practising saying NO … to these people, to these places

From my inbox:

Paula (day 42):  Been working my ass off here. Not complaining, because I like it. I’ve been sleeping really good, like through the night. I’m not good at the whole counting sober days thing which I think is a good thing. I’m curious as to where I am but not drudging through each day. The first 10 days or so were tough. Now I feel like I’ve pretty much picked up where I left of with my [previous] long stretch of sobriety. But in a way it’s different this time.

Sobriety was very important to be before but now I feel gifted or something. Sobriety feels almost magic this time. I have truly learned that having a couple of years under my belt doesn’t make me immune to myself and my destructive behaviors. I can’t stress enough how terrifying that loss of control was to me. Especially after KNOWING [what a period of sobriety was like]. For me, looking at myself drinking, was like watching myself from above walking in front of a train. I truly felt unconnected and, shall we say, possessed. Possessed by some idiot who was trying to destroy me.

… This recent battle [to get sober again] removed any doubt in my mind (which already should have been removed) that I am addicted to alcohol. I am a fucking addict. This is dangerous shit and I don’t want to play around it. It will fucking kill me, there is no doubt in my mind.

Thank you Belle, for being there and believing in me, when I didn’t believe in myself. Luv, Paula

From me:

I’m now entering week #2 of working from a remote location, and i have to say i kind of like it. I really love vacations… lots of sunny, outside, walking around. Eating divine breakfasts and the best sandwiches. There are some things in North America that you just can’t get in Europe, and i’m trying to enjoy all of it while we’re here (and i’ve bought some supplies to take back with us, like plain Cheerios, baking powder, maple syrup, and ziplock bags).

This is my first time being sober and visiting a place where we used to live. It’s haunting, in that as I walk around, i think “i used to drink there, i had drinks there, remember the night at that place?”

The first few days were a bit disorienting, and I preferred to limit my time ‘out’ and stay in our rental home a bit more. To be fair, I’m enjoying being in a large home with two levels and a yard! it’s really a vacation for us compared to our tiny (darkish) european accommodations sans yard. I keep saying “i could live HERE” meaning in this house, if not ever again in this city …

Now that we’re into the second week, i’m doing better. It’s like i hadn’t yet practised saying ‘no’ here, to these people, to these places, and as we go along i realize that it’s fine. I may have an uncomfortable minute or series of minutes, but it’s fine. One great realization is that i have much less tolerance for stupidly expensive fancy trendy restaurants. Once you remove the $50 bottle of ‘vacation’ wine (“oh, we’re on vacation, oh this is a nice place, oh this is an ‘event'” (not to be confused with yesterday’s ‘event’)) – yeah once the booze is removed, those trendy places are just expensive and unnecessary. I’m happier with a really good pulled pork sandwich with tangy BBQ sauce that costs $8.

Happy 100 days to Shel & Tammy!

I’ve asked them both to share how it ‘feels’ to be on day 100, so stay tuned for updates from them 🙂

Team 100 update: Welcome to new members Pete (6), TV (4), Rob, June, Kathleen & Olivia (3), Irish Eileen (63), and Beckie (9).


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

  • Great stuff Paula and congratulations! This was really timely and interesting to read. It sounds like you had a relapse after a long stretch of sobriety. If you feel like writing more I’d love to hear about what happened exactly – how and why you relapsed and how you got sober again. It’s frightening to realise it can get out of hand again after even two years sober, when I can easily see thinking you had it under control so ‘one or two’ couldn’t hurt, so this stuff is really great and important to read. Glad you’re here sober Team 100 friend 🙂

  • Congrats to Paula! I had a dream the other night that I drank beer, and it was like, waking up to the same dread I used to wake up to when I actually drank! I was like, ‘Oh, nooo, not again!?’ It was like that dream you have of your teeth breaking of falling out, and then you wake up and go, ‘Thank God Whew. I like having teeth better, and I am going to make EXTRA sure I don’t trip and fall today.’

    Belle, sounds fab there. And I can SO relate on the expensive dinners thing; I’ve become SO much more aware of how costly “things I put in my mouth” are, including food and beverage. I am always happy–gleeful–when I leave ANY dinner out and think, ‘Man, that could’ve been $50 more if I had had the shitty house wine…’

  • I tell you, Paula and Belle, you all are rock star writers! I woke up to your two paragraphs and just WISH it was a book I could keep reading!!!

    Day 19 here. Last night, I had a “dream” where I found myself drinking a glass of WINE. Didn’t remember pouring it or anything. Was devastated and dreaded having to start over (and tell Belle and all y’all). SOOOO happy to be sober, entering the 20s tomorrow — WOOOHOOO!!!

    • @Sarita-Congratulations on reaching the Twenties !~! I am so proud of you for sticking with it while also getting into the correct head/mind space to do it right this time. Happy Happy.