fuck you wolfie, in very small print

Rinse Lather Repeat. I know i’ve written a blog with this title before. You’ve been sober for a bit? figure out what you’re doing that works and keep doing that thing. if it’s a mishmash of AA and blogging and reading, then do that. if you start to feel like you’re heading down a slippery slope, then do something soon, early, before you get derailed. i wrote this recently to a team 100 member:

… the slippery slope can escalate quite quickly, don’t take it lightly. in fact, take it heavily … 🙂 blog, call someone, go for a run, go to bed.  yell out loud at wolfie. fucking pig anus.  no no not this girl, no no no. not me not now.

for me, when i started getting a cold last sunday, i put on my big girl boots and waited.  i know that being sick is a gigantic trigger for me. i get woe-is-me-ism and i start to plan to drink. I don’t actually drink, but i start to bargain with myself … “if i feel like this in 7 days i’ll drink then.” Then the time comes and goes and i don’t drink and all is well.  But it’s the bargaining that i don’t like, that makes me feel quicksandy.

so this time, i knew what was coming, or i thought i did. taking my own advice, i blogged and emailed and told my husband. i prepared for the day that always arrives in my headcolds where i can’t taste anything, as that seems to be the trigger point.

i didn’t know it, but something had changed. I am in fact on DAY THREE of not being able to taste anything (!). and i’m actually doing fine.  Well, fine might be an exaggeration.  i’m cranky as hell, i hate my husband, i have a low grade headache, and all i want to do is sleep.  So sleep is what i’ve been doing (12 hrs at a time). i’ve been outside, i’ve been on the couch, i’ve been upright and i’ve been downright.

BUT wolfie is quiet.  The idea of saying ‘fuck-it let’s drink’ has not surfaced. not once.

i remember reading on someone else’s blog, someone who has much more sober time than me, and she said that something bad had happened (death, catastrophe) and she didn’t even think of drinking.  and i remember reading that, and i was like “yeah, I would be thinking about drinking for sure if that happened to me, no matter how sober i was.”

and yet, i didn’t. i haven’t. i’m not. holy shit when did this happen? sometime between my last cold (feb 14) (8 ish months sober) and now (april 21) (almost 10 months). Sometime in the last 2 months i have stopped linking wine as the solution to a dip in energy, a flagging of enthusiasm, a pit of despair.

ha! fuck you wolfie. no really. fuck right off with you.

[on a side note, I’m thinking of having some jewerly made for us, sober jewelry, that says “fuck you wolfie” on it, in very small print, so that only you know it’s there… no, I’m serious.]

so does it get better? the obsessing, the cravings? apparently yes 🙂 does it get easier, thank fucking god, yes. is it possible to get a cold and not think that the world is ending? yes and who knew?

Heidi: I realized that every moment sober is so much better than even the best moments drunk.  Because the time I have spent drunk has not been enjoyable.  Sure, the first few moments I feel the alcohol run through my veins provides a feeling of calm.  I feel relaxed.  I feel like I can finally turn my brain off from all the craziness of my life.  But those moments quickly disappear.  They are followed by shame, guilt, anxiety and fear.  Don’t even get me started on the hangover, the headaches, the vomiting and shakes.  So yes, the whole “not drinking” thing is going much better than I thought it was going to.  [husband] asked me what is different this time and how I have been able to stay sober.  Here is my answer:  I am able to not drink by doing just that — not drinking.  Whatever I need to do to not drink.  Every day is different.  Sometimes I read.  I watch TV. I cruise Facebook on my phone.  I call a friend.  I play with my kids.  I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes.  I read sober blogs.  I email you.  I play games on my phone … I take a deep breath.  I walk up and down the stairs a few times.  I look outside.  I close my eyes.  I do anything — except for drink.  It has worked so far, and I am going to keep doing it.

Team 100 update: 41 members; 2 missing. Welcome to KS, who is on day 1. Sunflower is on day 30 as is Victoria 🙂 Mumscriber is on day 14. Erica is on day 82. Julie is 156. I am 295.

Sobriety: Satisfaction guaranteed or double your money back

On day #12 of sobriety, i wrote that alcohol was a ‘place’ to go.

Now i realize that sobriety is a place, too.  A completely different kind of place.  Sobriety is like a vacation. It’s a special deluxe resort where you can have a break from obsessive thinking.

