I’ve been sober for a little over 3 weeks, but it really seems like 3 years, because I am a different person, and a new me is emerging that I don’t think I’ve really ever known. Some days I love her, and some days I think she is melancholy, a touch too introspective and that dreaded word, BORING.
During these weeks, little by little, I’ve been letting more people in my life know that I am not drinking. This statement is met at times with huge eyes, with words like “How are you doing it? I could never do that, like how do you relax?” or “It’s not forever is it, I mean, you’re just taking a break right?”
Hhhhmmmmmm. Not forever? When somebody mentioned the foreverness of my decision it made me step back and stumble. I didn’t know how to answer so I just averted my eyes, looked down at the ground, and mumbled. “It could be forever.” Like I was ashamed. What the hell! I should have said “Hell yes it’s forever, I can’t take this shit anymore, and I’m moving past it, I’m moving through it and I’m crawling out on the other side and it feels fantastic, life changing, and why are YOU still drinking because it really is better on my side of the street!” But of course being the good little girl we are all taught to be I kept that inside where it is supposed to be. We don’t want to upset people, do we? If my husband is around a couple people have asked him, “How are you handling this?” or “Is she for real?” Like I’m not even in the room. He doesn’t say much, something like, “if it makes her happy I’m all for it.” And then I think we both pray that the questioning will end. We never talk about it after we make our exit, but I’m sure it’s talked about plenty in our absence. Another member recently posted some excellent ways she handles this line of questioning, so I’m hoping to arm myself with some of her brilliant phrases, so hopefully I’ll be ready for the next go around.
So back to that word FOREVER. When this word creeps into my head I have a hard time dealing with it. Like yesterday when I went to get my hair done after work. What about that glass of wine they offer and how much I loved having it after a hard day? Is that forever? Yep, I’m afraid it is. I’ll have an ice water thank you. I sip sip sip the ice water, and for a while I thought I was missing out, got the Woe Is Me’s. But then I thought about how just that one glass of wine would have had my mind consumed with, “Oh, I’ll stop at the store and pick up a bottle of wine so I can have A GLASS (which means a bottle) after I get home. And the whole time I’m getting my hair done I’ll want her to finish up already so I can get out of there.
Another aspect of the word forever is making me consider the fact my family may never have another decent home cooked meal again. I’ve mentioned it before so I won’t go into all the details of what my nights looked like, but like so many I’d take my time cooking, drinking wine, and smoking cigarettes on the deck. It was my way of relaxing, and my way of looking like I was doing something meaningful which was a big fat cover up because let’s face it, I was doing it so I could keep drinking. But when that dinner was finally served it was something! Now I don’t really cook elaborately because that is a trigger so I’ve been whipping up some really lame meals, or we’ve been going out. My son comes home from soccer practice REALLY disappointed, but as far as I know nobody has died from spaghetti made from Ragu, but they sure have died from alcohol. So I’ve been slowly lowering his expectations over his dinner.
When I get messed up over that word forever I try to remember that I’m supposed to take this one day at a time, not to think too far into the future, otherwise I might go crazy. But crazy I am because I can’t help but think of a particular dilemma I have coming up, so it makes me think about the future and where all of this is taking me so I have been throwing all of that ONE DAY AT A TIME business out the window lately.
We have a house rented with a bunch of friends and our kids for Thanksgiving. We’ve had this planned for months, and the thought of being stranded hours from home in a house full of drinking people is putting me over the edge. I will be the lone sober soul there except for the under age kids, and it now sounds like pure hell. I was soooo looking forward to this, and now I’m spending time trying to figure out how to get out of it. I know I need to protect my sobriety at all costs, I know this is a dangerous place to be. I know I am going to receive so much shit if I don’t go. I know my marriage is being strained by my sobriety, my melancholy demeanor, my quietness and constantly thinking, thinking, thinking. So forever sinks in a little deeper at times, and living one day at a time is harder at times. But I’m formulating a plan of going for a night, and then coming home separately with my kids so we can have dinner with my mom. Maybe my husband can just stay and get a ride home with one of our friends. But I know this will hurt him, and will probably put another divide between us. It’s exhausting thinking about something that is supposed to be relaxing…… so what is the point anyway?
Like so many in recovery I’m starting to get a bit bored, which when mixed in with forever boring becomes even more challenging for me. In the beginning I felt amazing, and waking up day after day without a hangover was this great big gift of clarity. Now it’s expected, and I still love my mornings, but the amazement is gone. Don’t get me wrong, I love my routine of getting up super early, making coffee, reading, writing, burning a candle and calmly starting my day. But that “OH MY GOD I FEEL SO GREAT” euphoria is replaced with, “Isn’t this nice and peaceful?” So I’m learning to live with the peace, and realize that not everything in life has to be super charged up, and boring is a part of life we need to accept. I think I heard on a podcast somebody explain that we need to learn how to deal with the boring parts of life. When I was drinking there was the taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary through alcohol, and then there was taking the ordinary and making it miserable through a hangover so I was constantly in a state of hyper emotions. So today, I’m going to hang out with just being present, and making that okay, and absorbing the words PEACE, CALM and HAPPINESS, and Forever is going to have to wait.
Happy Sober Friday!