a close call, and reaching 90 days.

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!

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15 thoughts on “a close call, and reaching 90 days.

  1. absolutely fabulous!
    90 days is wonderful, and the insight I see effected in this post is great.
    “I am abstinent but the addiction is still present”…powful words. Why I say I am on recovery, not recovered, because I know that, if I were to have a drink it would only be a matter of time before i had ALLTHE DRINKS!
    That is so scary about the hot chocolate! But an honest mistake, for sure. I have never had this happen to me and I am SO grateful, and the way you handled it so early on in sobriety is wonderful.
    If you don’t hate AA meetings, I would gently suggest you it more of those between the refuge recovery meetings. They can’t hurt, you know, and being around sober people, sucking up some of that goodness is always helpful. Plus it keeps you busy…an early on that’s important too. Food, exercise…all of that will come, seriously. Right now it’s all about the not drinking, and you are doing a wonderful inspiring job

    • Thanks so much for your comment, mishedup! I like the points you make about aa for keeping busy and meeting other sober peeps. I do feel like I am missing that human connection with other like minded folk. Bonus tonight was that I exchanged contact info with someone at my refuge recovery group, so happy about that. 🙂

  2. i didn’t realise we both hit day 90 today! isn’t it wonderful!!!! well done to you and I loved your post. I felt my inner critic saying to me, “why cant you write like this'”
    well done on the hot choc incident, Sobriety is a delicate thing I was told. protect it with your life, one day at a time.
    I am seriously into the Buddhist way at the moment, it is helping me no end. I really get their philosophy and recommend you pursue.
    hugs from NZ
    Lisa
    http://www.thec-word.compassion

    • Hey! Congrats to you on 90 days!!! Awesome. Oh that inner critic, it always gloms on to something right?!
      Yes i agree about the Buddhist philosophy, I am digging it big time. Went to another group tonight and it was really inspiring.
      Hugs back!

  3. Congratulations! 90 days is a really big deal and the start of knowing what it is to feel like your own self. Your post is such a perfect reflection of my own experience , and is shared by many.

    Let me chime in on mishedup up above about extra AA meetings. Spending time with others who are working a good program and learning how they handle different experiences is helpful. Some of the religious aspects are hard for me also. What has helped me is simply being happy for people who have found a God who is a positive for yin their lives, and having my own quiet meditations of thankfulness to say to myself during group prayers. That plus weekly classes at a meditation center have proven a workable combination.

    • Thanks! I am pretty happy about reaching 90 days. It feels like an acheivement after all of my starts and stops. Thanks also for the encouragement and advice, I will take it in and think about it. I am just in a searching phase…

  4. ‘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 love the power of connection when you read someone else’s words and it could have been you writing it. Yes this is still true for me too even after almost 14 months. Thank you 🙂

    • So true. That’s what I love about sober blogs, I relate so much to what others write. It is so helpful to know what we all struggle with the same thing. We are not alone. Thank YOU 🙂

  5. Congrats on the 90 days! And that accidental booze thing has happened to me too. No need to panic over it. Accidents happen, but for sure I am more vigilant when it comes to drinks brought to me in social settings.

    “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!” – This. This is perfect, Lee. With this attitude, you aren’t going to be steered wrong. I struggle with this stuff too. Clarity – that’s the big one.

    Great post, my friend – I can see some great changes in you lately 🙂

    Paul

    • Thanks Paul. I remembered your post actually about the sip you had, and how you dealt with it and that helped me think through it! NO need to make it a game changer but it sure threw me for a loop. But I got through it, so happy about that! I have you and other sober bloggers to thank for that! 🙂

  6. Congratulations on 90 days of freedom! You, Lisa (comment above), and I are the 90-day trio! Three months, three recovering drunks, and three celebrations! Yay, us! My sober date is Aug. 21, so I imagine you both are that date or there abouts. I agree with those who are nudging you toward AA. I am finding the companionship in recovery to be invaluable. The experience depends so much on the group, though, so do check out a few or more. I suspect we all have had our hot chocolate moments. For me it was a dessert brought to the table to “share.” One spoonful and I knew. It was a big deal in my head at the time, but talking about it with other folk in recovery helped me to whittle it down to size. Continued good wishes for more and more sober days ahead. Thanks for posting!

    • Hello! Thanks for stopping by! Yes we are very close in sobriety dates- mine is just a few days before yours. Tomorrow i celebrate 100 days :))
      I know i shouldd get to more meetings but im still on the fence about AA. I like my buddhist informed recovery paradigms. But im still open to whatever works so we’ll see!

  7. That’s a perfect way of wording it – “…the desire to get buzzed is still there in me.”

    Thanks for helping me realize why trying to moderate again is a bad idea.

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