20 weeks. Are we there yet?

1 Mar

4:05 pm

I can’t believe I’ve gone 20 FUCKING (oops) weeks, sans The Grape!? HOLY SHIT.

Haha. Faux-drama aside, it’s been hard work. It hasn’t been easy, especially concerning my brief stint in AA and the grappling with all THEIR ideas re: my sobriety versus all MY ideas. I think a few people linked out to Amy’s excellent post already, but I have to say, this line really hit home for me:

Surrender to sobriety. Surrender yourself to strength. Don’t surrender to a higher power- be a higher power. And no, I don’t mean start calling yourself God. But I do mean create a universe. I do mean create days and nights. And light. I do mean make a life. And on some days rest.

YES! Surrender. I really don’t think I have yet. The other day, my boyfriend and I were talking about my last post, which was about how I feel “recovered”–whatever that actually means. Am I? I guess I am. I don’t know. None of that matters anyway. What matters are my answers to the following questions, and how I feel about those answers:

1. Can I not drink without a specific reason to not drink? Right now, I don’t want to drink because: I don’t want to consume the calories; I want to keep running regularly; I like saving money; I NEED to be totes ON–for the indefinite future, anyway–when it comes to building my freelance business (which involves building a level of drive and self-confidence that for whatever reasons, I don’t have right now); etc. Like, if I didn’t have those very good reasons to not drink, would I still choose to not drink? Do I need the either/or scenario to help me blot out the “wolf voice” (which, admittedly, is now a squeak in comparison to the roar it was months back, but it’s still there)? I’ve been thinking about drinking a lot lately, but the reasons not to always win out. BUT, if I DID want to say “Fuck it,” then I might say yes to drinking.

2. Can I drink a glass or two, comfortably? NO. After 20 weeks? Definitely not. I know this, and I know how it will go. I might WISH and HOPE for it to be otherwise, but I know I’d drink the whole bottle. Probably two (and a half, why not, I’ve got new liver cells to kill now), since I’d have to make up for the past 20 weeks. And I’d feel like ass. I’m not afraid, per se, of slipping or relapsing–it is what it is, you drink and then you feel like crap; would it be any different for anyone else, even anyone who isn’t an “alcoholic?” I’m not even afraid of being hungover (or doing stupid shit) as I am of being “back there” again. Of being disappointed in myself, disappointed in a way that I don’t even know yet because I’ve never gone this long sober and fallen off the wagon. Of KNOWING that I gave it all up, and now I have to Start Over. Nooooooooooooooooo!!!

I had a friend of a friend come out to me recently that he is sober. He drank beer; a LOT of beer. I asked him if he could ever drink again, and, he thought about it for about 30 seconds and then said, “No, I can’t. I don’t think I ever could.” It puzzled me then, in my early days of sobriety, why it would take him that long to reply. I get it now. I mull the question over and over in my head now, too. To drink, for me, would mean to want MORE to drink. Which, if nothing else, is annoying. It’s why I didn’t drink on Valentine’s Day: I knew I’d feel WORSE after that glass or two precisely because I’d be jonesing for more the whole time. I’m pretty sure that my distance, so to speak, from drinking and getting drunk does not correlate AT ALL to my distance, so to speak, from my always wanting more. I guess it’s like quantum physics or something: twists and turns, bends and distortions–they don’t make sense, and they don’t follow “logical” rules or linear relationships. DAMN IT.

3. Are you only recovered when you can take or leave booze? Yes. I think so. Will that ever be possible for me again? Uh…I don’t know. There were times in my life, in my 20s before I discovered wine, and how to abuse wine; times when I could take or leave it. I’d hit the bar, have a few beers, then go home. Maybe I was more excited than I remember about this newfound freedom to get drunk after work at happy hour (how things change when you leave college and enter the “work”force)? Maybe I was just much more of a lightweight?

I guess I feel sad–and relieved?–as I get closer and closer to that point (let’s just call it a singularity, the beginning and the end, since we’re on a physics-themed rant!) of no return. Accepting that I may never be able to simply take or leave booze. I might be able to consciously struggle through the experience of drinking wine again, but it wouldn’t be much fun.

Surrender. For me, that has come to revolve around not “giving in” or “giving up,” but accepting–and then, embracing. I embrace not being able to drink in moderation…for the indefinite period that lies ahead. (“Forever” does not compute in my brain.) It’s making a clearing for other stuff to come through, I guess. Like, my sparkle-toothed unicorn, pulling my water wagon, maybe?

