Probably lots of things. Probably managing your dental hygiene is a pretty low-level adult skill. Like “does not leave front door open all night.” Or “pays electric bill at least eight times a year.” But I hate going to the dentist so here we are. A molar with a huge filling broke and I had no doubt decay played a role in that. Fifteen years of on/off bulimia is hell on your teeth. Anorexia, bulimia, alcohol abuse…why am I so fucked up? My parents were Ozzie and Harriet for crying out loud. The tv version, not the real life version that netted Ricky Nelson doing a ton of blow in the 70’s. Anyway, my molars are probably more porcelain than tooth. Sidenote, I find it so bizarre that bone grows out of your head so that you can chew up food. I don’t know why. But mine have issues from being abused (still look fine, god bless dental insurance) and I figured I wasn’t getting out of this with less than a crown.

This *should* be very distressing to me. The pain. The expense. The embarrassment. The worry that a root canal is waiting for me. However…and I think we have to acknowledge two weeks on an SSRI here…I was quite calm.  I have had a good dentist for 10 years and he does not mind throwing the nitrous on me to ease my nerves. I last accidentally bit a dentist when I was 25. It goes better if you just get me high. However, I know from behind the curtain with The Wizard that you need more sedation for regular drinkers and more MORE sedation for regular heavy drinkers. This time within a couple minutes on the gas, I had to ask to turn it down. So yay me, my sedation threshold is getting back to baseline. And I got away with just a new filling. A big one and it hurt my head but still…free vs $500.

I was complaining to my mother about my face hurting and she said “you probably don’t have any alcohol in the house but a swig of something might help the pain.” So I know that she has heard me say that I’m not drinking because she guessed I didn’t have alcohol. I know that her grandmother…like many southern grandmothers…kept whiskey for pain emergencies. My great-grandmother rubbed whiskey on my gums when I was teething. It’s a real thing from back when people didn’t have access to good pain medication. We’re a resourceful people. I said that I actually do have a bottle of vodka in the house but I don’t drink it. My mom said “well if you just have a little for medicinal purposes.” I laughed and said “Yeah but I can get really liberal with the definition of medicinal purposes.” Then she dropped the suggestion. When I say that I was the only person who thought I might die, I speak truth. I guess I’m glad that I wasn’t a sloppy public spectacle but it is so weird to quit drinking, know that it was a profound decision and nobody notices. I did not partake in medicinal vodka.

I went to the gym after the dentist yesterday and ouch, my arms are feeling it today. It was good to get a work out done. I am down 13 inches and 13 pounds since I stopped drinking and started hippie eating (a hippie diet, not actual hippies) so even though I fell off work outs and clean eating for several weeks, we have progress. And I feel better about 2 to 3 weeks back on ssri. Probably why I was able to get to the gym. Probably why I am bothering to get good food and take my vitamins. Fewer episodes of lion-chasing-me anxiety. I contacted an organization where I was a volunteer previously and have a meeting there on Monday morning. I stopped volunteering 4-ish years ago when early Saturday mornings really didn’t fit with my Friday night drinking. Eating well, working out, community involvement. Sober days: 148.

In five days I will be five months sober. Five months is a lot longer than I intended. I meant to dry out for two weeks. Then thirty days. Then it just seemed obvious that sober me was better than drunk me so I just kept saying “no thanks, liquor, you were a shit friend to me.” Night after night. I still don’t frame my intention as “I am never going to drink again.” My intention is to make a life that I don’t need to be drunk to tolerate. And I am pretty sure I have to be sober to do that. So here we are. Five months in five days.

10 thoughts on “Is there anything more grown-up than going to the dentist?

  1. I have had plenty of teeth problems, so I get it!
    I had an implant that cost me over, $9,000.
    5 months!
    And it is so good to be reconnected with the rest of the world.
    I love my volunteering “job”, and it makes me feel really good to help someone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on your sober days. Just thinking about the dentist makes my mouth feel weird. I haven’t been in way too long. I’ve never had nitrous. Well, not at the dentist, I wonder if it would help. Does it ease anxiety?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does for me. I get way too tense, I have cried (as an adult) in the chair, I have been embarrased by myself. The nitrous makes me not care, like being relaxed and sleepy. He gives it to me even for cleanings. So I keep up with stuff better. I went 4 years once without seeing a dentist bc I had so much anxiety. Since I found sedation dentistry, I go at least once a year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on 5 months! I think I’m right behind you. Tuesday is my 5 months… I admire that you started out thinking 2 weeks and now it’s 5 months…and yes, I think the key is building the life we want to live sober. I’m finding that doesn’t happen overnight (shock!) so I’m keeping the faith. Some days are easier than others. 🎉👊🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  4. 5 months is great. And it’s really best to not drink while taking SSRIs.
    I quit for a year 3 years ago. I decided I needed a break. It turned out I needed sobriety. I didn’t realize just how severe my anxiety had become. I never want it to come back.

    I had a root canal recently and it didn’t even hurt. Shocker!


    Liked by 1 person

  5. I stopped drinking for over a year but since I was with my fiance’s family just last Christmas, I had a drink. It actually felt weird. The beer tasted different though it was the same label I was drinking before. Because of that, I didn’t ask for another bottle.
    I guess being sober for a year does that to your body, I’m not sure with the others but for me I think that was the effect.
    And I dread having root canal. I’d rather nurse the pain I’m experiencing that go through the process. Call me a whiner but that’s just me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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