is being sober a ‘mature’ thing to do?
from Vi (day 76):
“Dear Belle, this past week I have had the most painful cravings and what-ifs that I have had in the past 76 days–what if I drink at day 100? What if I drink at day 180? What if I get drunk this weekend? What if I get drunk when I go on a date? What if I get drunk when I go to a different country? (It’s beside the point that I don’t yet have a romantic interest OR a trip planned in the near future; these are clearly just thoughts wolfie is using to hurt me/tempt me back into drinking).
Plus I have had dreams about drinking. In one of my dreams I had a small sip of vodka while hanging out in a hotel room with a cute guy, then everything exciting about the dream — the possibility of romance with the handsome man, the hotel as a symbol of world travel and discovery — everything dissipated in favor of my drinking. It felt so real: the drunkenness, the fuzziness of the lights around me, the mistaken but earnest thinking that this, this feeling, this numbness, this was the meaning and the reason and the point of my life. In the dream I remember gulping down vodka, straight, wincing at the taste and yet feeling listless and desperately scheming to get more when I had emptied the bottle. All I could feel in my dream was the soft bouncy blanket under me on the hotel bed, the cool smooth small vodka bottle, the burn of the drink down my throat, the glistening red but fading lights in my periphery, and the dull thudding numbness gently pounding oblivion into my skull, making my movements flabby and confused.
When I woke up that morning my heart was beating so hard and fast. I sat up with a start and looked all around me, expecting to see evidence of my newly shattered sobriety. With a shudder of relief I lay back down. There were no bottles, no mess in my apartment. It was just a dream …
I wouldn’t say things are going well for me in sobriety, but I would say that I feel such a surprising maturity and dedication to it.
Actually maybe that’s part of what has been triggering cravings: the feeling of maturity I have right now in choosing sobriety. I worry sometimes that I am losing out on my 20’s. That I am losing a childhood. I am 24 and though I had a drinking problem, I only “partied” a few times, being for the most part a chronically solitary drinker. Am I being “too” mature?
I don’t think so, but I will acknowledge that perhaps this desire to live out my youthfulness adds to the severity of my most recent cravings. It will be okay. Thanks so much for all you do, Belle.”
me: ha. our brains do like to torment us with future things, like imaginary partners and imaginary vacations. your answer can be simply be “I’ll worry about that 5 days before the event. not now.” It does seem though – from this and from your dreams – that you do not want to restart. you’re not fantasizing about it. you’re worrying about how to keep yourself sober. and I think that’s an ok place to be. for me, I spent a lot of my first year sober worried that I didn’t ever want another day 1. and so I did more in terms of sober support than I might have, just to be sure I kept my car on the road.
and I’m not sure there’s something called “too mature” – I think there are people who realize that booze is an elevator that only goes down, and then step off NOW no matter where you are on the elevator. There are others who realize that booze is an elevator only when they crash further down. I know it sounds dramatic, but you won’t regret this going forward. you’re going to be so proud of yourself. you saw shit you didn’t like, you changed it, you grew and got better – and you aren’t hiding. you’re doing a real authentic version of you. and that should be celebrated. with one small half-slice of cake. and a candle. hugs
Vi: “Thanks, Belle. Once I get a private moment at work I’m going to print your email response to me and fold it into my wallet for comfort and insight in random moments or when waiting at the bus stop. I especially appreciate what you said here: “you aren’t hiding. you’re doing a real authentic version of you.” Thank you, so much, for noticing. It’s hard. It feels totally worth it, but sometimes, yeah, it’s tough! Day 80. Feeling good. Feeling full of life and purpose. Even if I’m weary. Perhaps even especially because I’m weary.”