“This makes quitting much more fun”

From me:

The last weekend of summer. I’m thankfully not feeling as shitty about summer as I did last year. This is my second sober summer, and hooray it’s much easier now 🙂 I’ve had a relaxed and busy and fun and exciting summer all rolled into one hot and sunny bundle. First and foremost, being the sun-whore that I am, the best part has been the (unusually) good weather for this part of Europe. Really really nice. I haven’t had to wear socks for months (this is my definition of good-times)!

I’ve also been super busy with catering, but in a good way. I’ve been hired to cater a wedding in the Fall and now that I’ve lined up some help (duh!) I feel prepared and capable.  Parallels with support for catering and support for sobriety? Yeah, Belle. Stop trying to do it yourself. Ask for help. Accept help. Don’t just collect tools for the toolbox. Actually USE the tools. Again, duh.  (All I did was email 3 people and asked if they’d volunteer to help me with the wedding food prep, and in return i offered to pay them with food.  All three people said yes, and one volunteered to take a paid vacation day, and come spend 14 hrs with me on the day before the event.  She OFFERED this. Let me say it again, because I’m speaking to myself here:  Ask for help, and then accept the help. STOP flailing around in the dark.)

I’ve also decided (finally) to phase out Job #2 entirely. I’ve been walking around this for a while, but now I’m ready to do it.  The fear I had about losing the potential of what could have been has left me. I spent a lot of time and money trying to get Job #2 to work and it never really did.  It earned some money, but never in relation to the sheer effort expended. I bought a lot of expensive training, I tried different ‘revenue streams’ and a bunch of other internet marketing bullshit. It just did not work well enough. The ‘big payoff that’s just around the corner’ never came. I learned A TON, I have a a bunch of excellent training that I can now apply to something new. And I’m finished trying to push a truck uphill (which is what this job felt like from the beginning). Last night I started to write my “i’m closing this company” email that I’ll send out to the clients/prospects, and it was all i could do to NOT press send right away. Yes, I’ll wait until after the long weekend, or it’s going to get lost in people’s inboxes. Today I feel relief. While this Job #2 has a very large prospect/mailing list of people who’ve opted in for ‘more information’, the actual client list is very small. Ten people will email to say “sorry to hear your news.” And one single person may really be freaked that I’m shutting it down.  I’m OK with this. She can visit me when she’s in town and I’ll take her for tea.

When I send the email to Job #2 on Thursday next week, I’m going out for dinner to celebrate.  It’s also my wedding anniversary (Sept 5).  I’m going to celebrate big time. Bring on the American burgers! And the sparkling water! This girl knows how to par-tay!

From my inbox:

Ella (day 29):   Thanks again [for being my sober penpal].  This makes quitting much more fun.  I’ve had enough crappy, dreary quits to last me a lifetime.

TheRealMe (10): I’m an almost-40-year-old mom who is finally ready to give my poor mind and body a break from 25 years of binge drinking. I am tired of drinking and tired of thinking about drinking. Tired of being the shitty mom who cares more about the glass (bottle) of wine I get to have after work than seeing my kids. Tired of needing 2 or 3 drinks before the drinking occasion just to “get ready” … Tired of alcohol taking up so much damn space in my brain!!! I don’t even know who I am — I don’t know how to feel my emotions and I really don’t like myself at all right now. I want the second half of my life to be real and I know that quitting drinking is the only way to achieve that. Thanks for listening and adding me to your 100 day challenge!

C How (70): I am starting to feel bits of a new me … I actually got up at 6 a.m. this morning to make an 8 a.m. “horseback riding for fitness” class — an 8 a.m. fitness class is definitely another first for me LOL — I haven’t scheduled anything before 9 or 10 a.m. in probably 20 years 🙂

Quill (19): Shit! Cravings. Long-lasting and insistent, like a sore tooth. It’s half wanting to drink because I want to drink so I can stop thinking about drinking, and half longing for just a little numbness, just the edge off, just the blurring of the sharper parts of tonight’s sad mood. But I’m not going to drink, just out of sheer inability to believe in the urgency. Like a kid who’s stopped believing in Santa Claus, or when you discover something gross and mean about your crush and can’t remember anymore why you found her attractive. My cravings want me to think I’ll implode without alcohol but I know I won’t. I know I can sit here and be fucking miserable as shit until I fall asleep and the world will keep turning and I’ll wake up sober …  I’d love a drink. But it’s just so … dumb. I can’t even fake belief in something that obviously ludicrous. So I’ll email you, to get it out of my head, and I’ll eat some strawberry ice cream and watch TV and finish a load of laundry, and I’ll be sadder than I would if I were drunk, but I’ll wake up sober, and tonight will be safe and untouchable in the books.

Read Blog Posts in Order: 

I’ve put together a collection of my blog posts, in chronological order, so you can see where i was on day 18 and see if it’s like where you are! You can order order the collected PDF file here.

Team 100:

228 members, welcome to Jules (5), Nic (4), DianeLouise (5), Ella (29), and Jo (8).  Happy days to KristinRecovering, she’s on Day 100 today 🙂  Say hello to Rose Garden (35), MC (19), MaryPatricia (50), Spencer (22), Liberte (15), Beckie (61), Irish Eileen (115), Olivia (40), Pete (58), KC (70), Sarita (71), runningfromthebooze (75), Camla (91), Lex (16), Rebecca (160), and Leah & Elle are both 110.

A conversation with Quill about what we do when things get hard.

Belle:  I used to drink to hide. I was hiding from what the world expects of me, and from the goals I set for myself. I wanted to make myself smaller. “Don’t achieve too much”. Drink. “Don’t write too much.” Drink. “Don’t set off and do something interesting.”  Drink.

Quill:  For me it was (and is) somewhat different. I didn’t want to TRY. Trying new things, trying to achieve goals, meant that people could SEE you and maybe secretly judge you (horrible!) or even criticize you to your face (unsurvivable!) And I had so many times in the past started things only to quit the second it got hard — as you wrote about in a recent blog post, that was the only trick in my bag, to give up — so I didn’t see any point in starting something that would fail. I might have vast technicolor private fantasies about plans and projects and dreams, but that was it.

When you live a life dedicated to attempting nothing, you end up with a very small life. THAT was where drinking came in for me. If I drink enough tonight I won’t have to listen to the voice pointing out that I am not doing anything constructive, creative, useful, or fun with my evening. And tomorrow, if the voice points out I wasted my entire evening drunk on the couch, well, there’s a solution for that, too, in tonight’s bottle.

I chose (and frankly still choose) to hide; I drank to ignore how unhappy hiding made me.

Belle:  What is the payoff in having a very small life?  Is it that we avoid criticism? Me, I have an unreasonable fear of being judged by my family.  When in fact, I don’t even live near them, and they’re not the slightest bit focussed on what I’m doing (or not doing). 

And why is it easy to quit when the going gets hard. Like, why not, instead, find a different tool that might work better. “Hey, this isn’t working, oh I’d better try something else” …

 Quill: I cannot stand the thought of criticism from anyone ever. I can’t imagine having, say, an advertising job where you pitch things and then people shoot them down. (Geez, no wonder everyone on Mad Men is drunk all the time!) I never express my opinion on contentious subjects in case people try to argue with me. Heck, I get upset when people around me express their opinions because I infer a criticism of my differing beliefs. I try not to let friends know anything about me they might judge. I even married someone who never criticizes (which also means he rarely notices). It’s a fear so deep I can’t begin to think how I’d ever overcome it.

Why is quitting always the first “logical” option? I honestly have no idea. I’d have to give that one a lot of thought to even begin to unpick it, it’s such a deep belief.