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6 Responses to “20 weeks. Are we there yet?”

  1. Mrs D March 1, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    I think you’re only recovered when you totally accept that you can never take or leave wine (i.e. be a ‘normie’). If I was to think about starting drinking again it wouldn’t be ‘i’ll have one glass of wine a week’ it’d be ‘yes! back to a bottle a night thank you very much!!’. I will never be a normal drinker and I will never be able to take or leave booze. Often I hear someone talk about relapsing like ‘I thought I had it under control and would be able to control it’ even after a year or two of sobriety! But they always say that they went right back to the level of abuse when they left off. I was always jonesing for more. Great post xxx

  2. carrythemessage March 2, 2013 at 3:49 am #

    I think that you are starting to see a lot of things in a sharper and bigger picture here, DDG. We are not always going to be in a place of being fogged up and fumbling our way. Gaining clarity and focus is what we need to do to relieve ourselves of what doesn’t work for us any more.

    My feeling and opinion is that if there is a true surrender, points 1-3 of your post need not be anything to contend with anymore. Like Mrs D said above, there needs to be the firm resolution and/or understanding, at a very deep level, that we can never drink again. Our sobriety is not contingent on any situation, person or thing. For this alcoholic, I cannot leave even one little loophole or backdoor, or I will find a way to get there in a heartbeat. That’s just me. So irregardless of my bank account, calories, etc. I just had to accept that I can never drink again. I don’t process alcohol like a normal person, I don’t use alcohol like a normal person, I don’t hold alcohol in the same context as a normal person. I won’t say “forever” but I also can’t say “maybe one day”. Again, this is just for me. It could be different for others.

    You are certainly correct in that there is a sense of “loss” if you will – sadness you mention- regarding the use of alcohol. You mention the struggle you would have drinking wine again…and there you are – normal people don’t struggle with wine. They drink it, feel a buzz, have a laugh and go to bed. Me? I drink wine and then I hit vodka then at some point I am handcuffed to a hospital bed. I am not normal in that regard. so why struggle? Surrender dislodges that argument and experience right away!

    I can sense that you are processing all this stuff and you are getting to something…and it’s a journey and a process and I am so proud of you for this introspection and ability to look at this in a different way. Where someone there sees that they can’t drink again and what about everyone else and why can’t I, etc….I see freedom. Freedom to be away from all that, and just embrace life. You are doing that…continue to seek. We’re all seekers.

    congrats on 20 weeks.

    amazing 🙂

    Blessings,
    Paul

  3. Lilly March 4, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    Congratufuckinglations on 20 weeks!!! That is so awesome I do believe I hear a parade of unicorns coming down the street right now. Oh and look… they’re bearing a float made entirely of glitter with your name on it!

    I’m inclined to agree that being ‘recovered’ isn’t about being able to take or leave alcohol but about fully, completely accepting that we can’t, and therefore feeling a complete certainty we won’t pick up that first drink. (Well, as much as we ever can I guess.) I know I am not there 100% somehow even though I KNOW that I cannot drink like a normal person. I hear you getting closer all the time.

    It sounds to me like all those reasons not to drink amount to the fact that your life is far better sober and that if you were to drink it would just fuck all that good shit up. Now there’s an excellent reason to rock on to six months and beyond.

    Lilly xo

  4. Amy March 4, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    Accepting is key! Crucial. As long as I continued to lie to myself about drinking- “I can have just one or two…” (not) or “I don’t drink as much as so and so…” (uh, yes I do, and more) I could not stay sober. Once I really put on the floodlights and then shined them right back on me I could see it. Plain as day. I cannot drink. Ever again. It does not work. It never did.

    “Recovered” is a word I have a hard time with. I’m still getting to terms with society’s idea of sobriety and my own. What being an alcoholic means. What I am.

    I love reading your blog- we have a lot in common. 🙂

  5. Lisa Neumann March 4, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    “Forever” doesn’t compute in my brain either. My daughter is ten and I’m already sad that I can’t drink wine at her wedding when she gets married—WTF. Thanks for the link to Amy’s post too. Thanks for more of your refreshing honesty. You always have a great post. xox

  6. My Inner Chick March 7, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    CONGRATS on 20 Weeks sober.

    YOU ROCKkkkk!

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