A new normal

I didn’t mean to let so much time go by without typing here. Things are so busy. Work is firing up (two new clients that I’m very happy about), my partner and I are building a house (someone else is building it, that is), I’m blogging about the house, and I have work travel, personal travel, my other house that I at least need to keep from being engulfed by weeds (I live in two places about 7 hours apart). Ahhh. It’s all great stuff, and I need to simply be thankful for all of it. But I often feel overwhelmed.

But, I’m back. And I have some adventures to describe. I, for some reason I can’t reconstruct in my mind, decided a couple of weeks ago to drink a few glasses of wine. Alone, though in a wine bar. I never have been, and still am not, interested in drinking in moderation. I think I did it out of curiosity (and I was experiencing some unremarkable bits of stress at the time). I am thrilled to report that it sucked. Everything about it. The taste, the feeling in my head, the dehydration, the fucked up sleep that followed, the two days of headache that followed that. After more than five months away from alcohol, there was nothing appealing about that wine.

Did I mention that it sucked?

I love that my body rejects alcohol now. I’m grateful for this — I didn’t necessarily expect it. Several months ago I wrote about an experience I had shortly before I quit last December in which I’d gone a bunch of days without drinking (maybe 20) and then had a couple of beers one day, and the next day I felt sort of primed to want a drink again around the regular drinking time (3 p.m.). That was a big wake-up call for me. What I didn’t expect was for that “priming” to disappear — at all or this quickly. My brief June foray into drinking didn’t wake up some thing in me. (Not that I think that drinking couldn’t, though; I still believe that this quitting thing isn’t linear, and even if I feel safe and free now, there’s no guarantee that some other day, even years from now, the voices and urges in my mind and body won’t rise up and convincingly propose some reason why I should have a drink.) It felt easy to look at that experience, not enjoy or benefit from it in any way, and return to my new normal of fizz and cream over ice.

Some people considering leaving alcohol can be heard hoping that some day they will be able to have a glass of wine with dinner with friends. That statement doesn’t actually sound that outlandish. Until you’ve stopped drinking for a while and have gotten to that era and realize, but … why? What do I gain by doing that, “sharing” that glass of wine?

Nothing.

And there’s no such thing as “sharing” a glass of wine. The wine in question is rolling down individual throats, landing in individual digestive tracts, and being absorbed into the blood stream and then brain cells of individuals. The idea that a person with a history of alcohol abuse should “share” a glass of wine is a conniver talking, a conniver for whom the value in wine is purely in the buzz. What’s being shared is time, space, dinner, even liquids in glasses. But any liquid works. (I mean, within reason.) It’s the act of deciding to coexist in a room with loved (or at least chosen) people for a few hours.

In my last post I was feeling quite a tension in myself, feeling the benefits and joys of not drinking but also feeling a tenseness I wasn’t being able to release. Since my little visit to those glasses of wine, the tension is gone. I no doubt would have found my way to a calmer sober space without it. I think that what I did was stupid. But the experience of the failure of wine to help me IN ANY WAY is precious and I carry that with me happily forward — into day after day where my tensions and questions and contentedness (wherever it may rear its pretty little head) are never twisted into some fried, blurry, blunt ethanol-fog but instead swirl around just within me, a very alert me.

Happy July, everybody.

Adrian

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