You know. Obsessive thinking.  “Tired of Thinking About Drinking!” For me, it’s the wolfie voice that I heard loud and clear and continuously while i was still drinking:  “Is there enough wine? did he drink more than me? how early is too early to start? should i have one more (of course the answer is always yes). I’m going to feel terrible tomorrow, oh fuck it let’s drink anyway. oh god, i should stop, oh god is there enough booze, someone should go and buy more. oh god i drank too much my life is a misery my can’t i just drink less and enjoy it why am i pouring it in with no signs of stopping.”

to contrast that delightful picture, sobriety is a Place To Go To Have A Break From That Shit. It’s place where there is relief from the noise. it’s weirdly calm and peaceful in sobriety. it’s like a vacation.

Cindy (day 6):  “I have been working on not drinking since November 2011 (after 30 years). Since that time I have put together lots of pearls of sobriety.  Some made up of 60 days and others 10 days.  I have never relapsed, only had one day slips.  I joined the 100 Day Challenge because I think it is time to put together a number of continuous days of sobriety. I don’t like the feeling of always being at risk of going back to drinking away my feelings. I think a stretch of continuous sobriety would ease that fear” [emphasis added].

Sobriety. A place to go where you can feel less afraid. A place to get away from fear. OK, sometimes in sobriety you feel shitty and have sucky days. you had sucky days while drinking, too. But in sobriety you don’t have to be afraid anymore. There are other cool people in the sober place, on the sober vacation. They are there with you, saying “yeah man, i was dying out there, glad i got here.”  and you can be unsure and knock-kneed. you can think “my problem isn’t as bad as theirs, i don’t need to do this sobriety thing.”

But there’s no denying it. Sobriety is a resort vacation that is BETTER than advertised. You know those luxury 4 star all inclusive resorts that turn out to be dumps when you arrive?  Well, sobriety is the opposite of that. It’s waaaay better than the photos, so much better in fact that it’s almost impossible to describe. You’ve got to come here to see it for yourself.

You might as well try it.

Leigh: Thanks! Think I’ll just go ahead & do it this time

me: might as well see what all the fuss is about 🙂

Leigh: Better be worth it or you’re in big trouble!

me: satisfaction guaranteed or double your money back. we should have a bet.  a pool.  put in money. if you stay sober you win. ok, we don’t need a pool. you win more than money by being sober 🙂 🙂

Leigh: Win more & save more money by being sober. After all, I’ve never woken up the next morning after drinking thinking “I’m glad I did that. Money well spent.” Looking forward to being a real quitter!

Team 100 Update: 40 people have signed up, welcome to Kat (194), Katie (6), and DDG (33) — our newest members. I’m on day 294, Lilly is on day 42, MG is 14, Sunflower is 29, thirteenpointone is 321, Whineless is 23.  I’d love to have updates from TMcA and VP.

all these quotes apply to me

Here are some more clips and bits from Roger Ebert’s 2009 post and monumental list of 1,411 comments:

Terry: If you’ve ever thought you’re drinking too much, you are. If you ever “need a drink”, you’re a drunk or becoming one…. But, my god, what a colossal waste of my time it was to be boozed every night. Work 1/3, sleep 1/3 .. .and be drunk 1/3? Jesus, there’s better things to do than that with a life … So, whether [medications], AA, religion, or whatever does the job, all I can advise is there’s too much life out there to see it in a fog. It truly sucks after a while.

Ebert: I have no reason to attend an event where drinking is the purpose, and don’t.

Mike: Earlier you mention that drunks are bores when one is sober (not to mention boors). During my youthful debauches, I used to say to friends: we are each drinking to tolerate the other’s drunkenness.

Ebert:Alcoholism is the only fatal disease from which you can choose to recover.

Frank: I believe the Navy’s alcohol rehab definition of an alcoholic: “if you crave a drink, even if it’s only one a month or one a year and you can’t have peace until you have that drink, you’re an alcoholic.” Makes sense to me…

Ebert: If one is an alcoholic, drinking moderately is dangerous. If one is NOT an alcoholic, drinking moderately comes naturally and doesn’t require treatment.

