Enough hats for everyone – revisiting 52 days sober and my old blog

Two years before I started this blog, I had another one called Enough Hats for Everyone. The name came from an overheard phrase at the beach. A frazzled mom hollered it at her ten kabillion children, who were all clamoring for boogie boards and attention and, it would seem, hats, which admittedly doesn’t sound like any kids I know. But my husband was there and he remembers it too. We were in our early to mid 20s and I remember being brutally hungover that afternoon. My hangovers were legendary, if only in my own mind because I kept them to myself as much as I could. Hey, those hangovers were a big part of why I quit and saved me a lot of future suffering, so I’m eternally grateful. 

Anyway, I stopped posting on the old blog in April of 2012 and took it down a few years ago but never deleted it. I thought it would be fun to post something I wrote when I was less than two months sober. It was the first mention I could find about not drinking. It was interesting to read the numbered list of things I’d learned so early in sobriety. Number 1 and 5 are still totally true. Number 3 is fortunately not an issue except for the rare occasion when I miss drinking. Number 4 surprised me because I don’t quite remember it that way, but maybe I was just pleasantly surprised sober sex was possible. 

There are all kinds of things I could write about anonymously or with my name attached if I were a different sort of person. Maybe I will one day, maybe not. I recall the reason I started this blog is because most of the 30 or so readers of my old blog were not sober and I worried they would think less of me if they knew I had to stop drinking. I felt the need to separate what felt like two separate identities. And now, on this blog, I know I’m posting more than before and I know I’m all over the place in terms of sobriety and non-sobriety content, and I’m not sure what that’s all about. I know it’s hard to keep up with, and the frequency is likely just a phase (so bear with me or whatever, I won’t take it personally). I just know I love to write. I’ve always told other people to write about whatever they want to write about. If it moves you – if it’s in your heart – write about it. 

I never deleted my old blog because it meant a lot to me. I think I wrote some pretty funny stuff back then. I remember starting that blog because I was going through some personal stuff and while I wasn’t dealing directly with it in what I wrote about, it gave me a spark I didn’t know was there. And that is why a lot of us write and keep writing. 

 August 9, 2011

I haven’t had a drink since June 20, 2011. There’s no significance to this date, though it just struck me that I’ve been sober all summer. I’m incredibly relieved to tell you it’s been a really good summer so far. For those who know me socially, the not drinking thing may come as a surprise. Or maybe not.

I had my first drink in seventh grade at a sleepover. It was peppermint schnapps and it was only like two sips, but the way its slow burn crept up from my throat to my head felt like coming home. I had my first drunk in ninth grade and started one of those sobby, sad affairs until I discovered that beer was kinder than liquor. But two decades later, beer stopped being kind.

Here’s a tip: don’t drink when your life becomes stressful. Ha. That’s a good one, I know. Anyway, it’s hard to know which was the chicken and which was the egg.

Speaking of eggs, I can’t ignore genetics and my grandfather George, who drank himself to death in his 50s. The one time I met him he reeked of body odor and booze. The only thing I remember about him is his smell and how he pushed a set of closing elevator doors back open with both arms while exclaiming “I AM STRONG AS AN OX.” But they were the kind of elevator doors that would have opened for anyone – even me, an eight-year old kid.

George, in better days

Here are some things I learned, so far, in my summer of not drinking:

1.) I am much happier sober.

2.) It’s generally easy not to drink when I take it one day at a time.

 3.) But damn, seeing condensation on a pint glass triggers something in me, and probably always will.

4.) Sober sex is even better than drunk sex. (go on, try it some time)

5.) I feel just as creative and have as much fun as I did when I was drinking every day. This is the biggest relief of all. Ok, maybe #4 is.

I hope to be able to tell you what a sober fall is like too. I don’t take for granted that this is a gift I’ve been given, but that I have to work at it. Yes, I do AA meetings. The fellowship and support is an indescribable gift. If that sounds a little culty, so be it. Live and let live.

I’m happier and my kids have their mom 95% back and I’m much easier to live with now that I’m not struggling with crippling hangovers and an obsession the likes of which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

And hey, this isn’t a preachy post. I know lots of fine people who enjoy fine beers and other fermented and distilled beverages. I wish I could be like them sometimes, but I recognize that I am different.

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16 thoughts on “Enough hats for everyone – revisiting 52 days sober and my old blog

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  1. Enough hats for everyone is a really good phrase, I’m glad you have a story to accompany it and it landed that way on your ears. No need to apologize with the blog format, the frequency, but that’s cool you think of it that way — I think it’s for you and others who wish to partake, so to speak, and glad you’re sharing, we can take something from it too.

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    1. Thanks Bill. The frequency feels a bit manicky but I know I used to post a lot more years ago. It’s a phase of bloodletting, maybe, but I just wanted to say hey, I’m just as confused as you (whoever follows regularly) probably are 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s awesome to be able to look back. I wish I had started blogging sooner.
    I understand what you mean by manicky. I have the same sense from my older blog posts.
    I think it’s the glee. The unbelievable glee that life as we knew it wasn’t better. That not drinking actually might be the right choice.

    I still have glee. But it’s become tempered with contentment.

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love sober sex, and I NEVER thought I would!
    I am glad you talk about writing, as I like to write, but worry that I don’t have anything to say about being sober.
    When I look back at my early posts, they seem so simple!
    xo
    Wendy
    PS – Last week I went to make the bed and found a HUGE black spider sitting right on the while sheets! Scared the hell out of me! I did NOT ask him to go away, and yelled and smashed him, which is tricky because they can move fast!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your posts and how you describe the simple pleasures of sobriety, like time spent with your husband or going on walks. You capture the simple joys really well. Good call on that spider! Beds are off limits.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So funny so many of us had other blogs. I blogged about life with two crazy Labrador Retrievers and then that was taken over by grandchildren. I stopped blogging then (not enough hats) until I was 60 days sober and now I just post every now and then. Who knew retirement would keep me busier than before.
    I agree with your bullet points on early sobriety, I felt euphoric for a long time, those pink clouds. Now it’s peaceful and normal, well sorta;)
    Sharon

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  5. Great piece of writing – thanks. I have a niece in rehab at the moment and I’ll encourage her to read this and your other articles. The bit about sex will make her laugh, that’s for sure! She’s getting help through http://www.northpointwashington.com and it seems to be going well. It would be great to have an article from you about “release day” and how she can survive that. I’ll leave that with you! Thanks again.

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    1. I bet there is a good piece on that somewhere, though I cannot speak to it personally. Your niece’s rehab will prepare her and then 12 step meetings are the best path for support and recovery. She will not have to do it alone. Best of luck to her!

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