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 .

2 thoughts on “Nirvana

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  1. Hey hi, nothing much to say from me this morning except I am thinking of you and sending love. All we can do is just keep keeping on and see what happens. What is the alternative? Going back to being that boozy lush that feels guilty and dysfunctional all the time? (that was me anyway). No thank you. Take care xxxx


  2. nice piece. I love that image of the popped cans rattling like gunfire. war is hell. I think it would be best to not actively search for a happy place, but instead take a wait and see approach, since we never know what memories and places will leave impressions. I’m thinking of all the times I’ve sat down and thought “this, I must remember this forever,” but memories can be so slippery, falling through the hands like sand, and the tighter you grasp the more you lose.


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