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 …