90 days sober!

9 Jan

11:59 pm

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! 🙂

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27 Responses to “90 days sober!”

  1. Lilly January 10, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    Wonderful, wonderful. And once again so much resonates with me – not the specifics so much (well, apart from the part about realising you’re terrified of being in a relationship again – hand up here too to that!) but the general sentiments and emotions. And seeing you 90 days ahead is inspiring to me, as far as where things can go if I keep going.

    My caution to you earlier may have been unnecessary, since you’ve been down the quit-start road before. It’s just that, when I was at that 80 days I felt so great and strong in not drinking I really thought that even if I did drink again I’d be able to easily get back on the not drinking bandwagon and, for whatever reasons, that has just not been the case. I think I did go another week, maybe two even, after that, but since then it’s just been on-off, on-off and never reaching more than two weeks AF. I’d hate to see you get back in that loop.

    I don’t want to sound like a ‘once a drunk’ hardliner, because I don’t believe that either – I think there’s a lot of individual variation in drinking problems and even their expression over time. But for people like us the path can be so unpredictable. We can think we’re doing great then BAM.

    It frustrates me that had I not had that ‘one drink’, which wasn’t even planned or particularly enjoyed (waitress put it in front of me by mistake when I was out on a first date and I just went ‘why not’), I might now be at six months. I definitely know I can’t have ‘just one’ but I can still imagine myself convincing myself that I could get blotto ‘just this time’ again. It’s a really hard cycle to get out of, so if you have, and are feeling great for it, hang onto that for all your might I say!

    I’ll be cheering you on to six months for sure.

    L x

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      Hi, Lilly,
      Thanks for all you just wrote — totally feel you on how easily we can “trick” ourselves into being able/wanting to drink in moderation. I know I can’t, even after 90 days; sometimes I actually think I’ve just pushed the urge down, and have been doing it long enough (90 days, though, is not that long) that it FEELS like I’m strong, I’m over it, etc. I tried to drink when I felt “good,” back at 60 days, and it was like I hadn’t quit! I know my body had changed, though, and that is what slightly scares me into NOT drinking right now: I have no idea, really, if my body will react the same, or even be able to process the amount that I know, deep down, I want to drink (which is still a lot, if I’m honest).

      I really hope you give a month, or even 90, a go. I’ve noticed one amazing, totally relieving thing: my desire to drink, my obsession to drink, is a lot less. It’s come recently. I feel free, in a way. I can go to dinner parties and not pout, or feel depressed/edgy that I can’t drink. Sure, it’s still there, but a LOT less–like, 85% less. I’m less moody about it all. I don’t have to have booze there, at every turn, and it makes planning things, going out, going on trips, having a life a lot better, a lot more free.

      I think I’m going to go for 6 months; I feel like I’m just now at some new turning point.

      Good luck, stay well, and think about just doing it! You can always drink again, but I think a sustained period of abstinence is worth observing how your body will and is sure to change as a result.

      Hugs!

  2. Lilly January 10, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    God I really hate posting comments then realising I’ve made hasty grammar and punctuation errors. #wordnerd

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      Me, too! Drives me nuts! I didn’t notice, though. 😉

  3. Belle (Tired2012) January 10, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    you rock you rock you rock. nuff said. i couldn’t be more thrilled for you. i still check your blog first thing every morning to see what newness you’ve discovered. that you’ve given yourself the gift of 90 days is so amazing 🙂 it all does become clearer, get easier, etc. but it’s almost impossible to believe that when you’re staring at day 1. to begin takes a weird leap of faith, with only the cheering of others on the sidelines saying “we’ve done it, you can too, you’ll see, it’s not so bad.” but to actually begin, to walk out into the fog of the unknown, with only worries and fear, well it takes courage. and you’ve done that. and then – wowie – when the fog clears, and here you are … you rock you rock you rock 🙂 did i say that already? i will have a cupcake today, too, and raise a *toast* to you.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 12, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

      THANK YOU! Yes, I do feel like a little bit of a rockstar… I did have constant fear and worry and now, finally at 90 or so days, it’s turning into something along the lines of acceptance, a clearing of headspace. I never, EVER thought I could do it, which is strange considering how bullheaded I’ve been about it–no, no, no you cannot drink, period end of story.

      Your support has been amazing–you have such great, constructive, “normal” insights into this bizarre process. I can’t wait to see us a year down the road! Hugs from across the pond. 😉

  4. Al K Hall January 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Fantastic! It’s true sobriety has its ups and downs but in all of your posts, you come across as someone who really “gets” sobriety. i’m sure you’ll be able to hold on for the long term and i congratulate you on not just a healthy recovery, but the ability to serve as an example to everyone who thinks that getting sober is “too hard”. Keep up the good works!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

      Do I really? I wonder sometimes if I’m doing it all wrong, if my take on sobriety is simply off base! I like to think things through, so we’ll see if that continues to help me down the road.

      I do hope to be an example to people who are dealing with all the head stuff and not sure if it’s “normal” or not–it is! And, to let people know that if I can do it, they sure can! Haha. Thanks for your comments. Hugs!

  5. Peggy January 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Congrats! Every day counts. For me being sober, life gets better everyday.

