Drinking is the biggest fucking pause-button on life.

hahahaha. you all saw this coming right? That the coaching thing would blow the roof off, nearly taking my fucking head with it. You saw this coming? Why am i so incredibly unaware of what is happening in my own life.

last week i said to Mr. Belle that maybe i’d run the Jumpstart class once a month, and the demand is great enough to run it every week.  I said to him, just now, “maybe 10 is a good number of students per session, to manage the emails, the phone calls, etc.”

He says hahahaha you said that Team 100 would surely stop at 100 people…

and i said yes, i really did think that. at the time.

Because when i started sober blogging just over a year ago, I felt very alone. I knew i drank more than I wanted to but I didn’t really know how to stop. I certainly thought that quitting drinking would be gross and that i’d hate it.  I never thought in a billion years that i’d like being sober. I didn’t realize that online we’d have this cool support thing. I never in a billion years figured i’d be penpals with 205 people. I never in a squillion years figured i’d have a coaching thing that is running weekly. I say to husband: there aren’t enough people wanting to get sober to have a class every week, so i’ll probably do it once a month. hahahaha.

Yes, i know it’s up to me to manage the flow.  but what i’m remarking on today, with a high level of incredulity, is the flow itself.  There’s a fuckload of people who drink more than they want to. This is still shocking to me. I don’t really know why it’s shocking. It’s like i’m three years old and i’m just waking up from a nap. My view is distorted and i can’t form a coherent sentence. I stare around, unspeaking, my brain swirls.  I thought it was just me. i figured there couldn’t be anyone else out there like me.

I email the second jewlery chick who’s making bracelets (too much demand for just one chick). and I realize that i have reinvented myself in the short space of 13 months and most of it has happened without me really even realizing it.  Yet every one else can see it around me? isn’t that always the truth.  As Amy and Mr. Belle and you-all laugh and laugh at me today, I’m sitting here thinking:  OK Universe, what next?  Another Sober Work-shop (how to deal with ‘future’ events, learning to be patient, how to fix things that are broken), or a Sober Fun-shop (now that you’re sober, how to find a passion and twirl it around into something nourishing – especially when booze has systematically robbed us of hobbies, passions, and inspiration).

dear universe, what say you?

Team 100 update: 205 members, welcome to Lilith (8), LD (8), Babs (3), Trish E (39), Ebaliff (22), Erin-Kay (14), Lisa (18), JennyGardenGirl (9), One Hundred (4), Kay (12), Heather (3), Kam (11), Cheryl (hooray she’s on day 1), Pam (4), and MC (hooray they’re on day 1 too).  Happy days to: Carrie (155), Sunny Sue (160), JG (7), Mary (80), Jackie (110), Sam (7), Lex (28), Jessica (31), Donna (21), Lime Tree (50), Melinda (50), Maya June (50), Pete (40), Kathleen (13), Stargal (41), CGW (21), BST (21), FitFatFood (14), Tami (10), Gina (10).

Ohhhhh I think i get it now.  All I have to do is show up. Be present. Show up. The rest unfolds as it should.  The challenge isn’t in ‘reinventing’ myself. The challenge is to show up, warts and all, incessant talking to myself and all, and just see what happens.  “Don’t you want to know what happens next?” Why would I drink now. Cuz if i drink now, I’ll never know ‘what happens next.’ Drinking is the biggest fucking pause-button on life. I get it now. Remove the booze and the pause button is removed.  That’s it.  Then all you gotta do is get support, be open to stripping away your shit, be ready to be honest, figure out who you really are.  And then just show up.

holy fuckers, batman. this shit’s huge.

puff pastry, and oh it’s a good day

today I am making notes and planning my first ‘coaching’ class thingy. and I’m doing some catering. and I’m making puff pastry.

And really, I’m having the best day. Up early after a long sleep, a good run, 5 minutes of meditation (that’s about how long i can tolerate sitting on the bathroom floor waiting for a miracle but instead thinking about fennel soup).  then i had a long shower in the dark.

so i have this idea for the first class thingy, and i briefly run it past my husband.

