DAY 88, 2020

I cannot believe I am almost at 90 days. I do not miss drinking. Each time I have a craving, I flash to the headache feeling or the sloppy, mortifying person I become when I drink. I am more quiet and thoughtful. I am becoming more secure in who I am – the creative parts, the deep thinking parts, the analytical parts, the woo woo parts. I am becoming who I have been meant to be.

I don’t think this is all alcohol related. I think this is part of growing into oneself. I am sure that everyone, whether the realize it or not, is slowly changing over a 90 day period for better or worse. The good news is, you get to start a new 90 day period every day if you want.

I don’t mean to sound high and mighty about this. It’s been hard work. It’s been strange navigating my relationships as a non-drinking person. Drunk Me had few boundaries and went with the flow for the good of the fucking party. Just saying that is gross. I put up with words and behavior and situations that would now qualify as wildly unhealthy, unsafe, and unacceptable.

I feel more powerful now. I feel power in the word “alcoholic” because it indicates that I am willing to look honestly at that part of myself and not run away.

TRIGGER WARNING – depression, self-harm, suicidal behavior

I have been thinking about my twenties a lot lately. My soul was so lost. I was a ghost. I barely existed where I stood. I’ve spoken here about how I drank to fit in and to make it more comfortable to interact with people.

When I wasn’t drinking though, I was severely depressed. I tried dozens of combinations of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. At 24, I drove my car into a pile of rocks and then drove the clunking car straight to the emergency room. I was fine from the small collision. But I wanted to die. My senses were heightened. Everything in my eyesight was sharp, yet I felt like I was just a pilot in my body. That last little shred of reason left in my brain knew I needed to get help.

As I drove, I sliced into my arms and legs with a broken CD case. It was all I could find. I felt possessed. I was conflicted. I didn’t know how I would pay for this but that small pilot directed me in. I answered so many questions. The room was tan. The furniture was vinyl.

The next step is fuzzy. I did not stay overnight. I must have gone home? But looking back, I’m not sure how I escaped the mandatory 72 hour hold. The next thing I remember is going to intensive outpatient. I did that for a couple of months.

My face bloated from all of the medication. Also, you’re not supposed to drink on that shit but clearly I didn’t adhere to that. I remember being at a music festival and my friend was taking pictures (with a real camera lol) and he said to me… I don’t know if I have ever seen you smile.

I was in this perpetual heavy conversation with myself in my head. I always felt like I should be doing more and should have amounted to more and should should should all over myself. I didn’t measure up. I didn’t finish college. I stopped singing. I kept painting though. That always got me through.

I don’t remember a lot of specifics from my twenties. All of the vignettes I recall are standing in a kitchen and drinking and smoking cigarettes and not feeling comfortable. I had a boyfriend through this period of time. We had gotten engaged actually. He was a nice guy. Smart. Also liked to party. We were toxic to one another.

I remember his mom asking me why I was so sad. I couldn’t answer. Partially because she terrified me (I was not alone in this) and partially because I simply did not know. I remember one day she held my face and said I just wish you could be happy. She meant it. It was kind… and intense. But she meant it. I guess I just exuded sadness.

I think our 50th breakup might have been the last. We still talk on occasion. He’s a good guy. I know why I loved him. And I know why we didn’t last.

That was a lot. That can count as a chapter. There’s another one but I don’t have the energy for it right now.

The good news is that we all know the ending, or at least the chapter we’re in now, is fine.

I didn’t even talk about this quarantinsanity. Next post.

Day 74, 2020

I am doing well. I mean there is a global pandemic and all but as well as one can do in this situation. We are embarking on having my son home from school for the next two weeks at minimum. I have a very ambitious schedule printed out during which I will have to find blocks of time to work. I have a feeling I will be pulling nights. I don’t mind. It all evens out.

I had a dream the other night that I drank. In the dream, I hadn’t realized it. I just drank a glass that was handed to me and continued to drink without thinking. Then, in a panic, realized that I had ruined everything. I was very upset.

