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.

Thoughts before bed

I had a meeting about a music thing tonight. We were supposed to meet in the town we usually play in. The town where much of my damage has been done. I had MAJOR anxiety about going there. Envisioning the drive had me all worked up. It was so weird. We were going to meet at someone’s house. Not at a bar. Still, I had to listen to my feelings. Blech. Feelings.

Thankfully, my friends and counterparts are kind and supportive people who met me at a diner closer to my house. I’m very lucky. I explained the situation even though I can’t really explain it and they understood. No questions asked.

The good news is that it was very productive. It was nice to see my friends and I didn’t feel weird at all. Same stupid jokes. Easy conversation. Thank GOD. Thinking about it now, I was probably nervous about interacting without booze. Wondering if I could do it. If I’d be able to converse. Lo and behold, I was.

I went to a women’s meeting tonight. I wasn’t as comfortable at this one. Possibly because of my building anxiety about my music meeting. I was a bit distracted. I saw a few friendly faces and got a couple of hugs.

I don’t like to talk about this much but I have this mom complex. I have a mom, thankfully, and she is a loving person, but we do not really understand one another. We are very different and our relationship is complicated. It was very contentious in my teens and early twenties and while we get along well now, I’m not sure it fully healed. There’s been this barrier between us since I was a teenager that keeps us from being close. Too much static in the connection. I feel I did not meet her expectations – I’m not Catholic enough (at all); I’m not a good housekeeper (I have a good job); I am not home enough (pursuing my passion in the hopes that that inspires my kid); I don’t decorate my house (I hate frilly curtains but I love piles of books and yarn and art supplies); I don’t really cook or bake; I have strong opinions that I don’t mind voicing; and I mentioned the church thing, right? I have never really let my guard down. I’m generally proud of who I am, but I’m not sure if she is.

Anyway, not to delve too much into this because I don’t want to sound ungrateful or be hurtful… but having older women accept me warmly when I’m in such an honest state has been very meaningful to me.

I may delete that part later but it needed to come out for a minute.

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 6, 2020

I’m here. Everything is fine. I just wasn’t feeling posting yesterday. My son, dog, and I did a nice little hike. We watched Up and enjoyed food from my favorite vegetarian restaurant. Well, I did. My son was not interested and had some leftovers. We fed our neighbors cats who are so stinking cute! Then I did some work and watched Broadchurch. Actually I finished Broadchurch and I miss Alec Hardy already – that broody, socially incapable, perpetually scowling misanthrope. Checks all my boxes! What a dreamboat.

I did not attend a meeting yesterday. I have found that there aren’t meetings with child care. Perhaps this is something I can look into starting? At some point that is not now…

I have a meeting on calendar for this evening. Afterwards, I have lots of knitting or art to work on. I couldn’t get up this morning and slept very late. I’m giving myself some times as my body is probably detoxing. I’m going to try to be in bed by 11 tonight. Even if that’s watching a show. I should be ready to sleep. Maybe some reading.

Did you miss this yesterday? How boring. Hahahha. Hopefully more interesting stuff next time.

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.

Meeting 2

I had meeting #2 of 2 this evening. It was a women’s meeting so I felt less apprehension. As I walked in, a woman asked if I was here for the meeting and sat down beside me to chat. She introduced me to several other women before and after the meeting. That small act of kindness went miles in making me feel comfortable. This was a “Step” meeting and I honestly had no idea what to expect. I know one of them is to “make amends” but that’s about it.

This meeting was about Step 6. I am no expert but it sparked discussion about the defenses we hold onto. Kind of the shadow self and why it is there and how to deal with it. One woman commented that she chose to change ways when they brought her “enough pain” and everyone chuckled. There was a common feeling that we all had pretty incredible tolerance for pain. The discussions at tonight’s meeting were more meaningful to me. Maybe because I felt welcomed. Maybe because it was all women. I don’t care why. I just care that it did.

Afterwards, some of the women stopped outside to smoke. I joined them and we talked for about a half hour. I got a page of maybe 25 phone numbers and 2 of the girls texted me while we were there because I mentioned that I’m not great at reaching out. I always feel like I’m burdening people. They let me know the meetings they’d be attending over the next few days and invited me to join them.

It was a relief to talk to these women who FUCKING UNDERSTAND. The anger. The shame. The relentless agony of craving and fear of missing out. The HOURS wasted for NOTHING. The quick thrill of the first glass and the disappointment in chasing that feeling until the wee hours of the morning. Never learning the lesson that it will never happen. Each assured me that it gets better.

I reached out to a couple of (male) friends who are in the program and received such warmth and support from them. Each offered to accompany me some time. A couple of faraway friends who are sober now also offered to be a sounding board. It’s incredible how much people want to help you once they have been through it. I suppose that goes to show what a fucking dark place it can be before the starting line.

One woman and I laughed about how we thought we could drink like normal people but the fact is that “normal” people would never ever have that thought cross their mind.

I’m cautiously optimistic. Today was a really good day. I have my meetings lined up for the weekend including a yoga class tomorrow night. I’m hoping this feeling continues. I hope I can get away without facing too much FOMO this weekend.

Day 2, 2020

I attended my first AA meeting last night. Well, that’s not entirely true. I attended a couple in the early 00s as part of my partial hospitalization but it didn’t stick. Obviously.

So I went last night. It was a beginners meeting. A guy talked. A few people raised their hands to talk. I sat in the back. The person running the meeting gave me some phone numbers for temporary sponsors. I didn’t talk to anyone though.

The guy who spoke said this was his home meeting. When he came 12 years ago he was welcomed with open arms. Several people mentioned that actually. I was not? I felt alone. That being said, the meeting was mostly men. And I give off an almost aggressively unapproachable vibe. It’s armor. I hate small talk. I am wary around people so I guess I send off a message of “no thanks”. Seriously. That’s why I drink. I’m much friendlier when I’m drunk. Almost aggressively friendly actually.

Many friends that I met in my teens and twenties have said – wow, I thought you were such a frosty bitch. Anyway. I did not leave any room for people to welcome me. I almost ran out of there now that I think of it. I am going to a women’s meeting this evening. Maybe that will go better. From what I understand, you have to try a few before you find one that works for you. I don’t know. At least now I know it is ok to bring tea.

I slept like shit. I knew this would happen based on the last few times I tried to quit drinking. You’d think you’d wake up the first day all refreshed but you don’t. It takes like 4 or 5 days. I’m not sure because I never made it that long. Also my kid couldn’t sleep so he was in and out of my bed. I tried listening to podcasts, white noise… nothing. It was a circus here last night. I’d love to say, well maybe I’ll sleep better tonight but I would up reading at 8:30am and falling asleep again until noon. So I shot myself in the foot. Whatever.

Today was a vacation day for me. My intention was to keep it super chill. Do some writing and reading and not much else. The kid is at school so I have had a few hours of absolute silence. It might have been nice to go for a hike or get a massage but I’m fine with this.