I say: “It’s a 5-day class. Imagine you’re in a small town and too embarrassed to go to AA. Where else can you get anonymous one-on-one help? Imagine that you can’t even tell your doctor that you want to quit drinking. You can’t even tell your husband.”

My husband shrugs. Then we agree that he’s not an alcoholic and I go back to rolling out butter between two sheets of parchment paper for the puff pastry.

oh and it’s 33C at 12:30 pm. Look it up. that’s hot. and it’s not even the hottest part of the day yet.

“Wow. Just WOW.”

Happy 100 days to Erin & Happy 100 days to Marie

Erin:  “Wow.  Just WOW.  I can’t believe how fast that came.  I was out to eat pizza the other night and asked to smell someone’s beer–yeah, that’s weird but we’re close.  So I sniffed it and it smelled like beer and that was that.  I had no desire to taste it.  The pizza was just as yummy without it.”

Marie: ” For the first time [a couple of days ago] I said out loud, ‘that drinking voice (Wolfie) is barely a whisper these days.’ When I was on day 5, and maybe around day 30, and again at day 40 (you get it), the voice was still pretty loud; I wanted to drink.  In the span of 100 days I’ve had bad days, good days, celebrations, family dinners, even the death of a close friend, and I have proven to myself that my life can be lived fully, and actually with more kindness and awareness, without the influence of booze. Honestly … I feel more anxious now than I have in a very long time and while I am distressed by this, it is also eye-opening for me.  I can tell that I was self-medicating with alcohol, and while it worked in a way, it was also not working in a big way.  Being free from alcohol has given me more confidence in myself (before this challenge I thought I could never give up drinking), but it has also uncovered some … untreated anxiety … About 5 weeks ago I discovered meditation and have been meditating daily since.  I am learning so much more about myself by being aware of the present and my thoughts/feelings/state of mind in the present.  I am actually allowing myself to really feel the feelings instead of looking for a way to numb them.  That has been huge for me.  It feels like giving up booze forced me to stop running from the things that scare me.  While it is tough trying to work through those things, I can already tell I am uncovering a much stronger, more peaceful and authentic me.”

From me:

I am continuing to sit with my ideas and thoughts. The old version of me, the non-sober version, would have already created a new thing, not knowing where she was going (I wrote about this new patience in my one-year summary bit).  This new version of me is more patient. She waits to see what’s going to happen. She has lots of good ideas, small group coaching, one-on-one calls, podcasts, some kind of subscription something, or even a private tree-house space. Yet, the new me is no longer trying to force a square peg into a round hole, trying to force a decision to be made…  Instead, I am open to having an idea drop into my lap, fully formed, if I just wait. And i’m thinking that August is a good time to be waiting, just percolating. Time off, sleep, baking, running, reading and waiting.

And hey, my life is pretty darn near perfect at this exact second.  My husband likes me again, I’m back to running after my cold. For the month of August I only work part-time for Job #1, as my two biggest clients and I coordinate our vacation times to all be off together.  I’m sleeping very well (9-10 hrs a night). I’m reading a lot. I have a new toy (an iPad, my first portable device). I’ve been hired to cater a wedding in the fall and have already received the deposit (thus the iPad!).

Last August, I was desperately waiting for the summer to end, and this year I’m sooo enjoying the slow pace. “Sober life is the best kind of boring.”

Team 100 update:

We have 177 members as of today, welcome to Barb (4), Rose Garden (5), Dale (6), True Grace  (5), Denise (3), Bev (3), FitFatFood (2), Sharon (3).  Happy days to: Anne (80), Grace (10), Brandy (85), Sober Kat (296), Debra (185), Kristi (11), Colleen (90), Elle (80), Leah (80), Rebecca (130), Catkin (10), Quill (64), Meka (45), Sarita (41), KC (40), Irish Eileen (85), Kathleen (7), MaryPat (20), Deidre (31), Brendan (7).  Me, i’m on day 396.

team 100 now has 169 members …

Mr. Belle is 100 days today 🙂

When I asked him what was different between day 1 and now, he said he now realizes that booze is everywhere, whereas when he was still drinking he didn’t really notice. He also sleeps through the night now, and feels better in general. But he also admitted that he was mostly doing it for me, to support me. He figures it’s easier for me to stay sober if he’s not opening bottles of wine in front of me (true enough). I told him I thought he was both kind, and brave. He shrugged off both compliments, and sliced me some more apple… Then he said he wasn’t a good “cobaye” … and i’m like what’s that? The person who tests new toothpaste, he says. There’s a word for someone who submits themselves to random tests to see the results? Then I look it up in google translate. Guinea Pig.

