Day Sixteen: Life in slow motion

Yesterday was difficult. No doubt about it, but it all turned out OK. We had no electricity on our block from a huge storm (and I was feeling pretty blue), so we decided to go out for dinner in a restaurant where the lights were on. And it was good. Everyone was drinking beer except my partner and me, but I didn’t miss it much. And I woke up in a much better place after a good night’s sleep. Although I still feel unreasonably tired all day every day (despite enough sleep). It’s a little like I just want to hibernate, and when I’m awake everything is moving in slow motion.

One thing I have noticed that I am getting much better at sitting and listening to people. I used to be good at this, but I haven’t been as good at it for the last few years. Well, today, I went to brunch with a friend and was able to really be present for her while she talked about some tough stuff she is going through. I think sobriety is helping me to be quiet enough in my head to really listen. Maybe this is a benefit of slow motion.

After my friend was finished with her story, this weird thing happened: I just came right out and told her how much I had been drinking before I stopped. That was a HUGE secret, but it just came out. And she didn’t really react much. And I thought, “Oh shit! What if she always knew?!?! What if I didn’t really hide it?” And maybe that’s true (or maybe she is just cool or thinking mostly about her own stuff which is probably also true), but maybe it really doesn’t matter. Why can’t I be honest with a good friend? Of course I can.

Well, that’s it for today.

Day Fifteen: That knot in my stomach

It is one of those days when I feel anxious and lonely. Like I’m missing out on everything. Maybe it is just because it has been pouring rain all day, but I’ve been feeling super disconnected and insecure since mid-morning. And I would usually drink to get over my anxiety, but I can’t!! I mean, I can. I’m thinking about how I could. But I’m not going to. It did help for a while to go do something social. I met up with my book club, and it was lovely. They all had wine. I had hot apple cider. And it was no problem. The hot apple cider was festive. But, now I’m home, the electricity is out (it is a BIG storm outside), and I’m feeling anxious again. I’m not sure exactly why. And I can’t drink wine!!! This stinks. But it is also ok. I mean, I’m a grown up, and I know that this will pass. Somehow, just writing this out is making me feel better. I am NOT going to drink, and I know I’ll feel better tomorrow.

Day Fourteen: Today, I am glad I am sober

Two weeks! I’m feeling good (well, I still have a cold and feel yucky, but good with the not drinking). I really haven’t missed drinking today. Of course, it is still not yet the witching hour where I live so I know that could change. But, it’s OK. I know I’m not going to drink today. The more I read, the more curious I am about what it will be like to be sober for a longer period of time. I don’t feel ready to say that I will never drink again, but I can commit to not drinking today. And continuing to fantasize about how good I will feel when I’ve been sober for a good, long chunk of time.

I am looking forward to having enough energy to get all the things done. Right now, I’m still running on 50%. I am/was a “high functioning” drinker which, to me, means that I can drink and still hold down a job, make sure my kid gets to school with a decent lunch and usually matching socks, pay the essential bills on time so the lights never go out (which DID happen in my house growing up a few times), take care of scheduling my mom’s doctor’s appointments, get to my own doctor’s appointments, keep track of the school deadlines (mostly), visit my mom in her assisted living complex and take her out at least twice a week, etc. But I’m always playing catch up, and lots of little things (that are still important – like some of the less-essential bills, parking tickets, etc.) fall through the cracks for a lot longer than they should. And (perhaps this is silly) I can never, never, never get my house organized. Never. I’ll Marie Kondo all of the clothes with gusto, but then never move on to the books and papers (or all the little random bits of plastic kid birthday party bags, puzzle pieces now disconnected from their puzzles, Amazon boxes as yet not broken down, string from a broken cat toy, and similar items). Which will continue their slow but sure progress toward taking over the house. And, if I’m being really honest (which I guess I am trying to be), I really am a far cry from Supermom. And I’ve done things while drinking that I’m not proud of. Yep.

Right now, I’m just trying to be sober. And learn some things about taking better care of myself. I’m hoping that I’ll get better about juggling all of this crazy shit in my life with more time sober, but I’ll try not to obsess on it.

