Knowing

Words and sentences were flooding through me a few minutes ago – would have been pouring out of me had I only had the means… or perhaps not. Now that I find myself comfortably situated, keyboard at hand, I am fumbling for that fleeting erudition. It is difficult not to attribute this at least in part to a sort of cowardice, given the intended stuff of this writing. I will carry on, regardless!

Thirty seven has recently seemed to me to be awfully young to have stopped drinking alcohol forever. I am actually 37 for the second time, rather splendidly, as I spent a whole year being 37 – knowing that it was so and writing in on forms and all the things – realising only as my birth month rolled around that the birthday most recently celebrated was in fact my 36th.

Still, I don’t think that is why I have been feeling too young for such drastic steps. Rather, I suspect, it is the insidious creep of time and with it the forgetting that breeds complacency.

I always meant to chronicle my “bottom” here as a means of holding myself accountable and inuring myself to this very phenomenon, but I never quite got around to it. It came to me not in one messy breakdown, although there was plenty of that, but instead by degrees. A series of little deaths and with each a whisper that was ever more insistent; a knowledge that was there as surely as I know the year of my birth and thus my age and which I persisted even so, in misremembering.*

In August I stopped breastfeeding my baby. I loved breastfeeding and knowing as I did that this would almost certainly be the last time I loved breastfeeding him intensely. It was not enough to put the brakes on my wine drinking, though and I knew that the short, greasy hours between my collapsing into bed and nursing him in the morning were too few to imagine that all or even “enough” of the alcohol had been metabolised. I knew then.

In September, barely functioning under the weight of another brutal hangover, I was trying to make a smoothie for my boys and inadvertently switched on the immersion blender while I was scooping it out with my finger. I had to rely on my then-7 year old to help me dress my finger, maneuver the baby into the carrier and shepherd the four of us to an urgent care so I could have it stitched. I knew then.

In October I writhed with embarrassment as I sat drinking a glass of wine on a busy bar patio midway through trick or treating with my boys. I hated the judgement I felt in strangers’ eyes and hated myself, but I couldn’t do without that drink. I knew then.

In November, watching the devastating election results come in I didn’t even try to stop myself. Having drunk the one bottle we had in (never buy more than you are ok with drinking) I went out and bought two more. I abandoned myself to the desire to obliterate everything, and set about it. Although they were exceptional circumstances I woke up sick and sad and very afraid that I had crossed a line or at least peered into the abyss. I announced that I had given up alcohol and lasted 12 days. There are always exceptional circumstances. I knew then.

In December, a few days before Christmas, I left the kids with my mom on Saturday afternoon to finish up the last of my shopping. When I got back my oldest asked me where I had been. I said something vague about errands. “I know what you did,” he replied in the matter of fact way of young children. “You went to [the wine shop] and you bought wine and then you drank it in the driveway and went and put the bottle in the recycling so no one would know.” I hadn’t had anything to drink that day, nor been to the wine store, and I never drank in secret or tried to hide the bottles and to this day I don’t know how or why he came up with such a detailed tale, but I knew then that he knew, and that was worst of all.

It took me five more months of trying and failing to not know, to “get things under control,” to drink less or to not drink every day or to not drink at home or to never drink alone, and reassuring myself that resisting the voice that told me some mornings that “a drink would surely take the edge off and it’s foolish to suffer like this all day just for the sake of waiting until 5,” was itself a victory and a sign that I was not that bad after all and there was still time; but I knew then, too.

Our 10th wedding anniversary is next week, and if you had told me on my wedding day (or to be honest on our 9th anniversary) that we would not be popping champagne to celebrate because I was also celebrating 10 (and a half!) months of sobriety, I would have been a little skeptical, if not a lot incredulous.

I am happy and proud to be sober today, but it would be disingenuous to say that I am not sad as well. It was such an easy, obvious way of celebrating, of letting loose and forgetting the ordinariness and the struggle of everyday life, and although more often than not I drank too much and was left with regrets after even the brightest celebration, I am very sad that we can’t share a bottle of champagne (or two) and listen to music from when we were dating and laugh and get a bit silly on our anniversary.

