All over the place

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.

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11 thoughts on “All over the place

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  1. And remember this. Sometimes it’s okay to spend some time on your pity pot. Sit there awhile and feel what you feel. It’s valid. You’re pissed. At yourself, your genes, your husband and the goddamned booze. Just don’t hang around too long. Walk THROUGH it instead of around it. Cause if you walk around it, it jumps up again and bites you in the ass.

    I used to spend A LOT of time on that pot. And I still visit from time to time but it’s much less often and for much less time.

    For me, it gets easier everyday. Or maybe it’s just that I value my sobriety more and more everyday and it makes the other shit less noticeable. Either way – it’s a good thing.

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    1. Valuing your sobriety more each day makes sense. That’s what has kept me sober lately, for sure. Also love the phrase pity pot. Hadn’t heard it in ages, and it makes me think of childhood and simpler times and it’s all good. Thanks, Sherry.

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  2. My boyfriend (whom I live with) drinks bourbon and I wash his glasses too. It’s hard but I’ve chosen tactic 3) of your options above and I always make sure it gets washed first and don’t let myself go there.

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  3. Great post. I can totally relate to your resentment about the glass. And even though it was justified, I thought it was so healthy how you came up with a list of alternate reactions and reasons for him doing what he did. I am working on alternate ways of looking things and even though sometimes it makes me feel like a pollyanna or a total sell-out now, it makes me feel better than stewing in resentment.

    XO

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  4. I concur, great post. I don’t know how you do it, I’m sure that would be extremely difficult. I guess if we want to stay sober, we can do just about anything, can’t we? I made a general reference to your post in my most recent entry; reading about the glass in the sink resonated with me.
    I’m glad you had a moment of gratitude that moved you to tears. I understand. Life, especially Sober Life, is so beautiful sometimes that it can just fill you with emotion. It reminds me of the end of the movie “American Beauty” where Spacey says of his life that he can’t help but feel gratitude for every single moment of his stupid life- that you may not understand- but not to worry because one day you will.

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  5. I was married for eight years to someone who drank and it pretty much sucked. We were together a total of 10 years and I was sober for nine of them. Shortly after I got sober he cut back and would hide the alcohol so that I wouldn’t find it in the house but he never quit drinking. Fast forward several years and he stopped hiding it and I was finding the empties around the house. I don’t care how spiritually fit I was, I never got comfortable with it. And I needed to feel comfortable in my own home. We’re not together anymore.

    I’m glad I found you. I wish you peace as you navigate this road. It is so worth it 🙂

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  6. I totally relate to this. I get so pissed when I’m caught off guard by wishing I could drink. It comes up at the strangest times, not the most obvious. My husband and I went to a wedding last weekend and I was fine. He even asked, “You would tell me if you weren’t ok with this, right? I’m not going to read in your blog how horrible it was for you to not drink at the wedding?” I really was fine in a room full of drinking people. Then I got smacked in the face watching an episode of No Reservations and became obsessed with how I can’t have a Tecate with lime. Go figure.

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    1. Ha! Love the comment about your husband referencing your blog. My husband reads mine too, and no, this post wasn’t a passive-aggressive dig at him. At least, I don’t think it was.

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  7. Great post! Thank you for being so honest and open. I still feel and have felt everything you talked about here. I am glad I am not the only one that still struggles regularly with these feelings. I appreciate your strength and also the ability to identify your dangerous thinking. It’s inspiring, and I thank you! Keep up the good fight!

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  8. It grabs you in funny ways – I was just the other lunchtime walking along the street on the way to look around some shops and walked pasta swanky restaurant that has crammed tables against the front of the building and virtually into the pavement. Not common in London, for one we rarely have the climate for alfresco dining! Anyway – two guys, suited and booted with gizmos galore over the table, no doubt planning their plan to nail the sale in the afternoon and bolstering that with two Italian beers … well I presume Italian who knows but for about 4 or 5 steps I was just focused on those two tall glasses. I had to say to myself – “snap out of it” and that was that but there it was full blown there and then – without AA and what it has taught me I’d have turned into the next bar (not an expensive posh one like that I might add) and ordered a drink, and then another and another and another and none would be like the dream I was chasing.

    I’m very lucky – my wife hardly drinks – I think in reality me now being abstinant is a blessing for her she doesn’t have to pretend any more. Rarely she’ll have something but mostly they are never what I’d have drank anyhow. So let me say – it does get easier to be around it – I was in the supermarket on my own the other day and bought a cider my wife wanted for the BBQ and get this – I only bought one bottle! The last time she sent me I bruoght a crate home and she was like “That is more than I’ll drink in a year”… LOL! When she saw the one she looked at it – “Ta that is the summer fruit one I like. Just the one!” Which is an old catch phrase of a sit come with a lady who was one of us clearly always insisting she was just having the one.

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