Day Twelve: Still here

Last night was difficult. I was overcome for a bit by cravings for wine. I knew I wasn’t going to drink, but man! I really wanted to. I knew a non-alcoholic drink just wasn’t going to do it. So, I ate two bags of candy and went to bed. Not pretty, but it worked.

Tonight, I’m feeling strong. And it has been so great to have visitors to my blog. Hello! I love reading other sober blogs. It is really helpful, and makes me willing to take the leap of faith required to think that life could be wonderful without alcohol in it. I would like to see what that is like. Thank you for sharing your stories!

Day Eleven: Mornings are awesome!

Yesterday, my kid needed me to spend more time with her in the evening. When I finished writing the blog, it was obvious she had needed more snuggles (and homework support) earlier on. So, I’m just going to write a little right now in the morning to remind myself about why I’m not drinking (cause I had some powerful cravings last night!).

Self, the mornings are awesome without booze. You love mornings, and now you get to enjoy them in all their glory with a clear head and more excitement for the day ahead. This is how you are meant to be in the morning. You are hard-wired to be clear, not hungover and tired. Remember that!

Day Ten: Is there such a thing as too much sugar?

One of the ideas I love about not drinking is that I am saving so many calories that I can pretty much eat what I want. While I didn’t gain any weight at Thanksgiving despite multiple pie servings for days, I’m thinking that might not be the whole story. This morning, pressed for time, I grabbed the leftover slice of cheesecake for breakfast (with some very healthy berries on the side, thank you very much). Which was awesome until my co-worker offered me homemade cookies an hour or so later … and an hour after that I was so tired I could barely lift my fingers on the keyboard or keep my eyes open. I dragged all day until I could finally go home. I suspect the sugar.

Then again, I have just been EXHAUSTED much of the time during the last 10 days. Even yesterday – when I woke up feeling like a million bucks and full of plans and lists – I made it through a little laundry, a little cleanup, and then I was so tired I went back to bed for much of the afternoon. Is this just what it is like for some people even 10 days in? Hmmm. I think tomorrow I will try to eat healthy, long-acting energy and protein foods and see what happens. I’m actually not usually a huge sugar person.

Yesterday, my friend brought wine over for dinner, and I didn’t drink it. I had pomegranate juice instead. Which is, I’ve discovered, exactly the shade of a glass of cabernet. This sent me down a rabbit hole of imagining that I could fool people into thinking I was drinking by always having a glass of pomegranate juice around. The reason I’m thinking this is because, while some of my friends don’t care (like my friend who came to dinner), there is at least one friend that probably will care. The last time I was with her and not drinking, she was (surprisingly) kind of complaining about it. It actually seemed to bug her when she discovered I had soda water with lime in my glass instead of vodka. Whatever. She’s a good friend and will get over it. But, still, it made me wonder for a while whether it would be easier to fake drinking the next time we were together. Is that weird? I really don’t think I would do it, though.

Due to my extreme tiredness, I’m heading off to bed soon. I had tons of ideas for things to to write about this morning, but now that I actually have time to write, I can’t remember shit.

Day Nine: I’m so glad I didn’t drink yesterday

Whoa. It was really hard not drinking yesterday. We got home from vacation, our kid went to visit a friend, and my partner and I were having a great time watching a movie by ourselves on the couch. And I thought, “Oh, you should get some wine to go with this. That would be perfect!” So, for the next hour or so I felt a very strong pull to drink wine, but I didn’t do it. And now, I’m really glad.

Cause I’ve got plans for today. Not a lot, but plans nonetheless. I’m going to write this post (check!), finally put away the Halloween decorations (yes, I admit I had them out for all of November. sigh), cut up some boxes for recycling (maybe), do a little laundry, and have my mom over for dinner. We missed Thanksgiving with her since we went to my dad’s house (they’re divorced), so I’m making dinner tonight. Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up early, drink coffee in bed, exercise for 15 minutes, stretch for 10 minutes, meditate for 5 minutes, then start the day. Am I feeling better? Yes, I’d say so.

