It really is Revolution Day here in Egypt. On this day in 2011, protests started that resulted in President Mubarak stepping down after 30 years. To celebrate the day off we are hosting a true Sunday brunch (since we normally have to work on Sundays and can't brunch it up.) I'm making cornbread and potatoes, Husband is making some baked egg dish. I'm going to make up a pitcher of Bloody Marys-leaving the vodka to be pour into individual glasses so I can drink some virgin Bloodies-I do love them.
We are also having our own little revolution-we are breaking our lease and moving to a much nicer apartment next week-end. It might be the new sober energy, but I got super vocal about my discontentment at this place-horribly small kitchen, old torn furniture, terrible layout, low ceilings, so cold inside, loud street & construction outdoor, mirrors on every wall, etc. and asked Husband if we could just look to see what's out there....and we signed a new lease the same day we looked and here we are: having to face our sweet landlords and telling them we are moving out. They will keep our month's rent deposit and I have to remember this is a business contract. But I do feel torn up about it. I'm dreading the conversation, but it is so worth it to have a place where it feels good to walk into everyday...sober.
I just burst into tears after reading the first comments at the bottom of a sobriety blog. More on this blog later, I love it, but I have to address the crying. The first comment read,
"I am going to read each of the months as I am going through them. Thank you for organizing them this way. It's a great help!!"
I've said the same thing to myself about a year ago when I tried to quit, (then quickly changed my mind to "cut down" only after a few days), yet again convinced that I really don't have a drinking problem...I just needed to reset closer to moderation. After reading this comment I thought to myself: pathetic! So earnest and pathetic. I am so pathetic, "these" people are so pathetic. Just get it together...(me and all of you)...why can't I? Then a sleuth of thoughts came rushing in at me. Let me see if I can recapture some of them to make sense of it. Thank God for this online “diary” where I can spew to strangers...if anyone chooses to click on my pathetically titled blog alluding to hydration. Self-hate, I have a lot of it right now. And judgement. I have a lot of that too.
#1-I am not these pathetic people (I am feeling so judgmental). I have not gotten to the point of losing jobs, family, friends or health because of my drinking. I have never had an intervention and the amounts I drink are so little compared to others' stories when they try to stop drinking. Then I think "at least I'm not that bad, see I really am on the edge of being a moderate drinker, I don't need to quit." Then I think maybe they are the ones judging me and my stupid blog and attempt to quit drinking, "you think you have a problem? Go home little girl with your 5 drinks and a hangover, this recovery thing is for the big boys." Delete blog and go have a drink.
#2-These are my thoughts after 8 days of not drinking. What the fuck? I'm crying about my pathetic future already in the morning of day 8? In the blog post, Mrs. D is in month two of recovery and she mentions a book where the author warns that the 9th month of recovery is where many people relapse. 9 months? That’s 8 months and 3 weeks away from me. By 9 months this should be cake, a story to tell. I thought the hard part was now, the first month. I don’t know if I am up to the challenge, seriously I really don’t know. But it makes me feel gross to read any self-help stuff besides Mrs. D, too cultish, too pitiful, obsessive, too far away from my story to relate.
#3-I’m scared. This is hard, I don’t know how to do this, who am I in all of this? Before last week, people in recovery made me uncomfortable because they were so intense: counting days, talking about "the journey," telling horror stories of what they were like before they stopped-a real downer to be around. Actually made me want a drink just to celebrate that their stories weren't mine. But now (fucking 8 days in) I’m starting to get it a little more...how hard it is and the tools and tricks necessary to keep doing it. That makes me want to cry again-I don’t want to be that person that is so self-absorbed in counting days, bleak, and telling cautionary tales a year from now to some other schmuck because I’m fun, I’m adventurous, I’m well-rounded! How can I stop drinking and not turn into that bitter haggard man chain-smoking cigarettes with a Sprite or coffee in a styrofoam cup?
Okay, writing some of this has helped get the emotion out. This is the place where I can be the weak, desperate, dark, confused lady with a problem. In my real-time life, I’m still just taking the day off of drinking...everyday until I’m not.
I like to see the benefits of what I do. I track my hours & quality of sleep, my steps, my running distances, temperature, weight, periods and heart rate. That does seem excess when I have it spelled out, but I like to see what's going on with me and if I'm improving.
