One year ago, I would have been sitting in the waiting room of my therapist’s office, thumbing through Readers Digest and listening to Delilah’s Dilemma on overhead speakers turned up loud enough that I was forced to hear sad-sack callers but not marriage counseling in the next room. It’s a good thing I hadn’t realized I was worse off than both of those forces combined because I might have simply stopped going to therapy and then I wouldn’t have given up drinking and I wouldn’t be where I am today. Which is here. Which is much, much better.
Yesterday it got suddenly hot and when I say hot, I mean a real-feel of 87 degrees, which is all very well and fine for Florida or the northeast in August, but not April. On its own, it might have felt sweltering and unbearable, but the steady breeze made me think of last summer at the beach and how it might have felt a million years ago, but the fact is I was sober back then.
My family went to the beach for two weeks – once in July and again in August. The first trip I remember feeling terrified beforehand that I wouldn’t make it through sober. My husband and I had always been about beers on the balcony and beers on the beach and beers on the boardwalk. I felt like that commercial where the man’s trying to figure out how the hell to drink his morning coffee without the aid of a cigarette. I bought sober books to read on the beach and looked up meetings in our vacation town, but once I got to the beach, I mostly forgot about my sober worries and just enjoyed myself. The second sober trip to the beach was even better. My husband gave me a tiny pewter serenity shell that I still carry in my purse to remind me of how good I felt when he gave it to me.
I’m not saying I have this sobriety thing in the bag because none of us ever really do. We’ve all seen too many sneak attacks and nasty surprises with people we were sure had their footing and somehow lost it. It’s always good to be a little wary. But still, yesterday when I felt the tease of summer, it made me think I feel ready to enjoy all the cliches of summer not only without a drink but without missing a drink.
I’m sure the feeling will come and go. Maybe someone’s glass of chardonnay will catch the summer light in such a way that it winks at me from across the table and I will think you look so pretty I would love to drink you and I will be unnerved until the feeling passes. I know cravings pop back from time to time, but sometime in the last month or so, I lost the obsession to drink. It didn’t come from anything but time and not drinking. Sure enough, it just happens.