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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April 2021

How strange. I’ve been wanting to pick up pen and start thinking out loud again about sobriety, and at the end of March checked back in here to see when my last post was — to discover that it was last March and I was at day 136. I was on day 135 then. Apparently mid-November is a good time for quitting alcohol! Day 146 now.

History says I have a hard time getting past a few months, with one exception a while back. Except it’s not a “hard time” so much as unsuccessful. It’s all pretty fine, until it isn’t. In a nanosecond flash. Suddenly everything’s different and excruciatingly uncomfortable and I desperately freak out in the direction of alcohol. But I’ve learned some things (including that those flashes will always potentially exist, even when it seems they’re gone for good), and I aim to keep on trudging. “Trudging” might sound … grudging? … but what I mean to convey is a good kind of heaviness and regularity, day by day. “Heaviness” is a welcome weight, of feet falling to the ground, one after the other. Steady, landing on the ground each time.

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Ambling along

It’s not my ideal to go 48 days without posting, holy sheesh. I need to show up here more often.

I’m at day 148 and grateful grateful grateful for the beginnings of sober gravity taking place. I cannot express how much I detest the single digits and the teens. When my 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

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

I made myself a care package

A few days ago I did a little smart thing to try to protect my beautiful little alcohol-free space. I had plans to get together with my sister and brother-in-law at my nephew’s lacrosse game on Sunday afternoon. I was not pleased with this turn of events. My desire had been to take my nephew to the science museum (10 years old! it’s so fun to watch the changes in how kids navigate a science museum at 5, 7, 10, 12 years old). And then his sports schedule got in the way. But my sister suggested that perhaps Continue reading

Good news: Alcohol has zero health benefits

I read this with great interest on the NPR app on my phone this morning: I’m a pretty big fan of empirical research, so if well-designed scientific studies show that there is or is not a health benefit or damage associated with some substance, I’ll listen. [Insert long-winded complaint about too many study designs and not-always-stellar science reporting.] And, if those conclusions are that alcohol has some health benefit, well, okay.

But for the sake of not triggering that clever addict inside a few million of us, it sure would be nice if there were no medical rationale[ization] Continue reading

Drinks for the train

My 30 year high school class reunion is this weekend! I’m getting on the train tonight, then renting a car tomorrow and driving to my hometown. I had a happy time in high school and am looking forward to seeing these people who were so important in my life once upon a time…

I’m not worried about the alcohol at the reunion — I didn’t drink in high school and neither did my friends, so, fortunately, I’m not stepping back into a difficult scene in that regard. (Plus, if it’s anything like last time, the “beer” will consist of that pointless cheap awful crap.)

Where I do have a history of drinking beer, though, is on trains. Continue reading

A new normal

I didn’t mean to let so much time go by without typing here. Things are so busy. Work is firing up (two new clients that I’m very happy about), my partner and I are building a house (someone else is building it, that is), I’m blogging about the house, and I have work travel, personal travel, my other house that I at least need to keep from being engulfed by weeds (I live in two places about 7 hours apart). Ahhh. It’s all great stuff, and I need to simply be thankful for all of it. But I often feel overwhelmed.

But, I’m back. And I have some adventures to describe. Continue reading


It’s Friday. They happen! So damn often.

In the first several weeks after I quit alcohol, Fridays were hard. In my starts and stops before this quitting thing got some momentum, Fridays were such a weak spot. Done with the week, time to let loose. Everyone else seemed headed for “happy” hour. I should get to go for my beer, too.

It was dismayingly easy for the little addict in my head to find the logical reason why we should partake. We deserved it. Everyone else was doing it, and look, it didn’t cause problems for them. (She has something of an evidence-assessment problem.) Just letting down once a week isn’t damaging. God, you’re such a black-and-white thinker.

She was relentless and clever, and she usually won. Continue reading

4 drinking events that were hard to let go

During my fits and starts of trying to quit alcohol over the last couple of years, there were a few situations or events where I could not imagine not drinking. I felt like I couldn’t give those up. Thought-experiment style, I would try to work a deal with myself in which I could keep them. I’d moderate around them. Sure, it might take a little effort to back away again from the alcohol afterwards, but it was worth it and I could do it, right? I’m not sure why these in particular were so hard to think about leaving behind.

When I started out on this new, finally successful “quit,” I still couldn’t picture life without them. But over the last few weeks I’ve started to be able to. I want to record these ideas, in case when the time comes, it’s tough. Continue reading

Thoughts on moderation at day 50

I’ve toyed with the idea of moderation, thought it’d be so nice and convenient and non-black-and-white to still have a beer every once in a while, though I was never real hopeful about that as a possibility. The last few months have showed me closer up what an on-and-off relationship with alcohol would look like. It’s not pretty.

I’m at 50 days, four times longer than I’ve ever gone without drinking before. Continue reading

What to drink now?

I love beer. Craft beer, the hops, the cool labels, you know? And so it makes me sad that I am saying good-bye to the craft beer aisle forever.

On the other hand, I’ve said good-bye to a thing I really love to drink – for the sake of profound new health and connection with myself. How fucking cool is that? Extremely, if I do say so myself.

What do I drink at 4 p.m. now? Continue reading

Cravings, part II

On day 33 I had a different experience of the “seize.” I received a stressful email from a client. I was in a strange city and was juggling buses and noisy streets on a hot afternoon. It would have been the ideal time to head for a bar and down two or three cold beers in an attempt to counteract the stress. Counteract it. As in a reversal, a U turn, a return from a bad place. This time, though, I looked at the situation and recognized that adding alcohol to my stress would be adding another layer of stress onto the first one. For the first time, I saw the stresses as arranged in series and not as cancelling one another out. Continue reading