I think I have been feeling recently that I have ruined something good, putting a kibosh on something fun and lovely, but for better or worse (ha!) it had long since soured. I have only to look, a little fearlessly after all, at where I was and what I knew then, to see that my sobriety is a gift to be prized and protected. I am so grateful to be here, and to know for sure that I don’t have to go back to that dark and fearful place, ever again.

*Misremembered is claiming not to be a word but of course it must be, because it is just what I did and indeed have been doing again, recently.

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Engaging the Right Muscles

The plan was to come and write a sort of re-centering post (I’m still here! I still rely way too heavily on coffee and sugar! Oy.) Anway, I have a new laptop and I switched browsers, so my drafts folder is in a different place and caught my eye; I went to see what I had left in there and found this. I don’t actually know how to feel about the fact that it is seven months old and totally on point for me today, but the title I was planning on using today was “Sitting with what is,” (which is totally aspirational, mind you) so I guess I’ll sit with this still being where I am at in many ways. I wandered away from gym again toward the end of last year (wandering away is definitely a theme. Parenthesis another…) but I am back and grateful to be. All promises below to the contrary I’m not going to edit. I never managed to finish this thought and I want to post it and then keep working through it. 

I was awake for an unnecessarily long time last night, composing posts of vitriol and loathing in my head. It seems that this New Cup may be sloshing around some Old Anger for a while longer – righteous and petty, both inwardly and outwardly directed. Oh, yes: I’ve got it all going on! But it’s Friday morning, the sun is shining and I have had a useful (if daunting) little insight that I want to get down here in hopes of developing and eventually working through it.

This morning at the utterly ungodly hour of 5:41 my husband – for whom this is a regular rising time although he is not really a morning person either – shook me awake, turned on my bedside light and made me pick up my coffee so I wouldn’t go back to sleep. (He is much, much more virtuous than I am and for the most part very much better than I am at overcoming his baser nature, for which I am usually profoundly thankful but which also elicits occasional belligerent irritation. Can you be belligerently irritated? I was last night, anyway. Ha! It’s taking me a while to get to the point here – I may have to come back and do some heavy editing.) In fairness, this is what I had explicitly asked him to do, and he didn’t know that I’d been up half the night.

Fortunately for both of us he went straight off to gym, leaving me to glare into the middle distance through my first cup of coffee and decide how much of my morning’s ambitions could realistically be achieved. Inevitably the light woke our oldest (apartment living) who came and crawled into bed next to me, which woke our youngest (involuntary, on our part, co-sleeping.) My urgent, unwavering need for solitude and silence in the morning can only realistically be met by stoically ignoring everything and everyone until I am ready to face them – easier said than done. I have high hopes that “easier” mornings will be an eventual benefit of sobriety,* whether because I am able to wake up a bit earlier and more easily thus not disturbing the boys and giving me a bit of legitimate quiet time or because my need for same diminishes somewhat, but for the time being this is where we find ourselves. (*They absolutely have been! Still very much a work in progress as I go to bed too late and seem naturally to need more sleep than the average bear, but around about the 8-month mark I started, finally, to sleep all night, almost every night.)

Anyway, so at last to the point. A lot of editing, definitely. The reason I asked to be woken so early and… thoroughly is that I wanted to fit a gym class into an already full day. Since I stopped drinking my workouts have improved considerably, in large part because I make it into the gym more regularly than once a fortnight and I am bringing my whole self to each one. The classes are short – half an hour – but intense and I work hard. I revel in the strength and capacity of my body.

I am strong, and getting fitter, but I am definitely not where I would like to be. For as long as I can remember, really, I have suffered from pain in my right hip and shoulder, which varies in intensity from mild to virtually debilitating and refers all over my body. Finally, though, after almost 37 years of living in this body, I have stopped telling myself that the way to wholeness and health is to try (or wish) harder to be like everyone else.

Instead, in addition to the scheduled gym classes I have started going for somewhat regular massages and doing some one-on-one sessions with my coach to identify and address the specific issues at the root of my pain (musculoskeletally speaking, but there is a metaphor here…) These are nothing like the regular classes. We move slowly, trying different exercises in different positions. We talk a lot. We are trying to figure it out, combining my lived experience with his knowledge and expertise. I work hard, but there is no endorphin high.