Maybe I'll see improvement in my temperature (its too low) the longer I'm without booze because my metabolism will rise. Maybe I'll have deeper sleep and loose those pounds I thought would come off if I would just cut down on the drinking. Maybe next blood test I won't need cholesterol meds. All maybes because it is too soon. Too soon to see if this really can be a life style change.
In the meantime, I can calculate how much money I saved this past week by not drinking. (This is a compost of a possible week when I'm not trying to limit my drinks...which was frequent)
Sunday= Sober Sunday=$0.00
Monday= 3 Laphroaigs at home & ½ bottle of wine at home=$16.00
Tuesday= 3 (20oz) Sakaras beers out, 1 Laphroaig at home= $9.00
Wednesday= 2 Laphroaig at home= $8.00
Thursday= 3 IPA beers out, 1 Johnny Walker out=$26.00
Friday= 3 vodka drinks at home, ½ bottle of wine at home, ¾ bottle of wine out, 3 (20oz) Sakaras out= 36.00
Saturday= ½ bottle of wine at home=$4.00
$99 a week.
That's actually quite a lot of $$ for mostly home drinking, and of course sometimes we go out more, sometimes I drink less than this when I'm trying to drink less. At least I have been mostly home drinking, which saves me money? (awkward laughing) If I could only be that social drinker that drinks out, that would cut out most of my drinking . That would really limit how much I drink, but that is even a slippery slope, right? RIGHT??!!? I probably would just hang out at the club every night after work with the crowd that already does that, I would find a way to get by drinks no matter what rules I put in place.
A week ago today, I woke up hungover on the first day of my week-end...like always. But not today! I woke up at 7:30am and I have a whole day ahead of me to do whatever I want! I won't be couch-bound, pizza-eating, sick, depressed, piecing together the end of the night TODAY. And this is a 3-day week-end, I have two more mornings of waking up without an alarm and without a hangover and without regret.
Last night Korean dinner was fun. People were surprised that I wasn't drinking, I said I'm on the edge of not feeling well, which is true and that was it. Husband and I did get a little of pressure to go to Dive Bar after dinner, but I stood my ground that it was time to go be horizontal on the couch. And here I am feeling fresh for the day-Dog Face will love me for it and I will jog, cook and eat well.
I'm super proud of myself that I have gone a whole week without, and without too much pain. I know that it is early in this experiment, but my mindset helped to make it easy to just not drink. I hope the longer I go the more that time just builds momentum and this becomes normal. I haven't gone a whole week without drinking in....hmmm....I can't remember. Years?
I'm always trying moderation tricks, it was always an internal conversation: "I should take tonight off...or maybe only drink beer...or only a 1/2 bottle of white wine...ok, water, wine, water, wine, pace myself with the slowest drinker, etc." and then those plans for moderation fail. I fold, I forget, I wake up hungover and wondering how I might have embarrassed myself. Not now. Hopefully never again.
My first sober week-end!
Going out with friends tonight for Korean food. I fear the peer pressure and annoyance I'll get for not being the "normal" me. Usually, after Korean food we go to "dive bar" and play darts, drink soju & beer. Not tonight for me. I think I will try out my phrase, "I'll start with water..." But I will need something else too, because I don't want to lie and I don't want to tell the whole truth either. It's easier to confess to the blogosphere than the people know of what my plan is: my vague plan of quitting for a month or on the way for forever. I feel more obligated to the blank space out there, the possible strangers than to my friends to keep on not drinking. Like I said, none of my friends would want me to stop drinking and I can imagine them trying to talk me about of any of this, convincing me I don't have a problem. And I want to believe them.
Part of the challenge is that these are newer friends, I've only been in this country for 6 months and it takes time to find one's crew. But what have bonded us is of course having fun while drinking. I'm now re-thinking this identity and so fearful of falling out of the circle. I won't be fun anymore, I won't be cool anymore. I have to remember if that falling out happens it will probably will be mutual-I won't be having as much fun at Dive Bar without the drink, I might not have as much fun with them. Ugh, this scary and lonely.
What I already miss about drinking:
#1 The suspension of time
#2 Feeling rebellious and fun
#3 Being in the "in" crowd
#4 How relaxed I feel
#5 Bonding with Husband
I'm caught in the loss of my identity today. Mourning. Maybe tomorrow I can list someways of what I will gain by not drinking.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. My life is so much better for it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp