I am one week shy of one year of sobriety. I had no idea when I quit drinking that the easiest part was going to be not putting alcohol to my lips. A few weeks of reading sober blogs, like alllllll the sober blogs, to keep myself goal focused (and also really to keep myself company) in those tricky evening hours, a handful of nights of really really REALLY wanting a drink, a few anxious events that required some white knuckling it through the day. But by and large, not pouring alcohol in a glass has been the easy part. How to manage my weird little brain without self medicating is still a challenge and a bit of a mystery.

I remember carefully stepping into social activities, sort of cradling this early sobriety in my arms, not wanting it to break. That turned out to be pretty easy too. It seems I prefer not constantly having to pee at concerts and not wasting my attention and energy on trying to get buzzed enough to feel happy without getting drunk enough to draw attention to my drunkenness. I did lose a couple of “friends” when I stopped drinking. The invitations just sort of stopped and ones I extended were turned down. I find this odd because I have not been high on sobriety and spreading the word. I don’t talk about it at all unless someone asks. But even “Nah, none for me. I’m taking a break.” was enough to make a couple of people uncomfortable. And that’s fine. I have to just assume that those relationships don’t serve me at this point in time. I’m not angry about it, not even hurt by it.

On the other hand, a nurse I know casually who was a pretty hard drinker (the times I had socialized with her in the past anyway) seems to have started quietly moving along her own sober path a few months after I did. We socialize a bit more together now, neither of us talking about alcohol or sobriety beyond the first time she asked “Are you not drinking tonight?” and I said no, I had decided to take a break from that and she said she was taking a break too. I think people can sense sometimes fellow travellers. So some old connections fall away and some new ones come along.

Sobriety has not had a profound impact on my social life. Maybe because I was a secret drunk? I didn’t have relationships where alcohol was a primary activity. I have noticed that my casual, low drama mentions that I quit drinking do sometimes draw follow up questions from longtime friends who I would never have guessed are having doubts about their relationships with substances. I guess my tribe is sneaky. A long time on/off dating situation was moving out of state and in helping him pack, I found the AA book hidden in a drawer. Who knew? He was a work hard, play hard stereotype so I never thought that he thought his drinking was a problem. I never thought it was either. My tribe is sneaky. Even amongst each other, we keep it normal looking and laugh off getting trashed like that hasn’t happened since college.

Sneaky. Even as I wonder if one year of continuous sobriety is enough to drink like a normal now, what I look back at and am very glad to be rid of is the sneaking. To put no effort into hiding a drinking habit is a great relief. I can take trips without airplane bottles of vodka stashed in my suitcase. I don’t need to rotate my business through various liquor stores because I have zero business now. It is one less thing to worry about. Unfortunately, there are a million other things to worry about and I am still struggling with how to manage anxiety and live a meaningful life. But at least hiding my recycling isn’t one of them.

And I dyed my hair blonde. Bright, golden blonde. After easing in with caramel highlights since spring, I took the leap into spun gold. Just because I have never been blonde and I wanted to try it. It’s only hair, but leaping takes practice and that’s as good a place as any to start.

 

9 thoughts on “Observations from 357 days

  1. This is a great post and certainly something that helps a newbie like me stay on track. I agree with everything you have written. I don’t miss needing to pee constantly. Or even always having a drink in my hand. It’s so nice to feel unencumbered at an event. — One thing I admire most is your acceptance of the loss of “friends”. I am struggling with this as I already had so little friends. It’s difficult seeing others go. Hopefully that is something that comes with time and acceptance of sobriety in general….

    Regardless! Thank you for sharing your experiences and OMG! Congrats on just about to make it a full year! Amazing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I don’t have a lot of friends lately either. Many of my closest have moved away the last 3 years. So it happened that the time I have spent not drinking has been a good time to focus on myself anyway. I think that learning to live with myself is probably the lesson I have to learn in order to move forward. In the interest of full disclosure, I went from rarely drinking to questionable drinking in maybe 18 months. Spent the next 4 years thinking I should probably quit but never had the courage to try. I tried switching to beer from liquor, tried one drink per day limits, tried every other day, tried the hell out of moderation but would still end up accidentally getting DRUNK once a week. So once I actually decided no mΓ‘s, I have managed to stick with it on the first try but by then I was legit sick and tired of being sick and tired and had pretty much accepted that moderation was not working for me.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, you’re so close to a year and that’s awesome! Congratulations. I think if everybody that worried about their drinking suddenly decided to open up and be honest we’d be stunned at how many people are affected. I know most people wouldn’t even begin to imagine me as having a problem, it was a fairly well-hidden one. Take care, be well πŸ™‚

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Wow!
    A year!
    I am so happy for you!
    Most of my friends do not drink much. I only had two or three co-worker friends who were drinking buddies.
    I do ask people for walks or coffee, and that is all I really need!
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on one year, that’s a wonderful accomplishment. Your perspectives are very helpful and inspiring, thank you for sharing.
    Love and alcoholfree hugs
    From New Zealand πŸ”†πŸ™‹πŸ½πŸŒπŸŒ΄

    Liked by 1 person

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