This is becoming quite a pile of days. Trying to pull my thoughts together to describe what day 70 feels like. I’ve been sticking with my daily writing and boy oh boy are the thoughts flowing out, tumbling and stumbling over one another. I’m doing my best to capture them to hold onto them as they run, even if making some sense of them is for another day.
Here’s a snapshot of day 70.
The beast of addiction is only sleeping
I have felt the occasional tug toward a beer in the last couple of weeks. I’m almost glad it’s there. I’m a little afraid of forgetting I’m still vulnerable and having that get me in trouble down the line.
When I’m just on my own, I almost never feel a desire for a beer. If I do, a fake beer is fine. If the desire is specifically for fizz, then sparkling water with lime or with cream is great (NOT both, unless it’s lumps you’re after).
But things occasionally pass my eyes that are problematic. I guess I’m susceptible to visual suggestions. For example, in January I was traveling for work, and one of the key cards I was given at the hotel had a pint of beer on it. It was an attractive pint of beer, a yummy shade of rust. It looked cold. It filled the whole pint glass. Beer did. When I saw it, a voice in my head said instantly, “That is not helpful.” I instinctively knew that seeing that image seven times over the next two not-entirely-unstressful days was just not a good idea. I kept the second key card, the omelet, and carefully hurled the beer card under the end table where I put all the rest of the crap that hotels scatter around your room. I have no omelet issues to speak of.
The time or two that I felt a desire in my body for a beer was when I wasn’t feeling well. It was when I felt almost hangover-y, dry and with a headache. Isn’t that interesting. My system took something resembling a hangover and decided it had been primed to want (more) alcohol. Fortunately my instincts to be (to quote Anne Lamott again) militantly and maternally on my own side are getting stronger and it was fairly easy to call that bluff.
It’s exceedingly helpful just to get a drink of something in my hand.
One other thing I’ve figured out for public events where there’s alcohol is that I’m fine once I get something in my hand. I’m such a drinks person – I like having a thermos of coffee when I go to Home Depot, for example. Have no idea why. When I’m at a work-related reception, if I zoom right over to the cash bar and ask for a sparkling water with lime, and get that in a wine glass in my hot little hand, I am so fine. (Can I say how much I love the way the bartenders say, “sure!” when I ask for something without alcohol? I almost feel like they’re psyched to be able to hand out something other than 400 servings of a mind-warping drug.)
My partner knows that something good is happening
Several times over the last couple of months, my partner has commented that I seem more peaceful and more connected or that we seem to be doing really well. He’s right, on both counts. Even aside from this “year of healing” of mine (which he knows about in general terms) we have been doing well; it’s been six years of good, fun, increasingly peaceful and rich time together. But my not drinking has given it a good, happy kick in the pants.
I know that I am more peaceful and less struggling (even though I have lots and lots of stuff, some of it difficult, that I’m combing through). I’m not distracted by drinking now, which was starting to creep into my time here. I live part of my time alone several hours from here and more of it here. I drank there, alone, and for a long time drank only a little here, very normal-appearing. But I was starting to try to sneak in more here – a big warning sign. It’s so much nicer not to think about alcohol at all when I’m around him.
When he says these things, I do feel a slight twinge, wondering whether I’m being dishonest by not telling him about this huge thing I’m doing. For now, though, I’ve chosen privacy in this process. I want a cocoon of my own design. (I know. The irony of saying this on a global platform instantly accessible to anyone with a device and an internet connection.)
Aaannd… that was going to be the end of the post. I know that Jean over at Unpickled writes about surviving professional conferences without a drink, and I went over there intending to find a post to link my “getting a drink of something in my hand” to her experiences. I found a story about a conference presenter whom she introduces herself to so she can ask his permission to share his awesome story (about setting a bottle of wine that he could not be in the same hotel room with in an empty elevator) — and he gives her a bear hug in congratulations for her 180 days without drinking. The world gave her a bear hug. I started to cry. Apparently, in addition to liking my cocoon I also could use a 70 day hug . . . !