In my last post I detailed a few reasons why I needed to choose the path to sobriety rather than continue down the twisted, regret-fuelled (yet many times very pleasurable) road of drinking alcohol. I downloaded an app that would allow me to track my sober days – it’s basically a calendar that is green for sober days, red for any drink, it doesn’t matter how much. I’d used this one before when I was curious and wanted to see how much I was pickling my liver. The history was still there, so I scrolled back until it was the Spring of 2018 (seems like a simpler time, doesn’t it??). What I saw shocked me. Each of the four months that I’d tracked was like a checkerboard of mainly reds. So many reds. Looking through it with fresh eyes I also realized that I hadn’t gone for more than three days without boozing.
This is why it is so seductive to me: when the weather turns to sunny, we all want to go out on a patio. When the weather is shitty, I want to stay inside with wine and a book. When I want to hang out with friends, the default is to drink. Whenever I feel any emotion that is not my baseline happy (I am genuinely a very happy person most of the time, but can be prone to fits and bouts of dark days) my first response is to drink, whether in celebration or to numb. Yikes.
Today is my fourth day that I am aiming not to drink. It is also the first week that I am having to do remote learning with my kiddos as the schools are still shut to enforce social distancing. More than anything this week I was fielding questions from parents, and boy, some of them got my blood boiling. I was made to feel by one particular individual that I was there to serve at their beck and call, and that basically I was getting a paid vacation. I get that people are scared and nervous, but it was hard to find my empathy when someone was belittling me in front of my student. No matter, I got through it. And I thought about how nice it would be to unwind with a cold beer. And thought and thought and thought about it. The mental space it must have taken up was huge.
I was exhausted at the end of each of the past three days trying not to think about drinking. I battled through it, but I’m not sure I will have the energy or the willpower to continue to do so. I’m hoping I’m over the three day hump of the biggest cravings, but only time will tell. This was also so eye-opening for me; I was not in control, nor have I ever been, of my alcohol consumption. Even looking back through my blog entries there are many devoted to how much I love booze. I have never associated it with a problem or an addiction, but now that I have the time to sit down and reflect with a clear head it’s very obvious how many bad decisions I have made in the best were the direct result of my drinking.
The past three days have been long. It feels like its been nothing but work, and then being cooped up is only compounding the feelings of loneliness (I’m a huge extrovert and love being social each and every day). But as I look back over my digital calendar and see three little green squares, three little green pieces of hope, I think the past three days have been worth it. I can go without. I can experience things without the numbing effects of booze. I can do this, one day at a time.