As I reflect upon having 33 sober days today, I’m astonished at the glimpses I keep getting of the past. And when I say past, I’m not talking about last year, or 2005. I mean the past from 20+ years ago. Back when my life was much simpler. Before kids, and marriage and before becoming a slave to the bottle.
I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but at some point the party ended. Friends moved into their forever homes, bought businesses that flourished, climbed up the employment ladder and so forth. Not all life events were good; we lost parents, got laid off from jobs, dealt with chronic illnesses, you get the point.
Most of us naturally stopped buying cases of beer, or gallons of liquor every weekend. We had things to do and places to go, there wasn’t time to get together, sit around and get drunk all weekend.
Then there was me. At least 2-3 times a week would include a stop at the liquor store to stock up– usually different stores so that the clerk wouldn’t know that I was a drunk. Every night was race to make lunches, do homework, give baths and get ready for the following day– all so that I could pour a drink by 8:00pm. That was my witching hour & if something interfered with that deadline, I turned into a witch.
Mornings were filled with exhaustion, shame and regret. I would stop, I would tell myself, “This is going to be the day that I quit.” I didn’t want to wake up like that anymore and would be done with it. This mindset would last a majority of the day while I physically tried to get over the hangover. Usually by 5pm I was feeling better physically and the urge to get more wine or liquor would overpower my earlier desire to quit.
While the party ended for everyone else, including my hubby, I consented to being a slave to alcohol. It ruled every aspect of my life. Every. Single. Night. If I was somewhere without being able to drink, I was in a mad rush to get home as soon as possible because I needed that drink. Alcohol stole every part of my being. Family parties and other social gatherings that included alcohol ended with me too tipsy to hold a conversation and forgetting half of the night– and waking up horrified at what I may have said or done.
I am so grateful for all that I have learned over the past several months and particularly the past 33 days. Things this time around are a bit different than the last time I got sober (93 days starting in February 2017). I know exactly where I want to be and how I never want to live my life again.
One of the unexpected treats of sobriety is living and remembering what life used to be like, before I had to answer to alcohol every single day.
This weekend was a reminder of that. I spent it with old friends, partying like we used to, only we weren’t drinking. It was as though we were kids again, and the most devious acts were eating too many treats and staying up too late– laughing genuinely not the false tipsy laughing that is superficial. I am exhausted today- but can go through the day not sick, anxious and strung out.
Best yet, I had to drive all the way home early and the same friends are coming over later because we have a concert in Detroit tonight. Being a slave I would have never taken on so many activities in one weekend. It would infringe too much on my Sunday night drinking and I would have planned for a horrific hangover today.
Monday morning will be tough (we’ll be out LATE tonight– another night of little sleep) but not nearly as tough as waking up with a killer hangover, topped with shame and regret.
This is living life. I feel young again and so carefree ❤