2nd April

Yesterday was 17 months for me. I want to write here more often and have had these huge swamped periods of time since December, different stuff, all good, and so my thoughts bubble up and this page never gets opened.

But I’m at 17 months, which is not nothing, for me, and you know and care — so, hi!

I think about alcohol every single day and have interesting experiences vis-a-vis that. Quitting it is such a key for growth. Having this thing that was exquisitely capable of muffling my voices, and then having it gone, is such an illumination. Points straight at so much of the stuff. I am grateful for the flashlight.

I am past my swampedness now and will be back to think out loud some more here, soon hopefully.

Have a good one!

Adrian

Painting over my past

I’m slowly moving out of the apartment I’ve lived in for the past 13 years. With every wall and ceiling and cabinet and door trim, I watch my tattered years of “high functioning” drinking get covered with gleaming fresh paint. Probably any time a person lives alone in one place for many years, some degree of clutter and, oh, scuz (flaking paint, general grim in the corners of closets) accumulates, but the presence of daily drinking, and the cloudiness and vague stuckness of that lifestyle, makes it worse.

Likely no one else would even notice. And it’s not like there were holes in the walls. But I am acutely aware of the dysfunctional stasis of the subtle parts of my life and functioning that pervaded life here. The unfinished projects (partially painted walls, as part of me attempted in fits and starts to change the walls to something more me, sometimes a new color (half green living room), sometimes collections of colors (a gaudy section of the living room wall that was, until Tuesday, a patchwork of orange, red, blue, etc. squares), and sometimes just white-ish, where I started repainting the hallway one day years ago). Though it’s not the main thing I remember, I was probably some level of tipsy while doing all of that. Covering it mostly with cream-colored paint is beautiful.

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300 days

A pile of days.

I am acutely aware of the healing needed from a decade of abusing alcohol, and of the healing of the tender parts of myself that I smothered with alcohol.

Life is glorious.

Adrian

Don’t want to be that person

I’m sitting at a picnic table in a city park that I discovered during the family gathering I recently survived. Been waking up early lately, and since the sunrise is getting later I can catch it. This is how I always used to live, as a teenager, getting up during the quiet, real hours before the world starts impinging. It’s a little hard to manage/coordinate at the moment because it clashes with one of my other pleasures which is watching 22 or 33 minutes of a Netflix show with my partner and my cat at night. But it’s okay, and it’s giving me a bit of additional anchor in my days these days.

Happy nine months sober to me on August 13. I’d been feeling super squirrelly about beer for a few weeks, seemingly prompted by an upcoming event that used to be a highlight of the year and have beer as an intrinsic element: the Minnesota State Fair. I’ve typed about this before. I love that thing, immersing myself in the flow of several hundred thousand human beings, viewing the beautiful vegetables, seeing what flower species is in the flower room that day (hoping for orchids), admiring the line-up of honey jars and trying to find the queen in the observation hives (I have bees but almost never see the queens), looking to see what objects Minnesota has knitted, baked, spun, quilted, canned, sewn, painted, crocheted, sculpted, embroidered, or seed-arted. And getting progressively more tipsy as the evening wears on, stopping at my familiar beer dispensaries all along the way. (Did you used to be able to drink a pint of craft beer while meandering the fair? I don’t think you used to be able to drink a pint of craft beer while meandering the fair. This whole alcohol-everywhere trend started just in time for me to fall into it.)

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The health benefits of alcohol

In case you missed the news, the safe amount of alcohol ingestion is — none. Zero is the quantity that brings no health risks, and the risks start rising immediately thereafter. Read about it here, here, and here. It’s long been known what was wrong with those studies that appeared to show that moderate drinking was healthiest (they didn’t control for the reasons nondrinkers were drinking; lots of those reasons were likely causes of the nondrinking and were (or were related to) poor health of various kinds), but that analysis didn’t, shall we say, get a lot of media coverage.

Now, Continue reading

Phase change

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 Continue reading

Back at the Keyboard

Well, hi! May, I see, was the last time I typed here. I’ve missed this place.

The last six months have been filled with work, as usual, the ever ebbing and flowing of a freelance life, and … construction! Just as our actual house was nearing completion, I started building a workshop. A place for tools and building, woodworking and stained glass tools for now and who knows what new tools in the future. It’s 450 feet over a little hill from the house. Back behind the bees.  Five friends came in July for three days to frame it up and put the roof structure on, and I’ve spent untold hours since then — blissfully — finishing the framing, sheathing, housewrapping, and windows. It’s been a lot of literal hours, but also quite the psychological magnet. I’m finding it hard to concentrate in other areas of life, although the arrival of true colder temps now is driving me back to the house. Highs in the 30s do a good job of deterring work in an uninsulated, even with the wood stove fired up.

I think about this absorbingpeace place and often often read Continue reading

Fear as a fact

I was walking home this evening from a restaurant after dinner with an acquaintance/former client who I really like. As I walked down the sidewalk a few blocks from home, in my favorite neighborhood in the world, lawns and gardens now in full bloom, the loveliest spring evening one could want, the buzzing in my brain wanted to drive me mad. A weird anxiety that very specifically wanted a drink. My brain was really riled up, I’m not sure why.

It was still roiling me when I got home Continue reading

Grief and old hang-outs

This afternoon I walked up to a restaurant/bar/grill a few blocks from my house to buy a couple of gift cards. Up until a couple of years ago, it was my main escape at 3 p.m. to do some work over a couple of beers.  They have a great list of beers on tap. Four bucks at cr/happy hour. I loved that place. Continue reading

Seeing beer, drinking peach tea

I’m sitting in the corner coffee shop, 4:47 p.m., staring at the almost empty pint glass of beer on a table next to an acquaintance’s computer. Irritated that that’s not me.

Last week I stood in line here to get my coffee, behind another acquaintance who was buying a pint of a different beer. This one was from a brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, that I love and that I visited several years ago as part of a writing project (that never got off the ground) on solar-powered breweries. I love that label. It’s about fish. Cutthroat Porter. Come to think of it, maybe I have a fish-beer-label theme — think Two Hearted. We chatted about the brewery while the barista filled his glass. I had to walk away.

Earlier this week I wandered Continue reading

One drink isn’t just one drink: thoughts on day 49

Today is day 49 for me, and I can’t tell you how glad I am that I got a run at 2017. That wasn’t the plan — I just quit (again) on November 21 and god damn it, it finally stuck (again).

I’m in an interesting space. Getting past the first 10 days is so lovely. But I remained preoccupied, and then reaching 30 brought more great relief. I think this is the first time I’ve hit 30 days since the first time I quit in spring of 2015. (I feel so ashamed to admit that. I know I “shouldn’t.” But damn it I do. I promised myself I’d be honest on this blog, so there it is.) But I’ve stayed preoccupied in a low-grade way. Not craving, exactly, but wanting. I have a low-grade missing of my IPAs. A gentle nervousness Continue reading

Self-medication is the real target

I’ve come to see quitting alcohol not as a thing in itself, but as an element in the larger human project of quieting ourselves and calming our logistics in order to reveal our deeper connections — to ourselves and our surroundings.

For people with problems with alcohol dependency, quitting alcohol is essential. It’s such an insanely powerful introducer-of-chaos and numbing tool. But peace is not found in the absence of alcohol. It’s found when we find our own way to access the quiet, joyful, unworried self inside who knows we’re safe. Intrinsically safe and whole. Continue reading