Archive for October, 2020|Monthly archive page

How I Got AF AF

In Stuff I Post Just To Keep This Blog Alive... on October 16, 2020 at 4:56 pm

Ahhh! The first drink of the evening…. so breezy, so relaxing….the clink of the ice, a shot or two (or three!) of good vodka- a spritz of fresh grapefruit juice. Mmmm. What a way to end the day, welcome in the evening, clear my mind! The soothing effect after the first gulp…like if maple syrup were made of peace and tranquility, slowly-so slowly- dripping from my throat to my toes. Literally saying ‘Ahhh!’ out loud because it feels so good.

A little while later- say an hour (or is it five minutes?) it’s time for drink #2. Drink #2 doesn’t have half the magic of the first. I mean- it’s good and all, but there’s no….relief. Instead it’s more of an assumption- it is loaded in to maintain a feeling that it already gone-that was gone in less than five minutes, that needs a full night/day/night cycle to return. Regardless- I keep drinking to drink #3 which is my ‘limit’…unless its say, a holiday, football Sunday, a barbecue, or (especially) a pandemic.

I’ve been drinking for many years. Not in the morning, not hard liquor straight out of the bottle, not getting DUI’s, not ruining my life (although much of the drama of my twenties, and even thirties could be attributed to it, if I were willing to look with a critical eye! If I, like most humans, didn’t make up stories in order to live!) I’ve been in on the ‘wink!’ that motherhood and womanhood is so much easier with beer, wine, mixed drinks…whatever your ‘poison’. I’ve laughed and laughed at memoirs about women dealing with life ala alcohol and quite frankly, they’ve made me feel better about myself…because if we’re ‘all’ doing it, it’s a ‘thing’, it’s acceptable.

In the back of my mind though….there was always this tiny, unsettling feeling that there was something ‘off’ about drinking. I looked so forward to my evening vodka-grapefruit that there was a sense of the rest of my life being something I needed to ‘get over with’ so I could clear my chores and activities to do the one true thing I enjoyed: Drink. And once I sat down with the nightly drink, all other things were off the docket- except maybe reading before bed.

Drinking caused me to be bloated, and once buzzed I gave myself permission to open up the refrigerator and grab a little something (or three) because alcohol stimulates the appetite and decreases inhibitions, which is the perfect storm for bad eating decisions. I’m not talking about being skinny or vain or embracing being curvy. I’m talking about being reasonably healthy and not waking up feeling like a puffer-fish. A puffer fish with a headache!

Now add in the Pandemic and we’ve got a recipe for-if not disaster, then at least the worry that when it’s all over (if it’s all over) I’m going to be emerging as a lumbering alcoholic with negative self esteem. Understand that I have nothing against drinking other than the fact that in some instances I have no off switch and so drinking is not a take it or leave it for me. It affects my diet, my sleep, my confidence and my energy level. This is not the case for many others and I envy them their casual relationship with spirits!

How did I do it? On May 7th I stayed alcohol free, put a gold star on my calendar and began reading books about people-mostly women- getting sober. I read about 20 of these books- everything from ‘Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp, ‘Dry’ by Augusten Burroughs, ‘Lit ‘by Mary Karr, ‘The Recovering’ by Leslie Jamison, ‘The Sober Diaries’ by Clare Pooley, ‘Un wasted’ by Sacha Z. Scoblic….and many others. I owned some of them, I bought some, I got some from the library. I read every night for at least an hour, often more.

I’m making it sound easy- of course it was a challenge at times, longing for a drink. But as the number of alcohol free days grew so did my determination. Today is Day 162 and I have not had a sip. I sleep like a bear and have amazing dreams, eat normally and feel very in control of my life. It’s as if there is are embers glowing inside my chest, the feeling of well being so comforting. It’s NOT boring. In fact, I think that the feeling I was searching for through alcohol was actually already installed- only my drinking kept putting those embers out! Also-Bonus: no more social anxiety! Which is huge! I realize that being in quarantine makes that a little easier, but when I do go out-wearing a mask every time- I have no anxious feelings or weird ‘am I worthy’ conversations in my head. I know it’s a little early, but I honestly don’t see myself going back to booze, something I never thought I’d say. Five out of five, highly recommend.

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