Ho, Ho, Holy S#!% the Holidays are Hard

I’m losing motivation momentum. Everything is falling into place and I want to celebrate. Being perfectly honest, I want to properly celebrate by riding straight into the black night, wine as my captain.

Why? Good question. Being soberĀ all the timeĀ is exhausting. Preparing for social outings is daunting. Watching my friends not make drastic life changes and continue to smoke and drink as they please is sometimes satisfying but mostly frustrating. Being constantly aware and always in charge of my own actions is empowering but often boring.

I am not planning on drinking. I am just venting to you, blogosphere, to distract myself and sort through this sober slump. I just feel this time of year is especially challenging. It feels like I’m walking through an inverted Haunted House where the goal is to tempt you rather than scare you. Instead of clowns cowering me into a corner its seven of my best friends laughing in ugly Christmas sweaters with a bottle of Merlot and I have to ignore them to make it out of the house. I turn a corner and there’s my new co-workers with a six pack and they want me to join them. Near the end, there’s my family and a fully stocked wine rack and one empty seat around the table where my Dad would have sit.

I love this time of year. I don’t want to put up blinders and just pedal-to-the-metal through the Holidays to make it out alive. I want to sip down the joy and blessings of this sweet, snowy, magical time of year. It wont be easy. I have to find some peaceful ways to relax my mind and escape the stress without escaping the situation or getting drunk. I have to be ready to shift and practice shifting my mind from what I am missing to what I have because both will always be present. I have to find a way to celebrate that doesn’t involve booze that proves an adequate substitute.

Any ideas?

 

xoxo

Advertisements

friendsgiving

I’m keeping this challenge of mine hush among friends. At least for now. I don’t want the influence of others’ opinions, positive or not, to infiltrate my resolve. I want to unveil information at my own pace to whomever I choose when necessary.

This past weekend we had Friendsgiving down in Ridgewood. I knew it would be a challenge. I love all the humans that attended but it was my first real booze-free party so I was pretty anxious. I didn’t want to flaunt my soberness. I didn’t even want to mention that I wasn’t drinking. My aim was to blend in as much as possible in order to maintain status quo without sacrificing my goal. In that regard my mission was a total success thanks to a larger crowd than anticipated and the almighty ginger beer.

I found a six pack with an uncanny resemblance to its alcoholic cousin. Sipping on those babies all night kept my hands busy, allowed my soberness to go undetected, and allowed me to navigate a booze-free party at my own pace. They were also magically delicious.

I wish I spent more of the night focused on gratitude for the humans and food that surrounded me. They were grade-A wonderful. The night was full of conversation, hot-tubbing, dancing, eating, jamming, and worrying. The worrying infiltrated everything. I worried that I was acting too awkward, that I wasn’t asking enough questions, that I wasn’t as fun as my drunk self. I worried that I was making people uncomfortable by not drinking or that I was defective and didn’t belong around other humans.

Reflecting, I feel proud. Sure, I spent a lot of time worrying but I also spent a lot of time dancing and talking and hot-tubbing and eating. I didn’t let the worry actually stop me from doing anything. I stayed up until 3AM completely sober, flossing with the drunkest of the crowd. I talked to strangers and laughed a lot. I didn’t have a single drink. I woke up the next morning feeling the best I have ever felt waking up in Ridgewood. The drive back upstate didn’t make me want to puke and I joked the whole way home. I was able to eat breakfast at a nice cafe, drink a coffee, and love up on my husband. I had a great Sunday.

Some day I hope to not use ginger beer as a crutch to get me through parties but there is no shame in doing what I have to do to not miss out on some fun while sticking to my goals.

Make Me Weird Again

I’ve always been a bit zippy. I mean that in the most loving way. When I was young, I was a powerhouse of energy and I never burned out. I had this intense fervor for life that allowed me to invest emotionally to every given moment. Little things would excite me or enrage me or bring me to tears. I remember being seven and nailing homemade “Easter Bunny is Real” signs to all the telephone poles in my neighborhood because I wanted others to know the truth. I remember being three years old and irate that my cousin was allowed to run around outside without a shirt on so I took off my own and waved it like a victory flag around my backyard for an hour.

I’m proud to say that I haven’t outgrown this wildness, only now I have slightly less energy. For years I numbed it. I dulled it down when trying to seem more mature. I toyed with different versions of it when trying to get boys and friends to like me. Alcohol was a nice little discovery that allowed me to quiet it when I got excited or unleash it without caring. The more I quieted it or shifted it, the more I lost touch with a part of me that I really love. The more I started to care about what I thought others wanted from me, the more I tried to shift who I was to match those expectations.

Losing my dad, getting married, seeing a therapist, getting older, and deciding to do this sober year have all started to shift my priorities and perspective about living. The biggest shift has been towards a constant acute awareness about the limits of time. Our time is finite. Obvious, yes. But now I am tuned in to just how finite. I am going to die. You are going to die. We’re all going to die. Most of us don’t know when. I want to spend my time how I think is important given the cards I am dealt. I want to live intensely, with fervor, like I did when I was young. I want to unravel the arbitrary restraints I have placed on my weirdness to make other people like me. I want to spend my time and energy on those I don’t have to impress and I will start… now.

