I am an unlikely candidate to have started a sober blog. Call it desperation if you like, I just had NO IDEA how to stay sober on my own.
I don’t drink that much, I say to myself. Yet I drink mostly every day. Some weeks I manage a few off-days but I hate them. Why can everyone else drink except for me? And then I cave as soon as someone offers me a drink. I read my morning pages, and I have written “drink less” and “you drink differently from other people” and “from now on I will only drink wine only on special occasions or when we have company or when on vacation or if it’s a really good reason.”
Yeah, that never worked. Ever. Not once. Never. Not one time.
Alcoholic? Well of COURSE I’m not an alcoholic. I mean, for christ’s sake, just look at at that guy panhandling in front of the liquor store. I’m not him. I don’t drink from a brown paper bag. I never miss work.
I’ve got alcoholism in my family and I’ve seen what it looks like. It’s grim. That’s not me. I just drink a bit more than I should. Sometimes. And not all the time. Sometimes I drink a regular amount. Mostly. I would never quit drinking forever. That would be like cutting off my right arm to deal with a hangnail. I just need to learn how to ‘manage’ my drinking.
I see something called Dry July and I think, hey that won’t be so hard. I’ll do that. It’ll be good for me. I could really do with a drying out period.
I don’t feel desperate when I decide to quit. I just feel tired of all the wine. And I really think I’ll like the challenge of it, like marathon training had been, like learning a new language, getting married, moving to Europe. All challenges. Giving up wine for a month? Should be pretty straight forward.
Sure, I can quit any time. Until it’s actually TIME to quit, and then man it kinda sucks. In a big way. It sucks ass.
I’d done a bunch of self-discipline things before. I’d quit for a couple days here and there. It’s not that I couldn’t manage my drinking (I told myself very smugly). I could manage it all right, I just hated managing it. Who wants to skip a day? Who wants to have one glass and then stop? I resented managing my wine consumption and I resented every person on the planet who happened to be drinking at that second. And every person past or future who might drink. Because I wasn’t.
Sure, I can quit any time. Until I’m sitting in the bathtub on day 7, really pissed off and irritated. It’s 7:30 pm or so. I decide: fuck it, sobriety is just too hard. I’m going to get out of the tub and go buy wine. You deserve it. This is too hard. You hardly had a problem anyway. You can quit again later. I decide to stay sober. I change my mind to drink. I change my mind to stay sober.
I’m about as irritated as I’ve ever felt. Maybe in my whole life. I feel like my skin is going to fall off from irritation. That I’m itchy on the inside.
I dry off, put on pyjamas, come in the office, right here, in front of this Apple cinema display screen, with this Dell wireless keyboard, and I read a sober blog.
Yes, apparently there are other people in the world who have quit drinking and have lived to tell about it. Fuck, they even seem to LIKE being sober. What’s the matter with these people?
I keep reading. I believe the words on my screen, and don’t believe them at the same time. It worked for her, it won’t work for me. I’m different, special, different, this is me, I’m not like that.
The next morning I write my first sober blog post.