In the Weeds

Well! My sober summer (hashtag) is proceeding apace. This may not work out as a post that I can publish in the end, but I have been feeling extremely disconnected both from this community and my own interior life, as it were, so I thought I had better have a crack at it. As usual, I hoped to have a little more time, but just the act of creating this post has given me a measure of satisfaction. I’ll take it. 

My husband and I are having our first date night in some considerable time, and our first sober date night in longer still – possibly ever. I’m sitting in the bar area of the bistro where I am meeting him and enjoying a nonalcoholic cocktail while I wait. We are (so! More on this another time, perhaps) fortunate to live in New York City, where restaurants and bars are accustomed to accommodating all manner of needs and preferences, and it has been my experience this summer that “Something nonalcoholic and not too sweet,” is usually sufficient to produce a passable libation at the very least and, certainly as far as I have been aware, no particular surprise or censure. (Tonight’s effort is well beyond passable – yum!) 

On balance I am immensely thankful for the busy-ness that has kept me from the blog. As I have mentioned before, we made the decision to keep the boys out of any summer camp this year, and it has gone better than I dared hope. In particular I am grateful for the measure of peace and stability that sobriety has given me and so brought to my parenting and our home. Admittedly, these are relative attributes – the boys are… spirited and my noise tolerance is not what it could be. Blowups of one kind or another are not infrequent, but they are as passing squalls and on the whole we are all learning not to take them wildly personally. Between times we are having a lot of fun and I hope making memories we will all cherish. 

I started this on Friday and it is now Monday. Life continues to happen too fast for much meaningful reflection. To some extent I think that is just the season I am in (both summer and the stage of life I am at while my kids are still young and I am just getting the hang of sober living and parenting) but I am also very aware that my spirit/soul/interior life really needs attention and nurturing – that the lack of such has been both the cause of and caused by my drinking (which irony – paradox? – is almost too heavy to bear, really.) 

Our date night was good. We were definitely a bit self conscious with one another- one of the many things I regret about my habit of ending each day with a bottle of wine and oblivion has meant that my friendship with my husband has suffered terribly. We seem to have lost the art of connecting meaningfully with one another, and that is something that will take time and effort to restore, although I am hopeful. It seems to be something we both want, and perhaps that is half the battle. 

We spent the weekend with my parents and I think I have sort of outed myself, somewhat unintentionally, but I suppose I am relieved. We are very much a family who drinks together (which sounds less convivial than tawdry – it has been both in its time) and when I made the decision to stop drinking in May I told my parents that I was doing 100-day challenge – a “sober summer.” We have all expressed periodic discomfort with our own (and/or one another’s) relationships with alcohol so I knew that my 100 days would be accepted on its face and hopefully give me a bit of time to get my head straight. 

As I am now past the three-quarters mark (whoop!) and 100 days will more or less coincide with their 40th wedding anniversary I have been feeling a bit of pressure to move the goalposts, so to speak, and an opportunity presented itself while I was out jogging with my dad. He is dealing with a bit of a crisis at work and has decided to abstain until things have resolved so he can face it all clearheaded, and I mentioned that my stress seems to have become a lot more manageable since I stopped drinking. I told him that I have decided to extend the 100 days to a full year and then will reassess. I don’t know why I felt the need to do this: I have no intention of reassessing or drinking again, and I don’t think I am looking for a way out or anything like that. I almost feel like saying I’m done for good is too extreme to be taken seriously, if that makes any sense at all. Perhaps I am afraid of failing or being seen to fail, which is not really the same thing. That is actually probably the truth. 

As it happens, I may have been over thinking. It came up again this morning as one of my oldest and dearest friends and drinking buddies is coming to stay next weekend, and my mom mentioned that he was going to be disappointed that I wasn’t drinking. I actually told him a while ago that I have been worried about my drinking and was thinking of taking a substantial break, so I hope he is forewarned and will not make a big deal of it, but I took the opportunity to tell my mom that I’ve decided not to drink for a year. “Dad said,” she responded. “He thinks you have actually stopped drinking for good.” Hilariously (possibly. Sadly, maybe) I immediately felt myself becoming defensive, thoughts like  “Why?” And “Does he think I have a problem? Is he saying I’m an alcoholic??” flooding my mind. Shame is so powerful, and we want so badly to be seen to be okay, to be perfect and perfectly fine, it makes liars of us – well, me, at any rate. 

