06:47-ish. I am so grateful right now. Grateful for the sunshine, the birds, the warmth in the house.
I made the fire and kept it going last night. I left a half a wheelbarrow load outside the door, too tired and cold to finish moving it into the house, but that doesn’t matter.
The beauty of that is I was sober, completely sober when I did it. I don’t get drunk often. But when I do I will tend to do things such as leaving a task unfinished or a project untidied. The difference is that when I do nonfinishing or nontidying, when I’ve been drinking, it’s out of a *lack* of caring. “Ah, can’t be bothered.”
When I leave something unfinished or untidied while sober, it’s out of caring. For myself, for something else, for someone else. I am present and aware in the moment, AND I AM NOT UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF AN ADDICTIVE, POTENTIALLY DEADLY TOXIN.
I’m not great at arguing. Mainly because I could argue myself into a tailspin, two sides going at each other round and round. Believe me I see the holes in my argument above. “Yeah but, you are caring about something else, when you’re drinking. For example, you’re caring more about a second glass of wine, or following your instinct to pass out in bed.”
Well to that I say, it’s the wine caring about that, not me.
When I am completely sober, as I was last night, it’s me doing the caring. It’s me saying, yes, let’s actually keep that fire going in the first place. Yes, let’s get another load of wood, then, even though it’s freezing outside and you’re dead tired from writing and reading sobriety blog posts since the kids have gone to bed. And yes, let’s only take in as much as we need for this night and first thing in the morning, and leave the rest outside the door, to finish tomorrow.
* * *
06:56-ish. My youngest baby has come down to snuggle on my lap. He looks like a soft blue gnome since he is wearing the fleecy blanket with corner-hood I made him out of a Volkswagen promo blanket (came free with my husband’s leased car, way back in our early marriage days) when he was a true baby. Now he walks, talks, reads, makes art, experiments with his science set obsessively, loses teeth, begins to grow them back.
I feel so conscious and aware and full of love. This is the Tree-honest truth. If you are starting on your journey of sobriety, the day you are ready you will know it and you will become so full of joy.
— Tree, how do I convince my husband this is the path, not just for me but for both of us?
— Follow your own path, and stand up for your children. The rest is up to him, to decide for himself.
* * *
07:03 ish. My biggest baby has come down. I sit here typing at a desk near a washing machine, in an entryway, a kind of foyer or lobby or hallway if you will, multipurpose. Coats, shoes, bins of about-to-be-put-back-into-storage snow suits (lucky us! Some people are not that far along yet, these early days in spring). I stand up, reach up to hug him (he is taller than me), say good morning darling.
I do that (hugging my children first thing in the morning) — or rather, did that — during my drinking periods too. But I had a sadness then. Perhaps not at the beginning of any new drinking period, when I was still in the Red-or-Sparkling Cloud of false delight; delight in the idea that yes, I could have a glass or two of Red-or-Sparkling, and be done with it, and it was so much fun. But every single one of those periods, within a week or two I would have “accidentally” downed a whole bottle or close to it in a night. And that sadness would creep upon me and settle in my molecules, tainting everything with out-of-touchness with the Now. A kind of reticent malaise, melancholy and dissatisfaction.
For some of you, 750 millilitres of wine in one night won’t seem like a lot. For moderate drinkers (do you really, really exist? It’s so hard for a dipsomaniac to believe, but yes, of course you exist, in multitudes, at least so say the stats, which are collected how again? Mostly by questionnaires at doctor’s offices. Are we really telling the truth on those forms?), a whole bottle will seem unimaginable and gluttonous. To me, I fall in the latter category of belief, except that I’m not a moderate drinker, I keep finding out; I’m a dipso. And a dipso really means someone with an alcohol dependancy that’s not as advanced as a wino. Etc. Etc. Who cares about the terminology, it’s all just ways of protecting or defaming ego.
The fact is that alcohol IS an addictive drug, and yes it DOES aid in connection, relaxation and enjoyment but AT THE PRICE of mental, physical and spiritual deterioration. The AA’s will tell you, as you try to run back out the chat-room-door, to keep in mind that “the disease is progressive, and it is deadly.” (I have not been to in-person meetings, since there are none around here within an hour’s drive, but I have tried a couple online.) Anyone can look around and see that the AA’s are right.