  6. Peggy January 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    And from what I read above, it is for yout too!! 🙂

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

      Hi, Peggy,
      Life is a lot better than it was, starting with waking up without a hangover! 🙂 Thanks for your vote of confidence!

  7. SoberinSD January 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Congratulations, DDG! I’m so ready to stop drinking and your story was mine ten years ago. I never stopped to re-assess – I just re-assed :). I have been trying to stop since 2009 – I think this is the year and your blog is a huge inspiration. I’m really happy for you, you sound like you’ve found peace of mind.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      Haha. Re-assed? Wow, can I steal that? I’ve been re-assing for years myself! I’m so glad you find my blog and ramblings inspiring–if I can do it, so can you.

      I’ve got a few degrees and all that, but this is by far the hardest thing I’ve done in my entire life. It just takes work, constant self-evaluation…BUT, the good news is, if you get through the first few weeks, the first 60 days, and then, 90–wowee, it just sort of falls into place. I am no longer fighting the urge to down wine every single second. Your brain changes, your thoughts change. My head is clearing in that I’m looking forward to REAL things that give me pleasure, and that I can achieve. Sure, I *guess* it’d be nice to have a glass of wine, but I’ve come to accept that:
      1. I still want the whole bottle, the entire store (yes, I once thoughts it’d be nice to drink the entire wine shoppe); that can lead to nothing but agony
      2. I can’t drink NOW; maybe later, but not now

      Good luck and my advice is to just go for it! Sure, it’ll be unpleasant, but you ONLY HAVE TO GO THROUGH IT ONCE!

      xx

  8. Just Some January 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    You’re AWESOME!! You’ve grown so much. It’s good to see you “off the ledge”.
    Sometimes (most of the time) I have to DRAG my ass to an AA meeting but I’m always glad I do. I think it will be necessary for me to stay sober this time. A healthy dose of fear doesn’t hurt either!

    • Just Some Woman January 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      That’s suposed to be “Just Some Woman”. I was so excited I hit enter too quickly!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 12, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      Thank you!!! Yes, off the ledge is good!

      I know, I feel good after meetings, and I have come to really like a lot of the people I’ve met–I mean, we get to know each other so deeply (except me, I haven’t shared that much; it’s still too painful and I feel uncomfortable doing it to a group).

      And, yes, right now, I am a bit scared of drinking. I think my body has changed to the point of, I’m not sure how it would take even a little amount of ethanol, let alone the shitton that I would MOST LIKELY put into it. I also feel like my body is very sensitive right now, rebuilding all that I broke, so…

      Good luck! xx

  9. belowhermeans January 11, 2013 at 5:19 am #

    Congratulations! This is no small feat.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 12, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      Thank you! I feel like sobriety is actually JUST now starting. Like, I can finally let some of the physical and mental struggle to stop obsessing about drinkin’ go… And start living an actual life again.

  10. Lisa Neumann January 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    DDG … congrats. So what is next? Excited to watch you awaken. Really love this post. xox lisa

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

      Thanks Lisa! Btw, would love to read your book. I will email you my address down here. Expect an email from [redacted] (yes, it’s anonymous, in keeping with this blog, but wanted to make sure you know so it doesn’t get lost in the spam folder!).

      What’s next? 6 months. I’ve decided that the struggle and work, mentally and physically, to get to this point is not worth giving up. And, I feel like sobriety might JUST be starting for me now! Also, I am afraid of drinking, in the sense that my body seems vulnerable at the moment, and I’m not sure putting ethanol–a poison–into it would be anything but especially harmful.

      Thanks SO much for your support! xx

  11. Number 9 January 31, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    I love that you made cupcakes for yourself! My 90 days was Dec 31 so I’m right there with you! I wish I would have thought to make myself cupcakes.

  12. Mark June 24, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    I just stumbled upon this blog and really enjoyed the post and comments. I am 99 days into my journey at this moment. It’s been a real bitch at times, but reading the thoughts of others helps. Learning to simply do things again – sober…..such a simple concept.

    Anyway, I know I’m way late to your 90 day party, but your “snap shot” is still doing some good. Thanks.

  13. Chris January 13, 2014 at 1:48 am #

    Inspiring…thank you! Today is day 90 for me. After in and out-patient treatment I still had periods of relapsing and well, finally got disgusted with myself. I’m not going to dis any programs, I realized that my willpower (or lack thereof) was the major component that makes a program work. Anyways, I bought myself a monthly planner and checked off the days….writing it down helped me visualize my progress and seeing all these checked-off dates added a sense of accomplishment. I also feel fantastic and confident. Sure, I think I think about alcohol a lot, but more on the negative consequences I had with it.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 13, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      That’s awesome! Whatever works for you is what is going to keep you sober. For me, it was all of the things you said: counting days, just muscling through the part where I once again slipped and had to start over, and thinking about what would or could happen if I drank again. Especially that. Some of my last hangovers–not to mention shit I did drunk–were so horrendous that they stuck with me, viscerally, for a long time (even now, I remember just how bad drinking the way I did could make me feel the next day(s)). Go, you, on 90 days–congratulations, what a milestone. Stay strong, there is MUCH more to come… Remember: it will get better, and keep getting better, calmer, easier. xx

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