One foot after another

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.)

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Adrian’s unexpected lunch experience

Yesterday I had lunch with my uncle. You may be saying, well, THAT surely wouldn’t drive you to want to drink, and you would be wrong. I’m sure you’re right about many, many things, but not this.

It caught me very completely off guard. He’s a lovely fellow (if socially awkward in some way that doesn’t have a name). I hadn’t seen him in 13 years (since he sold me this triplex and after the closing turned and walked away in that no-name awkward way, which I didn’t handle very well internally at the time). I had emailed him a question about this building, and in the conversation that ensued we said we should have lunch some time when you’re in the neighborhood. So we did. I thought it’d be nice to see him.

It was, and it also kind of knocked me off my rocker. My mom (his sister) is dead and so is his other sister. (My mom died of cancer 15 years ago, when I was 38.) As are, not surprisingly, my/his grand/parents. Seeing him, hearing him talk, brought. them. all. back. Viscerally. Ten minutes into the lunch I was seized by the desire for a drink. Overtaken by the need. This is too much, not what I expected, can’t take it, too much grief.

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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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Home Invasion

Today eight immediate family members of mine and my partner’s descend on our little town. It’s a two-year-post-non-wedding gathering, designed to have our siblings/parent meet one another. We got married in my best friend from college’s kitchen, with him (renegade pastor) being the official signer and two other close college friends of mine co-signing, followed by

dinner with them and two other dear friends from that life moment — all of whom sort of raised their kids together. It was lovely and perfect, among a precious group of people (and no “words,” no having to smile for days straight, very cheap!, no planning!). But it meant our families didn’t meet, and we wanted to have that happen. Hence the horror of this coming weekend.

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Wolfie as a guide

I did my drive from South Home to North Home a few days ago and had a whole series of ones on the I-want-a-drink scale of 1 to 10. I had previously been appreciating simply my ability to name the ones, as that seems to be very effective at zeroing them out and not going on to twos, etc. (This is a much nicer route than getting gripped by a 7 and crashing into a pint of beer.)

But seeing this little parade of ones as I sat still with relatively little to do became informative. I had already been seeing that I could get information about what my gut/soul is pushing for by noticing what was going on in my life/body/mind when a 1 out of 10 popped up, but the parade of ones created more of a picture.

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Airports 2.0

I just crossed the six month mark and am feeling somewhat more autopiloty with regard to this new alcohol-free phase. That is most welcome. It was astonishing to me (sobering, as it were) that a person who drank sporadically (though almost all nights I was alone in the house) and in the three-drinks-per-night range — i.e., could have been way worse — could still be obsessing about drinking months later. This stuff is scary shit. I am glad to be emerging into a lighter way of life with regard to this drinking problem of mine.

I also am on my first real trip in a year. It’s for the wedding of a son of a friend of my partner, but this city is also one where I did a fair amount of drinking in the past 5 to 7 years. I used to come here for work. That’s been interesting. A bit painful. A good process to go through now.

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Monday

It’s hard to corral away time to write here. But I need to stay present. So here’s a Monday hello.

I have so many balls in the air. Slipping behind on some client work, have to do the first spring bee hive check (at least a couple of weeks late on that), have have have to get my partner’s taxes done (this is not even 2020 🙂 ), need to build modular fences for the raised bed to replace the ugly ones from last year and to have something to stretch the insect cloth over to protect my kalesies from the pretty but evil cabbage moths, need to get a roofer to patch the hole in the roof that’s causing the peeling paint on my apartment ceiling in home #2. And so on. Writing about sobriety takes a back seat.

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On hot flashes and doom

Most mornings I wake up with my head and chest radiating heat, my skin sizzling, and my emotions pummeled by a horrid feeling of doom. The hot flash, as they are want to do, is gone within a couple of minutes. But it gives me an opportunity to come to myself, rescue, sit there with a self dwelling in a burning hell. Since I know it’s transient and I know the cause, that helps lighten the hell somewhat and give me a tiny bit of breathing room within which to practice … care. Love. Sympathy. Actions that I don’t come by easily when it comes to directing them toward myself. And from what I read, this situation is pretty damn common among drinkers.

These brief, regular bits of morning hell show me things. (The mornings are noteworthy now because the daytime flashes are dramatically reduced compared to five-six-seven years ago.) I’ve noticed that the whole idea of being present with myself has layers. The first, which for quite some time I thought was all there was, was simply not running away or tensing up / resisting. Running away with sugar, alcohol, compulsive email checking. (Which are admittedly difficult to implement while lying in bed in the morning. Maybe that’s also why these morning moments are instructive.)

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365

I closed the loop. Went from having a big bigger bigger number, 200, 300, 360, 365 …. to a little one: 1 year. But it’s a little one that feels very solid to sit on.

I have a circle now, the snake swallowed its tail, and I get to start retracing the circle again.

Cheers!

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Sudden preoccupation with kombucha

Day 228. A couple of months into new territory, never having mosied past five or so months sober before. I noticed in month maybe three or four that I was wanting … chapters of some sort. Sobriety seemed, oh, featureless. Monotonous? If it’s monotonous (which it could be. after all, what is it, really?), okay. I’ll take it as monotonous. But I like rhythm, or signposts, or texture, or phases, weather, seasons.

Somewhere back there I forgot Continue reading

6 months

A few days ago I hit 6 months without alcohol, first time ever (since alcohol became such a thorough crutch 10-12 years ago). Whoooeeey!!

I like this.

It’s still not that easy. I mean, the not drinking is not particularly difficult these days, practically speaking. But in my own head/heart, things aren’t settled. Not too surprising, that.

One concept that has become particularly large Continue reading

Coffee, antiques, and deja vu all over again

You know how the early weeks and probably even years of sobriety include a steady stream of firsts, of revisits to old haunts, be they homes or bars or cities or campgrounds, that were sites of drinking or new relapses and now you’re overlaying a new experience/memory on the place. And sometimes it feels so freeing and other times it makes you sad and other times it’s just weird and you want to get it over with and go back to being warm and comfortable in your sober life? Continue reading