Such great quotes, i have more coming.  Now me, personally, i don’t brook with the word ‘alcoholic’, it’s part of my irritating rebellious nature.  i like to substitute ‘boozer’ or ‘drinker’ … BUT I don’t let the wording rub me the wrong way, I just substitute a word that I can ‘hear’.  I can hear ‘boozer’.  I’m a chick who likes her booze. So all these quotes above apply to me. Nuff said.

Team 100 update: Welcome to Lane (day 12) and DDG (day 31).  I’m on day 292 apparently. We are a little group of 37 members now. My husband also says he wants to join and do 100 consecutive days (he barely drinks any more now that i’ve stopped). So let’s add Mr. Belle as being on day 1. That makes us 38,  and we have one male member now!

Being afraid of relapse is not the same thing as relapsing

I have a cold. my colds are never very bad, or long, 3-4 days maximum. they thankfully don’t turn into ear infections or require antibiotics.  they’re just garden variety head colds.

But having a cold is NOT good news for me, because i’ve had 2 before, since getting sober, and i know that both previous times i got a gigantic case of the ‘fuck its’ and decided to drink again. i set a date 7 days into the future and said “i’m drinking then.”  and then the cold goes away, and the date comes and goes, and i remain sober.  thankfully.

But there’s something about being sick that gives me a feeling of despair and woe-is-me.  i usually still run if it’s only a head cold (versus a chest cold). and running always makes me feel better.  I usually still work, jobs #1 and #2 and my passion job #3 thingy.  having a cold doesn’t keep me from getting things done, but the internal dialogue, the noise in my head … man, it ramps up into a frenzy.

During my 24 hour mini-vacation on the weekend, i could feel the cold coming on.  and i had an mini-anxiety attack to go with my mini-vacation… “oh no a cold is coming, you know what that means, better get prepared, get some meals ready, get your sober supports in place, get the catering wine out of the fridge (done!).”

Today is day 2 of said cold.  and while last night i had a very teary, despairing moment about this blog (!) and about the AA ideas of ego (what do i know about that? i’ve never been to AA!), and fleeting despair about the sober challenge … well, let’s just say i got scared.  I tried to explain it to my husband but he’s a normal drinker so he just doesn’t get it, though he does try really, really hard.

I said “what if i start drinking again? this team 100 thing? it’ll be a disaster.” And husband is like “yes, but you won’t.”

Me: “But i feel sick, so maybe i’ll just start opening the wine and drinking.  i could do that right now.”

Husband: “and you won’t.”

And he’s right. i won’t.

i think i learned something concrete last night:  Being afraid of relapse is not the same thing as relapsing.  In fact, being afraid of relapsing is probably a good thing.  it means i’m aware, i’m conscious.  I start to circle the wagons sooner.  i’m afraid, and therefore i read blogs online, i get the house cleaned up, and i get my cold medications ready.  i empty the fridge of catering wine and i go to bed and sleep 11 hours (again, last night).

i also know, deep down, that i won’t drink. But i gotta tell you i really hate feeling like it’s a possibility — even if the feeling is temporary.  I have a good cry and and big sleep and it goes away.  thank god.

Today is day 290 for me.  That’s 6,960 hours of sobriety, give or take. i’ve had 2 colds already and i have survived. i will survive this one.  This is not the zombie ap0calypse. it’s not worth drinking over.

frankly, nothing is worth drinking over.

hooray, cold medicine is working well today, and after 11 hrs sleep i feel significantly better than i did last night.  and that’s good news.

And every day I wake up to a some delightful sober messages, like these ones, please keep emailing so i can keep sharing:

J: “You know, in all the years of trying to quit drinking, your advice of going to bed RIGHT NOW is the most effective I’ve ever heard – sounds silly but it absolutely works, so thanks!”

Julie: “Ok, Belle, I’m sorry, but I laughed at “evil pig fucker”!  You (we) made it through … fuck you wolfie.”

MG: “I can’t describe this feeling.  It’s just an uber calm and peaceful sense.  Like I can’t believe how many years I was an anxious dreary mess.  And how excited i am to be moving on with this new me.  Again, the church message (hard to explain unless you were there) was kinda alluding to that “one thing” that you know needs fixing.  And I have heard that message time and again and WANTED to do something.  And finally I feel like I am.”

