Day 300

Three hundred days, my people.

Spring is springing here (southern Iowa), with frogs squeaking in the pond, the first great blue heron (but just once, maybe only passing through?), first kingfisher, bees out and about on sunny days, rain and fog, redwing blackbirds staking out their reeds.

I’ve been mid-sober-stint twice before in the spring, 2015 and, I believe, 2016. Or 2017? (Wow. Four years ago this dance started for real.) Both times, spring arrived during the first few months of the walk away from alcohol. This time it arrived 9 months in. And you know what? The few-months-in was easier. Especially the first time, all was fresh and, once I’d gotten past the first month or two and the daily cravings had faded, pretty smooth.

This spring I’m in a funk. Struggling with mood stuff, some or most of which may have to do with hormonal wildness. (For another post — women and quitting alcohol and menopause (not quitting menopause, having it). God I hate that word because it makes me feel ancient, but it’s reality and it happened to me (I’m 52 now) and god does it fuck with my moods. Given the increases in alcohol consumption among women in their 30s (I think), 40s, 50s, and assuming some of them decide to quit alcohol, the whole topic of doing that while getting slammed with menopause crap needs to be discussed.) (Sorry to alienate everyone out there who’s young/female or male!))

It can be really hard sometimes. The pressure downward on me, as though depression wants to push me all the way into the muddy ground, with one last stomp on the top of my head at mud level for good measure. Really.

Fortunately, it’s not always that bad. Some days and parts of days are fine. I know that some people have much more inescapable depression, and, just, god.

Messages that I hold on to in an effort to not reach for a beer:

  • “we are the luckiest” (Laura McKowen)
  • “I’m in awe of us” (Belle)
  • how insanely I detest day 19s (me). oh sizzling hell
  • the fact that the only place a night of drinking takes me is back to quitting again
  • and … knowledge that the fuck-it moments are magic

I very much believe that every sizzling-miserable-fuck-it-all moment is a moment when we’re on the cusp of learning something. An essential, true thing that is head-butting (like your kitty’s forehead) your knee, a thing whose time is now who needs to be given free reign and let run willy-nilly through you. A thing that won’t come again in quite the same shape and you might never find out what it was. Processing is sometimes on the surface in my thinking mind and other times is deep, wordless, inchoate — if I can relax with it, it gives my overactive mind a rest and lets the nonanalytical elbowing and arguing and hugging go on free and unmonitored.

Letting go of resistance of every type, that’s my work of sobriety. Resisting myself, resisting the rain, resisting the water pooling on the floor of my shop-in-process because I can’t figure out how it’s getting in, resisting my skreechingly painful emotions, old terrors buried in my tissues that come flying out at me under unpredictable conditions. I’m learning how to accept the reality of reality. This can be hard as fuck; I can’t express how much I detest emotional pain. I’m brilliant at generating my own, from the inside. Boy, beer was good for turning that off. The most excellent. But the mental muscles and blockages and wounds I accumulated over all those drinking years are scars that hold me away from myself and even, actually, from my dear beloved world.

Yesterday afternoon I was taping the ceiling seams of my workshop and taping the plywood to the vapor barrier at the walls, priming the ceiling, getting ready to throw insulation in the attic, when some tape stuck to itself (it wasn’t sticking well to the plywood and the paint is not going to help (seems like it should, I’m told it won’t), this is super sticky tape, and a whole big long strip of it one whole ladder-repositioning away pulled off the wall and I just lost it. (I know, YOU would have serenely repositioned the ladder, feeling gratitude for having such a fine, 8-foot ladder, and retaped the sticky white tape, grateful to live in an era with this nice perfect (for some applications) technological product, and then moved the ladder back and kept going.) Me, I screamed, cried, sobbed (standing on my very cool 8-foot ladder (I actually have two), why does everything have to be SO HARD??!! Why can’t I just drink contentedly out in my solo shop next to the woods, out there just me and the birds, god damn it. (Fucking tape. Fucking plywood.) Why?!!

This, on day 299. It does get easier, people, but I’m never far from the edge. I really don’t ever feel in danger of actually having a drink, but Wolfie has not left yet.

Like, really, Adrian, you’re going to drink on day 299? The day before the rather amazing 300? And start all over?