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I am NOT perfect, and that in fact I did (do) have a big problem, but also that I am strong and brave and doing hard things, and those are not things I need to be ashamed of at all. Every day is a choice and a victory. “Well,” I said, “I think I have.” Day 78 and I am so very grateful to be here. 



13 thoughts on “In the Weeds”

  1. Just want to tell you that you sound so great for 78 days–you sound like you are right where you are supposed to be. Shit is not perfect, it’s still hard and complicated, and you’re slowly figuring out what it means to live a sober life. I think the alcoholic who runs home and preaches to their drinking family that they are now staying sober forever may not stay sober–but you’re measure and thoughtful and conflicted approach shows how real this is for you. Hang in there–so much great stuff coming to you. Oh and ps-you’re so right that half the battle with you and your hubs is that you both have the desire to get to know each other again. Such a gift! Congrats on 78! x

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I had a tear in my eye for a minute reading this. You are doing so well. To read about you getting defensive about your drinking was what upset me. Your parents sound lovely. They’ve clearly raised an eloquent, strong and amazing woman. You’re human though. You’ve come so far. Loved reading this. X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. They are! It seems to be a part of the journey- I never really faced up to my drinking while I was doing it and I guess all of that suppressed shame and anxiety has to kind of work it’s way out. I am really PROUD of my sobriety – just trying to figure out how to live that and live with what led to it, if that makes sense. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. My addiction is/was food (amongst other things) but the first hurdle has been the easiest part. It’s living for the rest of ones life, working out WHY we do the things we do, that’s the hard work. X

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I was recently at a gathering were a couple of women where discussing their drink preferences. Although I had Diet Come to drink and the women each had one glass of red wine and rose wine, for whatever reason, I chimed in and shared my preference of red wine over whites wines and how I was more of a beer girl in the end. I have NO idea why I shared that when I too have no intentions of ever drinking again. I relate to your post.

    You are doing so well! Keep up adding to your sober days. I’m 55 days sober myself

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! And big congratulations on 55 days. That is wonderful. Funny, hey – it feels like there is an alcohol club that we have excluded ourselves from somehow. It is hard not to want to still belong there, even though we are glad we don’t! x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful post, thank you. And yes, the shame. It goes away, then it comes back, it goes away for longer. It is good to see the mechanics of shame and indeed, it makes liars of us. The great thing is that you feel and see that and with what I learned of the last 35 months; seeing this is really important.
    You might want to make sure that you have some either smart answers or convenient replies for your (still) drinking friend. E.g. think of some exit strategies. And make your mind up about having booze in the house etc. I say to people; carry out what you carry in. And then they do not take any. Not in the worrying type of thinking but in the preventive, self care way of thinking.
    Congrats on your 78 days. ๐Ÿ™‚ You are doing great. ๐Ÿ™‚
    xx, Feeling

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Good advice, thank you! I have been practicing conversations in my head actually and feeling a bit ridiculous because I feel like I don’t want to make it a big deal, but… to me it IS very big deal all the same! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It IS a very big deal and as HFC says: not to be underestimated. Even at 30, 40, or 50 plus years it is easy to succomb to yes: peer pressure. I had several drinking dreams where I ‘did not want to feel ridiculous’, ‘did not want to make it a big deal’. That is EXACTLY how the addict within turns our minds to drinking. ๐Ÿ™‚ / :-(. It might be handy to be aware of that. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Congrats on your day 79!
        xx, Feeling

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The fear of disappointing old drinking buddies and family who you used to drink with is not to be underestimated. That got me back into drinking so many times I’ve lost count. You are not responsible for ensuring that other people have a good time. If your abstinence makes people uncomfortable its says a lot about their relationship with alcohol. You just keep focussing on your path and your truth. The effects of alcohol doesnโ€™t change from one human to the next, itโ€™s the same for everyone and they are drinking a highly addictive substance. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Yep – I have a “girls weekend” coming up and I’m absolutely dreading it for this reason. I know when I was drinking I ALWAYS felt judged by people who weren’t- although of course I now realize it had nothing to do with me. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for posting this. While you were being strong, I was not. I appreciate your honesty and how you are sharing your decision with family and friends. I agree, it is easier to share it in steps… 100 days, 1 year, etc. Thank you for this encouragement!


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