So I went on my trip. Even though anxiety was telling me that my house was gonna catch fire and my cat would die while I was gone. I got up that morning and I did laundry, I cleaned out my car, I took out 60 gallons of recycling, I cleaned out the refrigerator, I cleaned one bathroom, I hung curtains and then I packed up the dog and we took off for my birthday week.
I met my mother, my brother and my new sister-in-law at the cabin where we used to go every fall growing up. We have not been there since my dad died. I felt like it was time to go back. It was lovely. And my brother who eloped in a hippie mountain wedding several months ago was introducing me to his wife for the first time. We don’t live in the same state so I also thought this would be a good way to get to know each other and show her a place that was special to my brother and our family. She was great and really appreciated the significance of the place. My mom seemed to enjoy it too. New sister-in-law asked if I wanted wine, I responded “I’m on hiatus from alcohol” and she graciously did not follow up with any questions.
I really had not thought about how to answer offers of alcohol as I step back into social affairs. I think because this is a person with whom I hope to develop a relationship, “no thanks” seemed not enough and “ohhhhhhh, girl, I drank way too much and had to stop!” seemed like too big a share. For just a moment I felt defective. Like I should be able to say “Yes! Let’s get a bottle!” But it’s my choice. I don’t want to lubricate my social interactions with alcohol anymore because it really led to superficiality and emotional isolation. I want to be present in my life.
I also survived a vice presidential debate watched with my mother and grandmother and HOURS in a car with my mother listening to Dr Laura. I hate Dr Laura. A) false advertising because not a psychologist or psychiatrist B) SELF HATING SHREW WHO ABUSES PEOPLE WHO CALL HER FOR HELP. The answer to everything is basically “your problem, dear, is that you’re a slut.” Somebody who is naked on the internet in pics taken by her married lover should REALLY invest in some nerf rocks because those stones she’s throwing will crack her glass house.
Anywho, this caller lady got as far as “I’m a recovering alcoholic” before she was cut off and informed there is nothing respectable about calling yourself that and then that two years of sobriety is too short to be getting married. Not-a-doctor Laura told this woman she should spend at least five years just being sober, working and going to AA meetings. My fury was rising. Not qualified to give advice, she tells a woman to basically spend five years in a life time-out.
Fuck you, Not-a-doctor Laura, and fuck that horse of shame you rode in on. That same old worn out 1950’s thinking that if you abstain from alcohol then you are sick and must treat yourself like a leper. If you drink “normally” (whatever that is) then you’re fine but if you don’t drink because you saw behind the fucking curtain then you can’t be trusted to participate in life. Bitch please, if drunk people wanted to keep missing out on life, we’d STAY drunk. The whole reason I’ve quit drinking is to soak up life. Not to sit in time-out because I was a bad girl who drank too much. Yes, yes…unhealthy amount of rage at a voice in my mother’s radio but feeling the feelings is what I do now.
I wasn’t the most engaged I’ve ever been because I was dealing with low-level anxiety about my house and money and all that grown-up shit I’ve neglected. I was more engaged than when I was secret drinking airplane bottles of hibiscus vodka at night when I went visiting. It was a victory that I went at all when the anxiety was so revved up. It was a huge victory that I enjoyed a lot of it. Double victory that I did it sober. I wish I could have been more fully present in the…present. But for me it was progress even if not perfection.
Learning to be happy NOW, not LATER when everything is perfect….that was something I needed to work on before I started drinking and it was right here waiting for me when I sobered up. So I’m sober. But I’m still me. I have all the same issues as before I started drinking plus the issues I acquired while not drinking away the first set of issues.
I dreamed that I drank half a beer after work before I remembered that I’m not drinking. I spit out the beer in my mouth as soon as I remembered. In the dream I was really mad at myself for forgetting not to drink but then I was happy that I didn’t want to get drunk. I really don’t think that I’m going to end up being a sofa drunk again because I really want better than that. More than that. Slogging through these growing pains seems to be part of the deal so slog I shall.