Terri: “… The question of whether I will stay stopped or not is still rattling round in my head … I joined [the challenge] because my original goal of 90 days was looming and I couldn’t figure out what to do next … I still get pangs sometimes, but compared to the beginning when it was a white-knuckle ride, I can brush them away much more easily.  At the moment because the answer to this eternal question is not definitive, I am not drinking.  I don’t want to throw away what I’ve achieved unless I am absolutely certain I can either manage it or jump back on the wagon without falling off a million times.  I read a great quote the other day – alcoholism is just death on an instalment plan. That is powerful and really stopped me in my tracks.  So in answer to the question what is better now than it was in the beginning – not having to work so hard to surf those urges is probably the best, waking up clear, sleeping more soundly and feeling better about myself for finally keeping a promise I made to me.”

Team 100 update:  We now have 36 people on this sober vacation, welcome to newest members: Lauren (23), Brandy (7), Sunny Sue (42), and Cindy (who is on day 2). I’d like to hear again from SoberinMtl, Vivien, TMcA, and Leigh.

you being sober is enough (or, Take the support already)

ok. so we’re doing this 100 day challenge thing, right? There are 35 people signed up now which is pretty awesome. I am on day 289, Amy is 130, MG is 9, Heidi is 35, and Sunflower is 24.

I got an email from K, but she’s not the alone in saying something like this: “it feels really strange to email you and not be giving anything back to you in the way of support! you are like a cheerleader to me and i so love getting encouragement from you!”

A few people have said that they’ve stopped sending their daily emails because they were worried they were ‘bothering’ me … 🙂

And I’m thinking, “WHAT?” It’s hardly a bother bother to hear that you’re sober. It lights up my day. Every morning I get up to an email inbox with 5 or 10 or 20 sober messages. It’s tearfully wonderful to hear from you, every day, as often as you want to write. Even when you’re having a bad day.

In fact, i think of this team 100 challenge as my own personal sobriety insurance.  Like, what are my chances of willfully relapsing now? zero. i’m not kidding.  it’s really a big zero. that’s a big gift for me. Money can’t buy that kind of insurance…

Did i know that being your sober penpal would be such a big deal for you? No idea.  None. I still barely understand it. I’m super glad, of course, but i’m perhaps as surprised as you are 🙂

You saying thank you is enough.

You being sober is enough.

With permission, here are quotes from three of my sober penpals:

Lawyer Anne: “I feel like my perspective is different this time. Usually I would feel like I was missing out on something and feel jealous when my husband has a few beers in the evening. This time I realize I’m not jealous of him… There is nothing to be jealous about because alcohol does me no good. I am not missing out on anything, but making a good choice for me. … As each day passes I am feeling energized and relieved by my decision to finally just stop. Not take a break or a month off to see how I feel. But to shift focus back to living my life. It sort of takes the stress off a little to make that final decision. I’ve not felt this before and I’m hoping it means this time around is different. I know I have the power to make it different.”

Lawyer Anne is on Day 7.

Carrie: “Something is different this time. I don’t feel like I am harboring some dark, dirty little secret anymore. I don’t feel like I am unique. Because i told you,  that I can’t drink normally and I reached out for help and I’m getting that help from you and Team 100 and everyone who blogs bravely about this fucking shameful secret.  I found someone who understands and now I don’t feel alone. It’s a little about accountability, but it’s a lot about finding empathy and support and advice that I can draw from when I am faced with difficult situations. I have real people who share my problem and we are all rooting for each other now. That’s what’s different and it makes it a ten times easier than before. Taking the problem out of my head and putting it into an email was all it took to change my journey.”

Carrie is on Day 36.

Brandy: “Alcoholism runs deep in my family … my drinking got worse since my dad passed away in December 2009.  I recently went to treatment, and have relapsed 4 times since January 2013.  I  literally just have a little over 24 hours sober time [at the time of writing this email].  I would like to participate in the 100 day challenge and am ready to finally have My life without Drinking. I am soo happy I found your blog!  I will pass it on to other people I know who are struggling.”

Brandy is now on Day 6.  She emailed three times yesterday, sounding better and better as the day went on.

Do you see what I see?  Can you imagine how fabulous it is to get to know you?