Wonderfully, though, after each session there is a marked difference in my understanding of my own body, which I am able to bring to subsequent workouts and I am steadily better able to keep up with the group in intensity and proficiency. My first insight, as I jogged (staggered) home from the class this morning, spent and exhilarated, was that I need both – in life as in fitness. What works for everyone will work for me IF I do my own work on my own stuff.

The second insight is harder to swallow in some ways and is actually the reason that I am leaving my long-suffering husband to cope with the boys, who are literally climbing the seats of this mercifully empty train, so that I can get this down before it vanishes in the chaos of the day.

***

This is a superbly dramatic point to have stopped writing. Presumably the situation on the train escalated, although the specifics are mercifully lost to the swirling mists, etc.

I suppose mostly because of a lengthy exercise-free hiatus progress has been slow on the fitness front, but I am so happy to realize as I write this that I am actually not at all in the SAME place as when I wrote this post, although it speaks to things I have been thinking about a lot.

The second insight, which I never got to recording after all was actually the subject of the post (the title, anyway,) and what I grappled with on that day was how much unnecessary pain I had caused myself in refusing to address the root causes of my problems. I think I see now, though, that I did what I could until I was ready to do more, and if the pain I caused myself (and others) was the cost of surviving, then there is room there for grace. I am grateful to be here. I am stronger than I was, and learning – one day and sometimes one moment at a time – to use my body and my life fully and intentionally.

Dirty Words and Dark Secrets

In thinking about my word of the year I have also had cause to consider some of the ‘dirty’ words I have come up against since beginning (officially) this journey last May. The ‘A’ word, obviously: am I? Aren’t I? What does it really mean? Then there are the others that I have also had to confront, reluctantly and full of fear; “depression” “medication,” and one that has been persistently and increasingly insistently demanding my attention: cross-addiction. (Is this one word or two? Is this even exactly the right word? Let it stand.)

A guest post by Veronica Valli on A hangover free life on Tuesday finally gave me a frame for really confronting the issue and I am here today (a bit like church! Ha) to try again to tackle it.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in sobriety is believing that drinking is the problem when it is a symptom of the problem.

Our real problem is how we think and how we feel. We have to develop new and better ways to deal with our feelings and emotions. Because when we feel differently, we act differently, says Veronica.

How much easier it would be to be normal. A “normal” drinker, thinker, feeler, processor of life and living. I wish I was, sometimes, but of course there is no way of knowing which bits of myself would be left and which lost if I could be cured once and for all of the darkness, and the compulsive consumption that I resort to so readily – sometimes in a conscious bid to vanquish the darkness and sometimes just… because. Boredom, possibly, or something more destructive.

In any case, I am not “normal” even to the extent that there is such a thing at all. Alcoholic or no there came a time when I understood that I was powerless over alcohol, and that no relationship with it could ever be healthy. I had to quit, once and for all. Cross addiction is proving thornier. I can’t – well I don’t want to – quit sugar and caffeine once and for all. What a prospect! But the truth is these are not innocuous comforts or harmless distractions for me.

While I will not go so far as to liken, truly, either of these (or for that matter Bejeweled and its time-sucking brain-numbing ilk) to alcohol, there are some distressing similarities at least in my life as I am living it at the moment.

I wake up eager for my first cup of coffee and if my husband, who rises first, has not yet made any I feel disgruntled and cross until it is ready and poured. Sometimes I will drink a whole pot and be left shaky and agitated. I know before the last cup is poured that I have had enough. I know from bitter experience that if I drink coffee too late in the day I will have a terrible night’s sleep, making the next day worse, but I regularly do it anyway. I have a hard time leaving coffee in the pot, and I spend too much on it when I am out.

