you are a gigantic anus

i have a brand new client who is truly a gigantic anus, and a seriously irritating human.

I’m not in AA but i know enough to know that irritation, frustration and resentments are triggers for wanting big quantities of vino.

most weeks, most days, Mr. Anus broadcasts his shit elsewhere. About once a month, or so, he unleashes on me.

Like last night.

last night, he got in my face (by email) about something i’d done wrong. i explained as clearly and kindly as i could, that i was doing what we’d agreed, but that if he wants me to now start doing something else, he can write out the NEW steps and i’ll do those …

you know this kind of guy, right? you send him something short and sweet, and he fires off a long email back, that starts with a bristling: “let me make this very very clear …”

blood boiling. i realize i’m being triggered.

we come across lots of anuses in life, and i have (thankfully) removed myself from the reach of most of them. I even avoid family members with a ten foot pole if they’re anuses.  i just don’t DO anus anymore, and haven’t for years (maybe 7 years or so).

Except for this client. He’s really the only anus i have left.

last night, i respond politely to emails. i allow myself to feel truly irritated.

then I say out loud, in my empty office, hoping my husband can hear me… “I want to go out for dinner, I don’t feel like cooking.”  He says fine.  Then I say, still alone in my office, again quite loudly and firmly: “I’m not going to drink.”

I said it out loud so that I can hear it, and so that hubby can hear it.  So that in the restaurant, there’ll be no question of offering/declining.

I can’t extract all the anuses that exist in the world. Some of them will be neighbours, or parents, or clients, or sisters. I can distance myself as much as possible, put on my teflon face, get the fuck out of dodge, and I can firmly state out loud “I’m certainly not drinking because of YOU. You are a gigantic anus.”

there. i feel better already 🙂

thus begins Day 20.

daisies and sunshine rocketing out of my ass

About a week ago i started this blog (a week! OMG it seems like such a long time ago). I’m now on Day 16 of Dry July and i know for a fact that I would not be here if i hadn’t started this blog.

This is the first time i’ve made it to 16 days, ever, in my life, and it’s the first time i’ve actively reached out for help and accountability. Coincidence? I think not.

I tend to think a lot (no shit!) and left on my own, i think myself into “logic loops” that get me drinking again.  My most recent one, from May, went like this:

I think i’ll give up wine for a month. I’ve done it for a week at a time before, so I’m sure that a month won’t be hard at all. Ack day 3 sucks. Groan day 7 is rotten. Day 9 i’ve had enough of this shit, and if i’m only giving up for a month, that means i’m going to drink eventually.  and if i’m going to drink eventually then i might as well drink today. Experiment ended at day 9.

This time round, i realized the noise in my head was escalating right around day 7. I’d been reading a sober blog, and decided i’d get brave and start my own.  Now it hasn’t all been daisies and sunshine rocketing out of my ass, BUT for a week I have been collecting ideas, and i’ve been discovering NEW thoughts that I can feed into my logic loop instead of my old recycled ideas.

Instead of mulling over: “eventually i’m going to drink”  … now i’ve replaced that kind of thinking with “i like this stillness and quiet-headed-ness, and i’m so glad I have time to take care of the REST of my life.”

I’ve started an amazing blogroll of like-minded folks (who knew you were all out there?). And i’ve been very surprised and super happy to find such compassion, lack of judgement and in particular a lack of “see what i did, do that, if you don’t do what i did you suck” kind of preachy-ness that i thought would exist here.

who am i kidding, i figured everything sober was going to be preachy “do as I say” shit, and since i knew that wouldn’t work for me, i had never explored any other kind of community. so to find such kindness and non-platitude (non-platypus) support, has been worth the price of admission. and then some.

I thus happily begin Day 16 knowing that I will not drink today 🙂

staying ‘stuck’

What do I gain by staying ‘stuck’ in my old ways?

If I stay the same, it keeps me in the pack of everyday-ness. I can just remain a dreamer / non-achiever like everyone else. If I’m successful in making big changes, my family might be jealous, needy, or hostile.

If I stay the same, I can talk about “what could have been” instead of actually doing the work …

for today, this is easier

last night I had flashes of “I’d like a drink to take the edge off” or i was remembering how i routinely would say to my husband: “when you’re out, can you pick up some wine?” I wasn’t really craving last night, it was more like a habit, an automatic response.

maybe it’s the time of day, 7:30 pm, we hadn’t eaten dinner yet.  and I imagined an evening WITH wine through rose-colored glasses. Candles, dinner with my husband, we laugh at the table, a few glasses of wine.

