I’m having a drink right now. Truthfully, I’ve “had a drink” since Thursday night. I went five days with no alcohol then Thursday night said, “Screw it,” and ordered a favorite at dinner with my parents–a Long Island Iced Tea. When I got home, I had one more drink before bed. Friday, I had a cocktail as soon as I clocked off work then two more before the end of the night. Yesterday? I poured a drink around 3:00, because Rob and I were going to shop for a new fridge at 4:00, and then had two more drinks before calling it good. Today is Sunday. We just got back from my daughter’s tennis tournament the next city over (where she played like crap), Rob just took off saying “I need to get out of here,” (after not talking to us at all on the way home), and I decided “what the hell?” (after I sent a silent “fuck you” to my “third” child, a.k.a. my husband.) I poured myself a Makers and Diet and headed for my room to shower.
As I shampooed my hair, I thought about how I was going to get back on track again with not drinking. How I was going to put a plug in the dam. For let’s face it, every bloody time I drink it turns into a three-to-four-day binge session. I have to mentally prepare myself for the ordeal of quitting ahead, have to pump myself up with AF “steroids,” with visualizations, with quotes and content from This Naked Mind or books similar to it.
And well, I sorta had…. an epiphany.
I realized THIS time, I should not make my break from booze be about my family. My kids. My husband. Even my physical health. I shouldn’t compare myself to my sisters, what they are (or not) doing, what my mom would say if she knew how much I struggled, what the AF social media world would think if I confessed that once again I was back at day one (technically, not even that yet).
The latest quit lit I’ve read have really focused on what happens toyou after you give up drinking. What you discover about YOURSELF. So many of these women share that the longer they go without alcohol the more they get to know the person inside, the person they are supposed to be. They talk about how drinking alcohol stunted their growth. In reading their stories, I see similarities with my own, and I guess it’s made me “sober curious” not necessarily about what my LIFE could be like without booze, but who I AM without booze.
What kind of adult am I? Who is this forty-three-year-old woman? What is her core personality like? What does she REALLY enjoy doing with her spare time? What are her dreams (b/c she has to have some left, doesn’t she? She’s not in the grave, yet). What are her aspirations in life? DOES she want to still climb the corporate ladder and be a manager? DOES she still want to give writing a proper go, delve more into the business of self-publishing? Would she like to explore higher learning, take classes at Metro in subjects she’s interested in? Join AND ACTUALLY PARTICIPATE in church groups? Volunteer? Play tennis in a competitive setting?
I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know…
I am not certain I know who I am without the booze. What I look like. What I want to look like.
I think back to when I started drinking, when it became a “thing” in my life. Was it in high school, or was I only partially committed, too young to really know what it was that I wanted/needed to have a good time? Was it in college when I quickly discovered without alcohol in my system I didn’t know how to be outgoing and social? Was it when I moved to Denver and I had to start over from scratch, learning a new city, finding new friends, seeking out a boyfriend that wasn’t from my home state of Nebraska? Was it in my mid-to-late twenties when I had to enter the dating world again, this time older and not as sexy and carefree as the girls in their early twenties? Was it in my early years of marriage when my husband and I would hit the town with his friends (b/c I didn’t have any after moving back to Omaha)? Was it when I was a first-time Mom and I couldn’t cope with all the anxiety that it brought on? When, when, when??
Fast forward to now.
My break from booze shouldn’t be about anyone else other than myself. After all, it was me who put me in this place. It was me who kept tipping back the bottle, who kept numbing herself to the world around her. Anger? Resentment? Disappointment? Anxiety? Depression? These feelings could all be blamed on the booze….
They could all be the feelings I’ve been hiding from by using booze.
I love my husband. I love my children. I am so blessed, so INCREDIBLY blessed, that we have the income that we do, that we have our health, that we have our family still around. But my stopping drinking for a while cannot be about what I HAVE, it cannot be for THEM, it must be about… what I’ve lost. What it is I’ve tried to bury. It must be about rediscovering me. Taking a look at the woman I’ve become and what she wants/needs. Is this a midlife crises? Could be. It’s definitely happening midlife. But I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ve been avoiding this task for years. I’ve been distancing myself from the hard truths that I may discover.
I can’t any longer.
I just can’t.
Because in my heart of hearts, I think it’s at the root cause of why I still drink, or want to, hardcore.
Sure I do it for the “fun” of it, for that initial endorphin rush, but when I’ve stopped for any length of time, I’ve come to acknowledge that I’ve done this for mainly one reason alone… and it honestly depresses the shit out of me.
I won’t put it into words–go there–without trying to abstain this go around just for me. Without fully examining how I FEEL. And if I’m right, I’ll have some hard work ahead. But. It would be nice to know where the deep need in me comes from so that perhaps I could fight it off and most importantly, find other meaningful avenues in my life to deal with it. I’ve journaled about changes before; if I’m right on this, I will need to enact these changes, or I will forever be a slave to alcohol.