In the morning, it took a bit for me to realize that I had not in fact had a drink. A good friend’s Dad who has been in the program for a long time reached out to me today and we went back and forth with stories. He was also a musician and acknowledged the very specific obstacle we have to endure being that alcohol is ever present in our industry. Aside from being exposed to it almost every time we play, it’s not only accepted, but expected to partake while we are playing. I digress. I told him about the dream and about how upsetting it was and he imparted that the longer you make it, the more precious it becomes. And that made a lot of sense.

We also talked about narcissism and alcoholism and how they tend to go hand in hand. It was a funny, honest, and much needed conversation. I am luck to have such people in my life.

Not sure if I mentioned that my neighbors are also program veterans and have been checking in with me. It’s nice to know that other people have gone through this and are living productive, peaceful, and fun lives. That normal changes.

Day 28, 2020

It’s been a few minutes but I’m still here. Still not drinking. 28 days. I cannot believe it. As I say almost every time… I’ve never even come close to this.

I went out to a bar last week. Cabin Fever has been setting in and some friends were playing a show about a half hour away. This was my first trip to a bar since being alcohol free and it was weird. This particular bar is weird to begin with so that may have added to my vibe. In any case, I survived and am not itching to do it again any time soon.

First of all I felt REALLY self conscious. I just wanted to hide. I have a CVS receipt of physical hangups and I cannot drown them in Pinot Grigio anymore. So I’m feeling really awkward. I found it difficult to hold conversations because my self-consciousness was taking up a lot of space in my brain and I find that I simply don’t have much to say sometimes.

Other peoples’ conversations became more erratic and intense and I wasn’t riding that wave. I went outside to smoke a couple times. And I Irish Goodbyed which is something I was NEVER able to do when drinking because I had to say goodbye to EVERYONE individually. Unless I was in blackout mode. Then I would disappear. Ugh. Is having to say goodbye to everyone another shard of narcissism? Like everyone cares deeply whether you’re there or not. Hahahha.

I’ve learned a bit in the AA meetings I’ve attended and that is that alcholics are fucking selfish. I can’t disagree. This kind of self-centered and self-important behavior is not natural. I mean, I am also a recovering Catholic so there’s probably some residual guilt in ever considering oneself in any situation. Maybe I’m somewhere in the middle. Maybe it doesn’t fucking matter.

I’ve got a lot of shit to do at work this week and I’m trying to focus on that. I’m now being asked whether this “dry January” thing will end on February 1. For me, no. My response is, “I am doing this indefinitely. I need to figure out how to exist without it before I would ever consider doing it again.” I really feel like I’m fine without it. Seriously. If you asked me 3 months ago, I would not have agreed with that statement.

Day 11, 2020

I have not had much to write about. Things are pretty status quo over here and that’s good. Boring is good. I think I thrived on chaos long enough.

Things I have noticed so far:

    My head is more clear.
    I don’t grind my teeth as much (anxiety not as bad)

    • I stick to staying at home or going to meetings though. Have been avoiding anxiety inducing things on purpose.

    I’m a little calmer, meaning not as moody. (Not something I expected this early on.)

    I’m going to bed earlier.
    I have REALLY messed up dreams. Excruciatingly detailed and just fucking odd.
    I have found places and people who are on my team and that means so much.
    I think I can do this.

I’be been wrestling with the idea of sobriety for several years. My life and behavior have had peaks and valleys and the last couple of valleys were deep. I’ve known that something had to be done for the past 5 years, I guess. When it was simply not cute to be trashed anymore. That crazy/ hazy look does not translate into your late 30s. It just covers you in a giant red flag.

In the past year, an acquaintance posted on Facebook that she quit drinking 4 years ago and her life was much “gentler”. That clicked it in for me. THAT is what I want. Gentleness. Calm. Peace. I was under the impression that I had wine to calm me down, but it was just numbing me out and making me feel more anxious the next day. So, I’d drink to get rid of that. You get the picture.

This gentleness has called out to me. We’ve been thinking of moving west for a couple years now. I want to be near more trees and some water. Gentle. I want to have a view of nature rather than apartment buildings. Gentle. I want to hear birds rather than sirens. Gentle. I want to drink tea rather than wine. Gentle. I want to make the coziest retreat of my home. Gentle. For a while, I pictured how nice it would be to drink wine out on a patio surrounded by trees. But now I realize it’s the trees I want. I mean, I want the wine, but the trees are even better without it.

What am I even talking about?

