What it’s like at 8 months alcohol-free

I suddenly realized it’s the 27th, which means it was 8 months ago today that I decided enough was enough re: post-drinking anxiety, and that it was time to give up the vino.

Here’s what it’s like, for me, at least, in a (hopefully!) short-ish and honest list:

It’s seeing family on FaceTime when you’re wearing lazy clothes and no makeup and they can’t stop raving about how good and radiant you look. (Well, they are your family, but still.)

It’s about looking back at the past 8 months and going, holy crap, all those days I thought was accomplishing nothing, I actually did do a bunch of stuff, and dealt with life head on. In a very honest fashion. Perhaps too honest at times. As in scary honest. But shit got done. (Example: a teacher at the local school who started out the year by verbally abusing the most challenging kids in the class — likely the ones from the most challenging homes — has made a complete turnaround. It’s wonderful. For the kids, for their classmates, for the parents of those kids and classmates, but also for the school and for her as well. #Gratitude.)

In relation to that last point: I see a lot of stuff and a lot of symptoms in the local environment. I don’t judge (not very harshly, at least, or not for long); that’s the beauty of being a self-confirmed addict. But I notice, and though I have no idea how best to help, I do that thing where you call on Deeper Power, Great Spirit, Tree, or whatever you like to call it, and ask what the best course of action is. Then I try my best to do that thing.

Usually the Tree — which is a huge angelic being of radiant light, not visible to the naked eye, but can be felt whenever I gaze up at this huge linden tree in front of our house — gives a very simple directive such as, “Take it easy.” Or, “Let it be.” But also sometimes, “Do the right thing.” “Tell the truth.” “Forgive.” “Live and let live.” It seems hard at first, even to ask a Tree for help (—”a tree, for chrissakes!” my Inner Critic scoffs), but after enacting these directives, whatever they are, I sleep like a baby at night. The beauty of a guilt-free conscience, and of having done the next right thing. When I remember to ask the Tree, so much worry and stress is relieved. I’m no longer the imagined master of the universe. I’m just a humble actor in the universe’s gorgeous play.

Eight months of sobriety is taking for granted the fact that you never have to wonder what exactly you said to the night before, when you got in that argument with your spouse or other adult person/relative.

In fact, arguments don’t happen anymore. It’s really weird. If potential trigger happens — maybe because the adult(s) you’re with is/are drinking a little, and getting exuberant about some button-pushing point or other — you remain calm and stoically cut it short. (Absolutely bizarre for an emotional hothead like me.)

It’s about never needing to take headache pills, so now the only drug you’re still using or addicted to is the caffeine in your morning coffee. And mmmmm, it tastes so good, with a guilt-free conscience. You might have fond memories of story time with your kiddos the next before. Nothing else to do on the agenda but chill and snuggle and turn pages and do everything about bedtime mostly right, at least as right as the tamed mama dragon can manage most nights, which is pretty damed well, now that the wine hound isn’t howling down her door.

It’s about realizing that you are in fact an addict, even if you’ve never fit the status quo definition of alcoholic, whatever that is or was.

It’s about realizing that the work of being an addict never ends. Your addictions have only been upgraded — to work, to hobbies, to seeking love, affection and attention, etc. or whatever it is that’s grabbing that hungry ghost inside you, creating a crazy yearning for more.

It’s about remembering again and again to return to quiet, to inner peace, when things feel overwhelming and out of control. Turn off the notifications. Put down the Thing. Make a pot of herb tea. Vacuum a floor. Declutter a desk (again and again, egads, it’s a mess, lol). These things add up and make you feel noble, haha. Call that really dear person. Whoever it is that you know truly cares about you and you for them.

It’s about every now and then missing the fun company of your former nearby drinking friends so badly that you don’t know if you can really go on with this for much longer  — but you tell yourself, just this one more day. And the next day it’s fine again and the feeling has passed, and once again, you’re glad you don’t have to wonder what exactly you said or did, and/or posted on social media after midnight.

It’s about being sad when you realize that some friends may not have been true friends, and/or that may not entirely be their fault… especially if you’re not yet outgoing enough or confident enough to host those friends for big dinners or what have you, especially if/when your significant other isn’t social.

