My first time reaching 1 month sober I was so excited. It was monumental. This time around I’m not excited, I’m not bored with it, I just have one month. Relief? The month went by so quickly, maybe that I don’t feel I really earned it. It was too easy? Was it easy? Yeah, it was easier than the last “first month” because I wasn’t as steeped into the bottle this time around, I was faking normal drinking. And this time around, I got a shiny red coin to prove my month.
I’ve almost completed my drunkalogue. It is not book worthy! The lows are not the lows that are the hallmarks of a woman spinning out of control for years. It’s a thousand of little cuts into my integrity, self-worth, relationships and health. I’m not trying to compete I know, but sometimes I still wonder, maybe I’m not an alcoholic after all. Even writing that, eek! But indeed my life had become unmanageable, I could control how much I drank. I often blacked out.
A couple of revelations came out of writing this narrative of my drinking history.
I’m still going to meetings, mostly I like them, but I continue to bristle at some parts of it. Especially when people seem to discredit those who stopped drinking without AA by calling them a “dry drunk”. I did a lot of work on myself last time around without the formalized steps and that counts, dammit. But I like the community and support and it can’t hurt my sobriety, right? I also can bare to introduce myself every time I speak to the 3 other people there, and follow my name with “I’m an alcoholic” I can’t buy into it as of yet, but I’ll keep going back until something better comes along, or summer starts and all the group chairs go to other countries for 6 weeks.
This month I have taken on two parts of the same goal: calm the consumption. I gave up drinking, shopping for stuff, gratuitous searching online and buying software. I have a little more than a week in my official month. How have I been doing?
Drink: outstanding. Not a drop
Eat: not really monitoring outside of my normal healthy eating goals. But I have been craving sweets since I’ve stopped drinking. I’m allowing myself this pleasure.
Shop: I have bought 2 dresses in the past week. I am more than okay with this. Guangzhou is now in summer weather, which means 95 degrees with 85% humidity. Since moving here I gained over 10 pounds and my tailored suit skirts and collared shirts are both too tight and too hot, most of my clothes I can’t wear. So I threw out one of those tight collared shirts and bought a dress. Then I did that again.
Search: It’s better than before, but I still love to research and learn about shit. I’ve done a lot of reading on AA, got lost in readings and stories about David Foster Wallace, I did reach on which AA app is the best for what I wanted. I paid $.99 for a great little app that has all the AA reading material, prompts for writing and daily checklists with optional reminders. It’s super and/but a little cutesy. It’s called “Came to Believe” or CTB. Look for the Owl logo if you are interested.
I am still here. I am still here. I am still here. It’s been over 3 weeks now of sobriety.
The regular chorus this morning: I am so tired of all the things I think I need to be doing daily that I can’t seem to get much of anything done, even the things good for me or that I want to do. I have been thinking of writing here (self-care) but haven’t been able to get myself to do it because of the weight of all I need to do.
I have been to a few AA meetings now and I’m just starting to understand how the flow of the meetings work, at least for a meeting of 4-6 people meeting in a coffee shop. They are super supportive and it does help to listen and it does help to share…but I feel like my sharing doesn’t come out right most of the time. It’s largely because I don’t know how to thread together a share around my drinking, reasons for drinking, whatever in a coherent way.
With that said, I’m ambivalent about AA. I found myself yesterday searching through Google stories against AA: how outdated it is and resistances to medical advancements for addictions, not a good fit for women, harmfully too narrow with its abstinence only pathway. I did that after my first lunch date with my new sponsor. Yes, I got myself a sponsor. I think I’m doing what I often do: try to research my way out of trying something new that will make me uncomfortable and have to do some work I don’t want to do.
Back to me being so overwhelmed with my work and self-made expectations. Can I take on meetings, check ins, one-to-one meetings with a sponsor as well as do the step work? Where is the time and more importantly the emotional and mental space for all of this new stuff?
My homework from my sponsor is to write my drunkalogue, to get honest with my drinking history. I have to capture 20 years of drinking?? I did start this last night and already I have recalled events that I not thought of in years, which is the point. This is good for me. I know this is good for me.
I got the blues. I'm in the dumps and don't know how to pull myself out besides to go to bed and start over tomorrow. It's before 8pm and I'm counting down to when I can just call it in. It's Friday, it's my birthday, I'm sober, I have a great life, so much to live for, why am I stuck right now? Outwardly, it could be because its my birthday and I'm home with the dogs, a little pathetic that I have no friends to celebrate with. Husband is at a basketball tournament then out with the coaches. But my birthday isn't something that I'm comfortable celebrating so that's not really it.
I went through the motions of Foot Massage Friday, I took the dogs for a walk, and now I can't muster up the energy to do anything else: no crocheting, practicing the viola, yoga, or even feeding the fish. I don't have a tv to dive into, no drink to blunt the edges, no pot suspend me. I'm bored, I'm boring, I'm self-pitying and it's so depressing. I'll never get this day back and I'm just wasting it feeling sorry for myself instead of relishing what I have. I have so much and just can't tap into any of it right now.
It's also depressing to read my previous blogs, two years ago from now I hoped that I was "past" temptation and just myself without the drink. Obviously not true. I'm almost at 3 weeks again, which is something. Yes, it is something. But I have so much self-criticism.
I'm 42. My mom died when she was 62. My dad died when he was 66. If that is any indicator, it means I have a little over 20 years left. One third left and I'm wasting it away tonight pacing and crying into dog fur.
Is it the stress of work? I feel no relief from it on the week-ends. Am I just frazzled and exhausted? Is it my old wounds cracking open a bit? Is it that I feel isolated and alone? Is it that sadness is just part of living?
**********************************One hour later**********************************
My self pity party has settled down. Another example of "this too shall pass!" Part of what helped was actually looking back at some of my old blog posts (I'm such a narcissist) to see the work that I put into being sober and living a present life.
It's my birthday. At 39, with a few months of sobriety, I committed $390 to charity and gave 39 hours of service to the dog shelter in Egypt. For 40, I continued that for another year. For 41 I have no idea what did to celebrate and give back. But here I am again with another opportunity to celebrate by giving back for the life I've been given. All 42 years of it. I'll start planning on what to do.
The AA group didn’t have a 24-hour coin to give me, which I didn’t really mind. My dear Husband decided I needed one, so he made one on his 3D printer for me to have. I am so lucky.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. I like myself better for it and have a full life because of it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp