Day 5-ish- It’s not about perfection.

So here we go again. I’m on day 3 of no alcohol, day 5 or 6 if I include my one drink evening, which for me, I am going to include. I get super frustrated and discouraged by the all or nothing sobriety success story. While I get that never drinking again is necessary for some people, I don’t think it has to be the only marker of success. Since I embraced this I have had a much easier time moving forward into a more sober life. I belong to a sobriety group and my heart aches when I hear women who are working so hard on their sobriety, declare themselves a failure for a slip up. Often this leads to a “Oh well, I fucked that up, might as well go big or go home.” Binge drinking bender. We need to embrace the imperfection, the messiness of getting sober, as normal, and as an important step in the journey.

Since I stopped drinking I am already being forced to confront some of the issues in my life that triggered my drinking. I have a crap load of work to do on that front. Fair to say there will be some upcoming posts on that mess.

Another change- I am off all antidepressants. It started when my insurance refused to cover the new med my doctor prescribed. The one they would cover made me feel cranky and off so I stopped taking it, and I had already weaned off my previous medication. I have been shocked to find I feel so much better! Since being off the medication medication my craving for alcohol has diminished at least 80%. I am really curious if this is a coincidence or if the medication was somehow worsening my desire to drink.

Back to the Beginning

Well, that was a bust. My usual bust I guess. I can go a few days sober and then I fall right back into my evening bottle habit.

I am trying to piece together the whys of this cycle. I know I will be better without alcohol. So what is holding me back? I want this. Don’t I? Frankly it is scary. Really, really, scary for me.

I know one fear I have is the “Never again” fear.

That I will never again share a fancy cocktail with my adult daughters or friends at a trendy cocktail lounge.

That I will never again be able to enjoy a glass of wine with a nice dinner.

That I will never again sit on a balcony watching the sun set with a glass of wine (how I love doing this!!).

That I will never again have an alcoholic drink as the primer and buffer that makes socializing bearable for me. This is a biggie. I am awkward and awful in social situations. If I know people I am fine, but crowds and strangers – I am hopeless. Alcohol helps me relax enough to participate at least minimally.

That I won’t be able to use it to calm my anxiety and OCD when my house is dirty and messy. (and it is always dirty and messy, so this one really sucks)

That I won’t have it to calm my anxiety about having my first real, salaried job at 50 and if I can keep up with work and school. (school is required for work for another year until my certification is complete)

Then there is the other big one. The super big one.

That I will never again be able to use it to block out the things I don’t want to address in my personal life.

And there it is. That is the big one.

My drinking got out of control when things started spiraling out of control in my marriage. I am a person who avoids confrontation. Alcohol lets me relax and not think about the things that are upsetting me.

I don’t have to think about my husband lying about having a Purple Heart.

I don’t have to think about my husband lying about being diagnosed with cancer.

I don’t have to think about my husband lying about how he lost his job.

I don’t have to think about how I didn’t even know these were lies for years and what a fool that makes me feel like.

I don’t have to think about my husband threatening to kill himself.

I don’t have to think about my husband lying and getting my car repossessed.

I don’t have to think about my husband lying, stealing from his work, and getting arrested.

I don’t have to think about how my husband lied to me about having a job, had me get up early for weeks and drive him to the job, and there was no job.

I don’t have to think about all of the other things that have happened.

When I drink, I can stop worrying, for just a little bit, if another “surprise” is about to drop and the rug will be pulled out from under us yet again.

People may wonder what part I have had in all the mess that is my marriage. I was definitely too trusting. I let him control all our finances. I stayed at home with our kids when they were little and didn’t develop any job skills. I was passive. I wanted to let someone else be in control. I just didn’t realize I had chosen the wrong person for that. I have started to fix those things, but it is hard. I can say I have never lied to my husband about anything important (Nothing more serious than claiming I did not know what happened to the leftover cookie dough) or cheated.

So I am going to start this again. I am going to look for some meetings or therapy. I checked on AA meetings once and the ones in my area all looked SUPER religious (not surprising, I am in the Bible Belt) which put me off. I am also going to join a yoga studio. Maybe going to yoga will keep me busy in the evenings. We will see. I have to try something.

Day 2

It’s late. Well late for me at least. 10:00pm. Today I have been plagued by a hideous headache. Not sure if it is related to the not drinking, the lack of sleep last night, or if I am coming down with one of the awful viruses that have been going around.

I was disappointed in the sleep situation last night! I was hoping that without drinking I would not be waking up at 2:30, unable to get back to sleep until just before my alarm goes off , but it was a night like all the others with tossing and turning for hours. Maybe tonight will be different.

Then, of course, the first news story today was about the bumper crop of California grapes which is resulting in wine prices going down! Of course it is. I stop drinking, motivated in part by the expense, and the price goes down! HA! The universe has even decided to tempt me!