It’s about not knowing if this could last a lifetime, nor if you particularly want it to, and sometimes fantasizing about future wilder times at fire evenings or holiday beach cafés or drunken dance parties, letting loose, but also knowing that for this one day at least, you know you’re better off without wine. So you stay sober. And you know for a massive fact that you do not need wine to dance, nor to play music. In fact, you dance way better, and play music way better, if you ever choose to, without it.

It’s about being happy that right now you are actually typing into the online editor of a blog you created eight months ago — to find community, and to pay forward what you learned from countless other sobriety-embracing bloggers before you… and you did find that community, a community which supported you and made this possible, and even made this joyful at times. Some of the most honest, humble, kind people in the blogging world — you get to be part of that group, and bask in their kindness and generosity. This makes you get tears in your eyes with gratitude as you type.

And you realize that the glass beside you is empty… and you go to fill it up again… with water. Or whatever other poison-free drink sails your boat. Just like always, and without even thinking about it, except as you type it here.

You feel clean, you look clean; you *are* clean, or at least, as clean as you can possibly be in this moment — in spirit, mind and body. Things are not perfect, but you know without a doubt you are doing your damned best. So f*ck the rest.

(And still sometimes trying not to swear… with varying success. ;))

Thanks for all you do. I’ve made it this far because of you. To me, you’re the Tree, too.

Love,

xoxo nadine

p.s. eek, short-ish part didn’t work out. again. ah well… in the words of Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

p.p.s. if this post had any value to you, many thanks is owed to SoberAndWell.blog, who perhaps inadvertently dragged this post back out of temporary private mode, with her own recent post… http://soberandwell.blog/2019/11/27/a-few-things/ (WP reader link: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/87918280/posts/2499651761) — She, along with a number of other bloggers, as I have written before in other posts, was a huge inspiration to me before starting this blog.

IMG_8275SobrietyTreeNadine2019-10-14
me and the tree (a few weeks back – everything’s a bit more colourful now…)

***

~ sobrietytree.home.blog/sobrietytree.com

 

47 thoughts on “What it’s like at 8 months alcohol-free

    1. Dear Faux… thank you so very much… means a huge lot. Your “likes” have been a big support to me from the beginning. Kept me going in the most like-needy times. Which as you “likely” 🤓know from my posts, have been pretty much nearly always. ;)) As you also likely know, I’ve loved a lot of your poetry… very radiant and light-filled-looking too. ✨Thanks again, for these very kind words. Feeling honoured. 😊🙏💛

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m going to start with a shallow comment and say you look very cool and glamorous in that slightly unkempt way that very few can pull off. You should be fronting a rock band!
    Now the deep, meaningful stuff; what you list makes it so much easier for those of us starting our journeys after you. The challenges you have faced so far are ones we are all probably going to face but the benefits you list are so much more vital and life affirming than the few disadvantages. Thanks for sharing that. It really does help. X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahahahahaha Jim this makes me Sheldon-laugh quite hard. You must know it’s my secret dream. But again it’s a case of good from far. ;)))
      About that last bit, thank you, very very much… it means a lot. I kind of re-read it thinking I maybe I wasn’t brutal enough, at first, so I’m glad to hear it’s nice to read the advantages… it is really hard, the losing-the-party-friends part is the worst actually, but again, I know it’s much my own fault, and I hope to improve in that area. All in good time…
      In a nutshell, sobriety leads to growth and improvement. And for me the advantages do outweigh the negs, overall… that’s what keeps me going. One of the big advantages being you all right here in this amazing WP sobriety group.
      Thanks Jim, you and your blog help make it really super fun. 😊🙏💛🎸🕺💃🏼🎉🥳

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so lovely! Honest and uplifting – Makes me really want to get to fully sober too x and I agree with Jim – you look super cool, (as does the tree!). I hope we all get to sober party together one day I think we’d have a blast 🤪🤪

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes!!!! 🤣🎉👯‍♀️👯‍♂️👯‍♀️👯‍♂️ That would be so amazing. We need the most outgoing and organized ones to make it happen… ;)) Thank you so much for all your awesome encouragements, insights, and wonderful posts… as you know I adore your blog. Hugs, and pondering wild sobriety party dates/places waayyyyyy in the back of my very-procrastinating mind… ;)))))) 🤗💕

