I hit 3 months of no alcohol this week, and I’m noticing the pattern of raw, tender, sensitivity that comes with each 30 day marker. I don’t know how long it will be this way, but I will start preparing for and accepting it. This time it wasn’t about questioning my decision, it was just sensitivity, negative self-talk, and paranoia.
When I feel like people don’t like me and my flaws seem to be all I see in the mirror it makes me want to crawl into bed and avoid humanity, because being human is just too painful. I can’t stand drama and avoid conflict like the plague. I would rather run away and act like I don’t care. But that never works. As the childrens’ book says, “Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it, got to go through it.” And I am.
A large part of my decision to continue with sobriety is that it’s about SO MUCH MORE than just not drinking. It’s about finally dealing with my SHIT. Partying was just one way I avoided myself. The tools I’m learning for self-care and self-soothing are affecting every area of my life, from food to netflix binges to finances to relationship addiction and neediness to my tendency to hibernate alone in my house.
I’m learning what feels good TO ME, what I need in order to wake up feeling peaceful in my body, mind, and heart. I’m learning how to navigate my rekindled relationship as we get to know each other again, on a new, healthy level. This means letting go of expectations and putting myself first, my schoolwork first. I’m learning to say no, to cut a date short at 10pm because my full night’s sleep is important to me. I’m recognizing that if I’m lying in bed reading at 11pm and my body is slightly achy, I can take a HOT HOT bath, make a cup of hot honey- lemon water, and it feels almost as good as a massage and way better than a glass of wine or even a snuggle. I’m more aware of how I feel in my body and mind and slowly learning what I need to do for myself to take care of any stress, anxiety, anger, or sorrow before it gets too big to handle. This may be a walk, a prayer, the beach, reaching out, eating, or just going to bed.
This was the first 30 day marker that I didn’t question my decision to keep on this sober path, or feel grief about the idea of never drinking again. Some recovery paths encourage the ‘one day at a time’ mantra, and it works for cravings or doubt. I still haven’t had many cravings and the only time I have doubt is if I future -trip. But as time goes on I’m becoming more convinced that I just really don’t want alcohol anymore, and I don’t think I will as far as I can see. I have no desire to cloud my mind and end up dehydrated with a headache. I’m finding I can still have friends, fun, conversations, and laughter without it, and I don’t have to regret anything I’ve done or said in the morning.
I listened to this Home Podcast – Augusten Burroughs last week, and something Augusten said has just stuck with me. “The thing about not drinking is, it’s ONLY uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s very uncomfortable, and sometimes it’s not fucking fair, but that’s all it is. You can do it.”
He also said relapse isn’t a part of recovery, it’s a part of drinking. Thinking it’s a part of recovery is like carrying around a ‘get out of jail free’ card. I realized that I’ve been doing that. I’ve been saying to myself that someday I may just have a little experiment and see how it goes. But now I’ve made a decision. Unless I hit a point where I’m struggling, I’m done with the ‘one day at a time’. If someone asks if I’m going to do this forever, my answer is yes.