The weather is warm. Because I quit drinking last summer I think the sights and sounds and smells are drawing my attention to time. I used to plug the date into a “days since” calculator every couple of days and I remember getting into the twenties and thinking “Holy shit, I think I’m gonna make 30 days.” I think I will make 365 even though we still have over three months until then. Maybe it is being sober in four seasons that feels like I have spent a year dry. Or even being able to conceptualize a year dry?
My mother needed surgery last week so I came to stay with her in the hospital and help her at home. All went well for both of us. My father died 15 years ago so I had anxiety about trusting my mother’s life to a surgeon. I have seen behind the curtain yo. But I tried something new. When worst case scenarios came to mind, I chose to stop giving those thoughts my attention and told myself rather sternly “No. We are not feeding negative bullshit today.” So much of what I have worried about has not come to pass but my brain fixates on “but but BUT it is totally possible that everything will go wrong and I’ll wish I was dead.” Assuming the wrong-going did not include my untimely death. I suppose if that oil tanker that keeps drifting to the left explodes and kills me then I won’t have time to wish I was dead. I worry about things like that…being hit by trucks carrying flammables. It’s almost amusing that the same person who often gets stuck in WHY AM I HEEEEERE is also super paranoid about random acts of God or distraction snuffing her out.
At any rate, seriously bring a nurse from home if you can. This era of healthcare is so dangerously understaffed that the only way to get great nursing care is to bring your own. Really for the survival of your genetic lines every family should have a person who took one for the team and became a nurse. Mom is doing well. I was grateful to be there.
I took her to visit her mother who is 95 and still living at home wearing better clothes than I ever bother to put on. SuperGrammy and I went to Belk’s because she wanted to shop for something pretty for my mom. I lost track of her (she scoots off faster than you would think) and had a pretty good chuckle when I looked around and realized that searching for white hair in Belk’s department store did not narrow it down at all. With my post-op mom and her super elderly mom at a certain point I was a bit worn out from doing the shopping, cleaning, don’t-pick-that-up-and-you-shouldn’t-be-driving conversating and I sat them both in front of Fox news with some snacks so I could take a nap. I never had children but replace Sean Hannity with Teletubbies and I think that about covers it. I was glad to do it, they have both put in hard work for me before. And I was glad that I was sober. I didn’t have to hide airplane bottles of liquor in my bag so I could sleep at night.
So here’s a weird thing. I did not really want to come home. ???? I quite enjoyed being around my family. Brother and sis-in-law are expecting a baby, SuperGrammy is a gem, my mother is cool even though she watches Fox news and listens to Dr Laura. Being sober, I was not kind of looking forward to getting home so I could drink a bottle of wine. I always kept my consumption pretty under the radar back in the bad ol’ days. The only place I got sloppy drunk was in my own home. Alone. And I kept it to one standard drink when I had to work the next day so I was never hung over at work. Gimme four days off though and I could easily spend three drinking before sobering up the fourth day to get my shit together before going back to work the next morning. I kind of liked working because it kept me from drinking too much. Now that I’m sober, going to work is not a hiatus from alcohol and it is mostly a pain my ass. Like…I do not want to go. I dread going. Good news, bad news. Good news: I am not utterly miserable in myself and I can stand to be unoccupied. Bad news: absolutely must make a major career change.
The rose wine colored glasses are off and damn, it’s time to change some stuff. There are at least twenty things I can name right NOW that I could be changing but I decided to start with my hair color. Which truly is like number 72 if we listed in these order of importance. But whatevs. I have had black hair and brown hair and red hair and purple hair but never blonde. I dreamed my hair was blonde and I liked it so I had it made blonde yesterday. It looks kind of cool. Totally frivolous but also proof that I am willing to take a chance and that has to have SOME merit. I am so pathologically afraid of failure that I frequently find myself unable to do anything. If I am ever to get unstuck, I will have to DO something.
Progress feels terribly slow. I have so many stressors at play. I still don’t much know how to handle them. I do, however, have to admit that I am healthier than I was a year ago. Last April I was carrying so much extra weight and I was pasty and bloated and bruisy. I opened a gym membership and had to borrow clothes to go because none of mine fit. I was woefully out of shape. The actual picture of a woman who has given up. I REALLY had to fight my embarrassment at my physical condition to go in there every day. God, I looked horrible. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror at the gym this evening I realized that I have come a long way. I am still twenty pounds overweight but that is down from forty pounds overweight. My body has a shape again, it is not a blob of misery and despair. I am not embarrassed to walk in the gym doors.
It is starting to look that my only accomplishment by the time of my one year jubilee will be that I stayed sober for a year. I will not be in my fittest ever body. I will not have filed my taxes in January instead of on April 14. I will not have purged and organized all of my belongings. I will not be in some amazing new relationship where we do yoga in the mornings together. I will not have sorted all my financials. I will not be a new person. I will probably just be me. But at least I will be ME and not a drunken shadow of myself. I’m trying.