it as I can explain. That is acceptable, as far as I can tell, by AA! What a relief! The thought that everyone in the room simply accepts “God” as a being or some sort of benevolent force — a Biblical God — is now a bit absurd to me. Of course everyone in the room has struggled like I have. It is a process, a seeking, an increasing understanding — present tense, not past. And, totally changing all the time, for everyone.

My boyfriend and I are heading to Puerto Rico today for the holiday. After last year’s major fiascos (Thanksgiving at my brother’s, being sober and feeling VERY self-conscious about it — they asked me not to drink, yet they drank throughout the entire four or five days I was there; Christmas Eve in [cold west coast sity] — another shameful story for another post; New Year’s at my older brother’s, getting shitfaced, blacking out, and screaming bloody murder at my brother and his girlfriend, who is still hating me for it), I SWORE I was NOT doing holidays with the family this year. It’s my gift to myself. And, you know what? I deserve it. I don’t need to put myself through it again.

So…there ya have it! 😉

As for drinking? Eh, I don’t really feel like it, and it’s a consistent lack of desire. WHEW. I never EVER thought I’d feel a reprieve, and here it is. I don’t know if I don’t want to (75%) or I’ve convinced myself that the effects of drinking are shite (25%), but it’s enough to keep me away. I have noticed that the time lapse between romanticizing a drink and thinking about the nonsense that will ensue if I choose to have it has definitely decreased. I don’t have to endure the craving for long, if I apply my mental trick of “avoidance therapy” (my version of shock therapy, I guess). I really hope/pray (ha!) that it’s a mental trick that I can consistently rely on going forward. I also have begun to mentally associate feeling drunk with feeling hung over; my mind is putting a negative spin even on the “high” of the first drink or two. I never believed that my thought patterns could change like this; maybe a re-wiring is happening, but it doesn’t seem to be a conscious effort on my part. AWESOME, big old brain! You ain’t so bad after all. 😉

Coming up on 6 weeks sober this Thursday! Woot woot!

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