Turns out the holidays were harder than i thought they’d be.  Yes, sober. But had to think about not-drinking more than a few times. Went to bed at 9 pm more than once just to save me from me (insert counting crows lyrics here: “i can’t keep myself away from me.”)

I didn’t realize how many booze associations Christmas was going to bring up, this being my first sober noel.  You know, decorate the tree with a margarita in hand like every year … make homemade eggnog and buy a special bottle of dark rum. oh yeah, vacations = start drinking at 1 pm.  oh and what about my personal favorite:  how do you fill all these evenings without booze?

i did a few things to cope.

  1. made a deal with myself that i was going to start drinking again when i got to 6 months … or 12 months.  I changed my mind a few times as to the actual date. Thankfully i continue to be able to resist and therefore know that I will not make a decision in haste.  i may drink again ‘later’ but not now.
  2. as mentioned, I escaped to bed as early as necessary.
  3. i voiced out loud to my husband that i wanted wine. he’d smile and nod. and then he’d change the subject. i think i was waiting for him to say “have some then.” But he didn’t. So i didn’t. I realize this is completely girly-co-dependent-weiner-style-deflection, but it’s working for me and i hardly ever ask him for big-time moral support so he’s giving it and i’m taking it …
  4. i did something completely brave and had a very very nice on-the-phone conversation with another sober chick who i admire. and it was really helpful. a lot.
  5. i have continued my daily penpal correspondence with not-so-newly-sober Amy. (She emailed me out of nowhere and said she was reaching out for help, and i suggested she report in every day by email, even if i couldn’t always answer, and yet i have found the time to answer, and it’s been very helpful for both of us i think – well i’ll just speak for me, shall i?)

i have very slowly been coming to a new realization about being sober that didn’t strike me at first.  Yes, i’m a slow learner. here I am months later and i’m JUST NOW beginning to wake up to the fact that i drank to fill time because I hate being bored. despise it. run from it. used to drink so that i could fill a whole evening when there was nothing to do.

i don’t yet know what boredom ‘means’ to me… it’s not “you’re not good enough” and it’s not “you suck.”

Boredom, for me, i think is saying something about wasting talents. some kind of guilt thing that goes like this: “The Biggest Sin of All: Not Living Up to Your Potential.”

i’ll write more about this as it becomes clearer.  part of it is parental messaging, however unintentional. i was brought up to believe that it was a tragedy if you had a talent that you didn’t use. like a “call-the-newspaper-we-have-a-headline” incident.  the guilt of not using your talents, the criticism, the complaining…

and so what if you’re good at three things.  and there’s not enough life to go around. and so you pick one of the things.  and your parent (and others, to be fair), says “you should be using talent #1. Talent #3 is great, but you’ve got talent #1 and you should be using THAT.”


How about I drink instead.

of course, it’s not as linear as that.  and this-girl-who-can’t-make-a-point-without-a-hyphen isn’t sure what it’s all about.  why does a successful chick with a business or two feel the need to drink as much as I did? yes, the booze gets you and drags you in.  but i knew what was happening and i let it happen. i stood by for a long time and watched the booze leak in, fill space, get in all the cracks. i watched it fill up entire evenings, days, weekends, vacations.

for what? so that i didn’t have to use talent #1?

good god. not that this makes any sense.

ok.  reset.  Hi y’all, i’m through the christmas season and i’ve come out the other side relatively unscathed.  i’ll leave the rest for closer examination another 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’m coming from the future (2019) visiting 2012 responses. Like visiting a ghost town wondering where everyone is now but the questions are still good so… For me pouring a glass was a clear demarkation line between the constant vigilance of my professional life. Ok, I don’t need to care for 200 people anymore or plan or worry or make another phone call or solve another crisis. There was a lot of fellowship & laughter as well. Currently I’m not doing that job any longer & am at day 50 because all the reading I’m doing about the brain, dopamine, habits & this wonderful blog tells me I can literally change my mind with a 100 day practice which has an elegance of its own. Recalibration is not easy as you all note. And right now I can’t really remember the negatives about drinking those three 3/4 full glasses per night. I just know it wasn’t healthy, set me up for risks of body damage & blotted out some fine tuning which is required to navigate life. I can always tell who is a teetotaler & really enjoy being around them. Calmer, more present. Never any drama. My new direction. Be that person too.

  • We continued to drink because that is what alcohol does to us. The moment the substance hits our system, we are a different person. We can say “Oh, I’ll just stop at two (or whatever number.)” But the reality is that once we drink, all bets are off. That’s why they say, “It’s the engine that kills you, not the caboose.” Perhaps we succeeded at various lengths of drying out time or even attempting to ‘control’ it, but we all know that for the real problem drinkers, that is merely an illusion.

    Congratulations on a sober holiday. Guaranteed, it beats the alternative.

  • Right on, you did great. I hate boredom too and now with being only rarely employed, I know what you mean by Bored, with a capital B. I sew r crochet or watch screens but I hate waiting for work to come and yet there’s no alternative that I can see right now.

    We’ll be bored sober and that’ll have to be ok. But yeah, it’s harder than when one has lots to do to fill the time.

  • I hear ya when you mentioned what you said outloud to your husband. I live alone, I’m not sure if that is better or worse.

    My I want wine is equivalent to Why can’t I be f’in normal? (yes I scream that in my head sometimes) -as if drinking and fitting into so called society is normal, Why can’t I be with my past friends? (yea they drank socially – I blacked out and ugly things happened), I do miss them at times.

    Then my clear sober thoughts kick in. I CAN’T drink, I will hurt countless more people I love than I already have, I will drive drunk bc I can’t stop. I will not be alive because it will only get worse if I go back out. Ugh! Arghh!

    For all the f’ed up things that race through my head when I let them, I know now.
    I want to live and look forwards to tomorrow.s I love that my brain functions, that I can pursue my creative hobby now, I no longer get headaches and want to die and I get to enjoy all the really neat things in everyday life. The most important things now = my family.

    Sorry for my rant on your blog :0).
    Happy, Healthy and most important Sober New Year Belle!!

  • Oh, man, I hear you on this. It’s like, you totally described why I drink! Last night, I wept over it. Yes, really really cried over “doing fuck all” with my day and then, over other stuff that I would SO TOTALLY have drunk over such that it never even had the chance to surface after the didn’t-do-fuck-all spirit crush. I think we all have a sense of time passing, of energy/mood fluctuations; some of us more than others relate it all to being creative, too, and using our time/talents to the best and most of our ability. The thing I realized last night is, sometimes you CAN just cry and let it go and do fuck all, and tomorrow the sun will rise and you will continue on, doing your talents 1, 2, and 3. This too shall pass…(arg! AA, I shake my fist at you! Mind worms in my head…)

  • You have been my lifesaver!!! I would not be where I am without our daily mail. It’s funny, I’ve thought about how hard it would be for me to fill the evenings if I didn’t have the kiddos. I’d be in bed at 6 o’clock. 🙂 Although they add some stress too…so… I suppose neither situation is perfect hmmmm? And sometimes all you need is the potential to be really nice to yourself and maybe be the best I”m-reading-on-the-couch-person you can be.

    And I love points with hyphens. Yay!!!