Tag Archives: drinking buddies

No one else has to care about my sobriety

9 Nov

11:14 am

That’s pretty much the lesson I learned on my trip. And, I’m trying to basically ignore the nagging feeling that most if not all of my old friends–people who saw me at my worst, who drank with me and around me–acted as if either my problem wasn’t one/wasn’t that bad, or that even if it was, I didn’t deserve praise.

I don’t know. I don’t get it.

I am back, and having a great Sunday–I finally get to enjoy some down-time. Ahh…sweet breezes, warm weather, the sounds and scents all around. It feels wonderful to realize just how different my values and priorities are now. And, I have to say, it’s what helped me move forward–being forced to live outside my comfort zone, on multiple levels, and try something NEW–and the lack thereof that’s allowed some of my friends to remain stuck.

But, I digress. I don’t want to dwell too hardcore on the whole “my friends don’t seem to give a shit about my sobriety” thing. Which may or may not be a figment of my imagination. First of all, I haven’t been in great touch with any of them since swearing off the wine, and frankly, I don’t think they knew all that much about this whole journey because I didn’t divulge that much (though, to several I did, so…).

I just had this niggling feeling that they were either shocked that I was still sober/am sober at all. I just didn’t get it. They know me, and know my past, and each and every one of them knows specifically that I am, indeed, sober, and not just “not drinking.” None of them really congratulated me, which is OK, I’m used to that. They don’t need to. However, on two occasions, I had to basically interject about my sobriety because no one was asking anything. It’s a huge part of my life, the fulcrum on which everything else rests these days. So, I thought I needed to at least address it–in the context of how it’s made my life much, MUCH better. To one friend, I said, “Everything I have right now is because I am sober.” She was stunned, but got it. Melodramatic? I don’t think so.

I went out to a piano bar with one group of friends, and when the waiter came around, I ordered a San Pellegrino with lime (so delicious). My friends literally went quiet, staring at me in disbelief, as if to say, Well, I didn’t think you were SOBER sober. At a restaurant with another friend, we got to talking about not drinking because she was pregnant, and she goes, “So, you don’t drink AT ALL?”

It’s like, how many times do I have to tell you that I’m sober? And, these are close friends, people who know how bad things got. It’s why I felt like they were purposefully trying to bring me back to the ground…because of envy, because of fear, who knows.

After my trip, I honestly don’t know how much more I can interact with these three friends. It’s sad, in a way, because if they only knew the work and thought that I’ve put into my sobriety, maybe the two who seem stuck could learn from my experience! I felt like they were saying, I “hate” (not hate, but you know) you because you’re well and I’m not. It’s the exact same thing I get from my brother and his girlfriend. I refuse to forgive you: not only did you “get away” with being a drunk, but you get to be sober and happy and productive, too. It’s not fair.

Sometimes, it’s confusing to go “home again,” in terms of old friendships. I think I’ve come into my own to where, I don’t attract dysfunctional ones anymore? I must say, however, that my circle of friends where I live now is awesome: I can’t even count the number of times they’ve gone out of their way to welcome me in spite of the fact that I wasn’t drinking at parties; to offer me nonalcoholic beverages; to respect my choice to not imbibe and make me feel respected and proud, even.

I did wonder if my one friend was turned off by my being sober because she, as a doctor of psychology, is all about harm reduction. I have some new thoughts on harm reduction, and I’ll get to that later. For me, and I think for most of us who have crossed that line, ONE sip is too much. ONE sip activates Wolfie. And what we’re trying to accomplish in the end, is shut Wolfie up, not stop drinking per se.

Anyhoo, la la la. I am great, doing well, rocking the stories and hopefully, starting work as a part-time barista this week. All in all, though, I don’t need the barista work (at least for this month’s income)–but it could be fun. I got to think a lot about my three years in exile here–and how I could have done it differently (for another blog post). My trip back to the city allowed me to both connect with my old self AND let her go. And, though it was exhausting, it’s allowed me to go even further, to expand and grow even more. Oh, and that slip, or whatever it was? Totally allowed me to fully conceptualize never drinking again–drinking just doesn’t do anything but ruin the next day, it’s not how I roll anymore, and the benefits of sobriety are so mind-blowing in terms of moving forward in my life that…there is no place for wine, and that is OK. I can keep on being free. Sobriety is liberation from the old way you did shit; and it allows you a blank slate of mind, to finally try doing shit a NEW WAY.

Sobriety is banishing the “Wolfie thinking” and doing shit a NEW, DIFFERENT WAY. Because you’re free, you really are. And because you can–you are able.

Lots to do today, so I’ll sign off. More soon!

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I’m the one in control–weird

18 Dec

11:26 am

Last night, I went to our annual (well, two years and counting) Christmas party thrown by our “rich” friend–needless to say, there were lots of corks popping.

Firstly, I brought chilled sorrel tea, and it was my lifesaver! (I also had my boyfriend, who doesn’t drink; he smokes weed, but that’s not a big deal to me unless it becomes the focus of the event, which it wasn’t last night.) If anyone has ever tried sorrel tea, it looks just like wine or a mixed drink AND, it’s quite thirst-quenching–I didn’t miss a belly-full of wine, in other words. And, it gave me the opportunity to observe, pretending I was “one of them” without actually being one of them.

Everyone was drinking, of course. “Being festive,” but really, this is a drinking crowd, so the “festive” was more like “pretty damn drunk” for some. No one did or said anything wrong; in fact, everyone was a good drunk. However, I did get to watch it unfold as it usually does: first, you’re chatting, being polite and civil and a little tipsy; then comes what I like to call the shit-talk and secret drinking games. Like, well, talking shit and doing what appears to the sober folks in the room be strange things: having long, whispered conversations about nothing, or topics you’ll regret the next day; two people suddenly racing up the stairs, only to disappear for a half hour and then, tumble back into the room, flushed, giddy. Hilarious, right? So much fun, right?

Right. The biggest thing I noticed–and, it’s not the first time, which is why I’m blogging about it–is just how out of control drinking makes you. How vulnerable. I mean, obviously, I KNOW THIS, from my years of putting myself in ridiculous situations–jail and car crashes and blackout sex are an alcoholic’s version of vulnerable, but there is a gradient, and you become part of it even if you’re a “social drinker.”

Vulnerable in that, you have conversations where you talk too much or say things too loud, for the most part; I don’t have to mention sitting on laps and flirting with people in front of friends. Now, I come from years upon years of overexposing myself emotionally and physically while getting shitfaced; I’ve had enough, and so I LIKE being tight-lipped, controlled, only allowing you to see exactly what I want. Doesn’t mean I’m not aware of this or a dry drunk; it means I like being the one in control, the observer, able to go home knowing exactly what I said and did.

My main question right now is, why on earth would someone make themselves so vulnerable by drinking too much? All you do is make yourself vulnerable–to talking shit, to having conversations that you might regret the next day, wondering what you said because you don’t remember it and then feeling scared and frenetic because you’re not sure what you said and you’re not sure how drunk the other person was and if they’re going to think you’re a complete dumb-ass for rambling and over-sharing. Not to mention, all the other terribly-exposing shit that comes with drinking–flirting uncontrollably, showing too much interest or maybe interest that you’re not ready to share with your friends; telling people about your abusive childhood; revealing just how bitchy you are, or how insecure you are, or how generous and happy of a wobbly drunk you are.

Why would you do this to yourself? At the end of the day, no matter how alone I feel sometimes in sobriety, last night taught me that I SO prefer to feel a little bit on the “outside” than be exposing myself and making myself vulnerable in exchange for being part of the “secret club”–which is what happens between drinks, not because of them.

I’m feeling a bit grumpy lately, mainly because of this freelance life I live, but I’ll move past it and keep working. I have 275 days today–goal is 300, so I’m almost there! My “alcohol-free” beer experience the other day made me go, Hmmmmm: not only did I see that drinking might simply not do it for me anymore, but, it also sparked a curiosity about wine. Maybe just one glass?

I’ll put it on the back burner–no, back in the package in the freezer–for now, where it belongs. I’ve got work and holidays and shit to do, no time for thinking about stupid drinking!

God in my garden

21 Jul

3:47 pm

I am growing things. I have what some urbanites might call an “urban farm,” but what this farmer’s daughter (yes, I grew up on a dairy farm) calls a garden.

Actually, all my plants and herbs are in pots, and I’ve now got about ten going! Three of them are massive Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-sized tomato plants that I’ve had to re-pot three times already! I staked rods in them this time so that they have something to lean into as they continue to shoot up. I cannot WAIT to see some actual tomatoes on the vines, too–the produce down here leaves a lot to be desired.

I’ve felt very quiet of mind lately. Well, this morning. For a few hours. LOL. It was nice to be alone, in the sun, gardening. It’s cool to see my plants actually coming along; I don’t even care, really, if the tomato plants bear fruit.

