Summer has been packed with social events, I have not made sufficient time to reflect as I go on this blog but I've been keeping mental notes, checking in with myself as I go about my days.
I'm now in the Houston Airport waiting for the connecting flight to Brownsville, TX where I will visit with my dad for a week.
I'm not sure how this week will go for me emotionally. I know there will be lots of bad tv while Dad and Husband drink. We will go to the Pro Shop everyday where Dad's friends drink for happy hour(s). A friend of Husband and I is visiting for half the time as well with the battle cry,
"I'm down for whatever you guys want to do, as long as sobriety is not on the list."
Well, you can see how my week might be if I let it get me down and isolate me. I plan to exercise every morning and meditate, focus on the food, and make as much meaning out of the precious time I have with both Dad and my friend JTM.
Here I am on my 6 month anniversary flying straight to one of the sources of my dysfunctional drinking, and it wasn't even planned!
Wish me luck!
Portland is a place of old friends. Old friends who know me, which means when we make plans for lunch they suggest a new brewery that I should try. A friend did that, via text messaging plan making and my first response was: "sure!" not wanting to make it about me and feel awkward texting something about not drinking...
Then I thought about it the next day and decided that 1) I don't want to go to a brewery, 2) If I was in her place and she sat down at the brewery and said, "I don't drink anymore but go ahead" I (as her) would have felt terrible: "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME, WE COULD HAVE EATEN SOMEWHERE ELSE!" and guilty finished the previously ordered microbrew. I would hate to be caught off guard like that.
I've concluded that while it may not be a big deal to others that I'm not drinking, no one likes surprises in these circumstances. Husband patiently listened as I brainstormed ideas about what to text back and here's how it went:
Me: "Hi! I was looking at the website of 10 Barrel and couldn't find what food they serve...is it good? I ask because I stopped drinking and would be focused on the food and the company :) not the brew"
Her: "Ha! And I just started cause I've started to wean (breastfeeding). How about Thai? I like Khao San on 15th and Flanders."
Me: "Sounds great, but you know you can drink all you want with me, I just won't join in!"
Her: "Thanks! Was more thinking about the food. Ten Barrel is pretty pub grubby. After the 4th of July I'm ready for some rice!"
Me: "Cool, see you tomorrow. I haven't had good Thai in 10 months"
Okay for a first text message confession about not drinking. I seem to feel the need to assure people they can drink around me, I don't want people to feel bad about their drinking around me, but maybe I need to stop promoting people to drink around me.
On the 4th of July I told both my sister-in-law and mother-in-law that I'm not drinking anymore. In both incidences it went fine. I know mother-in-law must be very curious but she hasn't built up the courage yet to ask more questions. Mother-In-Law asked on the way home, when I talked about how tired I was (we just arrived from 24 hours of travel the day before) and she asked if I had anything to drink. So I said no, I stopped drinking a few months ago...better for my health, mumble mumble.
I've actually had a sinking feeling she already knew because all of our mail gets sent to her house because we live aboard, and she opens some of it to see if there important things we need to know about - which I find uncomfortably exposed - and a couple of days ago I saw that she opened the receipt for the registration of this domain name, iwillstartwithwater.com. I assumed she got curious and googled it and has been following my very public personal journey since. But maybe not, since she asked about me not drinking and isn't super into tech...who knows.
I know this is out there, publicly, but my initial feeling was as if she might have read my diary and didn't tell me. I like the idea of people who need my stories finding this in their search for community and support. It is different feeling when Mother-In-Law might be secretly following along with my journey because she opened my mail. I know she wouldn't have found this on her own and she isn't one of my inner circle friends invited in for my own accountability and support.
Started the day off positively with a jog, even before my morning coffee, of course listening to the Bubble Hour. The show was about isolation in recovery and how isolation can be caused by triggers and lead to relapse. One conversation I related to was that isolation isn't just physical but mental, and can start as soon as you think of yourself as outside or separate from others. It was a helpful dialog as I prepared for the day: the 4th of July BBQ.
Let me count the triggers:
During my run I thought that I would go shopping for a mini-cooler to carry my special drinks-no luke warm soda water or flat tap water to starting my pity party of isolation. A great plan that gives me one more tool to feel good about today and all the gatherings I will go to in the near future. I feel also conjure up my lessons from meditation app I have been using, I love "Head Space!" I will be present and focused and objective when I check in with how I'm feeling during the day. Bring it on!
Below are notes I took as I listened to the 2nd half of the Bubble Hour while on a 10-hour fight from Frankfurt to San Francisco.
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