Day 15, 2020

One thing I have to do is figure out how to stop this thing from dinging at 1am. Maybe I’ll reset it to like 8am or something.

Oh hi, I didn’t see you there. I’ve made it two weeks. I feel good. This is starting to feel normal. I’ve been laying super low and staying close to home though I did go out this past weekend.

On Saturday night, my bff and I went bowling with the husbands and kids. She is doing “dry January” and so I had a buddy. It was fun. On Sunday was a get-together at a friend’s house. Everyone was drinking but me – and one of my friends who agreed to be a buddy. It was nice to have an ally. I had a good time but only stayed a couple of hours. I began to feel squirrely.

I do not have another social outing scheduled for another couple of weeks – hahaha. That was enough for me. It’s funny because normally, I need to be out all the time. But I”m wondering if I needed to be out or if I needed to be drinking. Or if I needed to feel included and accepted and anxiety set in because I’m really not a fan of loud places so I drank more in order to maintain. I think that’s probably the most accurate.

I think of things I truly miss and it’s nights outside with wine and smoking and just talking. Would it be the same with tea or seltzer water? Isn’t the nice, luxurious thing the conversation?

Things to mull over.

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.

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.

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.