Tonight we are meeting one of my best friends who is doing a “dry January” and going bowling with the kids. I’ve been looking forward to this all week. Tomorrow, I’ll do a meeting and then a sports ball party that I promised to pop by. I have a seltzer buddy who will be there.

Then back to the grind.

Day 7, 2020

I’ve never gotten this far. This is kind of crazy. In 20 years. I’ve drank through the flu; bronchitis; viruses. Sure, I’d go a day or two maybe if I was vomiting. But that’s about it.

Let’s play with some math. Let’s say I got sick 3 times in a year. We’ll call it 2 days without alcohol. I’ll subtract 270 days for 9 months of pregnancy. That’s 120 days out of 7030 that I didn’t drink. That is… 1.7% of 20 years. I did not drink on 1.7% of the days in 20 years. Holy fucking shit. Sure, I’m probably forgetting about a couple days here and there but that will take me up to what – 2%? 3%? Even 5% is fucking problematic.

Anyway. I went to another women’s meeting last night and that’s the way to go for me. I saw some familiar faces and met more nice women. I have another at 5pm today. I’m still feeling a bit raw and afraid to go out or even connect with people who actively drink. I need to protect my energy. First and foremost. We’ll see.

Day 4, 2020

Attended a meeting last night. Saw some of the folks I met on Thursday. This morning I had a therapy appointment. Now I’m at Starbucks using their WiFi like a fancy person. I still have no idea what I’m doing when I come here. It’s another language I’m not interested in learning. There is one… “barista” here who becomes visibly annoyed when I order a medium black tea. You mean Venti? Sure. Whatever medium is. What kind of black tea? Christ.

I went to Urban Outfitters today because my head was cold and my hair looks ridiculous so hat. I tried on a pair of pants and laughed and laughed. I felt like a grandma walking in there. Everyone who worked there was either in a half shirt or looked like they were in their pajamas. Kids. I don’t get it, but hi fives to them. I wore ridiculous shit too. The many hair colors. The Doc Martens. Glitter. I wore most of the stuff in there 25 years ago. Adorable. But it is clear that I do not need to be shopping there anymore.

Speaking of shopping, it appears that I have been doing a lot of that lately. I really need to rein that in. I have a tendency to compulsively shop and I’ve definitely been doing that. A caveat is that I usually do some shopping for myself after Christmas because of sales and not receiving Christmas presents anymore. If it continues past this week, I’ll re-examine.

I did an afternoon meeting today. It was nice. Maybe about 10 women and they were very nice and welcoming. I got more numbers. I’m not sure when people get sponsors or if you have to seek them out or what but I’m not there yet. I think most of the women I’ve met are not in that role yet. Someone in the Facebook group I’m in suggested making the gym part of my nighttime routine and I love it. That’s what I’ll do tonight. Saturday night should be pretty empty there.

No sleep till?

Up, dog walked, double tea and English muffin made, iPad out for writing. All before 10am. Who is this?

For starters, this is a person running on fumes. I slept for about an hour and a half, woke up for 3 hours, slept for 3, watched some Facebook videos, and gave up. When this happened yesterday, I tried real hard to fall back asleep at 8am. I probably ultimately dozed off around 9 until noon. Intriguing shit, man. So yeah, I’m probably gonna need a nap.

I already received a check-in text from one of the women I met last night. I thought that was really nice. I’ll read a bit this morning, attend a meeting in the afternoon, hang out with W, and then go to a Kundalini yoga and meditation class tonight. I’m terrified because I don’t really know what that is. I have a therapy appointment tomorrow.

One thing I’ve learned from years of warring with depression, is that I need to set up safe places and lighthouses when things get rough. I think I’ve been navigating that pretty well so far. Unfortunately, the support at home is minimal. My husband, who is not much of a drinker, has been having wine with dinner despite telling me he didn’t have to drink. He has not checked in with a “how’s it going?” Or “how are you doing?” Or even a pat on the back. This is par for the course. I can’t worry about him or his lack of empathy right now because my focus is on getting through this. My parents are unaware that I am quitting. I’m not sure if they really know that I have a problem. I typically keep it in check around them and make up for it at home. They’re not really drinkers either. Thus, meetings and networking, and building a support system from scratch.

Shit. I am so tired.