Monthly Archives: May 2014

Blogging

I think perhaps I don’t have as much to say about drinking, and quitting drinking, as I thought I did.  Everything is going so very much better these days that I just don’t have the need to write, or vent, or express myself.  I essentially write for a living, as most of my legal practice is appellate in nature, so opening my computer after hours to write a post often feels like a chore.  I don’t get a sense of release from it, and it doesn’t help me process things, really, since I usually rush through it. 

I started the blog because I wanted to be more a part of the online sober community, but I think perhaps I could do that just by reading, and commenting, without maintaining my own blog.  All this is to say that I am still here, and I am still sober, and I’m still grateful for all the support and encouragement I’ve received here.  If I don’t post, however, please assume everything is going fine.  If I stumble or fall, I’m sure I’ll be back here with a renewed sense of purpose.

Hilda

Mistakes and Laundry

I spent last weekend in a town several hours from here, babysitting my older sister during her work conference. Long story. But during the time I was there, I read, from start to finish, the wonderful blog at 365 Reasons 2 Sober. The author writes every day, or close to it. She talks about her current journey, but each day she also includes a “mistake,” or something horrible that happened while she was drinking. I really admire her dedication to the blog, and her willingness to revisit dark times so regularly.  And although she was a regular black-out drinker and I was more a daily drinker, I identify with many of her mistakes completely.  Her blog inspired me to revisit The Lowest Low with Part II, which I’ll try to do soon.

As for me? Well, I’m doing great. I feel very calm, almost serene, and more consistently so than I have since I quit drinking. I feel more and more like myself all the time. My relationship is improved tenfold – we talk instead of fighting about issues, and I’m so much more appreciate and positive about Andrew than I was while drinking. We’re moving soon, to a great new flat, and my job is going well. I feel my replacement sugar addition starting to wane, which is great news since it was starting to concern me. And all in all I just find myself smiling and happy more than I could have imagined five months ago.

One thing I’ve noticed is that my complete lack of a functional life routine has persisted even in sobriety.  I just never got into a good system in terms of doing laundry, figuring out when to shower (before work? At night?), getting just, like, life stuff done regularly. My car is always full of stuff – clothes, Tupperware containers from the lunches I pack for work, a yoga mat that never makes it into the house, etc. I need to get an oil change and refill my windshield wiper fluids. I need a haircut. I need to remove my toenail polish. I have packages of online clothes purchases that I must return. The tires on my bike are flat. Just, you know, STUFF. Stuff that I was used to letting pile up while drinking. Stuff that I can now make part of a regular, normal schedule. I can find a way to work these tasks into real, normal life, instead of just scrambling to do them whenever I can manage (often too late). I don’t have to put things off because of hangovers anymore, and I don’t have to write off my evenings as useless, either. I can make my life much more manageable. There’s nothing stopping me.

Onward,

Hilda

Chain-Smoking Basement Dwellers

I figured it was worth revisiting the topic of AA, since I think I’ve only mentioned it on here a few times in passing.  Once, maybe, in describing my first meeting, and then perhaps twice more just briefly.

Yes, so.  I did not want to go to AA.  Fuck that.  I considered myself way too independent.  I’m not a joiner.  I don’t like clubs, or groups.  I’m into exclusivity, not inclusiveness.  I’m an atheist, for god’s sake.  I hate cults.  And self-help books.  And people who talk in slogans, period.  I don’t like churches, I don’t like bad coffee, and I don’t like styrofoam.  I don’t like people who know more than me, and I don’t like admitting there’s something I don’t know (or can’t do).  I don’t like any of it.  So my position, even after I knew I had a problem, was that it wasn’t for me.  No thanks.

But I kinda trapped myself, see.  On December 31, 2012, my New Year’s Resolution was that I would quit drinking for a year.  For all of 2013.  I made the resolution sort of a big deal.  As a general matter, I’m not a resolution person.   But a few years prior, my New Year’s Resolution had been to quit smoking, and it worked.  So I took this one seriously.  I told Andrew.  We were camping in the desert.  It was freezing.  I was drinking wine by the campfire, and I told him I was quitting for a year.  I could sense his relief, which was scary.  He said he would support me however he could.   And then, as part of my resolution, I promised myself that, if this didn’t work, if I wasn’t able to quit this time, when I was taking it so seriously, then I guessed I’d have to go to AA after all.

I lasted 19 days.

I didn’t head to AA right away, of course.  Instead, I drank steadily all the way through 2013, and then even into the beginning of 2014.  But when I finally decided it was time to stop, I knew my promises would be empty without something more behind them.  I had already used up all my chances to do it on my own.

I’ve blogged already about when I quit and what I thought of that first meeting.  But what I haven’t blogged about is how I kept trying different meetings, even getting brave enough to attend some in my own neighborhood, until I found a few I like.  In LA, where I live, there are a handful of meetings with an agnostic focus, and I gravitated toward those.  Also, I go to meetings in my own neighborhood and neighboring ones, which means I identify with a greater number of the attendees than I did at that first meeting.  Sure, there’s still a range, but there are youngish people, like me, and other people who didn’t lose a car/job/relationship/their freedom, like me.  That was, especially at first, really important to me, because I needed to feel like I actually belonged there and wasn’t a “less serious” case, or somehow “not a real alcoholic.”  (I still have moments where I feel superior to other people there, but I try to nip that kind of shit in the bud.)

So, where I am now with this thing is that I go to about one meeting a week, and I actually like going.  I like hearing people’s stories.  Sure, I get annoyed by some of the terminology, and I take what I like (support, etc.) and leave the rest (working all the steps, especially the religious ones, getting a sponsor, etc.).  I’m not sure I’ll go forever, but I do notice that I feel calmer when I leave a meeting, and I feel like it lifts my spirits.  It’s nice to have a place (besides here!) to vent about the difficult parts of sobriety, and I like feeling like I’m being there for newcomers to the meeting.  It’s nice to be reminded how desperate I was, how raw, and how thankful that there was a place I could go when I had run out of options for trying to quit on my own.

 

Truckin’

Last night I went to a party for Andrew’s work.  All in all, I’d say it was mostly a success.  I had green tea with dinner at the sushi restaurant beforehand, so I was pretty well-caffeinated.  The bartender at the event made me a delicious mocktail, and I even admitted, when people kept asking me what it was, that it was booze-free.  (I learned my lesson about trying to hide that fact!)  I ended up leaving before Andrew did by about an hour — it was midnight, people were starting to really get down to it, and I was just, you know, done — and he cheerfully took a cab home.  I was grateful to drive home sober, grateful to be home with my tea and book, and grateful to wake up this morning hangover-free.  Again.

To be honest, I had pretty much outgrown the bar scene toward the end of my drinking.  I drank at restaurants, at friends’ houses, and at home, but rarely at bars.  So it’s actually much easier for me to order and drink a mocktail at a bar than it is for me to find and enjoy suitable drink during a fancy dinner.  I guess I’m still working on that one. 

Anyway, just another notch in my sober belt.  I hope all of you are still truckin’ along, too, and collecting sober belt notches of your own.