Well, I wouldn’t say I’m starting over; being sober for almost 6 months has left some profound imprints on my brain! However, for the sake of pedantry, I AM starting the count over (well, as of last Tuesday, which was my day 1). And, today is day 12. And, I’m really proud of that. Looking forward to celebrating the accomplishment a second time around: a month’s time, two months, my 90-day chip (oh, Hell’s yes, I’m bringing that baby out and wearing it around my neck like a medal that day)…
It’s going SO much easier–of course, it is. I’m USED to not drinking. I’m used to feeling better and managing the mind, as it were. Though, I think it’s more often than not that I don’t WANT to drink. I think I’ve either practiced telling myself for so long that I don’t want to drink that it’s become the norm, OR, that mantra is finally sinking in and I really don’t want to.
What I really think it is for me is, having experimented. Now, though, “relapse” would simply be a choice, not something that’s going to come over me like a tidal wave and smack me to the ground, helpless. That choice is with me every day, and while it’s a difficult one to make the first 30 days, the first 4 months–it gets easier and easier to not just say no to drinking, but yes to life! (cue unicorn and glitter parade) Plus, I’m in a much stronger–and different–place, and I know (from experiments) that drinking literally only leads to bad hangovers, wasted days, and spent money. The best part? KNOWING that I really can’t afford those things anymore. That is the process I’ve struggled with, letting go of this idea that drinking and being giddy for two seconds is worth having all of the above.
And, y’know, blacking out and calling my mom and calling my brother and feeling regret about having done both… Well, it’s a reminder as to how one drink can lead to four can lead to “Whoops, I did it again!” Unfortunately, my hangover lasted for three days. THAT was rough… Combined with my memory of my last bad drunk, which was a tremendous hangover the day I flew out last October–it all adds up to a huge incentive/preventive.
But, deep down, the reminder serves more to remind me of what I have, and not what I don’t want.
Not drinking for almost 6 months has allowed me to simply get USED to not drinking. Now, I feel much better saying no and letting others go on the same, boring circus ride of getting drunk and being hung over. I enjoy attending events sober; dinner parties are more fun for me now because I’m USED to being the “dork” who’s not gushing out some ridiculous (and irrelevant) storyline, the more reserved “adult”–in fact, staying sober has made me feel more mature. I used to feel VERY mature growing up, and I’m sure that contributed to my choice to veer off in the opposite direction with my drinking; now, I actually like that feeling.
And, honestly, I get somewhat irritated now with friends who have that first or second or third drink, and then start to mentally wander off. I KNOW what’s going on in their heads, and it definitely does not involve listening to what I’m saying! I see the immaturity and irresponsibility of drinking to excess, and well, for someone who can’t afford to do so anymore (time’s running out, yo), it just bothers me. I think it’s the case very early on with “normal” drinkers, where they realize that a tradeoff has to be made. It’s like, No duh, for them. With us, fighting a COMPULSION to drink, well, it’s a big, hairy, instructive lesson in life when we don’t drink and as a result, learn a lot about what we’ve been avoiding confronting or dealing with, personally.
What’s the point? Well, I guess it’s: months ago, I literally could not imagine feeling anything but this immense craving to drink, feeling like nothing would make it as good as a drink, believing that nothing could be fun without wine, trudging to this and that event feeling a literal hole pulling on my stomach–the hole of craving, I see it is now. It’s not lasting, and it goes away. Might take a while–I’ll tell you, I dragged my sober ass from day 90 until about week 21, after which I think I started to plan my next drunk anyway (which happened shortly thereafter). But, it goes away. Or, it’s going away.
I think I’m just seeing things differently: I’m HAPPY to be counting days, and at the start again. There’s less pressure, I suppose. It’s almost like, I don’t have to think about “possibly drinking” or “falling off the wagon” for a while now. WHEW! What a relief. Which, of course, equates to relief at having made a commitment to simply not drink, even if a unicorn explodes or the sky turns green. No choice, much relief.
Then, it was counting against craving, to just get by and not drink. Now, the pressure’s on, in the sense that I see my triggers–anxiety/depression/moodiness, things that make me feel uncomfortable and I avoid doing or pursuing out of habit or fear. What I don’t (or didn’t) need is the pressure of 6 months hanging over my head. I think I wanted to shift my mentality to, I don’t drink, is all, instead of, I am Sober. Which, I suppose, eased the weight enough for me to continue (and want to continue) the baby steps–OK, maybe a bit bigger than baby–I’ve taken to start unraveling why I drank and what I can do about changing things instead of drinking over them. Sure, it’s the real work of getting sober, and maybe I took a slight detour to dump off some shit (i.e., all those days), but it’s my truck, my gas money, and my road! 😉
Anyway, here’s to day 12!