Well the days just keep creeping up. I have moments where I am truly astounded that I’ve been this long without a drink and other days when I realize that I am still in the very beginning of my sober journey.
I’ve taken the booze away but I haven’t made a lot of other changes in my life yet. I have started attending a support group called Refuge Recovery but it is only every 2 weeks and I don’t think it’s quite enough support for me. There are 2 other Buddhist oriented recovery groups in my city that I haven’t got the courage up to check out yet. I still occasionally drop in to AA meetings but have yet to dig in. I am sort of floating along in my recovery right now. I read a lot of sober blogs and books. I have slacked with exercise and nutrition some over the last couple of weeks as I have been under the weather. So, overall I haven’t been feeling over the moon.
Yet, I am still extremely happy that I am sober. I don’t crave alcohol too often- I have thoughts of drinking or wanting to get drunk but it’s mostly about wanting to numb out or alter my reality somehow. Oh how I loved to get a buzz on! It is becoming so evident to me that I drank to escape. And then it became an ingrained habit. Drinking is just what I did every night. It was my hobby, my past-time, and sadly, it became my best friend. Until it became my worst enemy, of course!
I had a great 4 day weekend this past weekend and spent it visiting my brother and his family. They live in a small coastal town, in an area full with parks and beaches. The sun was shining every day and it was glorious. I am very close with my brother and his wife. They have been together for over 16 years so his wife is a sister to me. They have two small children- 3 and 5 years old- whom I adore more than anything. We hiked, went to the beach, read books and played games, and ate amazing food. It was magical.
My bro and SIL and my husband drank good wine the whole weekend. It didn’t bother me the first night, but after the the second day I struggled some because of an unfortunate event that happened. We went out for lunch and my brother and his wife ordered hot chocolates. I asked for a sip. Something didn’t taste quite right so I asked and…
THERE WAS ALCOHOL IN IT! Bailey’s.
I honestly didn’t know that they has asked for Bailey’s in their hot chocolates. I was mortified. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it as we were with some of their friends, so I kept quiet. My husband looked at me with big eyes and I just shook my head. It was so confusing! I felt like I had relapsed and my brain went into overdrive telling me that I’d ruined my sobriety and I may as well drink now. But logically I knew that it was an honest mistake. The choices were that I could make a big deal of it and sabotage my recovery, or, just pass it off and not pay it any further attention. I went back and forth between the two for quite a while. Really I was just very shocked that it happened to me.
When we got back from lunch, I crashed for a little while in bed. I never nap but I felt extremely out of it and had to lay down. It was only one sip, so it doesn’t make sense that I could have had a physical reaction to the alcohol, and there must have been other factors contributing to how I felt, but I felt just terrible. Exhausted and gross.
That evening when they were pouring the wine for dinner, I heard myself say “maybe I’ll have just a little glass”. My husband immediately said no and crushed that idea. I don’t think I was really serious, but it was an eerie reminder of how powerful and quick that addictive voice can be. My SIL had bought some fancy flavoured syrup to mix with soda for me, so I made myself a nice drink and relaxed.
I eventually convinced myself that the one sip did not have to mean a lapse and it wouldn’t change anything. This sobriety journey is what I make it. I was so close to 90 days and 100 days and those numbers were stuck in my head as goals I really wanted to achieve, so I was able to override the drinking thoughts. The thing is, is that I know that I would be right back to where I left off if I started drinking again. I may be able to moderate for a week or two but I am sure the booze would take over again. I know this because the desire to get buzzed is still there in me. Even though I am learning to get used to being in reality and being authentic, the pull is still there. I am abstinent but the addiction is still present.
I really wasn’t willing to give up what this sober time has already done for me. Waking up every morning feeling rested is almost enough, but the gains I am making are more than that. I no longer feel like I am living a life that is beneath me. I no longer have to hide. I have integrity. I am learning to accept all the parts of me, even the parts that I don’t enjoy very much. I am learning what I like to do, how I want to spend my time on this precious earth. I feel more in control of how I react to situations. I feel more alive. I feel like I have more options.
Sobriety has not made my life perfect, but there is no perfect to be had anyways. What it has done is give me the ability to deal with and manage my challenges. I have bad days. I still struggle with some pretty big negative thinking and some other life circumstances that are difficult. I feel like with the clarity that sobriety brings, I am better able to tackle the hard bits. This is still a work in progress and I am sure it will always be!
One of the things I am working on is being in the moment. That is easier to do when I’m sober because I’m not always planning my next drink or regretting drinking the night before. It is easier to access a calm and clear state of mind. I am only in the beginning of this journey and I am so excited to keep going. My primary goal for each day is to stay sober. It is becoming a lot easier and now I’m able to start focussing on other goals.
I’m so grateful for the space that is opening up in my life now that I’ve kicked the booze out.
90 days today!