On Day Twenty I decided not to go to a bar for trivia night because it would be too awkward to explain why I wasn't drinking. I was happy with my decision to look out for my sobriety instead of self pressure to be exactly the same without drinking.
Last night I ended up at that bar with the same guys to watch some March Madness. Three dudes, Husband and I. Me matching the rounds of beers with club soda and bitters. No one said a thing about it. And I had fun.
My fleeting thoughts of paranoia and self-absorption had me thinking: is everyone talking about my non-drinking and they know not to ask? Do they think I'm pregnant? Are they annoyed I'm there because I'm not drinking? I can't wait until a time when I don't worry about people's feelings about my decision to stop drinking. I'm going to make sure that time comes because these insecure thoughts are annoying me.
On the way home I bummed a cigarette and felt so sick afterwards. For quite a long time actually. I think my social smoking days need to be over too. Just like drinking, smoking represents something other than the act itself. It's sharing a moment, it's a timeout, a way to have a one-on-one conversation at a party, something to do with my hands to calm my social anxiety. A quick way to create community.
The last few times I've smoked I've felt sick, but I keep doing it for the connection. But, I have to practice creating those moments and connections with out the crutch. I can have that conversation while they smoke, just like I can have that conversation without the alcohol.
I'm surprised how sick the cigarette made me, I really did feel like throwing up for over 10 minutes. With more distance from drinking and smoking my body is becoming more sensitive to unhealthy habits. I've noticed that slightly with food. Before, I couldn't ever know what made my stomach uneasy because booze was a constant irritate to my digestive system. Now I am starting to notice how I feel after meals, more in tune in general to my body.
I like this health spiral I'm caught up in. I'm going up the spiral instead of down. Finally: no drinking and smoking, no bar food, no late nights with poor sleep with hungover greasy food and skipping the workout-on to be the couch sick all day. Now I'm sleeping earlier, eating better, working out, craving more and more things that make me feel good both emotionally and physically. Without the booze, there really isn't too many things that can break that spiral besides being too proud of my sober self and using sweets for rewards.
Such a good day, a really good sober dry day. I'm sitting by the pool blogging in my bathing suit, had a tennis lesson this morning and ad hoc brunch with friends. I will read my book club book in a few minutes and will have some girlfriends over for a movie night later tonight. Very happy with all my choices today so far.
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