Team 100 update:

Team 100 now has 169 members; welcome to Zerendipity (41), CGW (4), Lynn (4), Brandy Shock Treatment (4), and Brendan (2).
Happy days to Jen (180), Anne (75), Lynda (130), DDG (130), Brandy (80), Debra (180), Colleen (85), Elle (75), Leah (75), Rebecca (125), Meka (40), Jessica (14), runningfromthebooze (40), PJ (30), KC (35), TV (21), Irish Eileen (80), Liberte (25), Spencer (20), MaryPat (15), Thirsty (21), Shannon (x), and ST (8).

a glass wall of alcohol

In this city where we are visiting, in this city where we used to live, we had dinner last night with a long-time drinking friend. The guy (and his wife) drink a lot. A shit lot. Even when we were drinking too, we never drank as much as these two. The four of us would hang out, yes, but i’d always watch the guy and marvel/feel sick at the quantities he’d put away. The ordering ‘another round’ even after we’d already said we were done. The telling me he loved me at a particularly sloppy party. The disclosing of sexual details during a meal.

Last night, they had beer before the meal, a bottle of wine during, and opened a second bottle after. [This is exactly what we would have done, too.]

Mr. Belle was a bit nervous to arrive there with 3 cans of tonic water. The couple joked with us, saying that by the end of the night they would have ‘pushed us off the wagon’. But really, once they got drinking, they weren’t the least bit interested in what we were doing, whether we were drinking or not.

By 10:30 pm I was tired of them and ready to go home, tapped Mr. B’s foot under the table.  The guy looks to his wife and says (re the second bottle of wine) – have some more, it’s open.

I looked at their glasses of wine. I looked at their stained teeth. I looked at them talking loudly over each other, each vying for our attention, “let me tell the story, no let me. Did you see the tv episode where …”

In the car on the way home, i told Mr. B that i was sorry that they talked ‘at’ him, instead of ‘to’ him.  They didn’t ask questions about his work or his life in Europe or about how things are going for us.  Instead it seemed like they struggled and competed to tell him about every single thing that had happened to them since we saw them last, including punchlines to badly remember jokes, did you see that thing on YouTube.

Honestly, the evening was like a comedy show except it wasn’t funny. Yeah, it was like the worst kind of stand-up comedy. People trying to make a connection, and failing gigantically, because they are behind a ‘glass wall of alcohol’ – they kept talking even if Mr. B needed clarification.  They ignored Mr. B when he spoke, and literally jostled each other if one tried to interrupt the other. And on. And on.

Nothing of any real substance or connection or interest was shared. No real questions were asked or answered. No one felt touched, or brought together, or connected.

Looking into that glass wall of alcohol, i saw a mirror. And it was grim.

Did it make me want to drink?


We used to be that couple, too. That used to be us.

Today I am one year sober

I had read about Dry July and I’d tried not drinking before. I could usually do 3 or 4 or 7 or 9 days. i thought about doing dry july… i mean, surely i could quit for a month…

I was either travelling or on vacation for most of June last year.  There was booze at all meals, lunch and dinner. The last night of vacation (june 27) we went out for dinner at a roast chicken ‘restaurant’ like Church’s Chicken/Swiss Chalet/St-Hubert. My husband had some nostalgic childhood thing he had to fulfill, it wasn’t my idea of a nice place for dinner. We ordered a bottle of wine, had our half-chicken-with-canned-sauce. We ordered more wine. Then we ordered more. It was our last night on vacation. We had purposely left the car behind. The bill came and i reached for the $80 that i had put in my shorts pocket. But the bill was for $130. For two people, two crappy half-chicken dinners, and some seriously overpriced, marked up, not even great wine (a lot of it). I didn’t have my wallet with me. the restaurant was closing. i didn’t have time to take the train back to our hotel room, get my bank card, and return. For whatever reason, all we had between us was my husband’s european driver’s license and $80. So we left his license with the minimum wage employee on the promise that we’d go to a bank in the morning and return before our flight to pay off the bill. and we did.

