Hiiiii. Blogging when I'm not on my computer daily (holidays what what) is a bit of a chore. But the Weebly app is a thing so hooray.
I feel way more in control of my emotions the past week and a half. I've been practicing a meditation technique from my Headspace app (the self esteem sessions) where anytime I have a bad thought - I acknowledge it as "Oh, feelings" and it helps me manage it. It's especially hard because I'm one to focus super hard on ex bfs/rejection feelings. It's kind of Self Worth 101 stuff. But when I can tell I'm gonna start overthinking or Instagram stalking (or doing whatever other form a negative spiral might take) and I just try to catch myself mid-thought and think "Oh hey - those feelings." Acknowledging them without diving into them helps. It's an extension of the meditation technique of thinking about thoughts as passing cars or moving clouds. You see them but you don't need to attend to them all individually. They just come and go.
I don't know if some of this mental calm is from not drinking, or if checking in daily (aka these blog posts) or just ... more time has passed from some of the shitty stuff I've been trying to work through. But I'm starting to forgive myself and love myself. Not just as far as past relationships go. But, in general. I feel optimistic and like good things are coming. I feel like it's easier to emit a higher frequency more of the time.
That being said, I have been a little bit grumpy as fuck this holiday season. I want to be happy all the time duh, but I also think I'm allowed to have days where my guard is a little more up. I can be prickly and that's okay. Just a gentle reminder to myself to lead with love and kindness, when possible.
Not really sure who is reading / if anyone is reading daily but I'm super grateful for all the support I've received. I've heard other success stories and other personal journey stories and other mental health stories that have 1000% inspired me since opening up about what I'm doing. I've tried to be sober so many other times but I finally feel like I have some momentum. And a huge part is just having a rad community of friends.
Gonna meditate and sleep and wake up and do it all again. Looking forward to setting some intentions next year in the coming days. Also super happy that I started this whole journey before January 1. My soul didn't want to wait and I was tired of making excuses about why I could still drink. Okay. Babbling now. Over and out.
Last night, I had a really weird feeling come over me. Just like. Woah. I'm safe. I don't have to drink. It's over. I don't have to do it anymore. It's crazy how sometimes we forget our own internal power. A small example of this has been just saying "I'm not going to drink for a year" vs. "I'm going to try to not drink for a year." It's kind of like being in love – you have to keep making the choice to be with someone day after day. An active choice. Same with this resolution... I just have to wake up everyday and keep choosing it. And right now, that thought feels pretty liberating.
That being said, last night was also weird and hard. I went out for my best friend's birthday and had, like, 3 mocktails, 2 hot lemon waters and 2 soda waters. So I was keeping up with my friend and the guys we were with (eh, kinda) but ... just not getting drunk. It was kind of awkward being the only sober one and I sort of felt like I was missing out or being a prude.
The beginning of the night/dinner was so fun but then it made me kind of anxious to explain to everyone why I wasn't drinking. I wasn't sure how they'd take it or how real I had to be... or wanted to be. No one I was with pressured me to drink. I just said I was on a cleanse. End of story. The one dude we were with was talking about how he has thought about doing "cleanses" but how dating and his job get in the way. He was explaining how he'll often meet up with a new dating prospect over drinks. How he'll often take out a new client for drinks. Or dinner with drinks. How he'll catch up with old friends over a drink. Which I totally get. It feels impolite to have someone ask "do you want a drink?" and to have to decline. Last night, I just combatted that with keeping my hands busy with virgin drinks.
It's definitely going to take some getting used to. And honestly, unless I feel comfortable with someone, I think the "I'm on a cleanse" thing is a really easy-out. People do cleanses. It doesn't mean I'm "sober" and it doesn't have any stigma. Hopefully as this progresses, I'll stop caring so much what other people think and try to think more deeply about the idea of being sober and what stigma that does or doesn't carry.
Today I am just tired as fuck because I didn't leave the bar until 1AM and then didn't get fully asleep until like 3:30AM. It's fine though. I'm gonna do some major pampering tonight -- bubble bath, foot scrub, knitting in front of the TV with a cup of tea, some minor cuddles with my dog. Because I'm worth it.
So. Part of this whole thing is reckoning with... why am I actually doing this?
I was reading an article in The Guardian this morning about sobriety being the new drunk, which said, "[The growing number of young people who are ditching the hooch] is not full of recovering addicts, but rather people who value mindfulness, spandex and green juice."
It goes on to talk about trendiness, clarity and other new-agey reasons for sobriety.
I kind of find myself in a crossroads between a few different things, when it comes to reckoning with my choice to "try" sobriety. I definitely feel like I have a drinking problem. I have a really hard time with moderation and three drinks can easily turn into ten for me. Which is scary. I've often felt out of control and it's been the catalyst for a lot of immature, hurtful and unsafe behaviors. So, there's that element of it. Which I am not proud to admit. But it's part of it. I've also been drinking on and off since I was around 15. The first time I ever drank alcohol, I drank so much that I puked. It's been extreme since the start.