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you Elizabeth, it’s an out-of-the-way spot that we unexpectedly fell in love with, in the Auvergne… we never planned on staying here. Tree must have had something to do with it 😉… and yes every time I see this view I feel very fortunate 💚🙏

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Monsy!!!! Missed you, girl. Thank you so much for dropping in and for this lovely comment. Feeling very grateful and blessed, and coming over soon to read your blog. (More tattoo exposés??? ;;))) 😍🤗🌸🌷🙏😘

      Like

  3. Wow, you’re doing great. It took me a year to stop saying “This is the first time I’ve put the garbage out in the third week of November without a glass of wine.” Actually, my firsts were usually for bigger things, but you get the point. And then I’d grieve.

    Stay focused on the positive. Foster the gratitude. Believe in yourself. My sobriety pep-talk. I actually just concluded a landmark sobriety night for me. I got through Drunk Wednesday without missing alcohol. Maybe I’m cured.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jeff, you’re wonderful, thank you, and thanks for your comment on that christmas elf post on my other blog where you popped in and said (basically) “yes, wine obsession” (I’m paraphrasing). It was another little marker on the path, and it all helped/helps. 🙏So thanks again.

      Awesome that you got through this Drunk Wednesday thing (thanksgiving is different in Canada and non-existent as a holiday in France, so I’m not that familiar with it except through yours and others’ blogs) without missing alcohol. Definitely something to be grateful for. Thanks for the good pep-talk too. Any of us can use that to get through the challenging parts of any holidays.

      Hugs and love (even though I know you don’t much do hugs and love; take it from a distance ;))), and happy training for the next big run. 🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Congratulations on 8 months! Good to hear u get so much support from writing your blog. I credit mine with keeping me motivated and inspired to change my life in the process. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for posting a link to my site, i hope it’s useful to your readers. There’s many comments and messages of support that others may benefit from. 👍

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Congratulations dear! I absolutely love this post, big smile this morning reading it! Also-you look fabulous! 🔥🔥🔥
    PS-Now I’m singing Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire” song thinking of you! 😍😃😍😃🙌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jackie you are the bomb. Thank you so so much… that song is amazing. Just listened to it. 🔥🔥🔥 Love love love. What a kind and lovely gift you’ve just given me… Ms. fiery herself! 👩🏻‍🦰🧡 :))

      Don’t ask me why but this came up next on the feed. maybe youtube thinks it’s time for a lip sync duet? 😜😜The guys in this video are the most rockin’ and hilarious dudes. Praise for them, this American thanksgiving weekend.
      😆👯‍♂️👯‍♂️🤘🎸🎸 #justforlaughs ;)) xoxoxo

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That was a hilarious and fun video to watch! I laughed out loud when in the end at the truck washing scene the one dude starts washing himself. 😂🙌🏻😂 A lip sync duet would rock!
        I sure hope you are having an awesome day!!! ❤🎤🎶

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It definitely didn’t turn out the way I expected it to from the beginning! 😂😂Country music is one genre I’ve never really gotten into but this one was a bit of gem lol! Currently lip-syncing with you in my mind…. 🥳🎤🎶👨‍🎤👩‍🎤😄

          Like

  6. Thanks for taking the time to post this. I’m still so early in my journey and I still feel like I’m ‘pretending’ to be sober. The more I hear about the benefits for others, the more I know I have made the right decision for me. Congratulations on 8 mths sober and thanks for welcoming into your special sober community. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Claire, such a kind and lovely comment. That makes my day to hear that it might be helpful. I remember those early days now that you mention it. “A new creature” feeling is what I would call it. Those early days are precious. Everything is new and different. So grateful that you are blogging and participating in the wonderful wp sobriety community. Thanks so much for the positive words. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. 8 months, including weekends and holidays??? Fantastic! Way to go Nadine.
    Thank you for sharing your struggles and successes. I am so glad we met in the
    WP world. I enjoy your posts and look forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well this has made my day. Wonderful, generous, beautiful post. Congratulations on eight months. I love that tree. Keep talking to it. It looks like it has much more wisdom to share. 👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Whao, I can’t imagine how it’s like giving up alcohol but I am glad it makes you happy. For I, I don’t think I was an alcoholic, but alcohol used to always be the first item on the grocery list. I had to explore different kinds and brands, and then came a beauty of cocktails… I later realized how much I was spending on it and had to cut it down tremendously and also stop this thing of alcohol exploring 😊😉😆 I later settled for something dark, strong and cheap to manage finances, and now, I can go weeks on a single sip 🤗🙂🙊🙈 Stay awesome Nadine, and Super Congratulations 🎊 🎊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow Joseph, that is some beautiful moderation you have learned there, I love it. And so happy and honoured to see you here dear poet-friend, thank you so much for joining this wee party 🥳🙌💖🐒🙏🎉😘🌈😊

