My “goodbye tour” has been less than successful. I contracted a miserable virus last week and had to bow out of several engagements. I’m bummed because I was looking forward to a last hurrah with these folks specifically and I also intended to tell them what was going on. I went out last night and was able to get some solid hang time with some of my people, informing them of my impending sobriety. I even directed a couple of folks over here in case they are so bored that they want to read the ramblings of a middle aged alcoholic with self control issues. Hi friends!
I drank wine last night. That’s been my beverage of choice for the “goodbye tour” and I think it’s because of how shitty it makes me feel the next day. I’m guessing that my subconscious is trying to make sure I am real about this.
I slept like shit. I feel crummy. I prattled at people. I am still on board to not do it anymore next month. Right? Right.
I keep trying to envision what it will look like when I am at gigs or out supporting friends. When I was 28, I spent some time in inpatient and intensive outpatient which is a story for another time. Part of my group therapy was a MISA group – dual diagnosis/ mental illness and substance abuse. I was not allowed to drink during this time. My husband had a gig and I specifically remember ordering some stupid seltzer and cranberry or something and feeling like I wanted to crawl out of my fucking skin. It was so hard being there. I sat outside and chain smoked. I think I brought my sketchbook too. Like… I always need a distraction when I’m out.
I am an introvert. Most people who know me would find this very funny. But I am. My default setting is quiet, observant, and under many blankets. Preferably with a dog. The drinking is how I cope with having to be an extrovert. I suppose I thought that in order to front a band, one needs to be an extrovert. It’s so fucking interesting to unpack this because I am still operating on assumptions I made when I was 22.
Anyway. I’m tired of thinking for now.
Yes yes. It’s been a few minutes.
I’m going into treatment in January. My alcohol use is out of my control. I cannot do this by myself. I have told my husband and a couple of close friends. His reaction was “why don’t you just stop.” I’m not even kidding.
Friends have been supportive. I’m not sure if anyone believes I will actually go through with it. But I need to finally follow through with something in my life.
In order to start this thing, I printed out 180 journal pages from 2015 – present so I can see how often I have repeated myself about wanting to quit drinking. I’m very interested in this. So yeah. That is what is happening.
Have I mentioned that I am a performer? Maybe not. I mostly perform in bars and at (alcohol fueled) events. This weekend’s gig was an overnight. It’s far. So we took advantage of the situation. A bunch of middle aged folks unleashed from having to drive anywhere. Mix in the fact that we’re in gorgeous mountain country. It was a recipe for celebration. We were out until 4am. I slept well and the mountain air did me good. I love it up here. Today I feel relatively gross but not terrible. I’m also pretty sure I smell like a barroom floor which is horrifying.
I’m still listening to Claire Pooley’s The Sober Diaries for my long car trip. I’ve also cued up Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly but haven’t started it yet. Pooley’s story (and her honesty about her drinking) resonate deeply with me. She almost makes me believe that I can do it one day. I’ve reached the point in her story where she discusses her diagnosis of breast cancer at 46. Women who drink excessively are way more likely to get it. She also discusses Edith Piaf’s death from alcoholism at 47 from liver cancer. Like… what the fuck am I waiting for here? I’ll be 42 in a few months. I’m honestly terrified to go to the doctor for anything because who knows what is brewing in this cauldron.
Right now I am in famous hippie town having a lovely lunch and drinking a blood orange iced tea that is delicious. Can’t I drink things like that when I’m out (or in)?
I worry about how my relationships would continue. My friends and I have a very deeply rooted drinking culture. Staying out well into the morning hours, drinking bottles over bottles while making a mountain out of an ashtray. These are therapy sessions. Summits on solving the world’s problems.
I’m scared of losing that.
When I try to break down what that would look like… I see more day time hangs. Maybe more like outings – to DO things? A museum, a show, a yoga class? Even if we did dinner, I doubt there will be a shortage of things to talk about.
Truthfully, I’m afraid of who I am without drinking because I don’t know her at all. I’ve been “self-medicating” since I was 24. I don’t know if she has ever even existed.
I DO know that the person who drinks is a loud, rambling chainsmoker who loves to interrupt you and talk about herself. The alcohol free me can’t be any worse than that. I also know that before I drank I was not a talker AT ALL. I was an observer. I would take EVERYTHING in. As an artist, I’m going to guess that will only benefit me.
I think of the extra energy I’ll have. I’ll lose weight. My skin will clear up. I’ll be fucking healthier. I’ll likely keep the majority of my friends. Ugh.
I woke up this morning wondering if I’d get through today. I stayed in bed too long. Sometimes I think I try to sleep through life to fast forward through it. It’s terrible. Although I have always been prone to depression, I’m generally a happy person. I have a nice life. Pretty much all of the things I wanted. But sometimes I just want to sleep through it.
I had to bring Pup to work with me because he had an afternoon vet appointment. We got some scary news. He has a tumor but we don’t know whether is’s benign, malignant, operable, inoperable. We’re bringing him for a (very expensive) ultrasound tomorrow. I am calmer than I would have thought. Almost too calm.
My dog is 15 years old. We’ve had him for about 12 years. He is an enormous pain in the ass. He barks at everything with a heartbeat. He has nipped at family and friends. He doesn’t even seem to like me anymore. However… he is my best buddy. My soul companion. I love him beyond measure. So I should be freaking out. But I’m not.
I get this way. I numb myself out. Let me be clear… I have not had a drink. I just naturally do this. I keep hearing the wine demon* saying, “This is a big deal. If you want to have a drink, it is totally understandable.” But any time I picture that glass of wine, I feel the wine headache in the front of my head. And it turns me off. I’m sure this is temporary since this is so new, but I’ll take it.
So yeah… I am not sure what I am feeling right now but so far it is not leading me to want to drink. I’ll know more tomorrow about Pup. So maybe I’m just trying to gauge myself. I don’t even fucking know. It’s like I’m talking about another person.
Tonight I plan to catch up on some work. I’d like to do some artwork too since I’m gearing up to a big art project… which I don’t even feel like talking about right now.
*I don’t like the term “wine witch” because I identify as pagan – hahah. I’m not kidding but it’s so silly.
I’ve never done a dry January or anything like that. I was kind of lamenting about whether I would have to start from day one and lose those precious two alcohol free days I just had. In the end those two days don’t really matter, do they? They are in the past. So is last night… when I had 3 glasses of wine. And THEN some cheese fries.
I find that lists help me. And also I like using my Apple Pencil.
It’s already 9pm so my plan for the night is to finish watching Precious, which I started last night. I’ve always wanted to see it and it is a rough watch. So heart wrenching.
Interested in hearing what you drink at wine o’clock and what you’ve been doing with your extra time.
I’m on Day 3 of something. I’m not necessarily stopping drinking but I’m definitely hunkering down with sobriety books. Trying to hammer in the idea that drinking is doing literally nothing good for me.
Right now, I’m reading Sober Diaries, How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living. So far, it’s great. I am constantly nodding and groaning in agreement. It’s helpful to know I’m not alone in this. It’s kind of incredible to hear someone else rattle off a LONG list of the SAME excuses and “plans” I’ve made.
Last night was a little rough. I almost gave in like 5 times. But I kept reminding myself that if I had one glass at 10pm that I’d be up till 1am drinking. I remembered how nice it was to just go to sleep early the previous night and how good I felt all day. So I went with that. It sucks that this is a constant fucking negotiation in my head.
I guess for the moment, I’m committing to finishing that book. That’s it. I have another one on deck too. I’m going to try and focus on sober/ healthy reading this coming month. Yeah? Yeah.