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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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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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.


Oh how Continue reading

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

One of the biggest casualties of alcohol: Deep rest

On Friday, day 130, I was taunted and tormented by cravings all afternoon, unlike anything I’ve felt since the first couple of weeks without alcohol back in November/December. And I am home alone for a few days. Oh, ugh.

While I sincerely appreciate the little cravings for their reminder that my mind-(and body-)set can change in an instant — going from contented, grateful, and finding it impossible that anyone with years of sobriety under their belt would ever go back — the big constant flashback rattling ones I can do without. Ugh.

I was 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

Peaceful Friday

I feel really happy these days about my alcohol-free Fridays. Such a nicer way to live. I am sure the occasional twisted craving will strike at random times on future days (maybe even tomorrow), but for now all is quiet and calm.

Happy Friday, everyone.


A cabin in Vermont

The more time goes by, the more I see into my idiosyncrasies and understand why it was so hard for me to care for myself, for so long.

The other day something in me was screaming that it wanted to be all alone in a cabin in a distant forest, drinking myself into oblivion. The urge, in the form of this thought, was so strong. I held it. I went over to it to try to see and hear and feel more closely what was up. Why the tantrum? What did it consider so insanely important to get?

Here is what I slowly saw. Continue reading


To me, quitting alcohol is not so much a thing in itself as it is a component of finding peace within myself. Finding some place to be quiet, warm, content, peaceful. Quiet.

Alcohol was part of my racing around looking for this. It was a major element of my resistance to myself (though not at all the only one) — resistance to my own peace, to my anxiety, to my fears. I’m convinced that peace is found on the other side of letting go of that resistance. The layers are many and subtle. It’s the journey. Continue reading

September 8

Well. Hi!

I thought I would pop back over here to say that I … still exist. Am happy and plugging along. Have so much to babble on about self-medication, peace and pure consciousness (experience of and reading about, depending on what hour of what day), steadiness and distraction, holding firm in the face of strong, loud, uncomfortable emotions so as to eventually melt them out of me. But not today.

Life is good; I continue Continue reading

Home alone

I love the moments that reflect so clearly how different my life is now. I get to see how my life has turned on its head, how I’m so much more peaceful now.

(Though I do have this nagging addict bitch inside me who thinks the best thing possible right now would be to start having beer sessions again. But anyway.)

My partner is gone for several days and I’m home alone. For the past few years, I’ve lived here with him part time and lived in my old, beloved city the rest of the time. It used to be half and half, and now I’m more here.  I think that the back and forth lifestyle had its benefits with regard to my drinking — I drank there, alone, and didn’t here, or at least not very much. (When I would leave here for “home,” I couldn’t go even one night without a trip to the liquor store.) It was good for me to have Continue reading

Ah, caffeine

I wasn’t going to do this now. I love my morning coffee. Love, love, love! The promise of those mornings has been such an important part of quitting alcohol. I drink dense French press coffee, half caff, with heavy cream. My god, it’s good. My morning sit-and-write drink.

But. A few days ago I was driving along the highway and some small part of me said it wanted to talk. It wanted to talk about my alcohol situation — the quitting thing. (This is a part of me that’s vehemently on my side, so I wasn’t worried that my inner addict had some brilliant plan to get me drinking again.) Okay, what? I’d been feeling vaguely edgy or rigid, was waiting for some softening to occur and have been just going along, focused on the not drinking. She said, quit coffee.

Really? Yeah, quit coffee.

That Adrian, she really knows how to keep a reader wanting to know more. I can hear all of you clicking away to Google news 🙂

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4 months without alcohol: 4 ways of staying put

I had my last beers on Christmas eve, more than four months ago. The new year came in, the winter persisted one, two months and part of a third month, and then spring broke through. I’m being driven further into my own mind and body not having that alcohol escape anymore. The tensions that I reacted to by drinking now lie out in the open. Some of the triggers weren’t even tensions, they could simply be the fact of the day drifting around to 3 p.m. and a bar and grill nearby.

In March I wrote about my selection of ways to repel from discomfort, and today I’m thinking about ways I’m learning to move toward discomfort. Continue reading

8 things I love about not drinking

Today is day 60. Two months. I am so happy to be here.

8 things I love about not drinking:

Sleep. Most nights I fall asleep early with a clear head, have long, full dreams, and wake up glad to be alive. In grad school I ran into sleep disturbances and learned, the hard way, the deep value of sleep. Since then I have guarded it jealously — or at least I thought I did. I let alcohol mess with my sleep for far too long. It’s a major example of how easily I let alcohol damage something I cared deeply about. I drew the line for lots of other things, but alcohol I gave a free pass.

My mornings. I’ve always loved the early morning. My ideal Continue reading