Rocky Road

Learning to live AF

The Big Painful — July 23, 2017

The Big Painful

Family date night to Chris  Stapleton concert Saturday  There is so much about sobriety in this experience that it is hard to know where to start.  Let’s start with the big painful first.

Hubs had 3, maybe 4, beers during this 4 hour event.  Tall cans, not short ones.  Light beer.  He’s 6’1″ & 210 lbs.  We had dinner before the event – he ate.  He loves Stapleton. He was singing, dancing (if you call it that); on his feet most of the show. Kid leans tome & says he cannot drive us home ’cause he’s  drunk.  Ok, I say, sipping my water, I am happy to drive.  A little later, we go buy t-shirts and use the potty and I am going to pick him up a beer (he didn’t ask, I just thought he was out & would appreciate) and she says he doesn’t need anymore.  The beer stand was closed, and she voiced her pleasure about that fact.

I have seen my hubs drunk.  I did not think this was that.  Truly, I thought she was being overly concerned.  I thought he had 3 beers.  She said he had 4.  It’s possible, highly possible, she is right and I am wrong.  I wasn’t sitting beside him & she was.  I wasn’t counting and she clearly was paying very close attention.  But even with 4 beers he was only acting like a concert goer — he wasn’t slurring, stumbling, or doing drunk stuff.  I call this part the big painful bc did I do this to her?  Make her anxious that everyone who drinks is drunk?  Is this a normal thing?  Are most 10 yo’s hyper aware about alcohol?  She has had questions about it recently – what does beer taste like — and that had (??) nothing to do with me (??).  Some other  kid in summer camp got to taste some and said it was gross and now my kid has questions for me about that.

My stomach is in knots and my head hurts writing this and thinking: it has to be my drinking that made her hypervigilant about alcohol.  It has to be my explanatory shortcomings (read: absence) about my own sobriety that made her think the only option is complete abstinence and anything else is very . . .

w o r r i s o m e.

Arrgh.  I hate this.  We are going to have to have a family conversation .  I don’t want to promise not to ever drink again.  Hell, I have purposely avoided thinking that far ahead. I don’t want to explain why I’m not drinking.  Shit, that is why I blog about it in PRIVATE instead of going to AA or seeing a fucking counselor.  I do not want to explore all of these details about alcohol myself and certainly not with an audience of my loved ones.  I don’t want to improperly justify hubs drinking to her, or improperly shame him about something that I’m not sure was what she thought it was.  But, I recognize that he likes to drink to feel the buzz and I don’t have any GD clue WHAT to say to the 2 of them about THAT.  I do not want to talk about drinking like this.  I do not.  I do not. Fuck.

I prolly shoulda started this post on the easier notes bc now I am an anxious ball.  Here’s the rest:

-people drink a lot at concerts.  I saw a man too drunk to walk being escorted by the cops to. . . his seat? The pokey?  I dunno.  I saw his friends escorting him, with the same drunken amble, hours before so. . . by the time the cops got him he musta been LIT UP. I saw a guy sticking his finger down his throat to make himself puke at the end of the concert.  He was riding in a MiniVan with the  door open as he repeatedly leaned out to spit, you know, the pre-puke stage.  This was an adult with kids.  Or else a weird mini van fetish.  Anyway, come on dude, get your party on but hold onto your stomach contents. His wife was pissed off.   If he puked in that mini van Saturday night, her Sunday of soccer and a grocery store run was going to stink.  That was a miserable van. Drink totally ruined a perfectly good evening for everyone in that van (and it was a buncha people – all waitin on this guy to heave so they could close the door and start driving home).

-I partied my ass off totally sober.  Outta my seat yellin the lyrics.  Dancing.  Clapping.  Screaming.  Jumpin up and down.  Arms waving.  Clearly, I needn’t have worried about my ability to let loose sober – no problem there.  It was awesome to experience this concert sober, to stay the whole time, and not feel drunk tired.  This event was way past my bedtime so I was physically tired, but that’s different.

-I felt proud to be the sober concert goer, to be the sober parent in my family.  While the kid’s comments trouble me, I was pleased to be able to be there for her, emotionally and as a driver, by myself being totally sober.  And, I’m not gonna lie, when I first thought about this post, before figuring out the big painful part, what I thought about writing was how I felt a lil superior to the other concert going drunks.

