under-promise and over-deliver

I know from all of the emails i’ve received from Team 100 members that the disapproval of husbands can be quite grim. your husband or family might be disappointed with you. your husband or other family members might say something like “why can’t you just drink like normal people” or “why can’t you get your shit together.”

here’s part of an email i wrote to one of my sober penpals about husbands:

your husband (probably, I’m sure) loves you but he’s (probably, quite probably) scared.  He may seem ‘angry’, but for men, angry often means scared. he’s scared of what might happen if things don’t change.

but what he doesn’t know or understand (yet) is who you are becoming. the new you that is taking shape already in these last few days. the old you is going to slowly peel away and he’s going to see the new you. there aren’t many words to explain to him what will happen, it’s more something you’ll show.

those of us who drink too much are great at over-promising and under-delivering. now you’re going to get a chance to do the reserve:  to under-promise and over-deliver.

how do you achieve that? for now, you say “yes honey I know you’re right, and I’m working on it, you’ll see.” you stay at home a bit more rather than tempting yourself by being out with all the drinkers.  for now.  you can get enough sleep – for now. You’re making a GREAT choice for you.  fuck everybody else (for now!)

and slowly bit by bit you’ll do two things.  you’ll show YOU that you are someone who can be counted on.  and you’ll show HIM that you can be counted on.

I like the quote from the biography of Rob Lowe, as he was leaving rehab, they said to him “you can be the kind of celebrity who goes in and out of rehab, or you can get sober and stay sober.” Me, I’m just competitive enough with myself that I want to be the latter.  🙂

so now? patience. do what you’re doing. rinse, lather, repeat.  he’s scared/angry, and this will pass.  you’re tired and overwhelmed and this will pass.  make sure you have enough sleep, cake and sunshine.  in that order 🙂

in rereading this now, i think i’m always writing these messages to myself as much as i’m writing them to anyone else.  My husband had never said he was disappointed in me.  but truthfully, he never would have said anything. that’s just who he is. and i think i relied on that for too long. like, if husband never complains, it can’t be a problem…

the other thing i think i understand now, even more since writing this email, is that the process of getting sober is a slow process of proving something to myself:  that i can be counted on. that i’m reliable. that i do what i say i’m going to do. that i under-promise and over-deliver and not the reverse. that i can count on me. that i’m reliable. that i do what i say i’m going to do.  and as I prove that to myself, the rest of the world can’t help but notice.

Team 100 update: We are 43 members now, 1 missing. Welcome to PP and Chris, both on day 1. Lawyer Anne is day 14 today (cake!), Kate is 17, Lynda is 35, and Jen (mommy) is 40. And i have my sense of taste back, and i’m on day 296 apparently. who knew!

Belle

I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I’m tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

7 thoughts to “under-promise and over-deliver”

  1. “i can be counted on. that i’m reliable. that i do what i say i’m going to do.”

    fuck yeah. Exactly what being sober means to *me*. I’m not a dirty liar anymore. I’m not an empty promiser. I can be relied upon. What a relief.

  2. Hey, I just started a blog about my forthcoming challenges of not drinking. I did this getting sober thing once before about 2 years ago and managed two sets of three months. But now I’m on day 1 again for the first time since then. I’d like to join your 100 day challenge, 100 days sober would be so awesome. I’m Anathu, 32 years old, in the UK. Thanks for an inspiring blog. I hope I can be part of the journey!

  3. OH MY GOD. You know, I have this feeling we might make it to 100 Team 100 Members. And what if we made it to 1000 Team 100 Members 100 days 100% sober. That would be wild. Says she who fell off after some damn good head way but, hey, I’m still gonna get there. I’m so happy people are continuing to join the party. So many little sober cars rolling… it’s a veritable fleet!

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