I think I’ve had enough time and space to “recover” from my friend’s visit to have come to a few hard conclusions: she and I likely won’t continue in the same kind of friendship we’ve been having, and, I need to actively speak in a more positive way.

Our relationship was a co-dependent one. In a nutshell, she needed me to be a drunk in order to diss on me to make herself, who is very insecure, feel better; and I needed her to diss on me because I felt afraid, I guess, of shining. There’s a long trail of “hiding your light under a bushel” behavior in my life, but with this friend, it’s clearly a defense mechanism for me. I couldn’t confront her feeling jealous and expressing it by hating on me; I wanted to assuage her feelings of self-loathing by bringing myself down to her level. We commiserated a lot together, but deep down (and this came out in my blackouts), I hated myself for participating and I hated her for trying to bring me down to make herself feel better. I wish this didn’t sound so harsh because underneath it all, she’s a good person–aren’t we all?

Fast forward to now. Cut the bullshit, basically. The weekend was me being strong, present, direct, and apparently invested in an actual life here. A life that you all know about, but that she could only imagine until she got here…and saw it for herself. It threw her for a loop, to put it mildly. And, I have to say, I don’t think either of us knew how to interact with one another in these new “roles.” It seemed like she noticed that I had not only changed, but grown up, taken hold of my life, and moved forward–not to make her feel bad, but because this is me now and this is what I do now. It was apparent to me just how insecure she feels about herself–her job, her relationship status, and especially her looks (which may never change, and which I simply don’t play into). We performed a balancing act the whole weekend, and while it was nice to see her and get caught up, I was relieved when she left.

As for me, I noticed that when unsure what to talk about, I would often hear a stream of negativities come tumbling out of my mouth. Literally, it was like I was listening to someone else. These were not so much direct complaints, but rambling monologues that tended toward why this doesn’t work, and why that’s not for me, and why I don’t like this or that. YUCK. I couldn’t wait to get home sometimes and lapse into the fun–and for lack of a better word, “ego-relieving”–“cartoon” voice I use with the dogs.

I don’t know why, but it kept happening/I kept doing it! Maybe I’m still trying to downplay my happiness (or at least, contentedness) because I’m afraid of success, or because I still care too much about what others think, striving for their approval, i.e., I better talk badly about my cooking or my car or my apartment before SHE does, just in case she doesn’t approve. UGH. DOUBLE-YUCK. The point is, I want to change this as much as possible and immediately; it affects everything, and not in a good way. Sometimes I wouldn’t mind going back to the uber-quiet girl I was growing up–maybe there was a lot to be gained from being “too quiet” all the time?

Again, it was nice to be alone this morning, without my thoughts, in the “garden.” A lovely morning, literally. Maybe love is transcending all the bullshit and just being quiet, aware, and absorbed in growing things? Maybe that’s a metaphor for life? If I believed, I would say, possibly that’s even one for God…

What day is it? I’ve got my eyes set on 180 days, which is September 14th. No point in even thinking about drinking until that day comes. (In fact, is that my Unicorn with Sparkly Teeth over there, kicking the grass? Isn’t that where the remains of wolfie-boy are decomposing? Get it, GIRL.)

Getting through, over, or past it…sober

17 Jul

3:06 pm

Just checking in. So tired. Sad, happy, confused, relieved. I’ve been entertaining an old classmate/friend/drinking buddy for the past five days–and I’m so. Very. Tired. And sad. I don’t know, maybe just drained.

This was a hurdle, and I guess I did good. I think I’ve hit a new place in my sobriety where the cravings are secondary (practically nonexistent) compared to my desire to move through things sober in order to learn what I know I need to learn.

Like, how to make small talk with someone whom I just can’t reach…the way I want to/the way that makes me feel safe and good and good about myself. Yeesh. I felt like the entire weekend was trying to make contact through bubble film between our two ENTIRELY SEPARATE UNIVERSES. Sometimes I wonder if I’m unique, if this is my own personal dragon to slay–always in my head and worrying what someone is thinking about me, whether they’re having a good time, whether they’re feeling a connection to me or feeling like I’m a cartoon character who projects my thoughts into clouds above my head.

I didn’t react to these feelings of discomfort and disconnection by wanting to drink, though. I know I can’t, I know I shouldn’t, and that’s that. It’s that easy now. Plus, she’s seen me at my worst, and neither of us want to go there again (she didn’t drink the whole time either, so that made it even easier). However, getting me through it was this newfound sense of knowing that it’s these moments, and events, and people that I NEED to “do” and “get through” sober. I can’t drink to avoid the reality that, connecting with other people is hard. It’s a big deal-thing for me, it’s something I’m constantly worrying about: is it me who can’t seem to feel anything but trepidation and lack of familiarity around people I don’t know? I mean, it’s a visceral relief–and always has been–when I can finally be alone again. Do others feel this way? Sigh. I drank a lot over this, and now I can’t. So, I do my best and hopefully, is it good enough.