      Liked by 1 person

  10. wowowowow Nadine !!!! It’s so powerful and crazy and wonderful to see a picture of you and the tree. You are so beautiful!!! The both of you !!! ❤ Please let me come visit next year when I am back in France 🙂 I'm so happy for you that you have reaped all this gigantic and subtle fruit from your 8 month journey. Your list is inspiring and humbling and heart warming. OH "And you know for a massive fact that you do not need wine to dance" : HELL YEAH, and I never would have thought this (i.e. discovering self-esteem?) would even be possible. It's truly paradigm-shifting. Thank you for being here and holding the torch at the front of the march while us newbies walk behind you and follow you in admiration 🙂 We have been on it for different lengths of time but we are all on the same path (of liiiiiffffe 🙂 ) It's great to read your words again xxx Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yessssssssss dear Anne I absolutely want to see you when you come to France, let’s find a way. thank you so very much for your beautiful and heartfelt words, as always they are a joy and delight to read. Un grand merci à toi ma belle, avec des très grosses bises 🤩💖😘💖😘🧘🏼‍♂️🤸🏼‍♀️🎉

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Et de lire toi comme ça aussi, pour moi :))) xoxoxoxo In Canada we celebrate in October, though it’s more controversial for me now. For the First Nations it means something else entirely and I am sensitive to that… basically I have let the yearly tradition completely slide here in France, I try to do a bit of gratitude at every meal instead. xoxoxoxo 🍁🙏💕😊Thanks again lovely Anne

          Liked by 1 person

  11. yes, yes, yes- to all of this…10 months for me, and so much of this resonates. Especially today, when i got the message that one of my closest friends, who was a deeply addicted alcoholic, died from an alcoholic seizure. This wasn’t the first seizure for her like this, but this time she did not make it to the hospital. It really puts things in perspective . I so wish she would have followed me down the sobriety path a year ago. But despite her many attempts she was unable to overcome it. Only in her 30’s…so terribly sad. But also, makes me so glad, more than ever, that i made the choice and stuck with it..hugs, peace & blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lovie…. this is such devastating news. My most sincere condolences for your loss… I can only imagine how awful this would feel. It’s so hard when we have friends who suffer and it seems like no matter what we do we can’t help them. For whatever reason, they are not ready.

      One of the most poignant things I once read re: alcoholism was this: the disease is progressive, and it’s deadly.

      Thank you so much for visiting here, and for sharing this. Perhaps it will help someone reading.

      Wonderful that you yourself are having success on your journey – 10 months! Getting close to a year then. :)) 🎉 I am coming over soon to check out your blog. :))) Hugs and peace and blessings to you, too 😊💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ty so much..yes, even at this point i still look for other blogs like yours to follow..sort of “newbies” which i consider anyone in their first year like myself. It is always reassuring to know the things i feel aren’t too weird. And yes, with my friend, despite many attempts at recovery, it just didn’t happen and most of us knew it was a matter of when and not if ( while still hoping fervently that recovery would come first). I am so sad knowing i will not see her face at events and around town anymore, or be able to giggle with her, or paint, etc. But i feel that this is also the universe ‘s way of reminding me that i made the right choice last year

        Liked by 1 person

        1. ❤️That’s a really positive way of looking at it. Really grateful to you for connecting here. I agree about the reassurance factor, it’s one of the lovely things about blogging and reading other’s blogs. It helps us feel less alone when we connect through each others’ stories.

          Liked by 1 person

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