I remain grateful to see comments by other people on this path who aren’t all “everything’s fine and figured out!” at one year. I was very susceptible to that mindset many times in the past, and let my guard down. (It’s entirely possible that hardly anyone out there is all “everything’s fine and figured out!” at the one year mark, that I invented that idea and then amplified that message when I saw it out there.) (It’s of course also fine for people at a year to say “everything’s fine and figured out!” and/or for that to actually be the case. god bless us all.)
I continue to plod along, contentedly. Getting in the range of a full year of sobriety.
But now I noticed when people say things are still challenging at a year. Or say they relapsed at two years. This is good information for me and mentally cataloguing it helps me stay close to my sober supports. Which aren’t all that many and are anything but exciting.
The one I’m most aware of is my nightly email to belle’s “this is a one-way email, I do not respond” email address. I’m comically superstitious about these emails. OCD. “Sober” in the subject line (in lowercase). Body of the message says: Wednesday [or whatever day]. <return><return> Adrian. If I’m ever tempted to get chatty, I don’t. Just the report. Lately I’ve noticed myself feeling slightly too busy to send those emails. (Busy doing what, at 9 pm, you might ask. Washing the dishes, brushing my teeth, and cleaning the litterbox, if you must know.) In past sobriety attempts I stopped sending those emails, and I refuse to stop this time. No idea when long enough is long enough, but it might be my whole life (if the internet stays around for that) or two years or … we’ll see. I am going to err on the side of big-C caution.
I also have a plodding method of keeping track of my days. I keep a calendar for most stuff in Word, and I write the sober number on Mondays. In the past I wrote a bunch out in advance, maybe a month or more, because I was excited to see the numbers climbing, but guess how depressing it is to go in and delete the future Monday numbers when you drink. So I write the next number on the weekend. That’s the rule. See? Simple and unflashy. No idea why this stuff matters.
I also try to keep writing here, though have no set schedule on that…
I listen to belle audios in the car, a lot. They just cycle ad infinitum. I’ve heard them all multiple times. I delete the annoying ones. It’s content but also just noise (her ability to talk endlessly about the same stuff is astonishing. she’s kind of like a preacher in that respect, which (hard to imagine if you know atheist me in real life) is fabulous. quitting drinking is a wonderful thing to expound on). So that’s a good thing for me.
And I buy myself sober treats when I think of it. I think I should be more deliberate about this. It’s one of belle’s most insightful … insights. Drinking is a deeply impactful method of self-abuse, and self-resistance. To heal from that, one can’t just try not to do the damaging thing. (This is me speaking now.) One has to flip the switch the whole other way. Can’t not be bad to myself but have to learn to be actively, excessively good to myself. When it comes down to it, this, in my opinion, is the sum total of the human task. Learning how to live with what is (don’t internally resist reality as it is) (not to say that once we’ve accepted a thing that simply is, we can’t take action to change it), learning how to treat ourselves as the perfect creatures we are, and learning how to treat others as the perfect creatures they are.
(I recently stumbled upon the perfect creature idea while talking to my cat. I said, “Luka! You beautiful and perfect creature of god.” (No clue where this came from, because I don’t talk about god much.) I loved how it felt coming out of my mouth. The second or third time I said it I was like, wait, that applies to all of the creatures. When I’m out and about I try to remember my new opinion of other people that every one is a beautiful and perfect creature of god. And me. Can be a bit hard with me at times.)
So the sober treats. I want to get back into that habit more. Flowers: this is my treat for being sober, because being sober is hard and I rock this shit. Handmade soap. A little clay dish. A $5 gemstone. It’s kind of comical after a while of this sober thing to look around and see all these old sober treats. (And depressing if you’ve relapsed.) A life littered with sober treats.
What are your foundation habits for staying sober? Understandable or quirky or incomprehensible?
Have a good one, thank you for being here.