I haven’t had a drink since September 14, 2016. That is 156 days and a little over 5 months. I may have stopped drinking but I don’t really feel the emotional tide changing.
I am not naive and there was this part of me that kind of thought that once I stopped drinking that I would be “better.” I know that I told myself, on those mornings after a night of drinking, “if you stop you will feel better about yourself.” Granted, I do physically feel better (with the exception of the increase of sugar eating). Emotionally, I am all over the place. I think that I have often thought, “if this, then this.””If I get out of this awful relationship, then I will be happy.” “If I just get this job, then I will be happy.” “If , if,if,…then,then,then….” You get the picture. If something would just happen, then I would get this. I had a lot riding on this quitting drinking thing. I expected my relationship with my husband to thrive and turn around. I expected that things would *snap* into place. I know that the clouds were not going to part and fairy dust wasn’t going to make everything better BUT I kind of wish it would have. A teensy part of me would love to be “better.”
As I write this, I am realizing that maybe, just maybe there has been a bit of fairy dust happening, after all. Just this week, I went to a talk about white privilege and another talk about race relations and sat in a circle talking to complete strangers about how we can be better humans. I could feel how present I really was. How I really listened and spoke from my heart. Before, I would have drank before I went to the talk – to loosen up, to get that liquid courage.
Stopping drinking really is the beginning. There is work to do. Self-care is the next step. Asking for help. In a couple of hours I am going to see a counselor who is going to work with me on The Work . Then I meet with my friend who is the life coach. Then I am going to spend the evening with my friends playing a game and eating pizza. Most of them will be drinking. I won’t.
I am ready to do the work. I want to show up in my own life. I am showing up in my own life. I like this sober thing even when I am not liking this life thing. I am so thankful to not be drinking during this tragic time in our history. I am present and will remain present. I am going to be showing up EVERYWHERE!
This post is all over the place. What I am trying to say is, if you are new to sobriety and you thought that quitting drinking was going to make everything better and you are feeling edgy and that nothing is better, take a step back. Look around. Look inside. Every minute/second that you don’t drink, you ARE getting better. It may be like a tiny grain of sand and feel like nothing, but each second you don’t drink, grows. You may not feel it yet. But it is there. Slowly, the tide WILL change.
Not drinking is leading me to the person I have always wanted to be. I truly believe that. That person is the person I thought I was WHEN I was drinking! AHA! moment. In the beginning, I drank to feel sophisticated, have a good time, to drink in a bar and have deep conversations into the wee hours of the morning, talking about art and movies and society. I drank to feel like I belong and that I am connected. That is how my drinking started. It didn’t end up that way. In the end, I was alone. VERY ALONE. Lonely and hiding and sad.
I am getting back to me. I am connecting with people, talking about deeply moving and wondrous things. I am painting. I connect on a really meaningful level with my friends. I am feeling like me. I have work to do and I can’t wait. It takes a long time, sometimes, to get back to who you know yourself to be. Stopping drinking, for me, was/is just the beginning. Actually, the beginning was when I knew I didn’t want to do this anymore. It started every single 2am wake up, with that voice that was deep inside of me, that grain of sand, that whispered, “you are so much bigger than this drinking thing.” I may have had to say it a million times until the hourglass tipped. I am so thankful that I finally took that step. I have work to do. I may be on an emotional roller coast, at least I can FEEL it. I can put my arms up in the air and scream all the way.
Sober suits me.