OK, enough cheerleading, now it’s time for me to rant a bit.  Take the support! Are you really looking at this and saying “not sure i want to email her it might be bothering her.”  Take the support already [you knew i couldn’t end this without a metric ton of swearing.  here’s more…] you’ve got to be fucking kidding me, of course i want to hear from you. you’re super amazing.  yes, you’re an introvert, or yes you’re not blogging.  any possibility that i like hearing from you cuz i like you? Really? no chance? of course I like you.  You’re honestly telling a story of you.  What’s not to like? Do you think you’re “not worthy, and who’d want to get to know you?” Enough already 🙂  There’s is at least one weird (sober) chick here who gives a shit, who cares if you’re sober or not.  But in fact, there’s a whole bunch of us here in Team 100. We’re all cheering for you. and waiting to hear from you. and to hear about you. and learn from you. and share with you.

got grief?

There’s grief in the air.  Two emails in two days from two different people talking about grief.  The first bit I want to share is a comment I wrote to Anonymous.  It is in response to a comment she posted on yesterday’s post, and i figured i’d copy part of my text here, cuz comments have a way of disappearing.

So first here’s me, this is part of what I wrote to Anonymous (who is 8ish months sober):

I think grief is a big stress, and it’s subtle. Like, there’s lots of crying to start, and then there’s none, and then later there’s ‘crying for no reason’. I once read that colds were uncried tears. and while I don’t believe that, every time I’m crying I think “at least I’m not getting sick.” and really, I’m a crier, barely need an excuse! I think that crying is fine. normal. good even. and wanting to drink to hide from crying or to hide from feelings is … well, it’s normal, because it’s what we USED to do. and some of those habits and patterns are still there. Maybe they’re hidden better after 8 months, but if you throw in a bit of grief or real distress, then the old patterns can easily surface.

And also, i got this email from J a couple of days ago, and she said i could share. Oh yeah, J is on day 147 today!:

Had a difficult day yesterday and wanted to drink all afternoon.  I’m again adding to our list of “even ifs….”: [I will not drink even if i am] dealing with finding an elderly neighbor who died two days ago, alone in his house.  So sad, brought up feelings of loss, grief, loneliness, finality, fragility of life … I just wanted to drink after dealing with the surprisingly detailed process of sending him off.  But, I didn’t drink — I just sat here and felt it all, knowing the numbness of the bottle would only be temporary relief.  I also knew I didn’t want to report in this morning with another day 1 … so thanks for that.

I think that J’s solution, as she articulates it here, is really very perfect. And I’m going to save her advice for when I need it next.  Sit and feel it. Know that numbness would only be temporary, and would in all likelihood make things much much worse. Feelings are sometimes uncomfortable, they’re sad, they’re weird, they’re distressing. Sit and feel it.

and i would also add… reach out for help. get support BEFORE you need it.  don’t wait till you’ve go the bottle of wine already opened… post or read or call or reach out early. feeling crummy? reach out. found out your neighbor died (good god!), email someone. don’t let wolfie get wound up and running around in there.  Don’t let him get any momentum going!
what do you think about grief and how to handle feelings of loss? i’m a big crier… and a runner.  can’t really do them at the same time, though… and i’m a sleeper.
what else could we add to the grief toolkit?

there is no right way

Recently MysteryGirl hit a bump in the road. She was just about to reach 30 days of sobriety, and then she emailed me and asked that I restart her counter to day #1 for the 100 day challenge.  I asked:  “for everyone who is thinking of relapsing, and is trying to avoid it … can you say a few words? Did you know right when you drank that you were going to enjoy it, or was it a ‘fuck-it’ moment, or was there any thinking.”

And — with her permission — here’s what she wrote to me:

My recent decision to drink on my 28th day of freedom from alcohol was completely a FUCK IT moment. I simply had a few glasses of wine to “take the edge off.”  Not in any way, shape or form did I feel better or relieved. The only relief I can think of is that once I had my slip, it was over.  I was relieved that I did not continue to slip the next day/night/week.  I simply put my big girl panties on, went to my regular Monday morning meeting and got back with the program …

Not once did I even CONSIDER calling one of my AA buddies.  This is probably the most frustrating part of all this.  I had been so proud of my upcoming 30 days … and I know for a fact that if I had not been able to reach the first person I called, I could have moved on to another.  I KNOW for a fact that someone could have talked me through the whole process… from pouring the initial glass to what the consequences might be.

