I think I am finally coming off the early sobriety pink cloud I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. The last week has been somewhere within the range of “meh” to downright bummed out.
You do hear some great things about early sobriety: relief from the guilt, a sense of possibility, having more energy, and no hangovers! (I super love the last one.) This can lead to magical thinking about sobriety: Once I am sober, everything will be awesome. But sobriety doesn’t change you. It doesn’t change everything. It just gets you and your bad boyfriend, alcohol (Cap’n Mo — I told you the drinking voice in my head is a pirate), out of your damn way so you can work on changing.
I knew drinking wasn’t going to “fix” everything when is I started this. I knew it. But there are things you know in your head that you don’t know in your heart and soul until you’ve lived them. Now I am working my way in to living a life that is, at present at least, about the same as its ever been, sans alcohol.
One thing that keeps going through my head when I have a wild attack of self-pity or frustration is just thinking “Okay I could drink tonight. I could totally choose that. I could observe myself buying a bottle of wine, triumphantly opening it, drinking it, and uttering a satisfied “There. That’s better. Fuck it!”
But what would it fix?” Seriously? I might have a few minutes of feeling like I got some treat I’d somehow earned just for having a bad day as a human being, but I wouldn’t feel any better going to bed half cut than I feel going to bed sober. And I’d pay for it the next day in guilt, guilt guilt: “To hell with it. Might as well buy a bottle tonight too. I can’t do this. I suck.” Self-pity/shame spiral. That’s how you fall off the wagon.
I got through the night before last without drinking, and it was still a crap night, but it was a crap night unaccompanied by the delusion that I needed alcohol to get through a crap night, or that alcohol would somehow make the night less crap. Once you stop operating under that very entrenched belief that alcohol “takes the edge off,” you can see that your life is just your life with all its regular ups and downs that happen no matter what. And you can at least start asking yourself, “Okay. This is my life. Now what?” That’s a scary feeling. But it is a different and better feeling than being stuck on the roller coaster. At least my feet are on the ground now.