This was hard to learn about myself, though. Re-learn, I should say. I mean, I really SAW it this weekend with my friend in town. I never would have had to face it and accept it if I had allowed myself the option of going around it by getting drunk.

My friend and I were drinking buddies in graduate school, and we never hung out much outside the bar. I’ve changed a lot, and I don’t want to say that she hasn’t; but what I noticed was how much chaos she was holding onto (for protection?); chaos in the form of bad relationships, a job that doesn’t pay her what she’s worth, a disrespectful roommate, comparing herself constantly to others, passive aggressiveness.

Let’s face it, though: getting sober has not only made me see these things more clearly, but allowed me to see that I deserve better in a friend AND, that I can and will (uncomfortably and clumsily) stand up for myself. Anyway, the point is, I see these things in other, non-sober people, and am somewhat astounded that getting sober has offered me a way out. By no means am I free and pure and enlightened, but at the very least, I NOTICE the chaos and I make attempts at not living in it anymore.

I think it was Day 120 for me yesterday! The cravings have subsided, that’s for sure. I no longer really fantasize about that “glass” of wine because, well, it’s sort of getting pointless/boring to do so. Yes, at times I felt bored, agitated, and exhausted this weekend, but I knew in my gut that THIS was the only way, getting through it all sober. And, I have the feeling that sobriety is going to start resembling this more; the cravings seem small-fry compared to the “real work” that lies ahead. And, the rewards of this supposed “real work” are bound to be much more substantial–a true high–than resisting the cravings. I can feel it.

Onward…

I don’t trust people who don’t drink!

3 Jul

1:11 pm

Picture it: it’s beer o’clock and I’m trying to get the office to go out for drinks. Some people still have work to do, so will join later. OK. Some people would prefer to stay on and finish work that could be done tomorrow. UM…All right. And, some people…don’t want to go. WHAT? You don’t drink? Huh? Wait, WHAT? You don’t WANT to drink?

This was back in my early 20s. It started back then, this distrust and dislike, really, of nondrinkers. And, year after year, like chapters in a book without end, this, MY STORY, kept growing. My early 30s, graduate school, journalists who should have known that drinking was as much a part of the curriculum as First Amendment law cases: What, you’re not sticking around to drink for another three hours? It’s only midnight, bars are open until 4, dudes. And now, mid-30s: What, you have to go and grab food? What, you don’t drink at all? You have kids and a husband to go home to? Wait…What the FUCK are you doing here? Oh, it’s the company Christmas party, I suppose you were invited.

I remember being baffled, really, when coworkers, fellow students, roommates, and friends didn’t want to go out drinking. (Now I realize that maybe *I* was that annoying drunk who, even back in the day when I didn’t black out and go batshit nuts on their asses, was stupid flirtatious, ridiculous repetitive, and simply Not That Interesting.) Baffled, yes. Annoyed, too: how could they rain on MY Parade? And distrustful: don’t they realize how much FUN they’re missing? Don’t they understand that THIS is where the deals, so to speak, are made?

And, I won’t deny it: I had MUCH different relationships with coworkers, let’s say, with whom I drank after work. Of course, we became actual friends. More than that, we were able to let our hair down, get to know each other outside the cubicle. And, a lot of the time, drinking after work led to positive things, like interoffice romances (where else did you meet men if you were in your 20s in the ’90s?), business partnerships, and if anything, a lot of hilarious–and good–memories.

Would I take back all the experiences that were brought by drinkin’? Not those of my 20s, that’s for sure. My early 30s, though, at least a good portion of them. I think I did myself more harm than good by staying at the bar from 5 pm to closing at 4 am–with my fellow grad school classmates, who were, actually, judging me because every turn was really a test, not a game of who could drink the most. I lost out, for sure, when my drinking after work at one job led to me being fired for missing two entire work days because I was, um, being held in a cell with 20 other women waiting to sit before the judge on public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest charges (and worse, I’m sure; I never asked the lawyer).

A part of me now totally gets my old boss, who simply never touched alcohol. I hated her for that, but I can actually appreciate her choices now. I GET those people who declined going out in favor of going home to cook dinner and get ready for another day of work. I GET those others who came, had three beers, and left…because, um, they were drunk and it was a school night.

