Had a few “so this is it, huh?” moments this weekend. Not gonna lie. Holiday weekend tweets and instagrams were heavy on the “hey look at me, I’m enjoying this beer on a boat” theme, which is not my favorite theme anymore.
I also had a powerful spiritual moment as I was walking my usual route at 7:30am Saturday morning where I had to blink back tears because I was so grateful to be sober. It’s the kind of moment I’d be hard-pressed to recreate and it was so emotional I would have blamed PMS or pregnancy if I hadn’t been absolutely certain it was neither.
Since weaning off of one antidepressant that zapped me of all negative emotion but padded my stomach and ass with 15-pounds, I started on another that helped me quit smoking and lose 15-pounds but left me with an endless supply of feelings and I’ve had it up to here with those things. My moods have leveled out a lot in the last 6 months, but the roller-coaster lows still creep up on me.
Last night I went off on my husband for leaving a thimble’s worth of his manhattan in a frosted martini glass by the sink for me to wash. The other night he put his glass of beer (in my favorite ex-beer glass) down right next to my keys just before I headed out to pick up our daughter. I thought we were past this stage. All last summer, I begged him – nicely and not – to stop leaving his drinks around me in the kitchen. My previously pickled brain couldn’t register his beer from the fact that I had stopped drinking. By the time I realized it was not my beer, the disappointment that followed was topped only by resentment. Sometimes I see his carelessness as a lack of respect, though honestly I think it’s more that he’s pleasantly buzzed and forgets how hard it still is for me to be around alcohol all the time.
What burns me up is not about him but the hold alcohol still has on me. I left those few drops of manhattan – which I never even liked when I was a drinker – until last as I rinsed the other dishes and put them in the dishwasher. I thought to myself “I could finish what’s left in there and it would count as a relapse”. This now reminds me of the drinking dream I had a couple weeks ago where my husband gave me a quarter bottle of whiskey and I drank it and only then remembered I wasn’t drinking anymore and hated whiskey anyway.
I saved his dirty glass until the very end. I’m not sure whether I did this because I was dreading having to face the smell or whether I harbored some notion that I could still drink it so long as it was still in the glass. As soon as the hot water hit the glass, the smell of booze wafted up and I thought “I really shouldn’t have to put up with this shit. I stopped drinking.”
What could I have done differently? 1) I could have married a non-drinker, but it’s a little late for that. His habits have not changed. Mine have. Rational, calm me knows and accepts this. 2) I could have saved the glass for him to wash. 3) I could have washed it without thinking about drinking it and moved the fuck on. I hope 3) will get easier over time. It kind of has to.
Sometimes I think “is this what the rest of my life is going to look like?” This is dangerous thinking, so I’m going to a meeting tonight. I need some message of hope or strength to take with me, and I hope to find it there. It’s not that I’ve forgotten why I stopped drinking or that I think I’m cured and can finally drink without fear of a neverending series of crippling hangovers and reckless behavior. It’s just that I need to step out of self-pity and find a way to appreciate what I do have, and I’m not reliably doing this on my own.
Maybe it’s just that holiday weekends are hard. A friend who follows this blog and who has been a great listener overall once said to me “it might be something you always kind of struggle with.” She said this in the same matter-of-fact way someone might say “it might rain in the next month or so.” Because yeah, it might be something I always struggle with, but I haven’t struggled with it continuously or excessively or in any way like I struggled with my own drinking.
Once a guy with a lot of sobriety told me “not drinking doesn’t guarantee me a life without pain; it just means I won’t hurt from my own drinking.” This is the kind of harsh wisdom that comforts me in these in-between days where I’m not in early sobriety anymore, but still struggling on a fairly regular basis. I need to step back sometimes and remind myself that it’s okay to be where I am and have faith that I’m on the right path.
I also need to finish up work on step 4. I’ll call my sponsor to see if she can meet with me in the next week or so. Writing here helps a lot in that I didn’t even think of doing that last part until I was laying out all my gripes. And, uh, if the same old, same old isn’t working, maybe I should try something else.