1 month shy of a year

Things are looking up, my relationship more stable. My last post was a combination of hormones, and possibly a reflection of my partners own struggles. Sometimes I mistake his for ours, and lose sight of him as a whole human being.

In 1 month I’ll be a year sober.
I’m very proud and excited to have that in the bag. I wanted it so desperately on that first day sober – hungover, strung out, my life in ruins. All I wanted was for time to have passed, to a better time. I was so confused and desperate. I now have a clear head for the first time in 15 years, and a strong idea of how the next 15 years may go. Although we never really know. All I do know is that drinking is not a part of it, and I’m so relieved.

Crutchless

At some point it stops being about the drinking.

In my case, I got a second chance to have the family I wanted. So everyday that I look around and see that, I’m grateful with no drinking on my radar, whatsoever.

Sometimes I let my mind wander to the possibility of, what if he left me? And I remind myself that I’ll have a little one in 3 short months, and an even bigger reason to stay sober forever.

But then there are the strange times, when things are rough, and I am left without a crutch to deal with life in full volume. He’s being distant and cold and I can’t figure him out. I’m avoiding confronting him and asking him, because he has a tendency to shut down entirely and it’s not worth it.  My usual strategy when this happens is – figure out what’s bothering him, on my own.  It started right after my parents left. My smoking, drinking, 70 yr old parents. They’re in rough shape after a lifetime of that. Was he bothered by that? Did he see my unhealthy mother and worry that that’s what I’ll look like/be like?

Or maybe he was bothered by something else.
Has he met someone?
Does he regret staying with me?
Does he wish I could just pop out this baby already, so that he can be rid of me, and go spend time with his new daughter?
Does he find me unattractive?
Does he resent me for asking him to do everything for me all the time because I’m too big to do it myself?
Did he go through my phone and find something  he didn’t like?

Whatever it is, It doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
It’s been 8 days and I’ve let it go this long because I try to filter out issues that may be related to hormones, or bad moods, or bad days. But this time it’s lingering, and it’s consistent and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

I guess I”ll ask him.
I will be accused of ‘making it up’, that there’s ‘nothing wrong and it’s all in my head’,  but I know better. I know the difference between real affection and faking it, and I’ve been getting faked for over a week now.
Something’s up.

Like I said, at some point it stops being about the drinking.

 

Hiding behind pregnancy

I’m allowed to be sober while pregnant.
The same folks that would scold me for not partaking on a Friday night, are happy to hang out with me sober – just as long as I’m pregnant.

But the talk has already begun of “glasses of wine on the deck (once you have the baby of course)” and “won’t it be fun when you can party with us again”…

I don’t have the heart to tell them that I quit long before I got pregnant, they just didn’t notice. The 4 months previous were spent fighting this battle and coming out miraculously on top. I’m so proud of those 4 months. And I will continue to count and be proud long after I have my baby.

So the battle once again isn’t with the bottle exactly, but with the drinkers that need me to be drinking too – or else they feel weird.

I have support in my partner in this matter. He tells me to tell anyone that mentions it to go fuck themselves. Ha. Easier said then done. But I like his matter of factness. I like that he will always be on my side, and never ever think it’s weird to be on my side of the bottle.

Anyway, that’s today’s thought of the day.
How to shush the drinkers.

 

 

 

Closing the door but opening a window

We close the door, but sometimes decide to open a window to drinking.
That’s what my one-month sober friend did.

She made a declaration, an announcement, and she lasted a whole month. She didn’t do any of the work that goes with it – meetings, reading, support groups, writing, exploring the basis of her addiction – simply abstained. Admirable, an achievement, nonetheless.

She wrote a message to me and some friends yesterday that read:
So I’m feeling pretty good being sober, had a radler here and there, pretty surprising, don’t do too much.

The message confused me.
The responses were along the lines of ‘Good for you!’, ‘Doing great!’

Why did I not feel the need to congratulate my friend on this great news? Because it’s not great news. She’s re-framing what really happened in a positive light, to continue the sobriety support, while not continuing the act of sobriety. We all know how slippery the slope is, her included. You cannot use the word sober, when you have not in fact been sober. It’s a disguise of the shame you likely felt after.

So I came here, to remind myself of the work that is necessary to maintain.

I lent my mother the book that helped me to quit for good. Jason Vale’s How to kick the drink easily. Did she read it? NO Why not? Because she doesn’t want to quit.
So how do you help someone that doesn’t want to help themselves? You don’t. You wait. You stay nearby, living proof that it can be done, awaiting their roundabout questions and curious insights into how you do it. 
You listen to their rationale behind why they are different. And you wait.