That will be my number one change for the next time that I struggle.  They don’t have to be AA buddies – they just need to be people who understand you because if you are not someone who has struggles with alcohol, they will NOT get it and they NEVER will.

Why didn’t I think of the puppies and kittens as I went to buy that wine?  Why didn’t I reach out to someone to talk about things?  WHY did I let my brother’s drama turn into a reason to escape?  Still some unanswered questions, and all I can do is dust myself off and start again.

[underlined bits are my emphasis added]

I think sometimes people relapse ‘without’ thinking. It can be a weird, compulsive, spur of the moment thing. Like “ooops, i tripped, fell and drank.”

And other times i know that we plan to relapse. we think “i don’t like this feeling, i’m sure my problem isn’t so bad, i’m sure i can handle a drink or two or nineteen.”

I was curious if MG had either of these thoughts, or something different. I personally have ‘planned’ to drink, but have always managed to postpone actually doing it and later I felt better and the urge passed.  I personally have NOT had the compulsive “fuck it” thoughts and then found myself drinking.

But look. That doesn’t mean anything. It could happen to me tomorrow (god i hope not!). i’m not special. i’m not doing sobriety better than other people.  i am perhaps temporarily lucky. and i thought that if MG wrote out what happened to her, then it would make more sense to me (and to her, and to anyone else reading).

This reminds me of Al’s post about ‘ugly sobriety’.  In case there is any misunderstanding, my sobriety might look ‘pretty and rosy and divine and twinkling’. But it isn’t. Your sobriety might look heinous and difficult and shitty and not worth it.  But it isn’t.

We’re all doing the same thing. Trying to get and stay sober. And we’re doing the same thing in our own way.

My way is to put a positive spin on just about anything. Yes, i do that.  Yes, it’s irritating sometimes. And yes, just like everybody else, sometimes i go to bed and cry about how dramatically shitty my entire life is.

Mostly i’m optimistic. About life and about my sobriety. And I’m optimistic about yours, too.

There is no right way. Your way might be cheer-leader-y like me. You might blog or not. You might email me with your real name or not. You may want to date guys who drink, or not. You might be like MG, where you stop and start a bit, while you figure out how to get your sober car on the road. It doesn’t matter. There is no right way. There is only your way.

And frankly, drunks tend to isolate. That’s just what we do. Maybe in reading other people’s blogs you’ll find someone who ‘does it like you do it’.  I hope so. Cuz you deserve to be sober. And, to misquote Paul (MIAB), “the more sober cats, the better!”

4 chocolate chip cookies in your honor

Thanks again to Amy (day 125) for linking to Roger Ebert’s blog post about alcoholism.  I spent the weekend (no, really) reading the one billion comments on his post. Here’s one comment that I loved. I don’t know this chick, but I wish I did:

Molly: Alcoholism is a behavior, it’s a reaction. It has nothing to do with the amount you drink. Rather it’s the decisions your body and brain make when you have been drinking. You do things you would never do when sober. You drive drunk, you get emotional, you pick fights with strangers. You sleep around, you become belligerent, you skip work. Sometimes it happens after one drink. Sometimes after many.

For those hung up on the “higher power” aspect [of AA], I encourage you to count your blessings. Life may not have always been good or fair to you, but you have not actually reached rock bottom. For when you do, you will gladly and easily give yourself up to a higher power. You will look at a radiator, a door knob, the person next to you, and you will know and cherish how truly lucky you are to be standing there, in that spot. You will trust anyone and everything that might even, in the slightest, help you make it through the next hour, the next day, the next week. Similar to hugging the toilet and saying over and over again, “Just get me through this. I swear I will never do this again. I will never touch the stuff ever again.” That is how you cling to your fellow AA members. You ask them, you beg of them, to help you, to forgive you, to show you the way. And they do, and they do over and over again, and likewise you do, and you do over and over again. And you are easy on each other, and you are hard on each other, and you lean on each other and you prop each other up. You are their higher power and they are yours.

And you believe it because you have witnessed it. Because that is the only way to explain your standing there, your being there. They are pinching you to remind you that you are still there, that you are still you, that you are still worthwhile.