What I don’t get is why I feel like THEY won, and I LOST. I’m bitter, I guess, and in a way, I’m bitter a little bit toward them for NOT TELLING ME TO GET MY ASS HOME. You’re a smart girl, why are you doing this to yourself?, I wish I had heard more and louder. There must have been friends who said this to me, but for the most part, in my 20s and 30s, when I was getting worse and worse, everyone else seemed to not really care. Or, maybe they were just thinking, “I’m glad it’s her and not me.”

In any case, it’s pretty clear that I’ve lost my distrust of teetotalers now, and know the answer to the question, Why don’t you drink? What I don’t know the answer to is, What took me so long to figure it out?

What comes after 60? 61.

12 Dec

1:42 am

Yup. 61. And, there’ve been the usual ups and downs the past few days, the past few hours. I cannot lie: it is frustrating to me to still be dealing with sugar cravings and moodiness. Gritting teeth and ignoring it.

I’m tired–and irritable–tonight, but I just wanted to say that my 60-day “soberversary” came and went with me hitting an AA meeting and then meeting up for dinner (and wine, for her) with an old roommate and friend from [cold east coast city]. We used to drink a LOT of wine together, but looking back, I know I always drank harder than she did.

It was great to catch up, OK to be drinking Diet Coke while she was doing wine. I mean, I could see myself feeling more deprived than usual if I had the opportunity to hang out with her more frequently. I could see myself wanting to drink more. At dinner last night, I had very little desire to imbibe. Tonight, however, after a day of working in front of my computer, no exercise, and rainy weather (read: cooped up and feeling restless), I wanted to drink at our dinner party. Oh, well, the sheer amazeballs-ness of the place where she’s staying–a four-bedroom, post-colonial mansion on [beautiful island]–made up for it with welcome distraction!

I feel down right now, and I’m not sure why: every morning, and every evening, I feel more down than up. I feel grumpy, frustrated with my progress on work/writing/?; just down. Even though I had a GREAT time with my friend, and felt fine in my skin, having good sober conversations and even better food. I don’t know, I don’t get it. Time to Turn It Off and sleep.

Did someone say it gets easier after 60 days?

8 weeks came and went and…no time for drinkin’!

7 Dec

2:33 pm

Of course, the thought has crossed my mind more than a few times–I have a friend in town who used to be a crazy-ass drinkin’ buddy (we got into a LOT of trouble/troubles together)–but do I have to acknowledge it as anything more than an errant bug in my program? NOPE.

I’m keeping busy and truly enjoying my work (for once), my free time (swimming is a FUN way to exercise, and what do you know, the more fun it is the more I want to do it), and planning my future work and free time. I can go to bed and look forward to waking up and just continuing where I left off. I can plan my days and the work I will do, and know that there won’t be any snags, physical or mental or emotional–alcohol is no longer in my way!

I hate to say this, but I will anyway: I almost feel in control of this thing called “my drinking problem.” Does that mean I’m going to drink? No. Does that mean I have to be extra-vigilant? Not really. All I have to do is not drink. And, the best part is, the sense of control comes from my continued work at thinking myself out of drinking, which seems to have changed things up there because it really is getting easier not only to say no, but also to not want to drink in the first place. I feel like I can (much?) more easily resist my cravings because I know (from experience) that drinking will be exhausting, likely not that much fun, and will ruin the next day. The consequences don’t necessarily have to be major; even minor ones seem to me NOW to be majorly sucky, so why disrupt my flow?

I’ve been to only one meeting this week, and let me tell you, it feels GREAT. Great to be away from AA, to be away from AA people, to be away from the AA mentality. I dislike the “once a drunk, always a drunk” mentality; it bogs me down and seems to me to detract, actually, from my success/progress. Too much AA is well, too much AA. In fact, I find AA depressing; I almost feel LESS empowered, worse about myself, and like, I’ll always have this problem. I don’t know about you, but my question has always and will always be: don’t you want to SOLVE the problem and move on? Can’t you? Can’t you leave it behind, officially stop dwelling? (Maybe once I do the steps and get to #12, it’ll all make sense…) I think it’s AA’s trick to keep you there, which purposely contributes to your fear of drinking and therefore, to your sustained sobriety. For me, there’s something about fearing drinking and fearing my “drinking problem,” not to mention having a perpetual problem that just feels…wrong–eh, two or three meetings a week is enough AA for now.

Anyway, happy Friday to all!

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