As to sugar… I have seen it discussed often enough on these pages and elsewhere by people in recovery to know that I am not alone. I always know how much there is in the house and as often as not once I start on a bar of chocolate (or box of cookies or tray of brownies, I cannot stop until it is finished. I hide it from the rest of the family so I won’t have to share. I have been known to contrive grocery orders (a household can always use a colossal stash of extra toilet paper, right?) in order to have a fix delivered late in the afternoon, after being “good” all day and committing in all sincerity to a dessert-free evening. Sometimes, if I really go to town, the late-night load of sugar actually causes me to wake up at 3am, a low-key version of the wine-fuelled wakings of old and accompanied by milder but unlovely feelings of shame and regret.

The less said about Bejeweled the better.

These are not comforts, nor are they harmless. They are hurting me. I am hurting myself. I am impeding, delaying, preventing my recovery. I understand that, at least for now, moderation is not a good strategy for me. I have decided that my last cup of coffee must indeed have been my last, for a while at least and that sugar  is off the table.

For today, it seems to me that the most important thing is really looking at the thing and I must admit that the act of writing all this down has been sobering. I hope that posting this here will give me some of the same sense of accountability that I got, especially in the early days, when I stopped drinking. Simply abstaining from one substance and replacing it with others is not going to be enough for me any more. I cannot truly be sober until I learn to live with and as myself. I am worthy of a full and healthful recovery, and that is surely a thing to be grateful for.

Reflecting

Well it has been a while! We came back from San Francisco and hit the new school year running. My oldest son has aged into the standardized tests (3rd grade) about which my feelings are strong and not very positive, and I found myself immediately much more involved with the boys’ schooling than has hitherto been my wont. Busy-ness is not really the reason that I wandered away from this space, though. Although I posted a few times early on about coming to terms with the reality that sobriety would not equal an end to all my problems I think I believed that it would put paid to the problems of being me. This language is extreme and not entirely accurate but I have only allowed myself 20 minutes here, otherwise I would have talked myself out of showing up at all, and I think that I have been depriving myself of the time and ‘head’ space to really reflect on the ways I have grown and changed over the past five plus months. It would be fair to say that my intention in posting today is mostly by way of reclaiming this space for myself and setting the intention to be present here at least somewhat regularly. 

While I am not really missing drinking (no one is more surprised than I am) I am missing that surefire method to quiet the noise, if only temporarily, bitterly. My mental health is precarious and my emotional and spiritual wellbeing (and the peace and functioning of our household) seem entirely subject to the crests and valleys of my hormonal cycle, which I suppose I did not notice while I was drinking because the hamster wheel of drinking through the evenings and staggering through the days lent a certain – if wholly undesirable – levelness. 

I don’t feel awful all the time. I am insanely grateful not to be drinking and to be beginning the work of learning to human sober, even as I am daunted to find that it is a much more arduous endeavor than I anticipated. I don’t think I would have had either the courage or the clarity to reflect on my feelings about education and privilege and my kids’ access to both of those in any meaningful way if I was still drowning out the noise instead of trying to organize it, and I am grateful for that as well. If the way forward is messy, at least I believe there is one. As to being at the whim of my hormones, I was a little blindsided by the discovery, but without seeing ourselves as we are I suppose there can be little hope for progress toward where we would like to be. My plan is to spend a couple of months tinkering with supplements and diet and if all else fails I will follow the suggestion of LG (the therapist I have been working with) and speak to my doctor about medication. Just being able to entertain that course of  action is, in and of itself, progress. 

My time is up! That went as quickly as I suppose I knew it would. I hope this isn’t wildly incoherent but it is at least a beginning. One brief reflection as it came to me when I thought about writing this post and made me feel such deep sympathy for the woman I was a year ago and a new surge of gratitude for the changes this year has seen. Last Halloween I took the boys trick or treating at the Winter Village in Bryant Park, planning to meet up with my husband, who works nearby, and then go on to our traditional neighborhood outing. Having completed the circuit of the stalls there we settled to watch the Peanuts Halloween special that was being screened at one of the outdoor restaurants. Of course I ordered a large glass of wine – I had earned it! The thing is, it was no reward. I passed the 20 minutes or whatever it was in paroxysms of paranoid discomfort, certain that all other patrons, passers-by and serving staff were judging me for drinking alone with my children and in the (late) afternoon, or for having my kids in a bar at all. They probably were, but who cares really: the truth is that I was judging myself. I knew that I was in trouble. I knew that not being able to get through a half hour of trick or treating without a drink was a problem, and that my choice was neither appropriate nor “fun!” (I was such fun. A real good-time girl. Ask my kids.) I doubt I even enjoyed the drink. We will go trick or treating tonight (although we will forgo the crowds at the Winter Village – this journey is also about learning my limits) and I will not “deserve” or “need” a drink afterwards. This is not to say that I am going to find the crowds and the boys wild over-excitement and the ridiculous surfeit of candy wearying and likely a little overwhelming, but it will be fun, too, and I am able to give them this without needing a reward* or anesthetic to endure it. That is certainly something to be grateful for. 