then we flew home to europe. we had wine on the plane. we had wine once we got home. and i knew i was done. I specifically remember June 30th when i had my last drink. I remember that i didn’t like it, it tasted like garbage, i was so sick and tired of the whole thing. I drank that night just to be finished with it, and so that i could begin Dry July the next day.  And, well, if you’ve read the first part of my long story from last july, you know that i got to day 7 sober and then i knew i was in trouble and that i couldn’t do it alone.

fast forward. today i am one year sober.

Here’s what I know:

  1. it’s much much easier after 30 days. then it’s easier again after 90. then 6 months is rocking. then something happens at about 8.5 months and since then i’ve been riding a pretty big upswing. The first bit of being sober is the hardest, and then it’s an uphill ride of betterness.  i cannot remember the last time i really craved wine. I know that i occasionally think that ‘wine would be a good idea right now’ but it never goes any further than that. it’s probably been 3 months since i’ve had a real craving. I tried to search my blog to find evidence, and all i can find is may 6th, so about 3 months ago: “some blah days it seems like ‘this would be a good time for wine’ is my go-to response to ‘cover up the day and hide from all of this, are we there yet, is this over yet’ feelings.  Instead, I go to bed early, get up and go for a long run, make a new recipe.”
  2. sober help. i would not have gotten (or stayed) sober without help from other sober people. my help came in the form of sober blogging. your help might come from a sober penpal, or commenting on other sober blogs. i really believe now (and i didn’t think this before) that i could not have gotten sober alone. i needed help with the noise in my head. i had to learn it was wolfie. i had to learn to not listen…
  3. i am less grumpy. i don’t go to bed in tears over some misunderstanding. i think i’m more even tempered in general.
  4. i’ve lost 10 pounds since giving up booze even WITH large amounts of cake, without dieting.
  5. we’ve stopped spending ‘dumb’ money, probably about $10 a day, it’s just stopped. We actually went out for dinner this week, and two hamburgers and a large bottle of water = $20.
  6. my husband stopped drinking at home when i quit. when i was 9 months sober, he quit entirely (his idea).
  7. I made room for my passion/job #3 thingy (catering) to really bloom. I am not a morning person. i can only get up at 6 am to bake bread because i’m sober. this i know for sure.
  8. I’m more likely to follow through on a commitment now. I’m better at answering emails and keeping my inbox empty. I follow through on what I say. No more late night facebook posts, and no more (oh god) emailing clients with ideas on how to build their businesses with absolutely no follow-through.
  9. weirdly more patient. I hope that in another year I’ll be writing that i’ve got this patience thing even more ‘figured out’. But today, i’m thankfully MORE patient than i was a year ago. some of my rapid brain syndrome has eased, some of my ADD-like ‘wanting to start a bunch of things and not finish them’ has eased too. I’m more likely to have an idea for … well, for angel food cake. Nowadays i’ll look at a recipe or two, and then roll over and go back to sleep. Before… well, before I would email a bunch of clients, ask their opinions, not follow up, put the new cake on the menu without having really figured it out, and then lose sleep once people started to order it, then deliver something half-assed.  (OK, i’m using cake as an example, right?) Now I’m more likely to have an idea, process it, and then file it away. No new actions taken until other bits are lined up. So what have i learned? I am better able to picture the outcomes of things before i begin, so that i can decide better what avenues to pursue. How’s that for being superbly unclear.
  10. as of today, i have 123 sober penpals. this fucking rocks 🙂 having a sober penpal is like sober insurance for me. Ever since the 100 day challenge started in March, i have known (at least on a subconscious level that now i know in a conscious way), that i will not drink again. When/if wolfie comes calling, i will sometimes say things to myself like “you can drink later” … but as later comes and goes, i think it’s spectacularly unlikely that i will drink again.

