READER ALERT: THIS IS GOING TO BE A LONG ONE 🙂 GET COMFY 🙂
Thought I’d start first with the lists:
I am grateful that. . .
1) I stopped when I did. It would have been better had I quit sooner but better late than never
2) I have the blogging community that keeps me focused and reminds me why I am sober
3) My liver is clean and healthy now
4) I can be here and ‘present’ for my grandkids
5) I’m not thinking about drinking all the damn time (monkey chatter is way more quiet)
A few things I don’t miss:
1) waking up even partially hung over
2) the constant talk in my head berating myself for once again buying that bottle
3) figuring out when I can and cannot drink
4) missing out on doing stuff because it will interfere with my drinking time
5) blood shot eyes
6) smelling like (or thinking I smell like) booze the day after
7) not remembering all that I said
8) worrying about my limit before I head home from the bar
9) deciding where I want to eat based on what I plan to drink that evening
11) wasting weekends because I’m too hung over to do anything productive
364 days ago, I had my last bender. I don’t even remember now where I went to begin my evening. But I certainly finished it at home, alone. Well, me and my best bud, Booze. long, lost friends – the first two paragraphs say it all.
I’m not sure how I feel at this one year point. I have so much more to figure out to remain sober. I don’t think I fit the definition of a dry drunk, but I also don’t see myself as moving forward. I quit drinking, yes, but am I moving beyond what had me drinking in the first place? No, I don’t think so. Should I be doing the 12 steps and getting a sponsor? I say no, but maybe I’m wrong.
I read as many posts as I can and love reading the stories you all tell. There are lots of you out there that had troubling childhood, teen-hood and young adult-hood issues. Many have had traumatic experiences. I am so grateful none of those things happened to me. I was just a self-absorbed teen, and life was all about me, me, me. My life was peer-pressure based. I didn’t treat everyone with the respect they deserved. I did some stupid stuff and regret a lot of my choices. But that’s the past. I could maintain when I drank socially. Well, I was a happy drunk and caused no harm in my wake. I have no amends to make on that score. My biggest problem began when I withdrew into myself (40’s) and began drinking at home, alone.
Knowing this about myself, I realized I needed a social network of friends who understood what I was going through, and that’s where the sober bloggers have been my lifeline and my salvation. Without reading their stories, without their comments, without my being able to put out there what I’m going through, I know I would have fallen back into the same routine again and again. And would, most likely, still be in the same rut.
I am still searching. I am still fearful. I’m still border-line depressed because of my being alone (and lonely) – my reason for drinking. I’m okay with being by myself as I enjoy my company most of the time, and I’ve adapted since I’ve been doing it for so long. But I would really like to be a part of a relationship, to have someone to share this life with.
I do not mean for this to be a Debbie-downer one year speech! So, with that said, I will move to the lighter side of my sobriety.
I have found great sobersphere friends. I thought, for 40 years, that my problem with alcohol was unique and certainly, I was not an alcoholic. My brother was the alcoholic in the family. He was the “gutter” drunk. I was not. But, come to find out, there are thousands out there with my same problem. The functioning alcoholic. Yep, that’s us. Finding out I was not alone was truly a huge relief. Then I started to blog, deciding once and for all that I really needed to stop drinking. One of my first responders was Fern. God bless her. Then came Lilly, and Belle, and Carrie, and Christy, and Lisa, and Paul, and Kristen, and Jami . . . . I love them all.
I started blogging in April of 2013. Starting in May, I went 43 days without a drink. That was huge! It took a while to gain my momentum after that fall, but by September 19, well, I had had it. I just quit. I dug deep into my toolbox and found H.A.L.T., then made sure I stayed busy doing something – anything, had something sweet to eat or drink (rootbeer!), and focused on one day at a time. I kept blogging and reading everyone’s posts. The witching hour – every damn day – was a total white knuckle trip for about 6 months. I had to focus on just going straight home (with blinders on) to avoid seeing all the many liquor stores on the way. Making sure I had something planned for dinner as I needed to get food into me as soon as possible. Belle’s tip on reward treats was a big help. My little rewards at particular milestones. Reminders that I could do it — and look how far I have come.
I did not count the days this last time. I just couldn’t do it. I focused on each day as its own accomplishment and let it go (don’t break out into song there!) That seemed to work for me. Sure, I knew when 100 days was or 4 months, but I didn’t count each and every day. I had milestones on my calendar at work and that was my reminder that I was moving forward.
I can say I am happier, I feel better, I eat better, I sleep better, I enjoy my grandkids a whole lot more, and I like being present. I’m still a huge work in progress, and it’s HARD work. But what is life if you are not striving to do things that inspire you, that conquer your fears, that bring you joy, that make you grow as a person? And, yes, doing those things is hard.
These last couple of weeks have been on my up-cycle (gotta love those pink clouds!) I’ve started exercising (again), jogging (again), and going to a bootcamp on Saturday’s. Last weekend alone, I did the 1½ hour bootcamp at 9, went to an annual picnic with a “meetup” group at 11:00am, got my hair completely restyled (shorter and blonde-ish) later that afternoon, went to another “meetup” to go Country Western dancing that evening. Then Sunday, I had a book club with book signing at 4:00pm. As my daughter said to me on Saturday afternoon, “Who ARE you?” (Hopefully, I’m a new and improved ME.)
It’s been a wild ride so far. As I’ve said before, I feel like September 19, 2014 will actually be my day 1. This past year was a trial getting me to this point. I can now start living my life without the constant burden of alcohol (wolfie) lurking right there in my head. Back in my booze-fest days, I was so consumed with where and when and how much, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Such a relief to not have that chatter in my head any longer.
All that being said, to those who are just beginning on your sober journey, know that it CAN be done. I’m living proof as are many of us here on the blogosphere. It is rough, I won’t lie. You will fall – as many times as you need to – and then it just sticks. You are ready. It takes having the right tools, it requires focus and determination, a belief/faith that it can be done, people who understand, and more. It takes a lot, but it is totally worth it.
Namaste my friends 🙂