I am parched and exhausted this morning.
But on track to be a 40-year-sober 94-year-old woman.
I went to the state fair last night and had a hideous time. Some combination, no doubt, of it being my first sober fair and the fact that attendance was sparse. In the more central areas it was crowded but in the farther flung parts where I like to hang out, the streets were at 25% of normal and the buildings even less. That’s good in a virus-safety sort of way, but lousy for the morale.
It makes me realize that almost all of my challenges and adjustments in this sober life are internal. I don’t have a lot of social event “firsts” to learn how to get through sober. I don’t live in a world of drunken birthday parties, thanksgivings, new years eves, fourth of Julys. My friends don’t hardly drink. Make that, we don’t make it a centerpiece of our time together (although, of my close friends, one has quit (I suspect (though don’t know for sure) because he had been drinking when he had a horrific accident a couple of years ago (fell off the roof)), one drinks probably daily and has asked me repeatedly about my quitting alcohol and I’m guessing has an alcohol problem similar to mine, another one probably has some dependence, and another one had some dependence in the past and I’m guessing does again) — my three go-out-for-beers friends). So I’m not in the position of missing social drinking. My struggle is with sober time all alone.
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.)
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.
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.
I can feel when it’s been too long since I wrote here. I have just a few “maintenance” activities that seem to keep me grounded and far from alcohol, and this typing is one of them. I find these days that I don’t have (don’t take the) time to really think thoroughly through thoughts on drinking. Since this is going to be the case for the foreseeable future, here we are. ! Gonna keep showing up.
The wedding went FINE. The pre-wedding dinner thingie went fine, too (all except me finding myself in someone’s bathroom without my reading glasses (I mean, who… ?!) and encountering, when I stood up after the peeing was finished, a bidet mechanism instead of the regular flush button. Rather, the flush button was there but was disconnected, and one’s only option was to use a couple of dials with words on them that were at the very least not legible to me but I think also half worn off, so reading glasses wouldn’t have helped). I mean, I didn’t drink nor was I tempted to. I enjoyed watching the mountain sky fade into its sunset, feeling kind of like I was back in my childhood home.
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.
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
Well will you look at that? Two hundred days!!! First time!
And, my drinking brain thought it would be nice to have a 2.5%-alcohol beer on Christmas Eve. Apparently we’re still on this journey 🙂
I was, as is custom Continue reading
Wolfie made me laugh today. (Who’s Wolfie?) I was working on my workshop, spent most of the day out there taping house wrap and screwing on joist hangers and stapling screen over the little ventilation holes at the ends of the rafter vents. Pure puttering. Mind wandering every which way. I got to thinking about my college soulmate who I’d just spoken to on the phone (he just installed a water heater at my house at Home 1), who told me some stuff about another college friend of ours, so my mind wanders to Continue reading