Day Twenty-Two: Feeling grateful for sobriety

I really love going to bed early, reading for as long as I feel like it, and that much more relaxed feeling that comes with morning. Yesterday was tough. But only from about 4:30-6pm. I was feeling very strongly like drinking myself into a coma, but then it just started to slowly relax it’s grip on me. And by the time I got in bed at 9, it was gone. Whew! The thing is I was never really in danger of drinking yesterday because, even though those hard things happen, I really want this new life! Despite what sometimes feels like a split personality, I am getting a few glimpses of what life could be. I’m getting along better with my partner, I’m being more present for my kid and my friends, I always feel amazing in the mornings (even when I’m tired from staying up too late with a good book – I’m reading The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, and I am having trouble putting it down). And my blood pressure was in the normal range this morning. I was shocked when I read the numbers, but it was true! All very good things! ❤️

Day Twenty-One: The monster within

Writing out the numbers of my days is getting tedious. But this is how I started, so I must continue. My OCD won’t let me change it now. After the 30 days are up, though, all bets are off.

Anyway, unfortunately, this is the 3rd day where I have desperately wanted to drink after work. There is a monster in my head, and it does not want just one glass. Oh, no, it is screaming something like (it has a foul mouth), “DAMN IT! GET ME A FUCKING BOTTLE OF WINE! RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I’M GOING TO DRINK THE WHOLE FUCKING THING!” That is what it was sounding like in my head all the way to the train, on the train platform, then back up the stairs and back to my office to get my phone, back down the street to the train, on the train, and as I walked up the street. I thought about how I was going to write about it the whole way home. And then, I felt a little better. It is still in there, but it has been somewhat subdued by the bag of candy I fed it.

Don’t worry. I’m NOT going to drink. There’s really no danger of that today. Yesterday, I stated publicly (here) that I am going to go at least 100 days without drinking so there is NO WAY I am going to let that monster win. Just out of sheer stubbornness. See you tomorrow.

Day Twenty: The witching hour

I’m two-thirds of the way to my original goal of 30 days. It has been a long 20 days. Lots of good stuff, but hard stuff, too. I’m still tired even though I get 8 hours of sleep most nights. I thought I would be bounding out of bed eager to greet the day by now. I think it is supposed to get a little easier after the first month???? I’ve been REALLY wanting a drink in the evenings for the last two days. But then I tell myself to get through just tonight, and in the morning, it is fine. Great, even, and I’m so happy I’m sober. The trick is to remember that in the evening. Tonight, I’m drinking elderflower tonic water and eating black licorice to get through. I’m safe. It is working.

I’ve been thinking of making my new goal 100 days. Forever is too overwhelming, but I think I can commit to 100 days. I’m very curious about what I will feel like when I get there.

Day Nineteen: No more hangovers!

Just checking in to say that I am very grateful to not have hangovers. Or be worried I might still smell like booze when I go to work from the night before. Or that I might not be able to drive from the extra two drinks I had in the middle of the night when I woke up at 3am and couldn’t sleep. And that I’m not doing something stupid and hurting myself in some dumb accident because I’m drunk. And that I’m present to help my kid with her homework. And that if someone had a medical emergency, I could drive them to the hospital. And that mornings are glorious. And so on. I’m glad I’m sober.

Day Eighteen: Still going strong

It has been almost three weeks now, and I’m feeling mostly good. Generally strong. I have been getting mild pangs for wine here and there, but that’s all they are. Mild pangs. Not huge cravings. And they pass quickly. This weekend, I’m going to hang out with my friend (one of my serious drinking buddies). I’ve been worried that she won’t be supportive of my not drinking because we always drink A LOT every time I see her. Well, I decided to ask her to see a movie. During the day when we can get coffee after, not booze. I’m feeling quite proud of myself for nurturing my friendship in a new way.

Today, I saw my therapist and told her I wasn’t drinking. I actually had never talked to her about any concerns I had about alcohol before. Because I was too embarrassed and didn’t want to be told I had to quit. The same reason I didn’t want to tell my doctor. Ridiculous, I know. Anyway, I realized while I was talking to her that a big part of my wanting to quit was so that I could have more clarity on some big decisions I need to make in my life. I have been using alcohol to escape the uncomfortable bits of my life and avoid having to really think about how I’m feeling and what I want to do. I’m not feeling any more clear yet. I’m hoping that will come with more time. Eighteen days isn’t a long time. I guess I need to be patient…

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.