Holy crap on a cracker. It’s been 6 months since I had a drink.
It seems unbelievable to me. I was reflecting today where I was one year ago. I had just returned from a trip. My sweetie and I travelled in India for over a month. It was a fabulous trip but I was deeply unhappy. I felt so out of sorts. I was trying to control my drinking the entire time, like I have almost every single day for over the last decade.
There are towns in India where alcohol is illegal for religious reasons. Not drinking in those towns was a struggle for me. Eventually we found out that you could still get booze- the waiters in some restaurants would smuggle in beers for the tourists to drink.
Once we found this out, of course, we drank.
I originally had planned not to drink in India. But wherever you go, there you are. There is no magic that will cure addiction. A change of scenery and all the holy rivers in India could not keep me from drinking. I had to put in the daily work.
I was the saddest girl in the world around this time last year. It was a very dark period in my life. I was jet-lagged, drunk, hungover, dehydrated, bored and desperate. I was so sick of myself.
I barely remember this person today.
Thank the universe I stumbled across Belle and the sober blogging world. I wonder where I would have been had I found this all sooner! It’s weird that it never occurred to me that there was such a thing. I am a researcher by nature! I had already read so many books about addiction, found Recovery 2.0, and sought addiction counselling. I had dropped into AA meetings and SMART recovery meetings. I was a member of InTheRooms. I am stubborn as hell and it took me all this and more to get sober. It even took me reading blogs and blogging for 6 months before I could finally stick with it. And I don’t think a day has gone by that I haven’t checked my wordpress account. It has been my saviour.
On August 15th 2014 I had my last drink. I was quitting again for the millionth time, although this time was a bit different. Robin Williams had just killed himself a few days before. I don’t know why this rocked me so much; I can’t explain it fully. I just knew that if I didn’t change for real my life was in danger. I planned to have my last drink on a Friday night and my partner quit with me for a little while. I attended a few AA meetings for a few weeks. I turned down social events for about 6 weeks. I told myself that I was willing to do whatever it took to get through the cravings, the ups and downs. I had to be willing to feel whatever came up and not drink. I surrendered. I told myself that it will suck for a while but I had faith that it would get easier. I found things to look forward to.
Refuge Recovery meetings started in my city. I told myself that I really wanted to be sober to attend this group. I had read all of the founder’s books and I knew it was a program I believed in. The idea of being part of something- especially from the beginning- really intrigued me.
There have been some real ups and downs along the way, a lot of them I have written about here. There have been highs and pink clouds and spiritual awakenings and insights and true authentic joy. And there have been lows and sadness, confusion, loneliness, and boredom.
I have discovered passions- old and new- that have woken up my soul and my heart and made me remember who I am.
I have come face to face with some of my core issues and of the ways my heart has been broken.
Over the last 6 months as a sober person, I am happy to report that I have somehow managed to survive:
- A wedding
- A death in the family and a funeral/celebration of life
- Christmas and xmas parties
- New Years
- Birthday parties (not mine)
- Baby showers
- Dinner parties
- Dinner out at fancy restaurants
- Relationship/personal conflict/issues
- Starting a new position at work
- Job stress
- The loss of and changing friendships
I’m also happy to report that over the last 6 months (however most of it in the last 6 weeks) I have lost 10 pounds 🙂 I have almost kicked my junk food and sugar habit and I have moved to a diet of clean whole foods with tons of veggies and fruit. Being active is a regular part of my life now that I am not hungover all the time and it’s getting a lot easier to make healthier choices.
I went into a liquor store and bought booze for the first time this weekend. I was co-hosting an event for a friend and I did most the food and drink. I was a little nervous but I felt ready. I TURNED DOWN FREE WINE SAMPLES in the store. I opened bottles of champagne for my friends and poured glasses for folks. My friends got hammered- old school style. And I didn’t drink. I had moments of wanting to and at one point I texted my partner and he talked me down. It was funny to watch my friends but by the end of the night I can’t say I envied how messy they got. It was still good to be with them though and be silly. We danced and sang and joked and laughed. There’s a lot of history and connection that comes with so many years of substance filled nights. I wouldn’t give up much of that past because in some ways that kind of wild abandon opened up my heart. I just went overboard with it until it turned on me.
We do keep a little alcohol in our house now… not much, but there’s a bottle of wine on the rack, beer in the fridge, and a couple of spirits around. It doesn’t bother me. The spell that alcohol used to have over me has almost been broken. I won’t say completely because I still have moments when it calls to me, but mostly the illusion that it will make me feel better is gone.
I just know that it makes me feel like shit. It’s hard to un-know that now.
I still don’t say that I will never drink again. But for now, I like this way better. Even though it’s hard sometimes and I feel left out and that makes me sad and I can’t numb myself out anymore, I still prefer it over the way I was.
And I’m going to keep going…