I have one day into my 2nd year of sobriety, today. I can't believe a whole year has taken place since my first day into sobriety. I cringe a bit when I look back my volatile state during the first few months. But hey, that's where I had to start to get here. Right here, where I can forget I'm so different than I was a year ago. I am who I've become over the last year.
Yesterday I hosted a small book club on the book The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld. Great book for discussion, not related to sobriety. But all day I was cleaning and cooking, on my one year anniversary, and about 10 minutes before the door bell rang, I realized we didn't have any wine in the house or really anything to drink besides soda water and whisky. Oops, bad sober host move. I started some ice tea and the ladies seemed just fine.
A-year-ago-me would have had piles of drinking options and had everyone with a bevie before they got their coats off. Now I forget about other people's drinking needs. A couple years ago I would have thought a dry book club would be the worse thing ever, actually, a dry baby shower is really the worst. But I've been that bitch who complained after a dry book club or shower about the lack of drinks and how awkward it was to just sit around talking. I find most of life less awkward and less boring now; drinking amplified my awkwardness and boredom. But I still mostly dred showers of any kind.
I always thought that the war on drugs could be ended if there was just a vaccination for addiction. If I had children, I would choose to vaccinate them against addiction along with other life changing protections.
I hoped that without the physical need people wouldn't overdose, rob, kill and all other sorts of terror for their next fix. I didn't think people would stop doing all drugs, but they would do them as recreation only; on their terms, which would have a clear line where the fun stopped and the alter state abandoned for sleep and water. What would the world look like without addiction?
While it isn't as easy or clean as a futuristic vaccination against the "addict gene," but there appears to be drugs that dampen the addiction and take away the euphoria of highs of all kind. I HAD NO IDEA THEY ALREADY EXISTED. That statement is in all caps because in all my reading about alcoholism I never ran across that there was a medical solution and that is a problem. So many people are looking for all sorts of inlets of help, and these drugs should be widely known as part of a package of support.
In this episode of Radio Lab, they discuss these drugs, how they work, and why they aren't offered by doctors to people who are struggling with addiction. The drugs do work for the physical addiction but there is still resistance to seeing alcoholism as a physical, treatable problem instead of a moralistic failure. Similar to how mental health was mostly ignored by the medical community until recently, addiction has been boxed off as something for psychologists to handle, not the medical doctor. Both are needed for people.
You should listen to this radio show, or research drugs that help mute the cravings if you are struggling to stay clean and dry. While AA works for some, it isn't the only way. http://www.radiolab.org/story/addiction/
A thought I had while listening to this story was about how much alcohol and drugs becomes a part of identity for people. The guy in the story stopped taking the drugs for a while because he didn't quite feel himself without drinking. They worked for the physical, but not for the psychological/emotional attachments to alcohol. I related to that, it is only a small pull now, but it is still there for me.
I also thought about my dad, who would never think he needed help with his drinking. If I lived with him, could I secretly give these pills to him and what would that do to him? Would that be a violation of his rights, adding in a pill to the handful of pills he takes each day? It might be nightmarish for him though, a bad trip where the booze becomes unappealing and then there isn't anything to keep it all suppressed and himself even keeled in the ways he's known for decades.
I'm on a train to Barcelona, having finished the week reunion with my friends. Of course my fears were unfounded. When I brought up I haven't drank in a year there was mild surprise and then lots of "good for you!" And "I need to cut down on my drinking" from a couple of peeps. Then things moved on to stories and laughs and where we were going next.
I enjoyed my time with them more than ever since I was so very present for all of it. I love these guys! It was so great to be with a group of friends where we have history together and we all expressed that we haven't yet found a community of similar depth in our new posts or where we all came from since. I felt in my skin, unjudged and part of.
We walked all over Madrid, eating everything and eating often. Everyone else has wine or beer each stop and I enjoyed their superior soda water (I'm serious) or red tea. Each spot we stopped for a drink and tapas, so through out the day I just got more and more HYDRATED and satiated with jámon iberico. I'm definitely bringing some back with me.
I didn't get a chance to feel morally superior with my water drinking since my soda waters or tea cost the same as beer or wine. Ultimately it is good that consumption is cheap, but I do like to feel that I'm saving money with my lack of drinking. But I'm still saving my health!!
Not everyone was into New Year Resolutions like I am, but everyone participated in the Spanish tradition to make 12 wishes and eat 12 grapes within the first 12 seconds of the new year. Here is was I wished for:
12 Wishes for 2016
1. Pain free running
2. Good financial decisions
3. Travel to Asia
4. Stress free job hunt
5. Back bends & handstands
6. Depth over breadth
7. Speak Arabic more
8. Stay under 140 lbs
9. Practice generosity
10. Express love more to friends and family
11. Quality time with the dog
12. Read more non-fiction
I didn't put any wishes of things that I'm currently doing and want to continue, like sobriety. I see that as a given and not some to wish upon but to live.
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