By this time tomorrow, Mr. B will be home. He flies overnight, will arrive exhausted, will eat a baked egg, have some coffee, a shower, and then will sleep all day. Today is my last full day alone. Here’s what I’ve learned over the last 8 days:
I celebrated 20 months sober on saturday (!) and am happy to report that drinking never came up in the last 8 days as a ‘good idea’. It used to be that being alone was a perfect opportunity to drink a lot, no rules, no one watching, fill up the entire space with wine. Thankfully, as other sober people told me would happen, i no longer think that drinking fills my time.
instead i feel like booze sucked my life out, like there was a drain in my toes and my life just poured out without me even knowing it.
I was single for a long time before i got married, and even though we’ve been married 7 years, i’m happy to report that the self-sufficient single girl is still in here. as soon as I was alone again (starting last sunday), i instantly reverted back to my old patterns and routines without even realizing it. sleep late, eat late, eat less, eat leftovers, run more, fresh flowers, go outside every day, library once a week, reading a lot, no tv at all, less tea than when it’s always being made for me, i do the dishes by hand, i don’t really fold laundry, i eat at the table, i write morning pages, i work till i’m tired, i stop when i’m done, i have a bath before bed.
what’s fascinating about that list, to me, is that i do NONE of these things when Mr. B is here. i’ve become someone else in his continuous presence these past 2.5 years. I sleep less, eat more, ignore the leftovers (figuring he’ll eat them), i don’t buy flowers (they might look wasteful after i just mentioned we don’t have any money), i watch shows on the internet with him to pass the time, i drink tea because he makes it, i leave the dishes for him to do, i wonder why he isn’t doing the laundry, we eat on the couch or in the spare room, not at the table (because he works there). i don’t go to the library on saturdays, i never write morning pages unless i’m alone (he’d be watching me pour out my brain onto paper!), i try to maintain office hours (whereas on my own i hardly ever look at the clock).
it’s like i’m trying to impress him with my work ethic, the projects i have going on. (and really, he couldn’t be less aware of what i’m doing, he’s not really paying any attention to my projects, he’s doing his thing, he works with headphones, he’s not checking on me).
But you know this feeling right? overachieving because you think someone is watching (might be watching, could be watching, will watch)? and then you realize no one is watching?
i’m sure this goes back to trying to impress a distant or inattentive parent. then later we’re trying to impress ourselves. and when we get married we want our spouse to be impressed with our industry, creativeness, frugality, compassion, meal planning. And then we marry (i married) a man who is happy to have a tuna fish sandwich 5 nights in a row, someone who literally cannot remember what he had for lunch. He doesn’t do laundry until he’s out of socks, so why would he be interested or impressed with my wednesday/friday laundry schedule?
you know those books about the language of love? i’m trying to impress my husband with the things that I measure love by, when in fact he doesn’t measure these same things at all.
as a drinking human, which is how i was when i met him, and how i had been for first 6ish years of our marriage, i think i spent really NO time wondering what HE measures. I was just in some kind of ‘impress’ mode. some kind of overdrive to present a certain kind of self. of course, while drinking, other parts of my self came out too (the bitchy, mean, crying parts). but as a boozer, i really felt like i was spinning plates. i was used to a certain level of chaos. i was used to faking it, wearing a facade, bravado, gloating, “enough about me, what do you think of me?”
sober, i’ve begun to take down the spinning plates one by one.
sober and alone, i let every single plate stop spinning, all of them, and i’m amazing and relieved by the peace and calm. I really am still in here, the old sober me, the old single me, she’s still in here.
how to integrate her into my married life will be the next challenge. but i know that the first steps are to continue (to try) to figure out what i want to do. am i hungry? am i tired?
we spend so much time trying to present a face to the world that when we look in the mirror we forget who we are.
And once we get sober, it’s like being introduced to someone we knew a long time ago. Hey, look. it’s me. I’m in here. now we can have an adventure together. now i can take care of me.
and it’s about time 🙂