What’s next?

27 Sep

11:03 am

Damn it, I KNOW what’s next.

Keep not drinking. (It’s interesting that I choose those words, and not, Stay sober. There’s something about “not drinking” and “keeping on doing it” that rings truer for me. It’s more like it’s my choice, and it’s getting me–actively taking me–to a different place.)

I’ve been at it for almost 16 months. I fell off a few times early on, and this October 12th, I’ll have 365 days–minus one, about mid-way through–sober. I am officially 180-some days sober today, so what’s next? And, the bigger picture is always, Why stay sober?

My biggest reason is that I’m finally over the obsessing. And, I have to say, it took me freaking long enough. Geez. Over a year, I’d say. I don’t want to go back there. I still have days when I want to drink, when I pout and blame sobriety for “taking me away from me,” for stealing my enthusiasm. However, I know, deep down, that these are just thoughts, irrational ones at best, and the real, true-me thoughts are soon to emerge. I’m curious to see what’s next?

Another thing, sobriety has forced me–is still often forcing me–to keep moving forward. Really, I have no other option! I can’t drink, so…I have to do. To act. Even if most of those actions have seemed to me to be miniscule, tiny, baby steps at best–at least I’m taking them and not falling backward. That is the main reason I’ve continued to not drink. I see myself moving forward, day by day. It’s a great feeling, and probably what constitutes most of what we see as “momentum” after the early days of cravings and the all-consuming thoughts of drinking and why we drank.

It’s also become a habit, to not drink, and I know that if I allow myself to go back to the “Oh, I can fix this with wine” mentality, it’s really hard to extract myself from that mud. It’s like mental quicksand, and it takes you down fast. I’ve experienced it, so my deal with myself is, When you get to place where you honestly believe that you can take it or leave it, only then can you drink. And, honestly, I’m not there yet. I don’t think I could just drink and not care, drink two or three (ooh, there’s a hangover already) and leave it. And, I’m not sure I’ll ever be there. That’s OK, though. I’ve accepted that, and I’ve accepted the patience that must counter the frustration of not knowing, and of not feeling settled with this “inability” to control things. It just IS for now, and that has to be OK, right?

Things are rolling forward. Whether or not you know or see it, you, too, are moving forward simply by the act of not drinking when you want to.

I’m curious. I want to see what it’s like out there, in Sobersville, at let’s say, a year. Will it really be all that different? I can say with certainty that things really changed about two months ago (14 months into it, almost 6 months sober time, for the second time). I suddenly stopped obsessing. The urge left me, I guess. I mean, I do still have cravings, but they’re always ushered out within a matter of seconds. I think, Ooh, a glass of… NOPE, no can do, DDG. There are the memories, the work I’ve put in, the stark futility of watching my friends stay stuck and drink to “ease their burdens,” and stay stuck and drink, and stay stuck and drink. Then, there are the hangovers. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, another hangover might kill me.

I am thankful for these rush of thoughts, but when I look more closely, I find a calm little clearing inside myself, which keeps growing with each passing sober day, and which I do not want disturbed. I worked really hard to clear this sunny, isolated patch, you know? I’m too tired to even consider letting it grow over, or worse, abandoning it for the noisy lake down the hill where all the drunken teenagers are hanging out, talking shit and staying stuck. Seriously, though, it’s where I’m resting, and frankly, I’d rather not revisit the decision as to whether or not to drink–and invite all that chaos back into my life–again. For now, this feels easier.

So, yeah. While I’m not thinking of drinking, I’m also not counting days anymore. But I think I should set a new goal, lest Wolfie-boy take note and perk his ears. What should it be? 365 sounds too long. Maybe an even 300?

And, here’s some excellent advice from Belle:

I got to 100 days then thought, ok 6 months. then once I got to six months I just sort of waited. and then once I was at 8.5 months I could see a year within reach, and then I just coasted to a year. momentum and fear of regret and just being generally pleased with life was enough for me. enough for me to want to see what happens next …

4 Responses to “What’s next?”

  1. Belle September 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    🙂 and today, nearly 15 months sober, i still feel the same way. not drinking is what i’m doing now. i personally don’t say ‘forever’ but i know that works for some people. for me, what i’m doing now is working for me. i don’t want to ever go back to the shitty part of the beginning of sobriety. so i’m staying here. is it picture perfect here? no. Is it much much much better? Yes. And for just the reason you said – the absence of mental obsession – yes and yes and yes 🙂

  2. Running From the Booze September 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Yeeeeeeeeees!!!! I know about the calm little clearings!! They are real. At first they were so faint and fleeting, as soon a my brain felt the beginning of it….POOF! gone. As days passed I’d catch another one. They are sneaky buggers but totally worth waiting for. 365 days, that is HUGE DDG. Fabulous post today.

  3. Lilly October 5, 2013 at 5:34 am #

    I love this. I am at five months today and honestly I still feel like I’m obsessing a fair bit. As much about ‘not drinking’ as drinking, if you know what I mean. It’s encouraging to think some relief from that might be just around the corner.

    I say aim for 300 days. I suspect once you get there a year will seem far too close at hand to not reach for. 🙂

    Keep going. I’m so glad you’re here and still sober. I don’t think drinking again would do anything but make you unhappy and set your backwards. Am I talking to myself? Maybe. This is a long weekend here and that’s been all kinds of triggery. I’m still wrestling with the ‘oh god how boring everyone else is out partying’ yammer yammer in my brain but, like you, I also love this little calm spot I’ve cleared and I want to see what’s up ahead.


    • Drunky Drunk Girl October 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

      It’s been a long time since you posted this, but I wanted to reply. Yes, I am aiming for…more time. Right now, the sober car is in gear and I’m not letting the thought of jumping out as it’s moving throw it into a ditch! I want to see where it ends up…

      How are you? BIG congrats on the 5-month mark! My hardest time was between that 90 days and 6 months. Like I said, this second time around, it was about 4 months in when I finally just stopped wanting to drink at all, stopped thinking that it “would be a good idea.” I know now that these sometimes thoughts are just part of my irrational, ingrained thinking; residue, I guess, that will eventually be washed away. And, like I’ve said to myself, I can always drink again, but…every time the opportunity comes up (like, I am actually thinking that it would be OK, or, it’s the end of a frustrating day when I think the world is shit and I am never going anywhere in it–LOL), I say no. I’d just rather keep on doing what I’ve been doing, it’s easier. See what’s ahead. 300 days, a year maybe. THEN, I’ll think about it again.

      Oh, yeah, I have triggers, too. I don’t like even going to bars anymore. I can put on a happy face, of course, and enjoy myself to a certain extent, but…I’d rather pretend, in a way, that bars do not exist! I just feel bad, a certain angst and sadness and nostalgia, when I’m sitting at a bar and NOT drinking. So, I avoid them.

      I also have wondered if I’ve become the hermit of the century sometimes, but lately, I’ve been getting out more and realizing just how much calmer/easier/more fun it is to socialize while sober. Plus, I don’t know about you, but the longer I’m sober, the more and more I’m like, GOD, I don’t EVER want to be that falling-down, screaming, doing-horrible-shit girl again. I’m done. For real. Done. And…realistically, I just can’t fit drinking and NOT having me become “that girl” together yet. So, I wait, and stay sober.


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