I’m writing this in the morning of July 1st, 9:45 am local time (3:45 am eastern).  Later today there will be cake. And we’re going out for dinner.  I will update this post later with a few photos. Happy Canada Day, happy sober birthday to me. Happy day #1 of Dry July to you.

Happy Happy.

Update: 3:22 pm local time


Thanks to the Tiny Gift Button

i pick sober

please don’t think that my life is rosy sunshine. i am sober, yes. there’s a checkmark in that one box.

i still have crappy family relationships, i still live far from my family (mostly on purpose). we are debt free but have no savings. we are happy and have friends. we are not rich. we don’t own a car.  I am probably the only person i know who doesn’t own a cell phone. Yes, we’re lucky to live in europe.

Don’t be tempted to gaze into my sober life and think that mine is dreamy and that yours is dreary.

You have kids or a yard or a home. you have a dog or a beach or a savings account. you can play piano or sew or speak italian.  you live near your best friend or you can grow your fingernails. you have straight hair or you have a tight butt.

i don’t have any of these things.

and really … it’s not about those things.

What i have is sunshine on the inside, even when it’s pouring rain (i know that sounds totally cheesy).  I have relatively even moods.  I have reassurance that i’m doing something hard (being sober) and that it’s a dramatic and vast improvement on where i was before.

and that’s it.

i have 6 talents, and so do you. i have a great husband, and maybe you do too, or you have a great sister or a great mother or a great gramma. i’ve paid for counselling in the past, maybe you have too. i’ve always relied on the help of others (mentors) to improve my life faster. i’m impatient. i try very very hard not to bumble around in the dark figuring things out for myself. If i need to ice a cake, i’m on youtube for 25 minutes, then i ice the cake, then i watch youtube some more, then the second iced cake is good enough.

before … when i consumed larger quantities of wine, I used to buy groceries and not make the meals. I used to have fridges full of dead or dying food. I knew myself well enough to know that i had to have dinner made before the first glass of wine, otherwise i would just abandon the meal part way. leave stuff on the stove. just give up.

and now, it’s so fun to see who we turn out to be once we take the booze away… i became an early morning baker (and i can ASSURE you this is not who i was when drinking). i routinely set my alarm for (fuckers) 6:30 am to bake. really. i promise you i am not an early morning person. but it turns out i like being a baker MORE than i like red wine.

yes, i’m married, i run, i have a husband and i make bread. i’m still the same fucked up chick i was before. Except now i’m sober. i’m slowly making improvements on the rest of my life. it’s like an amusement park, life. full of cool rides and things to do and places i want go and things i want to see. I don’t want to hide in a bottle anymore. i want to get shit done 🙂

i pick sober.

letter to the husband

M. emailed and said that while her husband is supportive, he might be missing his weekend-drinking-pal. And it’s nearly the weekend. So I wrote this letter for her.

Dear Husband,

I know you love me a ton. I know you do. But there’s something weird going on in my head that I can’t quite explain to do with booze.  I know you don’t have this same weird thinking that I do.  And it’s hard to show you the inside of my head.  Lemme just say this: I’m going to try, for now, a period of time without any alcohol at all, just to see how I do.  I know you’ll want to be supportive of me, even if it doesn’t quite make sense to you.  [Just like monster trucks, fishing, and stupid male sports don’t really make sense to me.]  I know you want me to be happy and to sleep through the night, and I know that if you could see inside my head, you’d agree that it would be great if we could get this fucking noise in my head to shut up.  Anyhow, this is how I’m trying to do it – with a period of time without alcohol. It might be 100 days, it might be longer.  I promise I will still be hilariously fun but this is something I’m doing for me. I know that if I wanted to run a marathon, let’s say, that you’d be on the sidelines cheering even if you thought it was fucking retarded to run 42 kms.  Well, this is the same but different. And I’ll promise lots more sex cuz I won’t fall asleep early anymore or wake up hung over.  Remember morning sex?

