My path to sobriety was long and circuitous. The notes app on my phone tells the story and provides a timeline. I did a little experiment. I went back to my pre-sobriety notes and I read them. (Often for the first time since writing.) Then I responded to myself from my current state of 6 months without alcohol.
The result is this little compilation of Sorrow + Serenity. Anxiety + Peace. Self-Doubt + Self-Care. Mostly, it’s a record of the Mercy that I received for which I am eternally thankful.
I will be posting these pieces a couple at a time. My hope in sharing these once private journal/notes is that they find their way to someone who is holding on to something that they just might need to lay down.
The posts are dated: the pre-sober text is bolded and post-sober text is italicized.
MARCH 14, 2017
things I’m gonna miss
— the strange camaraderie that happens at a bar.
— making non-event type things feeling more special;. i.e. glass of wine after department store shopping.
— marking occasions ( babies birthdays weddings Tuesdays) with wine or champagne.
— relaxing even if chemically induced.
— the taste of a white burgundy. california chardonnay. crisp champagne. honestly i could cry.
— the ability to more quickly get to the truth via alcohol.
FEBRUARY 9, 2018
That strange camaraderie is just that – strange. Usually, because it occurs with strangers you will never see again. Trust me when I tell you, you will still have spontaneous encounters with people – at bars, at church, on the train, in the deli or a PTA meeting. Whether you see them again or not, if the exchange is significant, you’ll hold on and learn from the memory and that will be enough.
Since giving up wine you have survived parties, holidays, and yes, even Tuesdays. Some felt just like that - survival. But many occasions felt vibrant, real, in focus and best of all; memorable. You will become choosier about where you go and with whom you commune. That's great news for everybody. You will think about what is at the heart of a celebration and you'll discover wine is not the only way to commemorate something special.
You still have work to do in regards to relaxing. You are still resisting yoga but you do start your mornings with prayer and time spent reflecting and reading scripture and/or devotionals. You are doing your best and trying to frame your day differently so that you don't feel you need to drink to escape it every night at 5 pm.
The taste.... hmm. I'm sure it's still good, but your cravings have all but disappeared. This fact is so probably hard to believe from where you sit now, but most any habit or craving can be retrained and kicked after about 21 days. Take it day by day and on some days, hour by hour, but don't let some fermented grapes be the boss of you! You are the badass boss lady and you'll drink tea and LaCroix to your heart's content.
Ok, this one is interesting. Alcohol did embolden you to say things you wouldn't normally say. But you can learn to give yourself permission to say those things totally sober. You will learn to own your fears, desires, and concerns. Even weirder, you will actually start operating much more honestly in general so that you won't have to make such grand declarations. You'll quietly make choices that align with your actual values. Imagine that! Don't worry about the truth. Alcohol is a liar and its removal naturally brings forth more room for honesty and truth and that is where the freedom is for you.
MARCH 14, 2017
Do you want to write the next chapter or start a new book?
FEBRUARY 9, 2017
Ah yes, I remember when your therapist said those words to you. She was referring to patterns in your marriage but it seared your heart because you knew it applied to your drinking story. The bulk of the words you write are around wine and your relationship to it; you began a new chapter when you said to yourself 'enough is enough. this no longer serves me and now I want to tell a new story.' So look at that; you did both. Overachiever, much?
JUNE 15, 2015
When it comes to French fries and wine, it's a fine line between self-care and self-sabotage.
FEBRUARY 10, 2018
The struggle is real. Too much anything is not good, but it is an incredible relief having one less thing derailing your efforts towards wellness. As for French fries, you know when you need them and when you don’t. Choose wisely.