Let the body/soul learn whatever it is it needs to learn today. Stay strung up as a fascinating mesh of matter, held by unknown atomic forces, balanced in the magnetic fields of this dense Earth matter for a few short decades, and then poof, gone. Stay here. Alcohol so messes with your brain and vibrations. Stay away, and stay here.

Happy spring, people, wherever you are. Smiles, tears, question marks, wisdom, days and days and days.

Adrian

14 thoughts on “Day 300

  1. Funny you brought up menopause! I was just going to write about myself!
    It’s so hard!
    I’m so glad you didn’t drink!
    I still think of a nice glass of wine, just one! Lol
    But not often, and I blow the the thought away.
    Happy Day 300!
    xo
    Wendy

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  2. Yes. Yes. Yes. As usual, to all of it. I think frustration should be resolved through screaming and crying if that helps. Why not? Reality is reality. And it doesn’t give a shit what we think about it. Low moods suck but I try to remember that they do dissipate eventually. When my mood is good, I find the thoughts I had before baffling. When my mood is low, I can’t imagine feeling good again. But then after a while I do. Hormones? The weather? Ridiculously difficult projects? Sometimes there doesn’t even seem to be a reason, and for me, that’s the worst. No reason means no obvious solution. Just wallowing in the misery. Have you read Byron Katie? I’ve been finding comfort there lately.

    Sorry for the long reply- maybe I need to get back into blogging! ☺️

    Rooting for you out here,
    Jen

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    • Yes yes and yes. I also can’t reach the low moods when I’m okay, and can’t remember the okay times when I’m in the pit. This, I believe, is one of the hallmarks of depression. It’s amazing how the not-remembering can extend even across less than a day. Have you ever played with your diet? Specifically with removing the foods known to cause depression in some people? (Dairy, gluten, sugar, others.) I think that often the moodiness with know obvious cause is those invisible things, food and hormones.

      And wow, yes I am reading Byron Katie right now. I’ve known of her for a few years but just a couple of weeks ago picked up one of her books (Loving What Is) finally. It’s amazing. I’m blown away by how these different people are all describing the same process of human evolution/happiness (for me it’s her, Sam Harris’s meditation app, the Release Technique people (one of whom lives in my (Iowa) town and does Sat. morning sessions), and Michael Singer (The Untethered Soul).

      Thanks for rooting! 🙂 And of course you should go back into blogging. I miss your notes. Come back on whatever revised/slowed schedule works for you now…..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Funny coincidence about Byron Katie. I’ve read Sam Harris’s book too. And now you’ve given me a couple new things to check out, so thanks for that. 🌸

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  3. Trail Buddy, Trail Buddy, Trail Buddy!!! THREE HUNDRED DAYS!!! More similarities: I’m female and close to 51, MP just beginning (I think), over active mind (understatement!), and have to work real hard sometimes to stay above the mud line. Impressed with your construction abilities, I’d hire that work out! Ha! Love following and sharing the journey with you. Many savable (is that a word?) quotes in your post today. My favorite, getting taped to my refrigerator!…..”the fact that the only place a night of drinking takes me is back to quitting again” – total truth!!

    #IATW! 🙋🏻‍♀️ Speaking of which, I found some really good N/A IPA. Brauvus Brewing (CA) IPA and Athletic Brewing (CT) Run Wild IPA. I had Bravus shipped to me, then I found it and the other one in a place called “Total Wines”, unfortunately I don’t have one of those stores near me. You should try it. Not quite the same as those “17 minutes” but I’m really enjoying them. Funny how I don’t want/need to drink 10 of them in a row! Ha!!

    Congrats on 300 days! Great post!

    #DAY302! in Maine…

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    • Trail buddy!! So happy you’re still on the trail with me. Congratulations on your 302 days!! Thanks for the NA IPA tips — I’m gonna check them out. I’m already happy about the name of the Run Wild NA IPA. I’m susceptible to names and labels and I miss those. (I was very drawn by Glacial Trail in WI and Long Trail in NY. And Two Hearted. Pictures of fish and herons. What, do I access my poetry through beer labels or what?!) Take care.

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      • Rockland is so pretty! It’s about 130 miles north of me. I’m in southern Maine near the coast and the NH border.

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  4. Congrats on 300+. Check out Kathy Berman Blog, she’s amazing and has some good posts on depression. Emotional Sobriety: Mind, Body & Soul (The First Blog-Nov.2004)

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