Love, your wife

Team 100: 87 members (i had someone registered twice).  Happy days to Lilly (21), MG (10), Carrie (75), Sunny Sue (80), Paula (20), Sam (7).  Happy flying day to Simpson Sister (35).

i think it has special powers

return to real life, after stay-cation, begins with my alarm going off at 6 a.m.

trudge with husband on the train to the countryside to present a big thing for his job. he needs help transporting about 7,500€ ($9825) worth of samples to a client. it’s not big stuff, and we’re unlikely to be robbed, but it takes two of us to carry it all.  we arrive 1.5 hrs later at the train station in the middle of nowhere, we get off with all of our stuff, and we stand in the rain near a bus stop, the designated meeting place, and are picked up by a company representative who whisks us off in her little car.

it is still pouring rain, and i’m being swung around in the back seat, head lolling from side to side, all the little european streets, the crazy round-abouts, trucks roaring out of nowhere, who can tell if we even have right away.  i try to close my eyes but the driver keeps speaking to me. i don’t speak her language as well as she thinks i do, and so i nod and close my eyes some more. and i hope she stops talking to me and instead watches the road more closely. couldn’t my husband ask her to slow down? are we there yet? it’s about 15 minutes and it’s very long.

we arrive at the big company headquarters.  pop open the trunk. unload. rain. There are only 3 bags.  We got off the train with 4 bags (of this i am sure). The fourth bag is not in the trunk of the car.  The driver says should we go back to the train station? My husband says “uh, yeah, we have to.” I say “i’ll say here” cuz i’m not getting back into that car. I drag the 3 bags alone into the building. I check in with security, hand over my drivers license in return for a visitor’s security badge.

i begin to unpack. I know my husband’s job well enough to start to set up.  And I do the math. How much product is in this one missing bag? (1,250€ / $1600). And who was carrying that bag when we got off the train? Me.

I wait. My husband and i have a friend who works at this company (who helped get the presentation arranged, we’re new here), and she comes to where I am waiting and we chat.  She’s just bought a new house, we talk about kitchen renovations.  do you want an open kitchen with the fish smell throughout your house? we wait for my husband and the driver to return.

she expresses some concern that the bag will not be found.  I assure her that my husband is good man, a lovely man in fact, and that he has earned this presentation. and that he ‘deserves’ this.  She is less sure. I say something like “this isn’t downtown New York” but she rolls her eyes.  I believe we have a 75% chance that the bag will be found, at the bus stop, just sitting there. That no one has picked it up, that the garbage man hasn’t come along and disposed of it.

45 minutes pass, i am worried and a bit sick. I have good faith that all will be well but i can’t figure out why it’s taking them so long. lots of traffic. my husband comes back with the driver, he gets out of the car, and then he goes and stands at the trunk of the car, waiting for the driver to open it.  The trunk? there must be something in the trunk. Yes, they have found the missing bag. it was on the side of the road, at the bus station, in the rain, for 45 minutes. Waiting to be picked up.

hugs and kisses and sorrys. our friend says to him, “you’re very lucky.” I say to my husband, “did you think it was there?” He says yes. I say, “i figured it would still be there, too.” The driver and our friend are both incredulous. who are these dreamers?  they got lucky.

there was champagne at the presentation, and during lunch, during celebrations; the driver had 5 glasses of champagne (i counted) and she didn’t eat.  husband and I drank OJ. we took the bus back to the train (the driver clearly wasn’t taking us anywhere at that point). we were back home by 4 pm and got into bed for a nap. the same bed. i like him today. he could nearly have divorced me.

I am sober. I wore my “fuck you wolfie” bracelet today. I think it has special powers.

i’m done with struggle

stay-cation day #4. slept 10 hrs. woke at 6:30 am, saw that i hadn’t slept long enough to guarantee a good day, so i rolled over, and slept till 9:15.  that’s better.

What follows here isn’t terribly interesting, unless you’re me.

But after nearly 8 years of marriage, my husband and i are now (finally) sleeping in separate beds.

