I’ve decided that this time around (my fourth!), I’m going to take sobriety in 6-week chunks. Intervals of time that feel, to me, doable. Not too short, but not “forever ever.” Plus, I’ve found that you can set a significant goal or three and work toward actually accomplishing those goals in that amount of time.
This is new for me, to be able to look 6 weeks down the road and KNOW that I won’t drink. Wow. And, it doesn’t bother me, or make me fidget, or take my breath away, or make my head hurt. It just feels…like a relief. A relief to have made the decision–for the next 6 weeks–that I won’t drink. Done and done. Next?
Does that mean that I will drink after those 6 weeks has passed? Like, when mid-June (my birthday, actually!) gets here, will I be like, OK, DDG, since you’ve been such a “good” girl, here’s a case of wine–present from me to you–go to it! No, of course, not. In fact, it’s a bit nebulous: I know from experience that I will probably feel stronger, prouder, less affected by my cravings, and even more committed to continuing on to the next 6 weeks, the next 3 months. However, I’m not going to look beyond right now. Sort of like running 5 or 6 or 8 miles: ya can’t think about the last three when you’re lobbing your tired and heavy legs through the first five. What happens? Tripping, falling, spraining ankle, cursing, tears.
Nevertheless, I feel strong. I’m working more efficiently (shit, I’ve even applied and am considering grad school again!); I’m obsessing less about other people’s so-called achievements in my chosen field. I’m getting more and more of my sense of self back. The “old me” who wasn’t afraid of challenge, who didn’t second-guess her decisions and motivations all the freaking time. Who just went about HER business. There she is! I know her. It’s a relief, is all I can say.
And, speaking of relief, my cravings these past 6 weeks (save for that initial SHITTY hump of getting back on the wagon after almost 6 whole months of sobriety) have sort of morphed into reactions. The craving is no longer an immense wave of feeling that starts in my brain and then, instantaneously, floods my gut with romance and desire. I had quite a few pangs the past, oh, 3 weeks, but they’ve boiled down to reactions–easy to see/understand, easy to bat away. Like, when I sprained my ankle, I wanted to drink. Really? At high noon, in the middle of the jogging park? Please. I know you, wolfie. Be gone! Or, like, when I feel frustrated or angry driving around here, I can almost instantly go from, “I hate this place” to “Might as well fucking drink, I have no life, I’m a loser.” Ha ha. Try again, Wolfie-boy! Your tired voice is so last November, mmkay?
The difference between now, at 6 weeks, and let’s say, last summer at 6 weeks, is that I can observe these reactions, detach myself from them, and counter them with a rational thought process. Working my “sober muscle,” as I call it, has built up this rational thought process. My defenses are stronger. It’s such a relief to not be tied so closely, emotionally, to the addiction’s thoughts.
I think they call this mindfulness. Being able to look at–or over–your feelings, thoughts, and reactions (or, desire to react) as they come and then, let them go.
Anyhoo, I’m taking the day off today. Why? Because I can. Would the DDG of yesteryear been able to actually embrace “just being” instead of let’s say, feeling like she HAS to work 50 hours a week in order to feel valid? NO! Still, I continue to work on teasing out where sense of purpose/achievement end and conditioned behavior/workaholism begin…