21:46 I am so happy to be free from alcohol. I am also happy to be free from smoking. I feel really grateful to every single book, blog and person who has helped me get to this point. Thank you!!!
My kids’ school awards ceremony was tonight. I was so happy to be there, and when they were serving alcohol at the buffet, not have to wonder *if* I should drink — and then, if I decided “sure, just one glass,” *then* not secretly wish I could keep pouring from that tapped rosé box. And I felt happy it was not me with the buzz on.
Funny thing: I mindlessly drank a quick near-beer earlier in the day. We’re having a gorgeous heat wave here and I was really thirsty. I should have just gone for water but I wanted to treat myself to a “summery” drink. But I was so thirsty, and pre-occupied, that I drank it quickly without thinking too much about it. I used to do that with wine sometimes. Just greedy and not mindful. Always wanting more, always wanting to quench a thirst that, unlike water, nothing but “more” could quench.
But here’s the thing: I was checking email on my computer and suddenly realizing I felt a very slight “buzz.” For a minute I thought I’d accidentally drunk a real beer. I ran down to check the label on the empty bottle, to make sure I had not bought the wrong kind somehow by mistake (I truly was not a beer person. I used to be a wine person. So not a beer connoisseur. And the near-beer is mixed in with the alcoholic beer in the grocery store where we live). But no, it was indeed “beer without alcohol” — said so right on the label). Except, like some of these drinks, they are actually not 0% (though some are) but 0.4% or 0.5%. As this one was.
So there we have it. Due to my over-fast guzzling, I felt “buzzed” from 0.5% beer. I don’t think it was the placebo effect. I’ll tell you why: I did not like the feeling. At all. Something in my mindset has changed. I don’t want that strange feeling of being “driven” by something else.
When I first started drinking, as a teen, I couldn’t stand the taste of alcohol nor the feeling of getting drunk. It felt dull and sick and nasty. But I *liked* the feeling of losing control, and of being one with a group, and of finally having a common interest, something that wasn’t going to be ridiculed. Same as smoking. So, I “taught” myself how. And my friends were more than glad to help.
I believe this is the first time in my life I have experienced a slight buzz and not enjoyed it. I know that as discussed with Anne, on another post of mine, supposedly orange juice could have the same percentage of alcohol as near-beer. After this, I’m not so sure. I have guzzled a lot of orange juice and not felt this slightly bad feeling. Either way it was certainly my mindless drinking of it that was the main reason for the alcoholic effect. I’ve never experienced that effect while sipping slowly. (And the tendency is definitely to sip slowly — not through any conscious effort, but because the taste of alcohol, the addictive substance, was not there.)
Just documenting all that for the record. What is my point exactly? My point is that after 90 days (and a lot of mental work, including years of reading and — perhaps most importantly of all — writing), my mentality around intoxication has changed. I no longer see it (or experience it) as a desirable state. Not even subconsciously.
By the way I could smell booze on the breath of any parent who’d partaken at that school function this evening, if we were talking face to face. No one was drunk. But there was just the slightest difference in speech. A difference that would have been COMPLETELY imperceptible to me during my drinking days, or viewed differently: “She’s cool, I want to hang with her,” my little inner demon would have noted. I did not think she was cool based on what she said or did. I would have thought she was a person I could be my latent alcoholic self around without inhibition or shame. Or… so I thought. (Of course, later I would feel shame. Even if the worst thing I’d done was talk too loud. The shame came from allowing myself to be “possessed” by that little demon friend alcohol.
But anyway. The scenes have changed now. I smell the alcohol on the breath, at this social function where alcohol is being served, and there is no judgement at all. I take a cola and no one questions it, mainly because they don’t know me, but also, it’s a school function, it’s not the kind of event people quiz each other about at this type of venue. So yeah there is no judgement, not from my side and not from theirs. But I notice, now that I think back on it, that my subconscious didn’t think, “She’s cool.” Instead, my subconscious thought, “I have been there.” Also, in this one particular person, I read: “sadness. stuckness. slight hopelessness. slight bitterness.” The funny thing was this was one of the most beautiful-on-the-outside adults at this function. As a package, she seems to have it all together. Her outfit is perfect. Her career is perfect. Her kids are perfect. Her beautiful smile is perfect. But there was a kind of withdrawn emptiness about her. Takes one to know one perhaps… (except I was not as perfectly outfitted, careered, or endowed in the beauty department).
Okay let’s wrap this thing up. 90 days. Feels like it needs something special. Perhaps a look back in time to the start of this blog’s journey.
It’s really, really hard to remember what it was like when I started this last 90 day stint. But judging from the earliest days of my blog, I was in denial, and I was afraid I couldn’t do this thing, and that I would fail.
What would I tell the “me” of 91 days ago, if she were a dear friend of mine? I would say:
- Yes, that little voice in your head is right. No matter who tells you different. No. Matter. Who. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true. I know you want to believe that person who tells you different. I know you want to believe that you’re above it all. That you can keep that buddy alcohol, and all the human buddies who go part and parcel with it, and still pursue your dreams. But it’s just not true. Otherwise you would not be reading this right now.
- Stop this roller coaster and you will be so much happier. Not happy every day; no your problems won’t instantly be solved; but you will have one constant, niggling, anxiety-causing thing removed from your life. And day upon day, as you build your lighthouse tower, stone by stone or brick by brick, you will begin to feel stronger within yourself.
- You are afraid of failure. That is normal. That is okay. Tell yourself you are allowed to fail. All you have to do is try. One day at a time.
- You are worried what to tell people when they offer you a drink. In that case, avoid those situations at first. (I’m still avoiding them. Don’t worry, it’s not so bad. Lot’s more time for creative things. Or family things. Or just relaxing.) You’ll be happy you did, later. If you can’t avoid them, prepare what you’ll say, in advance. What you say is personal and depends on what feels right to you. For me it changed as sobriety time added up. I still have no pat answer. It depends on the timing, situation and person. But I personally prefer the truth. Here is one example.
- Once you make up your mind, this is the top item on your perhaps-hidden-at-first agenda: “Stay Sober.” As Primrose said, “Anything else is a bonus, meriting serious amounts of cake.”
- I love you. You are doing beautifully already. You are already on this journey. Keep going. Keep listening to that little voice. It is leading you down the perfect path.
Hope you are well, and having happy early summer days. Thanks so much for being here!!! Don’t think I could have done it without you. I’ll do my best to keep going. Which seems easy, from where I’m sitting at the moment.
p.s. I’m literally falling asleep on over the keyboard. Feel it’s a big jumble and not at all what I’d meant to write about. Too much written here, too little there. Hitting publish anyway. Hope you won’t mind.
p.p.s. closing with a prayer:
Tree, I offer myself to you, to do with me as you will.
Release me from the bonds of ego, so that I may better do thy will.
Take away my troubles, that those I wish to help may bear witness to your Love, Power, and your Way of Life.
May I always do your will!
and so many more. some I have mentioned before.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. <33 Love and roots. They bring us light.