This is a bit long and winding.
It’s been an year interesting, entertaining, and hopeful year. My last drink was a glass of wine on 3/5/2007, which tasted rather like shit by that point because I knew, knew, knew that learning to moderate wasn’t in the cards.
Since 3/6/2007, I have learned how to be honest with myself–I was an alcoholic for a long fucking time before I realized there was a problem. It was lack of access that kept me on an even keel for many years (I moved in with my grandmother when I started grad school, which limited my access to alcohol dramatically), but the signs were all available–binging, every Mary Sue in every story I wrote for years–since my teens–was an addict.
I knew well before I “knew,” I guess. I found several of these old stories and poems…I spent many years in dark places; it’s good to see the light.
Since 3/6/2007, I have lost 55 lbs (and counting). I’m smaller now that when I married (about where I was when I finished my BA nearly 10 years ago). I look and feel like a different person. I’ve remembered that I am a strong and capable woman, a fact I tried desperately to hide from (my ex told me, as he left me for his ex-fiancée) that I “was too strong” and he “didn’t think I needed” him. His voice spoke loudly to me for many of these ten years, and I’m glad to have finally learned to tell him to shut the hell up.
I stopped drinking even though alcohol is readily available in my home, as my husband still drinks. He no longer asks me if it bothers me, and most of the time it doesn’t (except when he goes to glass #3, at which point it becomes quite noticeable). I was told by my therapist (before he released me) that this was unusual and a mark of incredible resilience on my part.
I think that was probably a nice way of calling me stubborn, but it sounded good.
Drinking was an outlet for my natural bend toward compulsive behaviors and hyperactivity. It deadened both of those qualities. Because I suddenly have way more time than I know what to do with, my compulsive outlets are now reading and writing (which seems to bother my husband…especially the writing) and knitting (I taught myself how this year–called my first project my “sobriety blanket”–I have a “sobriety wall” in my garden too. See above regarding hyperactivity). I’ve also returned to running, which is fabulous.
Drinking was a cover and a release for anger. I’ve learned to deal somewhat more effectively with that anger, though I often simply retreat and release, rather than taking on the source of the anger at home. Taking it on, I discovered, tended to make my moods worse, since little ever changed. So, I step back and try to let go.
I’m a better mom than I was a year ago; my son is a happier kid, too. Don’t know if I’m a better wife; drinking allowed me to hide from a multitude of sins in my marriage (not all of them mine), and that cover is gone now. My refrain for today: “If you saw me yesterday, you wouldn’t recognize my face” (McKagan/Solger). If you are curious:
I am delighted than I have moved past Then into Now.