And yet, here’s what really would have happened: we’d eat in the office in front of the computer, watching “X-Country Has Talent,” and i’d have 3 glasses of wine + a shot of grande marnier.  Then, inevitably, I’d get really sensitive and nothing husband would say would be right, and we’d go to bed (late) on opposite sides of the king sized bed. I’d toss and turn all night, hot, nauseous, wake too early, drag myself out of bed to work. all day i’d feel like I was pushing a truck uphill, and it’s threatening to roll back down on me.

now when I write it out like that, i have to tell you that the night with wine still seems like a pretty good trade off. and it would be, if it was now and then.  but 7 out of 7 nights a week? not so much.

i’ve tried restricting my alcohol intake before, doing something more ‘moderate.’

and how do I feel when I alternate days… drink one, rest one?

Truthfully, I feel completely irritated the entire day off, and then I usually just give up at about 8 pm and go and get some wine.  then we finish that bottle and whatever else we can scrounge up.  then i plan to quit drinking for 30 days (again), but there’s some event coming up (no matter how big or small) and I have to wait till that event is over until I can go dry again.  So then another three weeks might pass, or 8 or 10 weeks.  with wine 7 nights out of 7, 3-4 glasses a night every night.

so now today is Day 11 for me, and i have to say that this is EASIER. who wants all that angst, all that thinking, all that managing, all that trying-to-control shit.

this way, i only have to have one thought:  I’m not drinking today.  that’s all i have to do today.  I don’t have to manage the liquor supply, i don’t have to get bitchy with my husband, i don’t have to feel tired all day.  I don’t have to drink the special cooking wine that i needed for a special cake and then run around frantically, standing in line at the specialty wine store, trying to replace it.

for today, this is easier.  i’m tired of thinking about drinking.  and so today, i’m going to think about decluttering my office instead 🙂

today is day 10 and i’ve never been here before …

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiTccsRKFZU]

i named this blog after a really great Tragically Hip song.

I may not meet the textbook definition of an alcoholic, and I may never have had a ‘bottom’. but the problem for me (at least) is that i spend so much time thinking about drinking. how much wine can I have, when can i start, have i had enough, how will i sleep tonight, OK maybe just one more …

And i think that life without alcohol means that the noise in my head is just quieter all-round.

Less noise in my head means I sleep better and I get more done. Is it about self-control? sure it is. and clearly i’m lacking the self-control that would allow me to have a glass of wine, now and then, and just stop at one.

[Frankly the thought of having just one makes me irritated. What’s the point in just one? it’ll make me tired and foggy and then I’ll sober up much too quickly and i’ll still have this residual headachy, thick headed feeling. Yeah, that’s why it’s better to have three glasses instead of one.]

So i think that not-drinking entirely is an interesting and positive trade off.

I give up drinking wine, and what I get back in return is theoretically better than the wine ever provided.

Yes, OK, I give up wine’s company, the comfort, the numbness, and the glorious way that it fills up an evening and brings sunshine to meals and patios and vacations.

in return, I get back energy, sound sleep, peaceful relationships, increased productivity. I consume fewer calories, spend less money, and i gain self-respect.

gee, when i write it out like that, it seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it?

am i giving up wine FOREVER? (or just for my original intention of 30 days)?  well if giving it up forever guarantees that i get sleep+energy+self-respect, then yes, maybe this is forever. I’ll decide when i get there.

for now, all i know is I didn’t drink last night, and i’m not drinking today. it seems easy right now and i’m going to ride this wave (because three days ago i was so irritated i was ready to drink no matter what and i know those times are a-coming again).

i’m going to focus on what i’m GETTING rather than what i’m giving up.  and today is day #10.  I’ve never been here before 🙂

miserably giving up drinking

I’ve never been a fall-down drunk. I’ve only been completely hammered twice in my life. I’ve never been sick from drinking. and i was very proud of this. I’ve been a good girl, a high functioning girl. I never drink too much… maybe 3 glasses of wine in an evening, perhaps 4. I never finish a bottle myself. On vacation, i might have beer with lunch, 2 pints. then have a nap. then get up and have dinner and share a bottle of wine with my husband. then have a nightcap (cointreau, grand marnier).

I never wanted to be hammered, i just wanted a buzz, to relax.

the problem is that most normal working days, i wake up feeling like a bag of shit. I go for a run, have a healthy lunch, drink tea all afternoon. Then at 6 pm i start with the wine again. never more than 3 glasses. never more than 4 glasses.  or a beer + 3 + nightcap. Every single night, night after night. On weekends and on vacation i just start earlier in the day.

i never want one glass of wine.  i want three and a shot of cointreau.

i have about 15 pounds to lose, i have some vacation debt to pay down and drinking doesn’t help achieve either.

i am cranky with my husband when i’ve had even one drink. I’m more likely to cry, get into an argument, and go to bed unhappy on evenings that include wine.

and most of all, i hate that i can’t keep a promise to myself to reduce, skip days, and have only one glass.

oh red wine, you call to me. i see you in the store window. i see other people drinking you on the restaurant patios in the sun.

oh red wine. you fucker. as soon as the bottle is opened you start calling to me. “drink me. drink me now. make sure you get more than you give your husband, make sure you top up your glass first before his, make sure you send him out to buy more before the store closes.”

sigh.