At the end of yoga class yesterday the teacher told us to picture ourselves at a place that makes us happy and it suddenly dawned on: I don’t have a happy place anymore since I stopped drinking.
At first I thought about Disney because, yes, I am one of those people whose family goes every other year and we’ve had some real happy times there. But the last time we went I vividly remember being drunk and waiting too long for a bus with one of my kids, but the part I remember most vividly is that it was mid-afternoon and I had been drinking by myself up in the hotel room and the longer I waited for that bus, the drunker I felt.
In almost every picture from that trip, I’m half-soused though you really can’t tell. I have one picture where it’s more clear I’m half-soused, but I can’t post that picture because my bathing suit is visible underneath my sheer coverup and it would just be a weird picture to post on an anonymous blog, so here’s a picture of a kitten doing yoga instead.
I’ve been to the beach twice since I stopped drinking, and both trips were lovely. The weather was lovely and the water was lovely and I had a much lovelier attitude not being half-soused all the time. But I can’t deny that I was walking on eggshells both trips. The first trip I was acutely aware every time someone around me cracked a beer on the beach, which was often. The sound rattled me like gunfire. The second trip, I was more relaxed but early enough in recovery that every other minute I was still thinking “I’m not drinking anymore.”
I’ll also admit that I have a hard time relaxing these days. That’s one reason why I love yoga class so much. And this is family yoga, which means I bring my oldest daughter and at any given class there are a half dozen other little kids doing downward facing dog and either falling over and being silly or making it look as effortless as child’s pose. Still, I leave feeling loose and mellow and frankly it’s awesome.
Normally I am not relaxed and so it’s no great surprise I couldn’t come up with that “happy place” the instructor asked us to go to while laying face down on a mat I sincerely hope the person before me remembered to wipe down. I thought of poolside in San Diego because my husband and I went there a couple summers ago and it was such a lovely spot by the harbor. But that trip was one sad bender and mostly what I remember is the one day I made the mistake of taking a land-sea tour when I was so hungover I could barely breathe. I saw sea lions that day, but I also saw a lot of my eyelids as I prayed to god I wouldn’t throw up or die. Fuck that. That’s no way to live.
I need a new happy place and I’m actually a little excited about finding one. It’s like a new goal for me now that I’m out of the very-early stage of early sobriety. It will be different making a memory where I’m at peace and happy without a drink in hand, but I look forward to doing the hard work .