Some of us don’t like the philosophy of thinking of alcohol abuse as a disease. It feels too much like absolving ourselves (or others) of responsibility. But if we look at the word just as a sum of it’s parts, dis- (non-, or un-) ease (comfort, pleasure, relaxation), we can see that alcohol abuse is in fact a dis-ease, since through over-use or abnormal use, alcohol eventually reduces our comfort, pleasure and relaxation, and our ability to truly connect, which is the opposite of the reasons we first started to use it. And what is alcohol abuse? I’d say it’s any amount proven by science to be detrimental to your health, if you like conventional standards, and/or any amount that dulls your Awareness, if you like more Zen-oriented measures.
For me, as I have noted these past few years of self-study, that amount that dulls my awareness is More Than One Glass. If I could stay One-Glass-Drunk (or One-Glass-Tipsy, if you prefer) all night, things would be perfect. But was is that saying? That’s saying that I’d like another glass, and another glass, to continue on. When really, if I could leave that second glass alone, I’d simply stop drinking at that point and be carrying on with my life. Whether that’s doing the dishes, or still more pious and difficult yet, getting the kids to do the dishes, or opening the mail, or just going to bed. And certainly NOT obsessively thinking about that One More Glass.
Last night I did all the things, within reason, and then I went to bed. And this morning, there is no mess in my head.
I love you so much, love you so much. I know that sounds strange but it’s true.
Same-day notes added to this post, after publishing the above…
11:55-ish. I have written and published a blogging guidelines page for myself. Here it is: https://sobrietytree.home.blog/guidelines/
At first I actually wrote, published then unpublished a giant tome of ethics. You know, Chidi-style:
In the end, or rather here in the middle, I decide I don’t want to do it that way. It all feels too theoretical and self-limiting and others-limiting, rather than organic and helpful. So I unpublished it and then I quickly wrote a simple version in five minutes, as linked above.
But, I do love this quote from you, Dr. Perry (whose blog I saw because you “liked” some posts of mine; thank you):
“I want to make a promise to the blogging community that I will only write positive and helpful content. By doing this, I feel that I am giving back to the blog community that has given me so much.” — Dr. Perry, in “Why Do You Blog” https://makeitultrapsychology.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/why-do-you-blog/
However, I don’t know if I can be that good. I can only do my best.
12:05-ish. I am always at risk of getting obsessed. If not with wine, then with anything else. Ideas, projects, books, blogs, whatever. But more than anything, my own outer appearance. No longer with respect to my body, so much, but with respect to the outer appearance of my thoughts, as on this blog.
Watch it, girl. You need to steady yourself. Appearances are not important. What is important is the sum of your actions.
* * *
12:09-ish. OMG. Or should I say OMT. My husband just called my mobile. He’d taken the boys out this morning (bless him, and hence why I’m sitting here obsessing over sweet nothings). But this is the crazy part… he actually said I love you, on the phone!
Tree, you are quite magic.
Note to self: People can change at any moment. Sometimes you think your actions make no difference in the world, because no one might tell you, or few people might tell you… or might even argue with you, or else shun you for it. But sometimes those actions that feel the least noticed or the most despised will be the most noticed and the best loved, in the end. If they come from a place of truth, and “For The Greater Goodness,” that is.
Note to self, cont’: Or perhaps, you had no influence over them at all. Mostly, be prepared for people to surprise you. “If there’s only one thing that’s constant, it’s change.” (~ modified from Heraclitus.)
* * *
14:30-ish. I have like-addiction. And attention-addiction. It’s brutal. Is there a support group for Like-Addicts Anonymous? Laa. My eyes hurt.
Like many other bloggers on WordPress, I also have blogging addiction. OMT what if we start a recovery group!?! Anybody in?
p.s. EDIT: Changed the photo on this post. Previously it was bunny-head/perfection fingers circling a sunrise, by Bhupendra Singh from Pexels. Note to the Admin (that’s me): Let’s keep a tree theme.
* * *
21:25-ish. I did not drink this day. I am glad. Even though I was very sad in the afternoon.
— Tree, what is wrong with me? Why can I never get things right?
— You need more sleep.
— Oh, right! Goodnight, then, dear Tree.
— Goodnight, beloved
— Just one more thing, Tree. Can you please, please send me a dream, to tell me what I should do about that project that is due?
— I’ll see what I can do. Now please close your eyes, won’t you
— Thank you.
* * *
Edit 2019-06-08: Made private shortly after publishing. Probably because embarrassed about the OCD-ness of this post. Made public again now.