One day at a time. Whoever figured that out needs a street named after them, because it’s a critical concept for me as I go along with this new alcohol-free life. Moving in and out of my mind are thoughts of forever, as in, can I do sober forever? Never drink again? Is this me now?
One day at a time.
It’s so easy on Day 1, to think damn, I am so done with drinking! I am so done with this alcohol shit FOREVER! Day 3 alcohol-free rolls in and it’s like…hmmm…I feel better now, should I really do this abstinence thing ? At 60 days sober, you have so much time invested, you don’t want to blow it, but still…is this me now? Am I doing this? At 4 months, you are surprised that you still feel like you are skating on marbles–
What is my identity now?
I’m not telling anyone yet that I’ve stopped drinking, really, and what does that mean? A hedging of the bets? A way out of this alcohol-free challemge in case you decide to go back? Almost 6 months sober, I’m getting my wheels under me but still…the future….
One day at a time … Forever?
Drinking was so much a part of my persona. I could “drink with the boys” (and did). I was so invested in my hard drinking image that I would text a friend from the plane before getting off at a layover, pretend-bitching that they didn’t let me off first because I wanted to hit the Admirals Club, stat! At big company dinners, I was always asked to help pick the wine because that was me. I was “the drinker.” Part of my identity. Always the first to hit the bar, the first to suggest a drink, the one ordering that one extra glass at the end of the evening.
So who am I now? The me who is sober? Am I going to be a role model to others? Am I going to be whispered about behind my back, “She quit, wow. She must have really had a problem.” Am I going to quietly go about a non-drinking life and it’s no one’s business? Is this a beginning or a pause? 5 years down the road, where will this have led?
I leave this Friday on my first business trip since the pandemic lockdown. I’m surprisingly calm about it–haven’t booked the usual 2 hour layover and may have to even sprint to catch the next plane instead of sprinting to catch 3 glasses of wine between flights. I don’t care if I’m upgraded or not because all I care about is legroom and not drinking room. The friend I’m staying with on the other end knows I’ve stopped drinking and is supportive and proud. I’ve booked no dinners out on purpose.
But now, I wrest my brain back to today because none of that matters. Today, I wake, I drink coffee, I plan my day. Clear and happy. I’m here, today. Talk about Boosemusings…funny what the brain mulls over as it slowly heals.
Tomorrow I will be 6 months sober. It will be 6 months since I stepped away from the misery, from the sleepless nights, the worry, and the guilt that alcohol gave me. It will be 6 months of reading, learning, struggling, saying NO to going back, writing, clinging, and of joy. 6 months of joy and pride in finally doing something I’ve known was needed…for years. It literally seems like a dream – I’m doing it! I’m doing it!
6 months sober. One day at a time!
In all the quit-lit I’ve read (and I’ve read a LOT), a passage comes back to me time and time again. It’s from The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley. It’s about doing the hard work and not going back and doing it again. This quote “scared me straight” right from the beginning, it kept me from having a glass of wine and chucking it all at a celebration I attended early on, and I think of it OFTEN. Daily, actually.
“The truth is that the hardest bit of the obstacle course is the beginning. So you really don’t want to keep redoing the wall, the leeches and the digging. Once you’re through those, the other obstacles get easier, and they’re further apart. And you get stronger, and fitter and more able to cope.”
The begining ….
181 days ago it was another kind of one day at a time that ended my drinking career. It was one more day in a groundhog day routine of wash-rinse-repeats. That day was like all the other days of my 35 or so years of drinking. It was just going to be another day of picking up the glass later in the day and not putting it down until bedtime. But this particular day, I got up, started about my day, but then started looking at the clock at about 1pm because … pandemic and bored and staying home. Maybe you are familiar with that routine?
I decided to have a glass of wine “with lunch,” then thought, well hell, I’m already drinking, so I had a gin and tonic, then another, then the usual vodka on the rocks because it was now 4pm and officially time for a drink, then wine, more wine, wine…at about 8 o’clock pm, I noticed my husband was REALLY drinking a lot (OMG…this is crazy to even remember)…I started nagging him (because that was my favorite sport when I drank, picking fights), I dramatically walked over and grabbed his glass of whatever, poured it down the sink like some drunken hall monitor, he got up and left the room, I followed, he tried to get past me, I shoved him, he shoved me, and that was THE END.
The end of my drinking life. The moment of truth and the fork in the road. It was like a dark bell went off in my head, and even though I was drunk, I knew I had arrived at the moment. I guess it was a rock bottom of sorts, even though other worse things had happened, but I just knew.
Hands laid on each other for the first and only time in our marriage. It was truly like a voice from the universe, telling me at last: Look at YOU. Not him. YOU. YOU have a problem with alcohol. YOU need to stop drinking.
I went to bed that night certain of what I had to do, even as drunk as I was. I got up the next morning, took my laptop to the patio and started Googling, bawling, weak and sad. I found Boom, got my nerve up to join, and my very first post noted that I was in “mourning” because I thought I was saying goodbye to something, giving up something, saying goodbye. Little did I know – the world I would gain. Sober one day at a time.
I have 180 days under my belt, and I am clear on my intention to live alcohol-free for the rest of my days. It’s a gift that was given, that crazy last day and terribly sad night.
April 1, 2020, what a fitting day to be a fool for the last damned time.
April 2, 2020, is my sober birthday. I always wondered why people kept track right down to the day. I get it now, I really do.
One day at a time forever? ABSOLUTELY HONORED TO OWN IT! Alcohol-free. Freedom
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