I’m an unusually light sleeper, have been since childhood. My mother says i’d wake if an ant farted a block away. As a tiny baby, my parents had to give up “checking in on me” before they went to bed, because to touch the door handle was to wake me… If you combine this genetic predisposition (because my entire extended family (paternal) is unfortunately like this, super sensitive to sound, crappy sleepers, my parents don’t sleep in the same bed) — if you combine ME with a really tall man, who just happens to snore and thrash (like the members of his maternal side of the family, they’re all shakers-and-bakers when they sleep, and Mr. Belle’s parents don’t sleep in the same bed either) — well if you put ME and HIM together in a bed, no matter how large, one of us is going to be awakened 4-6 times per night.  That person would be me.

now that i’m sober, and most days are good days, i’ve really been finding the tired days harder to tolerate.  when i was drinking, I guess i was used to being tired all the time, was used to feeling 50% shitty most days. At nearly 11 months sober, I quite like feeling good.  and i HATE it when i feel sooo tired from Mr. Belle’s thrashing. he wakes in the morning, takes one look at my face, and he knows that he has tortured me all night.

And part of the reason i’ve been doing the 24-hr mini-vacations alone in a hotel has been simply to get one solidly good night’s sleep per month.

So about two weeks ago i asked if we could try an experiment.  i had been tired for a month it seemed. I asked if i could sleep alone for awhile, just to see … and after two nights i felt remarkably better.  dramatically different.  Since then we’ve been playing it a bit by ear each night. We go to bed together, read, talk, plan the next day.  and then he goes to the other room or stays, depending on general levels of tiredness, and what I have going on the next day.

Yes, I am able to get work done when i haven’t slept well.  Yes, I’m able to set my alarm and get up for catering after 5 hrs sleep.  But i hate my life when that happens.  It feels like pushing a truck uphill.  It makes everything feel ten times harder than it really is.  If i have a Booze Wolfie that talks shit about booze, then I also have an Exhaustion Wolf that comes out when i’m tired, and he says “you’re behind, you’re never going to catch up, your stuff isn’t good enough, why bother trying. This is all too hard, this is supposed to be your passion job.  you should quit this, you should stop doing this.  This is too hard.”

on the other hand, when i have had enough sleep, I can get up early, do the catering, and have NONE of that noise in my head. Nothing. Some mornings i even forget to turn on the radio, and i work for hours in silence without even noticing.  I just do my thing.  I work without STRUGGLE.

so me? i pick sleep. I’m going into this next phase of sober life with enough sleep. I’m giving up the idealized version of a married couple sleeping in the same bed, because it just doesn’t work for us.  It didn’t for my parents or his parents either.  I am no longer holding myself to ridiculous ideas of what is ‘good’ when it doesn’t work. (i used to think that if we didn’t in the same bed, that it was a slippery slope to divorce. just cuz.) Now I pick sleep, and i am packing up this idea of struggle and i’m putting it out with the recycling. i’m just not interested in struggle any more.  (there was a certain level of chaos and dysfunction i could tolerate when drinking that I just can’t do any more.) and yes I CAN make myself work when i’m tired … but why do it that way?  Why not, instead, give myself the very lovely gift of a good night’s sleep.  and I thankfully have a husband who’s more interested in a happy wife than which bed he sleeps in.  And, to quote him, he says “it doesn’t matter which bed i’m in.  i’m asleep.”

sleep.  makes my life possible without struggle.  makes me feel even.  it can be raining but if i’ve had enough sleep i don’t seem to care.  When i’m tired, everything seems hard. very very hard. and not worth it.  When i’m tired, i surf the web and find all the information and possibilities overwhelming.  I see people blogging recipes daily and i think “i can’t do that, i could never do that, it’s all too much, i should give up.” on the other hand, when i’ve had enough sleep, I see someone blogging their recipes daily and i think — well, she does her thing, and I do my thing.  (And frankly, my thing earns money and hers is sort of like mental masturbation).

I’m done with struggle.  I’m cutting open the box of struggle, i’m squishing sides flat, and i’m putting it out for recycling.  someone else can take home my struggle if they want it. I’ve been carrying it for a long time. 37 years probably. i seem to want to cry as i write that.  since i’ve been 9 years old, my life has been too hard for me.  in my new, happier life, i am sober, happily married, earning money, and i’m finally finally getting enough sleep.  i never would have done this if i was still drinking.

i’m done with struggle. you?

Team 100 update: KC (30), Malia (30), Kriss (30), Rachel (10), Debbie (7), Tammy (50), JMM (20).