-At the beginning of the concert I wanted to drink.  Everyone was drinking and it was a concert for Christ’s sake.  You *get* to drink at concerts.  But it has gotten weird, this wanting.  I don’t want many things at the same time that I do want to drink.  And, the drink-wanting is less/different, it really feels like I am longing for something out of habit, a desire to fit in, to be like everyone else, but at the same time, I am feeling like the down sides outweigh the upside and so, no drink.  I don’t want a hangover.  I don’t want the bags under my eyes or sleep loss or dehydration or old looking skin.  I don’t want to have to quit again.  I don’t want to embarrass myself drunk.  I don’t want to face the kid (not explain, literally look at her) while drinking.  So, no drink.  The drinking desire was fleeting.  When the lady ahead of me walked back to her seat with a carafe of white wine I was very intrigued, but then she acted like a drunken fool and whatever longing vibes I had been feeling toward her went away.

Anyway.  I sober concerted.  This is like the 3rd one.  Like most things, it’s better sober.  I guess I’ll go google “how to talk to your child about alcohol now.”  Deep sigh.

-Q

Zero is my new favorite number — July 22, 2017

Zero is my new favorite number

Friday evenings are tough.  I had the ‘think I cans’ again this evening as I drove home from work.  When I got home, hubs was having what appeared to be a lovely Rose.  I wanted some wines pretty badly.  But there was cake.  And it goes better with milk.  So, I had milk, and cake too, of course.  Plus, still no interest at all in one drink.  And, I’m unwilling to cave and have 3, or 4.  Nelly has a song with a line:  i am number 1, 2 is not a winner and 3 nobody remembers.  Tonight i say, i am number 1, 2 is just a good start and 3 maybe I’ll still remember.  So, yeah.  Sobering on.  5 mos, 23 days.

Longing n dreaming — July 20, 2017

Longing n dreaming

So, I had this big presentation for work the other day.  First presentation to this client. Complicated medicine, made me nervous.  And this particular meeting structure, as well as all of the participants, were new to me.  My anxiety was high.  The evening before I presented, I dreamed of tequila and smoking.  There was an amber colored glass ashtray with a smoldering cigarette.  It was a small water glass of  golden tequila.  Bigger than a shot.  I had salt on one hand and a lime slice in the other.  I was soooo close.  In real life, I never liked tequila, ever.

Then today, as the work day turned into the work evening with no end in sight, those dangerous thoughts of, “surely you’re cured now…you can have just one (a couple)” flitted into my consciousness.  Now, last time ‘I thought I could I thought I could,’ I struggled to get past that.  This time, I WAS really work swamped but I could push the ‘I think I can I think I can’ thoughts aside pretty quickly and stayed focused on working.  By the time I got home, the think I cans had passed.  Maybe that’s progress. You know, the urge to drink lessens over time and so too does the dumb ass notion that I can moderate today, that something major has changed for me and my vices, despite the fact that I’m dreaming, just this week, of extra large tequila shooters.  With lime and salt.

Sobering on.  5 months, 21 days.  I hope to be dream free tonight.

 

The evolution of no — July 14, 2017

The evolution of no

Several colleagues went out for cocktails yesterday after work.  They passed me as they left the building & invited me to join them.  I could have gone and had a mocktail. The old me would have wanted to go, badly, and wanted a bunch of vino, and then driven home with one (or so) too many in me.  I had no desire to join them.  Zero.  It didn’t even occur to me to say yes. I don’t know that I’ve ever responded to an invitation to go drinking with:  hmm, I’m not interested.

In early sobriety, the no to happy hour events was because the temptation to drink was sooo strong I would’ve slipped if I didn’t skip — but I missed my after work cocktailing, a lot for some time.   Here at 5.5 ish months (which is after 4 months sober then 4 months drinking), I didn’t go, didn’t wanna go, and didn’t feel left out.  It was like declining an invitation to golf.  I don’t golf.  Why would I go hang out with a group who does golf, and does it well (i.e., most of my coworkers do not appear to be alcoholics & thus they are “good” at drinking) when I am lousy at it?

It is nice to feel more settled into my sobriety.  For me, that only came with months of sustained nos.  Now, the no starts earlier in the process.  Instead of wondering how I will get through happy hour without vino, I am wondering what I can do besides cocktailing, or missing cocktailing, or mocktailing, at happy hour.  And, yesterday at least, I didn’t miss the fact that the alcoholic option is no longer an option for me.

Times marches on, just not as hard over my face — July 11, 2017

Times marches on, just not as hard over my face

5 months, 12 days.  Today I saw a client I haven’t seen in a while.  She told me my haircut made me look younger. I thanked her.  I love a compliment.  I loved this one.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her I quit chasing a bottle of vino with a glass, or so, of vino every evening, and that, as opposed to lopping a coupla inches offa the back of my stick straight hair, is more likely the reason I looked refreshed to her today.   Well, that plus I do get my old lady face cream on most nights now that I go to bed sober.  I love the benefits of abstinence.