There's also a layer of moderate depression that comes into play. I take medication for depression and generalized anxiety disorder. And.... that's not a cocktail that mixes well with alcohol. I've been on these meds for about a year now, and I can tell a huge difference in how my body reacts to alcohol. I definitely didn't drink as much in the past year as I did in college, but I feel like the combination of alcohol with my meds really left me feeling jumbled and my hangovers weren't physical so much as emotional. Like, reallllly dark thoughts. Really intense negative thoughts about myself and life.
So that's where clarity comes in. And, lucky me! Apparently clairty is trendy. I'm looking forward to no hangovers, less shame-centric thoughts and learning more about... self control. And, bonus! I can focus on just dealing with my depression and anxiety, without adding substances that are... depressants. Substances that make shit harder.
Well, this is kind of shaping up that I'm writing about the evening of Day 2 on Day 3 but that's fine. This whole shit will work itself out.
So last night, I went to TWO holiday party/friend shindig things and didn't drink at either, which felt really great. I told my friend Eleanor* before I arrived that I was doing this blog so I wouldn't be drinking and then she asked me to bring a bottle of wine along with me. Which like, was totally fine. I don't like to show up to dinner parties without some sort of offering.
When I arrived at the party, she was like "I think you should have some wine! Maybe you should just start your sobriety tomorrow." And then I said, "Welllllllllll, I already started my blog." And that was that. She was totally gracious and kind about it. Everyone I've told so far has been really supportive. And then, I poured sparkling peach iced tea into a wine glass and everything was 100% fine. I also brought my puppy along with me, who is a 10 pound chihuhua mix and a great conversation starter / Hey-I'm-Not-Drinking-But-I-Dont-Want-To-Really-Talk-About-It-With-Casual-Acquaintances distractor.
I ate some bomb ass rigatoni with homemade meatballs that Eleanor's boyfriend made. I didn't feel self-conscious about not drinking and only felt awkward because I had to dip early to go to the other party.
Thennnnn. At the other party - everything was mainly over and folks were winding down and getting high. I didn't partake in any weed or alcohol at this party and then... my dog pooped on the floor. In his defense, it was like -7 degrees, which made him whimper and shake during our normal walk. So I cut it really short and we didn't have a normal day of potty outside. (I swear to God, having a dog makes you way shameless about poop and pee and vomit and all that good stuff). The worst part was that his poop was kind of dangling out of his butt and wouldn't come all the way out. He was so mortified. He ran underneath a chair afterwards. I was pretty mortified too, to be honest. It's pretty awkward to run around trying to help your pooping dog in a room of 20-ish acquaintances. And then like, two people I actually knew well. But! I didn't drink.
Felt really good this morning. I'm sure I would have felt OK after one or two glasses of wine or whatever too. But it was nice to just stick with it and not have the fear of binging or doing any dumb shit.
Today is easy because it's Sunday. It's also only 2pm and afternoons are easy.
Yesterday was weird and hard. I started knitting a scarf, which I haven't done in about three years. I also listened to Someone Knows Something - a true crime / missing person podcast about a boy who was lost in Ontario. I think about 40+ years ago. I also started watching a show on Hulu called Horace and Pete. It's a dark comedy written by Louis C.K. It is written/directed in the style of a play. I was told by a close friend that it would "fuck me up" but honestly it wasn't so terribly upsetting. I like how it confronts the dark realities of a Trump world and the shitty dynamics that sometimes exist in families.
So pretty much I just stayed as busy as possible to keep my mind off shame and weird feelings.
So. I still probably have alcohol in my system. I ate some junk food at the mall today while finishing up my holiday shopping. An Auntie Anne's pretzel and then some mega-sugar-caramel-coffee thing from Cinnabon. Shame eating.
I have focused on being more careful with drinking over the past 6-12 months and it's been an intense struggle. This past week especially. I've felt dangerously compelled to drink — actively looking forward to escaping my thoughts. I've even, like, done the plug my nose/close my eyes thing to make it easier to throw back wine. I've been having a glass of wine at lunch to try to prevent shitty withdrawal feelings.
I could get deeply into others' perceptions of my relationship with alcohol but now I'm scared. I don't want to dwell on negative thoughts others may have about me. I don't want to write that story.
I want to move forward brilliantly and focus everyday on the complex and simple ways my body and mind react to the absence of alcohol.
I also wonder if I have addictions to codependency and shame. I hope to figure some of that stuff out on this journey, as well. But I'm not going to be perfect, and I don't expect myself to be.
How can I set clear intentions for this that aren't shitty? Okay, here we go.
So here it goes. Day one.