*Well perhaps a little treat. Ah, sugar… 

Truckin’

Day 52 – still here! I started feeling a bit of… guilt, I guess, or maybe embarrassment, that I am not blogging more frequently or abounding with the insights and energy that others seem to be at this stage of early sobriety, but then I realized that is a bit ridiculous. It doesn’t matter what my sobriety looks like for now, as long as I keep doing it – that is, not drinking – and so far that is going just fine. I am working hard to prioritize my sleep (at this stage my need for sleep!) and, as we decided not to put the kids in any kind of summer camp this year I am also full (FULL!)-time parenting three very energetic little boys. I am struggling with a bit of brain fog, which I hoped would have lifted more by now but under the circumstances perhaps just a function of not having enough time and head space to really organize my thoughts. If I am honest (and isn’t that why we are here?!) I have been giving my sugar dragon its head for too long and with too much abandon, and that is probably also taking a toll on my energy levels, mental health and waistline (ffs!). Onward…

Ah, Friday

Today is another milestone – 40 days since my last drink. This is the second-longest period of abstinence ever in my adult life, and by some margin the longest of intentional sobriety. (I was af for 87 days in 2015 as part of a paleo/whole30 lifestyle reset but that was all about getting fit and healthy and had nothing to do with my relationship with alcohol, which was clearly not a problem. At all. I just happened to count every single day that I didn’t drink, and then remember the count for two years because… Well, you know.)

So here I am! I feel pretty good. I am less anxious and my emotions are more stable. My thoughts (and my skin! Ha!) are much clearer and I have quite a bit more energy. My sleep issues have not resolved and I am beginning to accept that I may have to take further steps to improve things on that front. My therapist is fairly strongly of the opinion that I would benefit from a regimen of antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medication but I am reluctant. I am trying to think clearly and honestly about my reasons, and when I get a chance may try to hammer them out in a post: perhaps someone reading has thoughts/experience on the matter and would be willing to weigh in. I think at this stage my chief objection is that I have only just begun to feel that I am truly “at the wheel,” if that makes sense, and I am not ready to relinquish this newfound sense of control (also something I would like to come back to, as the control I have gained through surrender has been a profound and unexpected shift for which I am deeply grateful.) I recognize that there is place for nuance here, but I think I am only just beginning to reckon with how much of an impact alcohol had on my behavior and personality and emotional landscape and I don’t really want to introduce another mind-altering substance until I have a proper handle on who I am. In any case, although inadequate sleep is definitely impacting me, it’s not a new problem – the hideous 3am wake ups were one of the things that motivated me to make this change – and underslept beats the pants off underslept and hungover, it turns out.

I’m sitting in the car park of the railway station waiting for my husband’s train and I’ve run out of time. I’ll try to come back to this tonight. Leaving aside all of the other aspects of this journey I do not know how I found the time to drink the way I did.

**Saturday** Day 41 is begun! I should probably wrap this up anyway as it’s getting a bit long. On reflection, I found the time to drink because I was resigned to not achieving or creating anything beyond the minimum required to get three little boys and a household through the day. (Not nothing, I’ll grant, but a level of “rolling down the hill” is possible that doesn’t demand a lot of brainpower.)

I just want to share this one last thing because it was so affirming and perfectly timed. It will be a good moment to come back to and may hopefully even encourage someone else!

