I recorded a podcast today about having a sober Christmas. Thanks to Momma Bee (18) for the idea.
Last year was my first sober christmas, and like our first sober anything, it was a bit weird. This year we’re going to be in a hotel room on christmas day, so that’s a pretty big routine-change. It means no tree this year, no baking, no big meal, and no Christmas Eve or Boxing Day catering (phew!). It means, instead, i’ll be having my favourite kind of adventure: a vacation in a new place. Lots to look at, see, photograph, explore. And no kitchen, no baking, no cooking, no food prep, no cleaning out cupboards, no recipe testing. Oh and the apartment we’re renting has a TV. that’ll be a treat in itself 🙂
The key for me is to continuously create new routines that support me — do things, create things, set up things that make me feel better. Sometimes that means showering before 5 pm (!). But it also means (in future) going to the doctor sooner so that i don’t worry as much. It means dealing with things as they come up rather than stalling, procrastinating, waiting.
When i was drinking, i just let EVERYTHING slide – paperwork, trips to the dentist, paying my taxes. I was just too fucking lazy to do anything. (Well, i was too boozy after 6 pm to do anything.) Now that i’m sober, i’m slowly figuring out how to get things done.
and some of what i’m learning (this week anyway with my heart thing) is about facing things head on.Note to Belle: don’t be avoidant. just deal with it. call the doctor to ask a follow-up question. Wake up my husband at 5 a.m. if i feel weepy (which i did on tuesday). He said some amazingly supportive things and i could nearly cry now in writing this to describe the relief he gave me at 5 a.m.
Here I am now on saturday evening, symptoms 95% resolved, feeling better than i’ve felt in about 6 weeks. The brain space that was occupied with even 8% worrying, is now gone. Yes i could get squished by a car tomorrow. but my mortality can happily go back into the background again. where it belongs.
and lemme tell you, anticipatory anxiety is such an energy-sucker. worrying about impending doom is just sooooo depressing and never-ending. Just like putting off going to the doctor is crazy-making. Just like letting things slide (in some cases too long) is a kind of self-torture. Just like worrying about christmas instead of taking steps to ensure a good one is a recipe for disaster.
Look, it’s november 9th. lots of time between now and December 25th to get some new strategies in place to ensure that we are (I am) taking good care of ourselves. You and me both. Let me know if you want me to post an extract from the christmas sober podcast.
PS/ And yes, i’m taking it easy. i have a frozen lasagne in the oven as we speak. i haven’t cooked anything since thursday. i did shower before 5 pm. i went for a small walk to buy chocolate.
From my inbox:
Brett (day 3): “Belle, Zenmeg’s e-mail really hit home for me. I struggle so much with finding happiness. I think that’s why it’s so hard for me when I pass by others laughing and enjoying a glass of wine. I immediately think it’s the wine that’s making them happy. But it isn’t, and that realization is a wondrous yet terrifying revelation for me. If it’s not the wine, then, ultimately, these people are just genuinely happy? I have been turning to wine searching for happiness for so long, and it’s not there. So that means I have an awful lot of work to do, to undo the wine = happiness fallacy and to redefine happiness for what it truly is. The problem is, I don’t know what that is yet. But I have a teeny little positive voice in my head that tells me someday I will find out…”
Matt S (12): “Every time I get here I start thinking about moderation also. It is such a mirage, such a myth. It’s like when you are in a fancy store and you wonder aloud how much something is because the price isn’t marked and your friend tells you ‘If you have to ask it means you can’t afford it’…. Moderation is the same way, if you find yourself thinking about it, it means you can’t do it.”