I ordered some books from Amazon that arrived today.

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray

This Naked Mind Control Alcohol by Annie Grace

Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston

So now I have some real life reading to try to squeeze into my schedule.

I did help my daughter with her accessories for “Meme Day” at her school tomorrow. Baby Yoda and Welch’s fruit gummies (It’s a meme I am told). Even though she remembered late, the time didn’t matter since I wasn’t drinking so I could take her myself instead of having my husband do it. Then I was able to help her get her things together while we both had decaf tea. A nice evening.

Not the first Day 1

So no alcohol today. So far, so good. Of course it is 8:45 am and I have never been a morning drinker. Now I do love a mimosa, but I only indulge in them during the occasional brunch or Christmas or Easter morning. So I guess we are jumping the gun saying we have a sober day. The real challenge will come about 4 or 5pm when my brain will REALLY want that first glass of wine. I suppose I should plan now for something to distract me. It is hard because I drink at home. I don’t go to bars or out with friends, or even have friends over to drink. My husband doesn’t even drink. O, that is to say he drinks very occasionally and like a normal person. He can have one drink. Just one. It baffles me. Though he has been less than helpful when it comes to stopping. Our exchanges go like this –

Me: (morning)”Hon, I really want to stop drinking, so don’t buy me wine.”

Him: “Ok.”

Also him when I come home that evening: ” I bought you wine! I poured you a glass, it’s on the counter.”

I need to find something to distract me when I really want to give in, because I know that one glass will lead to two then 4. I would go for a walk but its supposed to be raining. I think the museum will be open. That’s an option. Or I could go to the library to work, but it’s President’s Day so they might be closed. Maybe I’ll start yoga even though my knee doesn’t bend enough to do a lot of the poses correctly. It might be good.

The Research Phase

I am one of those people who either researches the hell out of something or I dive in blind and reckless. There is no middle ground. I don’t know what propels my reckless, blind dives. I don’t know why saying yes to marrying a man I barely knew was something I could do without thinking, but getting sober is requiring PhD level research and planning. Whatever the cause, right now, I am in what I will refer to as The Research Phase of my sobriety.

So far my “Reasearch Phase” phase has consisted of binge listening to sobriety memoirs on Audible and taking numerous on-line questionnaires about my drinking and even googling AA meetings in my area. Which- btw – in my particular little part of the Bible Belt, they all had a definitely Christian bent that I makes me think I would not be welcome as a liberal agnostic at best. Of course at this moment I am typing, listening to I’m not even sure I can call myself an alcoholic. I definitely could have taken on that mantle at one point in my life, but now? I’m not so sure.

So I listen to these “sobriety memoirs”. I just finished We are the Luckiest, by Laura McKowen and I am currently listening to The Sober Diaries by Claire Pooley. I have ordered Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston in book form because, well, it just struck me as a read, rather than a listen. I notice as I look through lists of sobriety memoirs, they are all written by women who had incredibly impressive jobs and backgrounds. They have six figure salaries, high-powered positions in big cities, impressive educations, endless social lives, and tend to be younger than me by a good bit. They are difficult for me to connect with. I barely have a social life. I have difficulty making friends. I am 50 and I have been a mom for most of my life. I just got my first salaried job of my life this year. I am still in school getting my Master’s degree. So, while they are a good listen and I occasionally find myself relating to what they are saying, I wonder where my story fits in all this.

Featured

My First Blog Post

Where are the ones like me?

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

I am writing this to help me explore my quest toward sobriety, however it may develop. As I write this I have spent the last few days cleaning house, folding laundry, making food, listening to Audible versions of sobriety memoirs, all while drinking glasses of red wine. I admit, I feel a bit guilty listening to the struggles of others to get sober while sipping vino. But frankly, I’m having a hard time relating to these posh women with their 6 figure high-profile careers in big cities. I love hearing their stories, but I don’t relate to their stories the way I want to. I want to find people who are more like me. The quiet ones. The ones with normal, everyday lives. The ones who were once so much worse, but still, though better are not ok.

Hi. Meet me.

Hi, My name is Mila and I’m not ready say I am an alcoholic.

I’m not ready because I don’t know if that is what I am. I am certainly someone with a long and complicated relationship with alcohol, but an alcoholic? That doesn’t seem to fit.

So here I am. A middle aged lady, writing a blog, trying to figure out her relationship with alcohol and sobriety, and life.

Why am I writing here? Because I can. Because writing helps me clear my head and order things in my mind. Why not a journal, I’ve tried and failed at that. Plus it is so much easier to clean up a blog post.

My life is messy. It has always been messy. I have never figured out the art of a beautiful life, though I have tried. I know that alcohol is adding to the messy. I know I am using it to ignore things I should be taking care of.