After my blog yesterday I talked to Husband about my feelings and had him read my blog. We talked it out and it was great. We had a booze free day, walking around Rovaniemi, going out for ice cream, shopping at H&M, booking a tour for a midnight sun adventure, cooking a simple dinner and playing cribbage. Fantastic. We even woke up and took a jog together this morning. Then he encouraged me to sign up for a yoga retreat in Portland that I'd been pining after but thought was too expensive. Husband!
Self-care, routine, and not demanding too much of one's self. These were the topics of the Bubble Hour episode on "Sober in the Summer" that I listened too as I jogged this morning. Of course I'm thinking a lot about drinking/not drinking. I'm out of my routine, I'm on vacation, and I've been neglecting my self-care bubble a bit. I'm back!
But the demanding too much of myself while in Portland, what might that look like? I know I do that, usually by too many scheduled social events. I can say no, I can enjoy my alone time when I only have 2.5 weeks this year to connect with my community. Blood pressure just rose a bit thinking about it. See the people that make me feel good, don't let in-laws dominate my time, quality over quantity.
I'm stressing a bit about it because last night I had a dream that combined where I am now (where Santa Claus comes from) and guilt about how I'm failing my loved ones when I come home for a visit. In my dream it was Christmas and I was panicking because Husband and I didn't bring any gifts for anyone and there were a huge disproportionate size pile for us. So uncomfortable and embarrassing!
Okay, back to the positive. Yoga retreat, camping, spending time with loved ones that make me feel strong, loved and enough when I don't come bearing gifts.
This morning I woke up feeling resentful about yesterday. A delayed emotional response, yet again. What was I resentful about? That the day's events revolved around Husband's drinking. And I don't anymore. I need a break from it, but didn't realize it until this morning-after yesterday where we got a drink in one bar, ate dinner in another bar, stopped to get beer at a store for later and then had a drink in another bar before heading back to our apartment. Then I got some sauna time. I went to bed and Husband had more beers!
Too much! Too much soda water, too much bar. I struggle here. I don't want to ask Husband to not drink because of my decision not to drink, I don't want to take away his rights. But, yesterday's frame got to me, waking up to more beer cans that I had to move off the table and drain by the sink got to me.
I just need to ask for a drink free day. A day where all decisions are about other delights - coffee, ice cream, the view, the crowd. Not me doing that and Husband making sure he has beer to entertain himself through it.
I don't want to have to ask, but I need to ask. I feel bad for asking him for this but I am resentful if I'm just sitting through a drinking routine. I bet he is resentful too: my non-drinking highlights his drinking, having to drink alone while I'm cold and tired. Me not wanting a soda water but not knowing what else I want.
We were out of sync yesterday.
When I traveled with CW and HH in Paris, drinking never came up because they didn't drink either, it was such a surprise to explore traveling as newly sober with other non-drinkers. Now I'm exploring traveling with a drinker, Husband, who I will do most of my traveling with over time. It's time for me to think through a bit of what I want that to look like, so as not to get stuck in silent resentment and open guilt.
And then I come back to this: what to do with all this sitting around talking and not drinking?? That is traveling and that is visiting. Drinking made it easier, but now what? [Thinking of Portland time] Shove shit in my mouth? Crochet? I sometimes just have nothing to say AND I'm not interested in listening. Learning to be present is hard. I fear that I'm becoming unsocialible, I fear the potential boredom, isolation, and disconnect up ahead.
Shut up Debbie Downer. I have been pleasantly surprised in the past. And I bet I will find there is a community of normies that I never noticed before that will meet me where I need it and will support me and help me find where I feel that connection, that engagement that energy. Hikes with people: moving and conversation! Shopping with people?
I got to get out of this funk today. It's still before noon, I can still shake it and have a full day in the positive. Even just writing this has unburdened me. Blogging is the best!
Well, yesterday was a completely lovely day plagued by craving for beer. And like many abstainers, I didn't wake up regretting that I didn't drink yesterday. But the thoughts of wanting to drink peppered throughout the day were more than an irritant, they were a bit alarming!
Alarming because I had been thinking that I'm "over that." So much so that I have thought about wrapping up this blog at six months because I have nothing more to say. Foolish me, I'm not cured. Foolish me, any new environment or really any new may bring out a reaction in me or at least give me pause to reflect on who I am now in this new space with myself.
Husband and I are staying at a little cabin next to a lake. All there is to do is relax and look at the water, read and get in and out of the sauna. With so much free time to do nothing I couldn't help but romanize a beer on our cabin's porch. It would taste so good, would help me relax and settle me. I know. iknowiknowiknow. Walk through the whole thing. And I did. We would run out of beer and I'd be craving more, I would be embarrassed at how many bottles we went through for our host to recycle. I would have slept terribly, I would have...I would have...but I didn't. But mentally I felt close, a nudge closer to: "I could have..."
So now what??
I'm going to sit by this lake all day, now sipping tea, listening to the birds and the rolling thunder. I will meditate soon. Finish my book today. Eat lunch, light the stove for the sauna. Stay up to watch the sun set at 10:53pm but never get dark.
In the middle of all this, if I feel shaky, I will find some blogs to read, I will listen to the Bubble Hour. I can't imagine calling a friend...but I could research an AA meeting in Portland where I could meet another person that I could call in the future that would understand that call, who would know what to say. I sure don't know what I would say. "Hey friend. I feel like drinking...I know it is stupid and I shouldn't but....?" I feel dumb already. Does that make me too proud to ask for help?
See my photo of tea and my lake view from the porch. What a beautiful day, not to be squandered by my demon thoughts. I'm going to mediate, drink my tea, and love my sober life today.
Just arrived in Helsinki, the start of our travels and trek back to PDX. And this afternoon I had a pretty strong urge to drink. I'm thankful Husband didn't indulge my statement, "maybe I can just have a couple of drinks while on vacation."
I thought for a second about creating a rule: if I was in another country from where I lived I could drink. Short term, controllable, clear lines. And I knew it wouldn't work. And then I got sulky about for a half second: "no fair, look at everyone having a good time, relaxing with a beer or crisp white wine, I want to be able to do that!"
But then I walked through it. I would get a beer and it would taste so good and the effects I wanted would happen for a bit. The warmth, relaxation, contentment, the fun of the notion of drinking. Then I'd have another to intensify those feelings and another until I went from content and relaxed to weighted and too tired and lazy to do anything else besides continue to drink more. That would sedate me from actually exploring as much as I want, lead to bad food choices and hangovers. No thank you.
Got through that one. More soda water, a coffee and later when it started to drizzle hot chocolate tastes so good and appropriate for my chill.
Then when Husband bought an assortment of beers to drink at our place, instead of MORE soda water, I decided to branch out and try some treats: juices and flavored soda waters.
Another monthly benchmark has come to pass. Five months. That is sizable. That is a successful new habit. I said I wanted to stop drinking and I have done it for 152 days. One hundred and fifty-two days. Substantial.
I now can go days without thinking about drinking or that I'm "doing" something to not drink. I feel like myself in my own skin, at ease with others, with my choices.
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