Wow. It’s HERE. It’s really here. As of today, January 9th, 2013, I am 90 days sober. I made it!
Actually, this is my third try since last summer. I quit drinkin’ the day after my birthday back in June (I had had ENOUGH after yet another drunken night of being alternately up and down, yelling at people, and passing out in the middle of important things, like, um, making out with my boyfriend), went for 60 days, drank twice during the next 2 weeks, went for 5 weeks, then drank, oh, several times over the next 3 weeks before I finally–after a horrendously hungover flight from [big city near my home town] to [beautiful island where I now live]–gave up. That was 90 days ago.
Over the course of these 90 days, things have definitely changed. Majorly, in some respects, subtly in many, many others.
If I think back to June, things have changed immensely. I made some huge, and important, life choices–giving up my place (and all that entails) in [cold west coast city] and relocating most of my belongings back to my storage unit in [cold east coast city] was one. The “and all that entails” was confronting (or, in my case, avoiding confronting with any kind of maturity or grace) some of the emotional baggage from my first time in [cold west coast city] (I lived there for 6 years prior to moving to [cold east coast city] in 2005; I moved back to [cold west coast city] in 2010 for a job), which I’ve detailed in past posts.
What I’m saying is, it wasn’t easy starting. It wasn’t easy continuing to not drink through the fear, the worry, the “wolf” voice in my head yelling at me near-constantly that wine would make it better, that life was literally impossible to do without it. It wasn’t easy getting here.
Moving to the [beautiful island where I now live] wasn’t easy. Deciding to dive in and start freelancing wasn’t easy. Going through withdrawal (for I’d say, 6 weeks of a low-grade “flu”), starting this blog and opening up about my drinking problem–that sure wasn’t easy. Going to my first AA meetings here, on said island, was definitely not easy; reading the Big Book and coming to terms with my own opinion and beliefs about AA and “The Program” wasn’t/isn’t easy. Dealing with constant “God DAMN it, wine would make this SO MUCH BETTER/EASIER” pangs was/is probably the worst thing I’ve ever had to do; thankfully, thinking through these thoughts, rationalizing myself out of drinking over them, and practicing this over and over–in addition to doing what I would say is a “personalized” version of the 12 steps–has allowed me to at least tuck the pangs in for a nap.
Those are some of the big ways my life is different. It’s the small ways that are SO abundant, and so rewarding. While today is my 90-day anniversary, it was just like many of the past 90 days: I woke up relatively early, with no hangover and no regrets; I made coffee and walked the dogs, soaking up the wind, the sun, the water, the sky; I went jogging; I went to an AA meeting; I made cupcakes to celebrate my soberversary; I finished an editing project; I commented on some blogs; I wrote a blog post; I kissed my boyfriend. I mean, my days seem simple, but yet…they’re brimming with possibility! Flourishing, actually, in spite of any and every habitual notion I have of containing them.
And, each one of those “simple” acts and actions reveals a major step forward, personally, for me; and most of them, I see now, involve conquering a grander fear. None of this conquering of fears (like, doing it and doing it and doing it until the fear is less than my faith) would have been possible if I were still drinking. It’s that simple.
Fear? Well, the fear of life without wine, first and most important of all. I mean, I was afraid of doing a LOT of things sober. Like, eating dinner, going out, having sex–you get the picture. I worried about the “weird and awkward” moments that were SURE to come up. I didn’t believe that I could do them anymore without wine, or the reward of wine more precisely (I think I ONLY made it through journalism school and my job as a science reporter with the reward of loads of wine at the end of my days)… I guess I just had faith because I saw–thank God(dess)–that I truly had no other option.
Now? Well, I’ve done it. Felt the fear and did it (well, many of them) anyway. Had to say, Wow, THAT was weird and awkward, and then shrug my shoulders and move on. And, what a HUGE RELIEF, knowing that I CAN do these things without being buzzed, AND that I’m actually starting to truly want to do them sober.
I’m HERE, which means I actually made the decisions that led me to give up my place in [cold west coast city] and move down, which could only have been preceded by me actually confronting my sense of loss, my fear of change, and my apprehension of Things Working Out, both personally and professionally. I was not only afraid of geographic change, I was sort of TERRIFIED of being in a relationship, I see now. Of getting to know someone; of someone getting to know me. I used wine to hide from that truth–for years, actually–and the more I avoided it, the worse I felt and the more I wanted to (and did) drink! So, being here, with this wind, and sun, and water, and sky; with these dogs; with this person–it’s all because I began confronting (and continue; it ain’t over yet!) my fear(s) instead of drinking.
Anyway, 90 days. Like I wrote earlier today, I made a deal with myself that I’d go for 90 days and then re-assess. Well, all I can say is, I feel great, I’m regaining my powers of concentration and affect and memory (sort of), I’m LOVING the consistency of never being hung over, and well…yeah, the list goes on and on as to how my day-to-day life has improved by quitting drinking.
Was today any different than any other sober day of late? Not really. I thought about drinking a few times, as usual, but the thoughts are now accompanied by a quick ushering out. I can’t, is all I know. I could, but I’d drink four glasses, not one–I’d WANT four, this I know. Is an hour of “fun” worth 48 hours of time wasted, spent in agony? NOT. So, the loop goes back to the beginning with me not being able to drink… For now.
Well, there ya have it. What’s next? 6 months? Bring it on! 🙂