(*Tuesday* I have woken up in the middle of the night thinking about this post. There was a great, valuable lesson for me in what I had posted but it used details about other people’s drinking which, even in this anonymous setting, I do not feel good about. We’re all on our own journeys. I was around people drinking and I was jealous, and then I was beautifully reminded that it is not the elixir of relaxation and happiness it appears to be. I’m grateful for that.)

Saturday morning, and I am so happy and grateful not to be hungover or scheming and wondering how early we can start drinking again. Have a wonderful sober weekend! x

30 days, baby!

Here speaketh the Universe, or something. I had a whole little Zen post all planned out. Last week my lovely cleaning lady (without whom we would languish in perpetual chaos) was cleaning the refrigerator and the shelf above the crisper shattered in her hands, which was all a bit dramatic and gave us both quite a fright. The thing is, I utterly loathe dealing with these kinds of things. I find trying to look for model numbers and part numbers and match them up on finicky little diagrams insanely stressful. I am always convinced that I am going to end up with the wrong part or that I am going to make some mistake that will end up costing us loads extra or that I am somehow doing the wrong thing. (Actually this rather tragic conviction has been more or less my constant companion for as long as I can remember, but I digress.) Anyway, in the brightness and clarity (really – I love this part, crappy sleep notwithstanding, and even that is getting better!) of my new sobriety, I did the hard thing! I matched up the stupid numbers and scrutinized the minute diagram and went ahead and just ORDERED THE PART. As luck would have it, the package arrived today and I planned to draw some neat little metaphor about my fridge being restored to full capacity and sobriety and doing hard things.

So neat, and spot on – I have done a whole 30 days without wine and I CAN do hard things. But. It turns out that, in Sears’ parlance at least, “Glass refrigerator shelf” denotes a sheet of plain glass that is entirely useless without the plastic frame into which it slots and which we conscientiously recycled on the day of the incident, and whose replacement cost is the same again as said useless piece of glass, bringing the total for the repair to one fifth of the cost of a whole new fridge. I could blog instead about the equanimity and good humor with which newly-sober me finds herself able to navigate these little setbacks. Haha! “You FUCKER!!!!” is how I actually responded, aimed at Sears, the offending piece of glass and myself and heedless of the Little, who was playing on his own in the living room. “I am not a fucker!” he called, outraged. “You are a fucker. What is a fucker mommy?” My horrified “PLEASE don’t say that word. Don’t say what mommy says!” eliciting a still-affronted, “But you SAID fucker, mommy.” It was hilarious and awful. I died. 

(I apologize for the profanity – I am very sweary in real life although trying hard to be better about it.)

Here’s the thing, though. I was really irritated – with myself for having made the mistake and with Sears for not labeling their parts better – but I wasn’t swamped with shame and rage, as I would have been a month ago. I didn’t order the wrong part because I am a fuckup and incapable, and although I had to spend 17 years “chatting” with customer service to make sure that I ordered all the right missing parts and haggling for free shipping (was it worth it? we ask ourselves) it hasn’t ruined my day. 

I probably should have checked in with Sears to make sure I was getting the right part and before we recycled the frame, and they could definitely make the process a lot more straightforward with clearer descriptions, but… well, that’s life, isn’t it? I am so grateful to be sober. My great takeaway from these first 30 days is, getting sober isn’t going to magically transform me into someone else, and my sober life is not going to be miraculously problem free. Things are going to go wrong, and I am going to make mistakes – and I am probably going to swear a bit when I do, at least for now but, sober, I can live with myself. I am more than my mistakes and life is so, so much bigger and better than the minor (or even major) catastrophes that are a part of it. Sober, I can do better – and I am. 🤗

I Can’t Do This Alone

And I can’t do it all at once. I know that. Obviously. But. It feels as though it is all happening TO ME, and all at once. It is overwhelming. Day 26, and I do not feel wonderful or free. I feel terrified and as though my entire world, outer and inner, may come crashing down on me at any moment. I read something on In Others’ Words this morning* about getting sober feeling like reaching the top of Mount Olympus and then realizing it’s actually just emerging from Mordor, and perhaps that is where I am at. 

