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.
- 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.
- as mentioned, I escaped to bed as early as necessary.
- 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 …
- 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.
- 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.