Strep — July 8, 2017

Strep

You know that clerk of course gig I took on for kid’s swim meet Monday evening?  Well, I developed a horrible sore throat Tuesday.  Painful to swallow kind of sore, not the scratchy type of sore throat.  And it got worse as the day progressed and woke me Tues night.  Wed morning it still hurt, badly, and was sufficiently abnormal to justify a jog over to the doctor’s office.  I never go to the doctor. I am nearly never sick what with all this clean livin’ I been doin’.

Anyhoo, rapid swab in office was negative for strep and off I go feeling foolish for having bothered the MD with my silly sore throat. Til Friday, when the doc called to say I was one of those rare birds with a false negative test in the office but a positive throat culture in the lab.  So now I am on antibiotics.  And not drinking, so not worrying about the interaction.  And not worrying about impact of alcohol dehydration on the direction to drink lots of fluids.  And actually able to follow the direction to rest because I sleep thru the night when I’m off the sauce.  So, it’s a lot better even to be sick if you do it sober.  Who knew?

I used to drink if I had a headache.  It was like liquid Ibuprofen. I had a lot of headaches. I used to feel guilty when I had a cold or the flu, knew I should be consuming juice and tea, and instead chose wine, every time.  It is really nice not to have to lie about my drinking when the doctor asks.  Mrs D. has a good post about this issue of writing down ZERO in the box describing your drinking.  It is nice to be able to truthfully report that I abstain, all the freakin’ time.

Happy Saturday, y’all.

Sober Among Drunks — July 4, 2017

Sober Among Drunks

My life is full of drinkers.  Hubs, most of my close, local girlfriends, all of my work colleagues.  Some drink lots, some seem more moderate, but I know of only one other person who is a tee totaler.  And he is an old man I worked with nearly a decade ago.  He could be dead for all I know.

It is interesting being sober among drunks in a way I had not anticipated.  I expected to feel left out, awkward, unable to comfortably and quickly explain why I wasn’t imbibing.  I’ve felt those things, tho, really, not as much or intensely as I expected.  I’ve felt more relieved and surprised and a lil embarrassed for the drinkers.  Surprised because drinking doesn’t look fun. Even moderate drinking gives the eye a red hue, the eye lids look heavy, hubs gets grouchy and tired as the evening winds down and he switches to water, and then he sleeps poorly.  Embarrassed for the drunk ladies shakin their asses on the dance floor, marching around with their ever full plastic cups at kids’ events, talking loudly, probably inappropriately.  Relieved because I am not shakin my old ass, talkin loud and inappropriately, worrying about how much I can have and still drive the kid home, or agonizing over whether I can get away with another drink without raising eyebrows.

I went to a pool party once and the host commented to my hubs that I drank a whole bottle of Chardonnay.  The host was shocked by my consumption. I was pissed because it wasn’t enough.  This is how I know I can’t drink.  I used to, decades ago, want just one.  Used to think more than 2 was dangerously mind altering.  Now, I want the bottle plus, or what’s the point.  Only now I also do not want to be the person who NEEDS a bottle plus, so I can’t dally with the possibility of one, or so.

I went to the Fourth of July event at hubs’ job recently.  Sober me was able to stay up and out til after 10 pm, drive home in the dark sober, & enjoy the event without worrying about drinking.  I was sober for this event last year too.  I drank in between but was sober for the same event 2 years in a row.  Funny-ish.  Maybe I can make it all the way around sober this time. I aspire.

Mutherdrinker —

Mutherdrinker

I served as the clerk of course at my kid’s swim meet this evening.  I was working with a lovely Mom from the opposing team.  As we herded those cats from bench to bench to lane, it was hot and there was no breeze.  Plus, some of the other Moms took cat herding very seriously, even going so far as to organize them by speed.  So my nice, new friend asked if we got shots when this ended.  I laughed and nodded, sure, enjoy.  Then a little later, she mentioned wanting to go home and have a beer.  Then her hubs popped over and she told him we’d agreed shots were in order.  Look, I don’t know if this chick is socially awkward and figured conversation about drinks interests 99.9% of the free world so it’s a safe topic.  I dunno if she is like I used to be, i.e., unable to do shit that didn’t involve drinkin after 5 and this event messed up her routine and these drink comments were Freudian slips.  Maybe somewhere in between, it was hot and parts of this were annoying.  Whatever.

