sober summer

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.


6 thoughts on “sober summer

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  1. I’ve been sober over 2 years and reading the word Chardonnay in the same sentence as beach just triggered something in me so yeah…we’re never really safe. But it passed really quickly and I wouldn’t trade my life now for any winking glass of talking wine.

    Great post! Bring on summer! We can take it!


  2. As you say never really safe – I heard of the sad passing of an old AA member last night. She had 30 years sobriety – 30 years! Then somewhere, somehow one day decided she could drink normally again – sadly dead within months. Sorry to be brutal but it is a brutal disease.

    Glad to hear that the compulsion is lifting for you – it was 9 months for me until I started to get any days without that voice/feeling in my head/stomach.

    And I do still get the odd moment – normally when I don’t expect it – someone sending a “after work drinks to celebrate x” message. Normally I just decline/delete it straight away, suddenly one stays for half a day in my inbox… why? I can’t kid myself I know why because just then a drink sounded like a reasonable idea. But AA has taught me, through looking at myself and seeing others around me I can relate to in so many ways, that I can never take the risk of trying to “drink normally” – my body and head don’t allow me to.


    1. Definitely baffling that someone would decide after 30 years they were cured, or maybe she’d given up. Hard to know, but definitely feel like meetings have taught me I can never hope to drink normally and certainly not worth it to try. Sober life has taught me it’s not necessary anyway.


  3. On Sunday when I was out and about with a friend, I had that quick flash memory. The sun was shining and Stockholm City was full of Swedes thirsty for Spring and sunshine. And all of the sudden I saw myself sitting by a table at one of the open-air cafés with a big glass filled with ice-cold beer.

    The memory passed very quickly and didn’t leave me with any craving or withdrawal or anything. It was just a memory and I could easily drop it. I was so happy to realize that, that I’m not obsessed with alcohol. Not on Sunday and not today anyway.

    You are doing so well, your blog is fun and such an inspiration to read – take care B!


  4. Ya Hooooo!!! I just think back to when you were at around 6 months and really struggling, not having fun and feeling so glum about being sober. Now this! So great to read. I really like your site, your honesty and grit and determination. Lovely, just lovely. So glad to have others here. xxx (I’m very emotioanl at the moment hence the overly dramatic reaction!)


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