This is what I start doing when I feel better – planning and making lists. I was once in the hospital for several months following a serious accident. I knew I was finally getting better when I asked for some paper and a pen (it was the 90s and I didn’t have a laptop) and started making plans and lists.

It is helpful for me to write this down so I can look back and see how it happens. I really want to see what happens if I get enough sober time together. I don’t want to sabotage myself in a moment of weakness, and I’m hoping this blog will help. I don’t feel like I need to keep writing that I won’t drink today every day (but I definitely won’t drink today).

Day Eight: Coming clean

Here is the first post I ever made, on an earlier blog, about quitting drinking. This was January 1, 2019, almost a year ago. I’m glad I’m back at it (the sobriety blogging thing) even if it took so long. This time, I’ve made it past day 2! I’m transferring it here because it is still relevant, and I don’t want to forget that I’ve wanted to do this for a while now…

I drink too much. I’m in my late 40s, and I’ve been drinking too much for most of the last 20 years. It’s time to stop.

I have been circling around the idea of quitting drinking for a long time, but I never manage to make it stick for very long. I quit when I was pregnant, of course, but that was a no-brainer. Two other times, I quit for several weeks when I was on a strictly regimented cleanse diet. But, what I haven’t done is commit to truly trying a new lifestyle – one that doesn’t include alcohol. At least for long enough to know what it really might be like to not have it around. Maybe forever. We will see.

I’m not a ridiculously heavy drinker, but I do feel a strong pull to drink every single night. I also really don’t want to stop at just one, or even two, which is how I know I have a problem. I once heard a comedian explain how he couldn’t have just one drink because one drink was just “irritating” to him. I knew exactly what he meant. I guess this was one of my first clues that my relationship with alcohol is not exactly normal. The thing is, when getting drunk when you go out with your friends is what everyone does, it is hard to see it as abnormal. But, to be honest, most of my drinking is done at home. Several glasses or a bottle of wine every night is not normal. And I’ve also noticed that not everyone seems to want to drink as much as I do when we go out, either. I have no idea how much of this I have kept as my little secret all of these years, but I do know that I have been feeling a stronger and stronger urge to confess, to open up my secret and the possibility of change.

So, here it is. Today is day one. I’ve been feeling shitty all day because of how much I drank last night, and I want to remember this. I want to remember how tired I am all of the time, how my body hurts, how I have no energy to exercise or stretch, how I’m worried all of the time that I’m going to get really sick, sometime soon, from the drinking. I’m scared of cancer, I’m scared of liver damage. I’m afraid to go to the doctor because of what she might say. I already am overweight, I already have high blood pressure, and I’m pretty sure those things are connected to my drinking. I’m also tired of only being a “good enough” mother to my kid. I want to really be there, all of the time, with the energy to play with her and be present.

Still relevant. Although, I have been to the doctor since then. Luckily, I have no liver damage, but they did discover a chronic disease (not drinking related) that will probably give me a stroke or a heart attack if I’m not careful with my cardiovascular health. This is a big reason why I need to take care of myself and quit the booze (forever? I don’t know… maybe?), but certainly not the only one. Anyway, I won’t drink today, that’s for sure.

Day Seven: Whew!

I made it through. It’s the last night of the Thanksgiving vacation, and I’m going to bed soon. Whew! It wasn’t super easy not drinking, but it wasn’t ridiculously hard, either. I’m surprised. Pleasantly. And I’m happy to have made it through the first week. I had a raging headache today (rare for me), but I felt less exhausted. I noticed that my sister is no longer sober – she was drinking wine the first night – but no one commented on it. Just like no one commented on me NOT drinking even though that’s very not in character for me. And she really didn’t drink that much, as far as I know. Perhaps someday I’ll hear what is up. And it didn’t make me feel like drinking, though, just because she was.

A little post-Thanksgiving thankfulness: I’m grateful I don’t have a family where there is a lot of strife and dysfunctional stuff going on all the time. I mean, we have our moments, but ultimately, we are all pretty decent to each other. Looking forward to not drinking tonight.