Feels pretty lonely over here waiting, but I sure do prefer it.
I have no doubt that I’ll have more friends on my side of drinking in under 10 years. I look forward to it.

9 Months sober

It feels easy now.

A girlfriend recently announced that she was quitting drinking. She had lost another job, unable to cope with her hangovers she’d begun drinking before work just to get through the day and her whole world collapsed one afternoon. She works in a bar.

Her plan was to leave the bar, get sober, and spend a month figuring out what to do next. Announcing her milestones on social media, telling friends and gathering resources, going to meetings (I took her to one) and getting a doctor.

It had been two weeks, and my enthusiasm for her sobriety the last time I saw her, unfortunately wasn’t shared. She was miserable. She hates being sober, it’s so boring. The days are long and uneventful and life’s not fair.

I don’t want to judge too harshly, but it looks so bratty and ungrateful on this side.
Although I remember that feeling well. I felt that way right before I caved and went back to drinking.
So I feel discouraged for her. I feel like she will go back.

Now how do I explain that the time I finally kicked it for good – felt different somehow? How did I make it stick this time?I guess I changed my way of thinking from the above, to a more realistic and permanent view.

Drinking was never going to be fun again. I had to make that clear to myself. The way it danced into my summers and twirled me around on patios and made me believe things were lovely and hilarious and wonderful. That was over. So just put that to rest.

What drinking had become was much less glamorous. It became blurry 2am conversations, full ashtrays, slammed doors and confusing arguments, broken windows and crying on the curb waiting for a $50 cab. It became overdrawn transactions at ATMs at midnight on a Tuesday, going home from work early after too many beers at lunch, headaches and apology texts and hangovers disguised as sick days from work. Going to events with $12 lidded beers in each hand, unable to get the booze into my system fast enough before losing the buzz. Learning that the place I was at doesn’t serve liquor and having a terrible time because of it. Balancing my meals strategically around when I “start” drinking so I don’t blackout too early at my own party.

These were the realities I was contending with.  These were the realities that made my sobriety somehow stick this time. I stopped glamorizing it and started to remember what life was like before things got this way. There was no way to go back, only forward.

It took 4 months for my mind to clear, my body to follow suit. I don’t trust anyone sober for less than 4 months.

I’m not sure what to say to my friend. I cannot convince her of anything – she will believe whatever she wants to believe – and she will keep drinking if she believes life sucks without it. It’s such an irritating victimized attitude and not at all reality.

Until she changes her way of thinking, she will always be the victim when she’s sober. But if she learns that it’s a choice, and that drinking does not make you better, happier, more fun, braver, more social, popular, or more interesting – only then will she learn.

Until she realizes it’s a drug, just like the kind you shoot into your veins or snort – making you want more and more and more – only then will she see her urges as just that – an addiction.

I haven’t asked her lately how it’s going, because I don’t want to be disappointed. In the same way I was disappointed with my mother’s fall back into addiction. I can only control my own actions, and write about what worked for me.

 

I hate booze

My vibrant bright-eyed mother has once again turned back into a pale, wrinkled, confused slurring mess. I hate what it does to her. I hate how my father leaves the room upon the mere mention of booze. I hate everything about the poison. I hate that it’s going to kill them prematurely, but in the mean time, slowly steal their quick wit and charm.

I hate that her mother had alzheimers and missed out on on knowing her grandchildren. She never fully recovered from that. And now she has alcoholism and will miss out on knowing her grandchildren.

But I love that I am sober. And I love my partner, and my family to be. And that’s more than enough reasons to be grateful.

Relapse in the rearview

My mother’s been sober since we had that conversation last week that she doesn’t remember. Since I told her she’s going to be a grandma again, and that I wish she could get back to AA be healthy again. She calls me every night about 8:30pm as an insurance, to tell me that she didn’t drink that day. I’m glad I can help, even if it’s just by answering the phone. I’m very proud of her.

I’ve been extra sensitive to photos of wine bottles and wine glasses on social media lately. They seem to be everywhere. The thing about wine is that you can taste it just by looking at it. It was such a powerful drink that one look at it, and you can almost imagine the feeling of it splashing around in your stomach. That euphoria after having that sip of the 2nd glass.

Is that why we share photos of this all powerful drug and make jokes about it implying that life will be fine, as long as there’s wine? That life without wine is pointless? That we can survive parenting as long as wine exists? Would we share photos of needles and powders that made us feel good and high, knowing very well that people we love have worked hard to quit using them because they were damaging their life?

I may never wrap my head around the way society treats alcohol – the most dangerous drug in the world – while simultaneously knowing that it’s the most dangerous drug in the world.