this is living sober

I’m fine (she says, again). thanks for all of the comments, direct emails, and cyber hugs.  all received and pretty darn helpful.

I cried off and on yesterday, from grief, heat, and terrible fatigue, having slept about 4 hrs the night before.

I did manage to run yesterday, though, mid-day, mid-sweltering heat, even though i was feeling like a bag of shit. it seemed liked good advice (from nomoremerlot) and it was a scheduled running day. better to do 20 minutes than skip a day.

that I went for a run is significant because while running, I asked for a ‘sign’ that I should continue on this sober journey a little while longer, or maybe it’d be OK if i had a drink or two at the end of my two months.  I saw a bird flying by, and i thought “that’s not the sign that i should drink.”  There was a sticker on the wall … no, that’s not it.  And not 2 minutes later, literally, I came around the corner to see a gigantic car accident, big white passenger van on its side on the sidewalk, smashed up against the pedestrian guardrails, having overturned a few parked motorcycles alongside.  Traffic diverted. police with whistles in their mouths, arms outstretched. no ambulances, no people around. just this van there waiting for the tow truck.

it was a freaky clear sign, and I barely believe in that kind of shit … [this is what i wrote in an email yesterday to cricket]. but whether i believe it in or not, i asked for a sign, and i got one.  I burst into tears right there on the sidewalk beside the van. (some witness-guy watched the not-thin girl go by in tight spandex on a jesus-hot day, sweaty from head to toe, dripping from all orifices, and clearly thought i’d lost my mind.)

OK, maybe i don’t really believe in signs but, being the hot mess that I was, it did seem brutally clear. and abrupt. and fast.

in the blink of an eye, the van can be on the sidewalk. you can make a tiny mistake with huge consequences. bad shit can and does happen. not often, but it does happen. life is already fragile enough. you don’t need to add mind altering drugs to that mix, do you Belle?

it was nearly 10 pm before i got the official news that my 20-year old friend had passed away after being taken off life support.  her mom describes it as a very spiritual experience, not as painful as you might imagine. Here’s a quote from the mom’s email:

“… There has only been one message, according to [daughter’s name]. And that is Love and Happiness. So I am not suffering as much as you’d think right now. Instead, I am feeling a profound sense of peace, and even gratitude for this experience, with occasional bursts of sobbing and grief. … Going through her end of life — from the call that she was in critical condition — to her final hours and the decision to donate her organs, was the most profoundly spiritual experience I have ever had.”

When i read this i felt somewhat better. it’s certainly not every day you get to witness someone losing their daughter like this… and the girl was really a special kid. we hung out quite a bit when she was traveling alone through europe, and she stayed with us a few times, bringing her guitar and her gigantic smile. she kept in touch with me directly, outside of my relationship with her mother, and we became ‘buddies’ (as much as a 45 year old can be buddies with a 20 year old).

And it was after receiving the news that she was gone, that I checked my blog and read the comments from yesterday’s post about sadness. In particular, Mrs. D saying that this is sober life. this is it – the shitty and the rough.  Well, she says it better than I can:

“Belle, this is living sober. This is what it is. It is crying, and getting frustrated, and angry. It is sadness, it is hopelessness. It is raw, it is real. It is hard, and it is relentless. It is sober living. This is why it is tricky and it takes some work getting used to it. This is raw life, without the drug. The drug is attractive because it bends our brains and shifts our attention to a more blurry place.”

because all the way through the day yesterday, i kept thinking that a shot of grand marnier would take the edge off, would numb me — just a bit — so that i could deal better. i don’t drink ‘for fun’ or because i’m ‘thirsty’ or to ‘be social’ or ‘to relax’…. i crave booze when i want to HIDE.

thanks everyone for the well-timed truths. I am fine. Day 53.

and just a PS, i’ve been feeling draggy and shitty and out of sorts and not enjoying my vacation for about a week … i did hunt to try to find the specific point that i started feeling bad, when the unraveling began.  well, it’s the same day we learned that the smiling 20 year old was in the hospital on life support after her heart attack. I hadn’t realized the direct correlation in the timing.  [sigh]

time to have a shower and begin my day.


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

  • I so want to get back to living sober life without the numbing. I don’t know what I am scared of.

  • Everyone has different triggers but I think just about anyone would be triggered from the emotional upheaval you’re going through. I’m so sorry for your friend, her family and for you. Keep reaching out. Keep writing. Keep exercising. Keep on keeping on. I’m sending you light and love!

  • Ah, sweetie, I’m so sorry. But the message her mom sent speaks volumes and knowing your friend was at peace with her passing means everything. And think of it, you are living her legacy…you are living love and happiness. Some days it might not feel like it, but overall you are. You are a beacon of those qualities to all that know you in person and those of us lucky enough to have found your blog. 🙂

    ” i crave booze when i want to HIDE.”…Ayup.

    And I’m with Kary May…”there are signs everywhere” (a la ‘When Fools Rush In’).

  • Mrs D is very wise and says it all. So sorry you have had so much sadness, it does make us re think everything and can feel like almost a physical blow to the body. Just look after yourself and know that what you are doing in these times is connecting with something so deep and precious inside of you.
    Re the drinking – I think you should make a date in the future – 10/20 /100 days time whatever – and think about what you want to do on that score. You are in no fit state to make a decision now. (sorry for being so direct about it!) . Look after yourself and lots hugs. Cxx

  • Learning to deal and work through all the crap that life has to offer sober is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I had been stuffing down feelings since I was old enough to think and numbing those feelings since I was old enough to drink.

    Just remember, you don’t have to think about being sober forever…you just have to be sober today, this hour, this minute.


    • thanks sherry, this really made me think. “stuffing down feelings since I was old enough to think and numbing those feelings since I was old enough to drink.” I didn’t come to drinking till late in life, because i was afraid of booze. for good reason, i think!

  • I don’t know if I believe in setting dates, it never worked for me, it seems to me that when you set a date, you are working towards a goal and that goal is being able to drink again. Maybe as Cleo says, the date should just designate a day to sit down and evaluate where you are and where you want to go, until then just live soberly.

    I am a big believer in signs though, maybe you should just keep looking for signs that you are living the life you are meant to live. They are out there, you just have to be on the lookout for them. Maybe you could ask that new beautiful spirit, your friends daughter, to help you find some. (Sorry to get all hippity-dippity spiritual on you, but I believe in that shit.)

    Take care of yourself today, you are grieving and that is the hardest thing in life to do. I’m thinking of you, Kary

    • thanks for the hippy-dippy, KM, i believe it too (up to a point and then i get weird about it). i think that she’s “somewhere”, perhaps not helping me, but she’s out there somewhere. she’d have to be. someone as lovely and talented and serene as she was couldn’t just cease to exist.

      i agree about dates. my date of august 31st is my date to reassess, not my date to drink. i tried to broach the subject with husband last night during exhausted-heat-grief, and he thinks i should stay sober so we save money … not exactly the response i was looking for!

      i’m going for groceries now. i’ll look for signs at the grocery store. signs are everywhere, you know. sometimes they say “two for one” or “fresh pineapple” : )