 

Pie for Breakfast

I’ve been awake since six but took an extra hour or two to venture into the world of the living. I’ve managed to stumble my way into a robe and find a seat at the table. Here I sit, immersed in this heavenly slice of blueberry pie. This savory slice of paradise has got me grooving.

Thursday mornings are rough. I spend 12 hours every Wednesday slinging half priced burgers to greedy goblins at a local bar for a pretty penny. It’s exhausting. On a typical Wednesday we clock out at 10 and stay until we’re just barely sober enough to drive. I would count my blessings when I made it home and count them again if there was no trouble once I got inside.

That was rare. I play Russian Roulette with blackouts and on Wednesday, the stakes are high. One drink is a gamble when you’re stressed, dehydrated, haven’t eaten, and searching for release. Now, try four. Just one would be nice. But if one was always just one, I wouldn’t be writing this.

One drink is infuriating when you want more. It’s a tease with no release. After one drink, my rational mind turns submissive. Her logic loses moral and we begin to fight what we were fighting for. Instead of fighting for a better morning we’ll fight against all mornings and question their worth. We will agree that our goals are worthless if we can’t have a little fun and then in order to have that little fun we will submit to reckless abandon then wake up and wonder what happened.

Guilt did not greet me this morning. I was kissed awake by a sexy happy man. I wasn’t forced to stay in bed to prolong a hangover. I chose to stay cozy and enjoy some time alone. When I did roll out of bed there was no mess, no headache or confusion. There was hot coffee, a potential job interview, and a delicious heavenly slice of blueberry pie.

 

Shifting Thoughts from Need to Want

I’m still in denial about beginning this booze free year. I have only told two people, my husband and a good friend. I’m nervous. I’m nervous that friends will try to talk me out of it or try to convince me it isn’t necessary. I’m nervous that I will choose the booze in a moment of weakness which I have done many times before. Why is drinking the only drug I have to justify not taking? Not one person questioned my motives when I decided to stop smoking.

I am thinking about this wrong.

I remember last week sitting at the bar after a shift at the restaurant having just finished a pint of beer. I knew I shouldn’t have another and hoped desperately that someone would offer one or ask if I was having another so I could place the blame for my drinking more onto someone else. I am trying to do the same with sobriety. I am blaming others wants and expectations for my potential failure at this goal. I have to live with the consequences of my actions and I need to take responsibility for my choices. But telling myself that I “have to” and “need to” make me want to blow things up.

Truthfully, I want to be successful at this. I want to be proud and stoked about this decision. I want to take revenge on booze by living my best life without it as if it were a shitty ex-boyfriend. I want to laugh at people who make me feel bad about doing what is best for me. I want to feel healthy, strong, and confident and not have any more hangovers.

I choose to focus on what I want. I’m not there yet. I still feel awkward and uncertain about upcoming holidays, weddings, birthdays, and general nights out. I feel jealous that other people don’t have to worry about or deal with this shit and that makes me feel a little lonely. I am still looking towards others for a way out but my vision is shifting. I don’t need a way out, I need support. I want hobbies to look forward to and adventures I remember. I want a morning routine where I don’t feel like garbage and more time and space in my day to explore things I didn’t have time to explore when I was drinking. I want people who understand this struggle and want to do sober things.

 

 

Ch-ch-ch Changes

“Turn and face the strange” -Changes, Bowie

Two months ago, I lost my Dad to alcohol. He drowned in it slowly, painfully, and then suddenly. He died three weeks before he could walk me down the aisle at my wedding. He will never meet his grandchildren, never spend another holiday with his family, never have a chance to make things right.

That is his reality but that isn’t who he was. My dad was a lively man, full of music and full of love. He was a hardworking electrician, a skilled wood worker, and a proud father. My favorite memories from being real small were by his side. I remember making Thanksgiving floats with toys in the basement, listening to music before anyone was awake, searching for treasure rocks in the yard, and immersing ourselves in thunderstorms from the sheltered garage. I loved that man.

Watching him drown and transform into a man I didn’t know, admire, or respect over the last fifteen years has been heartbreaking but I never gave up hope. I knew he would beat this. We would create new memories.

His death forced me to wake up. Alcoholism is blind to potential, blind to love, blind to hope. If it can reach you it will take you. It will transform you into a monster before it destroys you.

Alcohol is a social lubricant with a violent twist. It’s availability, accessibility, promotion, and charm seemingly negate its risks. It is seductive, enticing, and celebrated for a reason. Drinking can make you feel relaxed, give you a false sense of confidence, and it can make normal activities seem more fun. It tricks you.

I want to unlearn what alcohol taught me. I want to experience what I don’t remember, what life feels like without booze. I want to do it in honor of my Dad, for all the life he didn’t get to live I will live double. One year without booze, starting on his birthday, November 1st. I’ve been told you can’t take a habit out of your life without replacing it with something else. This blog will be about that exchange. Exchange booze for a better life? I guess I’ll find out.

37844284_10155564915862109_4824859079417528320_o.jpg