Happy Friday. I come to the keyboard with nothing particularly in mind, simply wanting to stay connected. I have almost two months away from alcohol and am stepping through the days pretty annoyed these days. Most days for the past week or two I’ve just really wanted a beer. Haven’t had one. Have watched the inclination to suddenly, standing at the counter of the local coffee shop about to order my half-calf Americano, almost order a beer. Relearning for the nth time how instantaneously the calm alcohol-free mindset can change. I think that the inner addict probably has an infinite number of tricks up her sleeve. One can learn, and build new mental muscles, but never be unoutmaneuverable. Gotta stay woke, here too.
And I am building new muscles. Doesn’t feel like it — I don’t sense today that I have any of yesterday’s incremental muscle power available — but I know that each moment and hour and finally DAY that I don’t drink means a little more accumulation of this habit I’ve chosen for my next phase of life.
I think of it as a phase change. You know how a jug of liquid water sitting outside on a winter night goes from 40 degrees F to 39 to 38, 37, 36, 35, 34 (linear progress), 33, 32, and then doesn’t immediately freeze and continue as a frozen 31, 30, 29, etc., but rather hangs at 32? Continuing to lose heat but saving that up (that’s right, storing the cold. I can say that because I’m not actually a scientist) for the phase change? And then when sufficient energy has been lost, boom, frozen? I feel stuck at a liquid 32 even though I’m convinced I’m still making progress. Because every day without the self-medication that is alcohol means an expansion of my ability to be — the habit of being — present with myself.
My view of the feelings and beliefs in myself that I’ve attempted to zing into oblivion with alcohol continues to come into focus. Very interesting, and for another post, and I wish I was a painter so that I could paint it for you because it doesn’t lend itself very well to words.
So, hi. Have a good weekend. If you’re struggling with an urgent/insane/screaming desire to drink but you don’t want to lean on alcohol anymore, you want to escape that way of living with yourself and have a closer, warmer, clearer relationship with yourself, I’m here with you. You’re not alone. See if you can distract yourself (and nourish yourself!) with something else this weekend and start next week a few steps into your phase change.