So I have been sober for an entire year. All the cliches are true, it feels like I just quit yesterday and yet, it feels like this year has taken two years. I had no idea how much work was involved in extricating myself from my self spun web of drinking. I didn’t know how important alcohol had become to my coping skills. So I’ve had to learn new ones. And now, much like Ramona from RHNY -I’m renewed. Wait, except that Ramona is a big old Pinot Grigio guzzling alchie so maybe that’s a bad example.
Anyway, I thought in honor of my quitting drinking anniversary, I’d reprint my blog entry from a year ago entitled Secrets.
I talk about drinking a lot on my blog. I’ve talked about it a lot in my books. I really like to drink. I like the way wine softens the edges, smooths out the line between “their time” and “my time,” helps me to feel relaxed, helps me tune out. But I drink too much. I drink seven nights a week. Sometimes just a glass of wine but usually two or even three. I always seem to have some sort of excuse like “today was an exceptionally stressful day so I deserve an extra glass now that it’s all done.”
I drank often when Elby was a baby to help deal with the stress of a new infant. I found myself drinking more than I had before I became a parent and I drank with other moms to bond and unwind (yes, I’m the cocktail playdate mom and I stand by that being a healthy thing to do in moderation, in walking distance). Before I got pregnant with the twins I had pretty much stopped drinking because I felt it was becoming a habit so when I was pregnant, it was extremely easy not to drink. But when the twins were born and I was home and my milk was dried up and postpartum was setting in, the simplest thing to do seemed to be have a glass of wine.
It was only too darn easy to fall back into the pattern (especially once the babies started having a regular bedtime) of having my wine every night. For some people I’m sure this is a nice thing, a tribunal thing ( a drink at the end of the day with their spouse or friends). For others it might be a once in awhile treat to go out and have a couple of cocktails. For me, it’s become a nightly compulsion and I’m outing myself to you; all of you: I have a problem.
I quit on Friday.
I’ve wavered before on this issue thinking, “But lots of times I have one glass of wine.” Well, unfortunately, especially lately, most times I don’t just have one -sometimes I have four. And being compulsive, I can’t be trusted to “just cut down.”
I’m scared, of course, to put this out there. I’m also scared of not having alcohol as a crutch to relax at night. I’m scared I’ll just have to sit in anxiety, hearing every little noise the babies make, wondering if they’ll wake up, wondering if Sadie’s puked or if Mattie’s too cold or if I was a good enough, loving enough mommy to Elby today. I’m scared to have nothing to numb that ever present worry and my circular thinking. I’m afraid of always having to listen to myself think.
But I’m more scared that my consumption of alcohol will consume my life and I can’t afford that. I need to be present for my husband in the evening; I need to be fully reliable for all three of my children at all times and, for me, if I’m 100% honest with myself, I can’t do that if I drink.
I’m a little worried that parties will never be as much fun or that people will think I’m boring or or a little tense. But since I still plan to use the word cocksucker with wild abandon how boring could I be? Plus, the only person who is usually around me when I’ve had a few glasses is my husband and he says he likes me better sober (or “awake” as he so gently put it).
I’ve had a lifetime of hurt and some good reasons to drink but those days are long gone and the yet the alcohol is still here. And so, although it’s never gotten me into trouble, why wait for that?
So here you go. I’m nothing if not honest with you guys right? So here’s to one weekend down with no drinking and the rest of my life to go. If nothing else, I hope this helps someone else who is feeling like I do.