Well, that’s a question, isn’t it? My boyfriend and I were driving to the beach the other day, or back from some boat trip, and he was like, Do you ever miss drinking, or still want to drink? Or, do you just not talk (complain) about it anymore?
Hmm. I really had to think about it. I’ve been thinking about drinking, and sobriety, but I just haven’t been coalescing those thoughts into posts. And, as you guys know, it’s partly because life has gotten busy, work-wise. I’m still working remotely for the company I was at, and I’m also working three to four days a week at the same local coffee shop. And, frankly, it’s still not enough money, considering my ever-present student loan debt, future goals and dreams, and well, life is expensive. But, it’s comforting to know that I do have spending money (the lattes money), and I don’t feel “guilty” buying trips, new shoes, and expensive food items once in a while. As Peter Tosh sang, most of us are livin’ small.
The other reason I haven’t been blogging is this irritant factor. It’s like, I’d rather just not think about not drinking anymore. But, I DO think about it, all the time. It’s just changing. It’s weird. While I miss getting sober–there is definitely a “high” to achieving and sustaining a longish-term sobriety, and I’d say that lasts up to years–I do have to accept that I’m beyond that. The pink cloud still rests above my head, it’s just sort of faded.
I mean, yes, when I see people come into the coffee bar at 5:30 (my start time–ouch), STILL FLAMING DRUNK and having incoherent and emotional arguments with each other, I cringe inside; and then, I breathe a sigh of relief. And that relief doesn’t ever go away; in fact, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I have to admit, in my darker hours, or my agro ones after the caffeine buzz wears off and I get “hangry,” a small part of me feels smug about it–just a little bit. Mainly, though, this sense of relief, of being FAR, far away from the urge to binge drink/drink alcoholically–it’s a constant, gracious presence. I feel gratitude all the time. For not feeling the urge to drink, ever, really. And for never, ever having to be hungover like that again.
What I don’t feel is the excitement in congratulating myself anymore. And, I suppose that’s a good thing. Life is just life, it doesn’t have to revolve around this idea of “me being or getting sober, or being pleased with me being or getting sober.” You know?
However, then my boyfriend hits me with that question, and it stirs up the fact that I haven’t forgotten about my sobriety at all, and I have to say: Yes. Yes, I do still think about drinking. Yes, I do still want to drink once in a while, when I encounter a very powerful (to me) trigger. When? Well, let’s just say, on a boat trip, when I feel jealous (ugh) of all the hot, young girls with their flat bellies (well, I never had a flat belly, even in my 20s). On that same boat trip, toward the end, when my insecurity about being “old” has been sufficiently compounded by the sense that I’m not only “old,” I’m also boring–that’s when I really start to feel grumpy and want to drink. I feel sorry for myself. It’s residual though, like a long lost limb from a faraway ancestor–I can intellectualize it away, and realize that it’s just a feeling. Still, I do feel tired of being the “narc.” (In fact, at the last beach bar we stopped at on this “for example” boat trip, I ordered a virgin tropical drink, and the guy goes, “I die a little every time someone orders said tropical drink without the rum.” And I look up, pissed, and I go, “Well, I die a little every time I drink rum. So, what do ya got for me?” He wasn’t displeased, but he was definitely taken aback. He ended up adding coconut water, and let me tell you, it was pretty damn tasty!)
I have to stress, and this is most important as my sobriety lengthens: it’s not that I want to get drunk. It’s just that I want to…not be sober. When I see a friend of mine, doing it up in the big city we used to live in together, drinking drinking drinking all over the place, every night; I feel…some sort of loss. I know it comes back to this fear of missing out, or my OLD ideas and notions about how to “have fun” or “have a good life.” My OLD ideas of me.
I don’t miss getting drunk. What I, Drunky Drunk Girl, miss is the ability to instantly and effortlessly escape my seriousness. The world. Daily, “hum drum” life. Some might call it a lack of free spiritedness, an “always in my head”-ness, a sobriety of thought, or, an overwhelming thoughtfulness. Maybe it’s simply neuroticism: the tendency to overthink negative (and positive?) thoughts. Maybe I can call it depression, as this lingers. I don’t know. But, I do miss being able to “be that fun girl.” Of course, I know I can be that fun girl in other ways, and that frankly, I WAS NEVER THAT FUN GIRL when I was drinking. But, the constructs and stories we tell ourselves linger on and on into our sober years–and it really does take a constant checking in to right, correct, re-mold these ideas. And, yeah, the peer pressure is always going to be there unless you check in and say, Fuck that, I rock. SO MUCH HARDER NOW THAT I’M SOBER.
So, no, I never want to get drunk. But, yes, I still do want to “not be me.” Or, be that fun girl. Or, escape from my sober life. And, I guess that’s what we give up in exchange for constancy of mood, deep knowledge of self, and the GIFT of being able to look forward, with relatively laser focus, on our lives–and to make plans that suit us, lift us, and maximize our potential. That is worth a thousand nights of drinking, and a million mornings of being hungover.