[underlined bits are my emphasis added]

i know that the online world is not the same as AA (i’ve said it before, and i’m going to keep saying it).  BUT. i’m super beyond thankful every day to be in the company of such amazing sober friends. You prop me up. I can lean on you. i can ask questions and get answers.  Thanks you 🙂 I’ve just eaten four chocolate chip cookies in your honor. They were warm, right out of the oven. There’s a bowl of dough in the fridge. I can make some for you too if you need a pick-me-up.

Team 100 update: We now have 32 members, welcome to our newest members: Lawyer Anne (2), WalkSober (4) and Mumscriber (3). Also, gigantic happiness and parades to Heidi (30). And Terri hits 100!

there’s no numbness in one glass of wine

My good god i have so much to share. so many fan-tabulous emails, comments, insights. Let’s start here.

In explaining why she wants to be sober now, KC (day 22 today) wrote to me that she’d been sober for a long time (5 years?) and then …

… This cool guy was asking me out for beers after work, and I did the club soda thing for a long time.  Then I figured that clearly I had no problem anymore, and it snowballed pretty quickly to where I would’ve been if I’d never stopped. It’s always been about the anaesthesia, the wrapping up in cotton wool. Pitiful little urchin looking for a liquid hug, someone to say it’s all going to be fine. Yeah yeah, got it.  So now it needs to be about facing life head-on, no more insulating away.

What I would do differently this time: remember I CANNOT DRINK.  I’m not afraid of it, like some AA messages seem to want me to be. I will not cower down in fear before it. I just can’t do it, it does not work at all, same as how I can’t eat this food I’m allergic to.  My only focus during drinking has ever been to get numb, so I will never be able to moderate. Drinking is for other people.  I’ve already drunk enough for 4-5 lifetimes anyway – already put waaaay too many miles on that chevy.

[underlined bits are my emphasis]

KC said i could share this because it’s so damn lovely. i’d never heard the expression ‘liquid hug’ before, but it’s perfect, isn’t it.  really really perfect.

also the idea that if you want to get numb, then moderation is never going to do the job.  there’s no numbness in one glass of wine, there’s only irritation that we can’t have more.

i love this.  I know that i need to learn this lesson over and over again.  and so i’m glad to be writing this today.  I see it now.  I see it more clearly now.  Thanks KC.  Moderation is never going to do the job.

Team 100 update: Lilly (Day 31), Carrie (30), VP (28),  Ellen /Whineless is traveling and she’s on day 12. Welcome to Erica and Kate, our two newest members. We are 29 members today. If you’d like to join the 100 day challenge, read more here … even if you already have a bunch of sober days, you can commit to doing 100 more.

Learn From.

thanks to Amy, I literally spent 2 full days this weekend reading every single comment on Roger Ebert’s really amazing post about alcoholism and AA. I made a list of the most outstandingly thoughtful quotes and bits.

Here’s one.

Ebert: My own best efforts always ended in drinking. I needed to learn from those who had my problems, or sometimes much worse, and were staying sober. For me, the meetings accomplished for me what I could not do on my own.

I like the phrase “my best efforts” … i think what he’s saying is that on his own, using his own way of thinking, in his best attempts to find a solution, he still ended up drinking.  So he had to learn to listen to other people who had figured out how to stay sober.

This made me think of my feelings of NOT being terminally unique. And about mentors. As a person who is NOT going to AA, i’m super wowie excited glad happy amazed elated thankful grateful for the sobersphere. Newbies asking intelligent and scared questions. And people with LOTS more experience than me pointing out tree roots that i’ll need to step over, and warning about weird faulty logic that MAY spiral out into weird faulty actions.

I know this online thing isn’t the same as AA. and i know that not everyone’s problems can be solved by blogging and reaching out and asking for help and taking advice and learning to resist urges and trusting other people.  I get it.  I’m lucky. AND I’ve worked to get to where I am now, and i’m freaking proud of it … “I needed to learn from those who had my problems…”  Learn from.  Not just listen to and then ignore.  I had to Learn From. I had to let someone else’s learning inform me. I had to learn from.

i think that’s why lots of people don’t go to AA, and don’t reach out for help, and lurk, and keep drinking. They think they’ve got it figured out already. they don’t want to learn anything new … That’s not you, though. You’re here, you’re reading this, you’re online, you’re reaching out, you’re learning.