I got this message from Kary (day 8): “Dear Belle, I am close to tears because I am overwhelmed by what you are doing with your blog, your emails, your willingness to call… I often turn to your blog at night when I am looooonnnnnging for a nice glass of cabernet that I know will turn in to many glasses. Reading your blog settles me, provides me hope and helps me to refocus on what is important. Does your blog include how and why you are able to do this for all of us newbies? I am simply amazed by what you do.”
and then i thought, shit, DOES my blog say why i do this? yeah i think so. it’s sobriety insurance. it’s a virtual guarantee that i will not drink, not now, not in the future. I quit drinking and now I stay sober because I CAN. There are lots of people who want to quit but can’t. I can. I did. I’m staying here in this sober place. Because it’s delightful and the alternatives are potentially heinous. because there’s nothing wrong with my sober life that 2 bottles of wine couldn’t ruin. I’m here and sober because it’s working for me. it’s not perfect, but it’s better. much much better.
But the question of HOW do i do this? i imagine kary thinking that I live off of a trust fund, or that I’ve been given some kind of sober research grant. Really, being a sober penpal at this point takes about 2 hrs a day. I know that sounds like a lot of time, but i work at home, i don’t have any kids, and my real full-time job isn’t really full time, it’s about 3-4 hrs a day. The rest of the time i’m running, catering, reading, helping my husband with his work, or i’m watching Downton Abbey (which is kind of lame this season, unfortunately).
Why do i do this? Because i offered to be a sober penpal to Amy and to Lilly and then 307 other people joined in.
Because i get to be a sober cheerleader which is really a very fulfilling thing. you do all the hard work and i say ‘rah rah you’re so great’ … i prance around with my pompoms. i sprinkle glitter when you go by in your sober car.
But really, i do it because i think something like this is needed. when we want to get sober, we need to be able to talk to someone, maybe for the first time, about our shit. and AA isn’t for everyone. so there’s this.
how’s that for a very unfulfilling answer. Kary, i do this because you’re lovely and i would like to get to know you. and i’d like you to know that you’re not alone. not by a mile. there’s a big crowd of us here. hanging out, doing the sober thing together. we’re all successful in our own ways. we’re all smart and interesting and dull and sad in our own ways. we’re just like you.
From my inbox:
Cdn Girl (day 7): “I am so happy that I am living numbing-free! I feel like I am rising up to future possibilities. The briefest idea of going to buy booze today… crazy brain… It’s not gonna happen. Thanks for your support” (she’s now on day 19)
runningfromthebooze (day 100): “How do I feel? Like I’m healing. Some days I feel like a mountain lion sitting on top of the world taking in the view and other days I feel like a kitten who’s eyes have just popped open.” (now she’s on day 134)
JenFaith (day 2): “Sobriety – like so many other things in life, once you get some traction and begin to notice the benefits, a problem might arise when one becomes too attached to this new bliss and awareness. It’s not a continuous feeling. There will be great days where the choice seems crystal clear, there will be difficult days when its not clear at all, and there will be neutral days.. these ones for me are even more lethal because there is a dullness that creeps up on me unexpected. On these days I almost forget what I’m doing for no reason and am vulnerable or I unconsciously ask myself why am I doing this? It almost seems inconsequential. On these days the sense of the benefits is dulled or nonexistent. On these days I need to remind myself that the great benefits you were feeling were real and will return again and again and will grow.”
Jo: “Alcohol is *the Siren’s song* to me, it pulls and calls, coaxing and wailing, encouraging, but oh what disaster awaits! Upon the rocks of it I shall surely be left for dead, not once but several times over, and eventually I might not rise. Knowing this danger lurks and surrounds me so far has kept me away from those tempting places and people, and oh how it has called. Some can walk away from alcohol no worse for the wear but woe to those who find themselves gripped by it talons. It wants destruction at any cost, but not before it tosses its victims about like a rag doll in all sorts of sordid positions doing the damnable… I suppose The Devil knocks on all our doors in a myriad of ways, some worse if that’s imaginable and some we judge to be not so so terrible. Truth be told, all are equal to each that answer the knock! I have answered the knock so many many times, like I was being compelled by a force both in and beyond myself. I have nearly been stripped so many times of the loves of my life, had God not been gracious to me perhaps I would have been. So I’m being vigilant in recognizing the steps, the knock, and the voice of *The Devil* at my door, pray that I continue to do so! Each day that I don’t answer that door is each day closer to perhaps a time when He will pass my driveway, moving forward searching for another victim. I’m sober today and that’s what counts!”
Kirst (day 9): “This time around I want to do all those things [to help me be sober] that I don’t get around to because shit has got to change or shit is never gonna change, lol.”