Today is officially 6 months of sobriety for me. This is the longest I have been sober in my adult life and I feel really good. I wish I had something really profound to say but I don’t. I just feel good!
Here are some random thoughts as I reach this milestone …
— Turns out, no one really cares if I am drinking or not. I don’t need to make a big deal of it. Most of the time, I just pass. No one notices. If they do notice, I just say alcohol was making me feel sick and I’m taking a break. Non-event. Anyone who likes me for me doesn’t care if I drink or not. Except for those that knew how much it was hurting me – they do notice and care a lot, they are happy for me!
— Social situations were hard at first, but they are getting much easier. I think it was hard because I was so used to having that buzzy buffer between me and others. Now if I am feeling anxious, self conscious or bored, I can’t escape those feelings. I have to face those feelings. Sometimes that is uncomfortable, most of the time it is not.
— I realize how selfish I have been in some relationships. I wasn’t really connecting. I was there but I wasn’t there. My connections are feeling more authentic now. I’m more present in conversations. I’m not showing up at events where I know I will bored with the company without alcohol. In retrospect, in many cases I was there for the alcohol, not for the people. Now I spend my time with people that I really enjoy, regardless of whether alcohol is involved..
— I still have a running slide show of embarrassing images from my drinking past. Things pop into my head and I feel such shame and remorse. I know just about anything I really regret had something to do with alcohol. When these things loom too large for me, I just hope other people were drunk enough that they didn’t notice or don’t remember. 🙂
— I realize what a huge factor my upbringing was in my drinking. I come from a heavy drinking family and a heavy drinking state. I thought it was normal to drink a lot, every night. Turns out it is not normal or healthy, but it took me a long time to reverse that social conditioning. I thought I was being so cool in college when I could “drink like one of the guys” (to be fair, I got a lot of positive feedback for that …) I thought drinking a lot and being a party girl was being edgy and fun, one of the cool kids.
Turns out, not everyone thinks that is so cool. I recently heard some acquaintances talking about one of my party girl friends. She was pretty drunk at a formal event and was joking about the cheap booze she sneaked into the party in a flask. They were laughing, saying “Oh, she’s your friend? I don’t know if you want to own that one! She acted like she was in high school!” Hmmm … I wonder how many times I have been described that way.
— I am so happy I am not being drunk in front of my kids anymore. I was setting a terrible example. I was giving them the same damaged social conditioning I had in my upbringing. Now I can lead by example. I’m still not a perfect parent. But I am much, much better.
— We got a puppy! Our last dog died three years ago and I couldn’t imagine going through the puppy stage again. I couldn’t imagine adding any more responsibility to my life. Now that life isn’t feeling so unmanageable, I finally said yes to a puppy. We are all so excited to have a new member of our family. I know there is direct correlation to my quitting drinking.
— Life is not perfect and I am not perfect. I still have good days and bad days. I still have insecurities, ask life’s big questions, procrastinate, drink too much coffee, eat too much chocolate – the list goes on and on. In other words, I am human. I realize now that whatever feelings I have will pass. Drowning myself in alcohol didn’t make life better. It only gave me regret and a nasty hangover.