I’m at day 116 and have both pulled past the constant awkwardness (as though I’ve been holding my body/mind/heart in a funny position for weeks) and, more recently, stopped paying as much attention to the number of days since my last beer. But I do still look over at that number every couple of days. It matters. At the moment it is a very strong deterrent to drinking, because boy do I not want to zap back to single digits. I love my triple digits and hope to stay here for a long, long time.
I am also aware that old habits are dying, and that’s a lovely thing. It will only continue and get better. The memory of going after beer at a certain time of day after I’ve held negativity or stress in my body precisely because it would have an outlet (imperfect outlet that it was) will continue to recede. The habit of letting negativity and stress flow out of my body soon after it arrives gets more clearly etched in. So much of this, for me, is about muscle memory. With the muscle being not only legs walking into a liquor store and hands picking up a six-pack of IPA and pulling out the wallet, but also muscle in the form of thoughts, feelings, and gut (literal and figurative).
Last week I was traveling for work and found myself in the same city where I wrote a very early post in my Attempt #1 to walk away from alcohol. I went back to the grocery store where I walked the wine aisle one morning in January 2015 at 5:30 a.m. with my coffee in hand. On that day my eyes went to the wine bottles with the poetic labels: Pensador, Handcrafted, Storyteller. I pondered the seeming peace and wisdom broadcast by those bottles. (There is a special place in hell for wine marketers.) Ran my eyes over the colorful labels and let the contradiction sit in my mind. Practiced seeing through the charade and reminded myself how very unromantic, unhandcrafted, unpensive, unstoryteller-by-the-campfire I feel when I wake up parched and headached the morning after an evening with a bottles of such magical promise but bullshit, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot reality.
This time I saw a different kind of poetry in the labels, the raw truth-telling kind: Besieged, Bogle, Paranoia, Decoy, Faust, Entwine, Dark Horse, Flip Flop, Ravage, and Sledgehammer.
It matters where we put our attention. The world is big and crowded and varied. Whatever you look for, you’ll find it. If I’m looking for peace, I’ll find that. If I look for cynicism or escape, I’ll find those. If I look for warmth and solitude, I’ll find them. This fact about the world creates chaos and minefields of a million different kinds, but it also creates infinite opportunity for health and evolution — personal and, well, cosmic.
Here’s to 116 days out from my formerly favorite decoy, favorite form of ravage, best sledgehammer to the head a girl could ask for.
Thanks for stopping by. Blessings to you wherever you are on your journey.