By grace or dark comedy we started seeing a therapist on the same day I stopped drinking, ostensibly to talk about some difficulties my middle son has been experiencing, but by the time I’d spent the first 15 minutes of the appointment weeping ugly crying it became fairly clear that the old “put on your own oxygen mask first” chestnut may apply. The result is that I have been dredging up a lot of very painful stuff during the past 26 days (Wrote weeks there and had to come back and correct it. That pretty much sums it up!) not all of which relates to my drinking except to the extent that eventually everything relates to our drinking, whether it is caused by it or what we are using it to try and run from. 

I think on its own, the realization – which felt like a bolt from the blue although I know it cannot truly have been – that I have a “proper” drinking problem would have been a lot. This… has been a really lot. I am mindful that my continued, worsening (incredibly) insomnia is also making things feel more catastrophic and making it more challenging for me to deal with what I am experiencing, but that is nonetheless where I find myself today and understanding that lack of sleep is part of what is hurting doesn’t make it go away, sadly. 

Conversely, thanks to the many warriors who have come before me and written about their journeys so beautifully and bravely I have the framework (is that the right word?) to make sense of a lot of it, at least intellectually – especially the very fact of the noise level of all of the feelings and thoughts and fears and whatever else that I was drinking to drown out. (“Yes it is loud in here, honey. Drinking didn’t make that stop, it just meant you couldn’t hear it you could pretend to ignore it.)

This is a bit of a rambly and self-serving post, but I have to run to fetch the boys and my straggly drafts folder (already!) tells me if I don’t post this now, odds are, I won’t. I want to be able to come back to these days because I believe (mostly; I am trying to believe) that it will get better, even for me, and I don’t want to forget. I am WORKING ON BEING grateful to be here. 

x

*I spent the morning binge reading the first few months of her archives so I can’t say with certainty where from, but possibly her most recent post. Today is her two-year soberversary and it is a beautiful post. It is a beautiful blog. Thank you Prim for the link.)

Edited to add: Holy cow! 26 days!!! 26 mornings without a hangover. I am! I am SO GRATEFUL TO BE HERE. 

Peace in Small Doses

Thinking of renaming this blog “I have Deep Thoughts but Oh Lordy I’m Too Tired to Write About Them.” (Maybe they’re not even that deep!) I am sleeping way better but still seem to wake up around 5.30 and by the time the kids are in bed I pretty much need to be too. Also it turns out I have a LOT of kids and when I am not hungover and distracted they talk to me allll the time. Writing very much at all is going to have to wait until my brain is able to function after 8pm, especially as the summer holidays are almost upon us. 

Something funny and wonderful happened yesterday. My doctor rang with some test results and to prescribe a course of strong antibiotics, and I immediately and reflexively thought, “Ack! Not antibiotics! Not 10 days!” I have rarely been on antibiotics as an adult, but enough that my subconscious is fully briefed on the “no-alcohol” stipulation that accompanies every prescription and reacted with instant, abject dismay. Still on the phone to the doctor I recognized the panic and was flooded with relief as I realized, I don’t drink. I can start this course tonight and I am already doing possibly the most important thing my body needs me to to start healing itself. How cool is that? Day 23 and I am so grateful to be here!

Another Friday! (Day 19!)

Writing here is really helping me. I am grateful for the sense of community and am also finding that planning/figuring out what to write is giving me a focal point (or something) for reflection on how I am feeling and what I am learning or worrying about – even about things I haven’t ended up writing about yet. I am starting to feel a lot clearer and healthier, which is wonderful and will hopefully help with the coming days and weeks as the novelty wears off and I begin to encounter the inevitable social occasions and times of stress (etc etc). I know it is super early days but I am going to let myself off the hook on posting here every day, although I plan to try journaling offline and hopefully keep posting pretty regularly. I’m still sleeping badly and pretty tired by the end of the day but hopefully that will continue to improve and with it my ability to sustain a train of thought and write meaningfully about it! (On rereading there are an awful lot of “hopefully”s in this post. Speaks to my state of mind I guess!)

Wishing you all a very happy sober Friday and a lovely, peaceful weekend.

x