I didn’t know how to tell her I’m a never drinker.  Do you gotta plop that factoid out on a first meeting?  I mean, it IS kinda personal.  And whether she had big social anxiety or small, she was anxious.  I feel like she woulda been horrified (at herself) if I met her shots comment with a revelation about my non drinking status.  I didn’t have any drinks with her or at home later.  But her comments did trigger some longing.  I still think of relaxing and wine as things that go together.  This evening, when I got to sit down and relax at long last, it was with a mug of tea.  It was relaxing.  Just not mind altering.

5 months! — June 28, 2017

5 months!

I made it through month 4.  I made it to month 5. Yay!

Ima lay outta work today.  I never do that.  I didn’t plan to lay out to celebrate my soberversary.  Really, I am protesting a couple work things.  But Ima celebrate my soberversary too.  Ima get the Zen facial.  Name says it all.  Ima work on wrapping up my Mom’s estate n stuff.  Ima take my kid to a musical this  evening.

I’m going to spend a few minutes feeling proud. It’s so easy and automatic to feel like shit when you fuck up and drink your face off.  It’s easy to focus on the struggle of staying sober on the days you manage that.  I am pretty bad at taking a moment and saying Way to go Q, you did good.  So Ima do that.  Like this:

  1.  Way to decide to make a change and make it.  Way to work at it every single day til now!
  2.  It’s nice to eat off the whole menu, including dessert, and expand my caloric intake beyond Chardonnay.
  3. Along these same lines, Krispy Kreme I love you, welcome back into my life. Starbuck’s, I judged you prematurely.  You have a small, infrequent, expensive place in my life.  It’s nice to have expanded my horizons outside of the wine store.
  4. Sober blogger friends.  Man some of these folks just keep on hittin me up with the positivity and support that sometimes I can float a lil on their energy and always it is soooo nice to have a sober shoulder.  Glad to have some new friends.
  5. Sober blogosphere – sober community, anonymous – no need to show up at a meetin and publicly declare myself a thing I’d have trouble declaring out loud, in public; this is a much easier start to sobriety.
  6. Sober bloggers who post.  These writers inspired me to start, and start again, and again, and try different strategies, and hang in there when I didn’t feel much like hangin in there, and reassure me that this shit over here ain’t unique and will pass.
  7. Way to order the NA beverage at the retirement parties, firm events, goodbye parties, team events, family dinners out, random Tuesdays, every pool afternoon, date nights, hubs bday, father’s day, Memorial day, valentine’s day, anniversary, at the new thing this summer swim team practice.
  8. Way to not carry a red solo cup of wine to girl scouts when I led the meeting and over that entire God awful camping weekend.
  9. Way to inspire others.  2 of my local friends tell me they are cutting back on their own drinking.  One said outright she looked at my abstinence and it made her think she should try it.  The other makes frequent, comparative comments about drinking/sobriety.  Anyway, my own quitting has inspired a couple of other people to take a look at their own consumption and more sober is good.
  10. Way to set a better example for my kid, be a better partner to the hubs, and even out emotionally so I’m not train wrecking all over everyone I encounter.  I do not want the intervention conversations, the recriminations about my behavior.  Sober me doesn’t need an intervention or embarrass myself (much).
  11. Way to enjoy sober treating. Kindle books.  #2&3 above.  Puzzles.  Pedicures.  The occasional facial.  These things are nice horizon broadeners.  It is nice not to be pinching every spare dime for the vino purchases.

That’s it.  It’s a good day to be sober.

 

Quittin ain’t easy — June 26, 2017

Quittin ain’t easy

4 months, 28 days.  Aiming for the 5 month mark is motivating.  I need some motivation these days.  It’s not like I long to drink with the frequency or fervor I formerly experienced.  It’s just that I don’t long to be sober with such energy either.  I’m more equivocal, both ways.  Sometimes it takes a lot not to drink, sometimes it isn’t so hard, but all the time it requires, at least somewhere in the back of my brain, a commitment to the goal of sobriety.  I was enamored of all the sober ladies.  They’re the new cool thing, yeah?! But it is hard work day after day to be one of those cool, sober chicks.  I long to be the drinker I am not, able to have a glass of wine, or maybe two, in social settings.  I used to know a couple who would share a glass of wine, so neither of them even had a whole glass. For fuck’s sake, they were such perfectly sober drinkers.  I mean, I know…I know, I am not that drinker.  And so I cannot drink.  And I don’t want to be a big lushy drunk like I used to be. I don’t want to be that. But I would like half a glass o wine, and I would like that to be enough.  Ahhh, it’s hard to be a quitter.   Q