Alcohol Free is my new Sober
Sept 17 - DAY 79 - I haven’t posted in a while because my mind has been all over the place and I haven’t been able to come up with a ‘topic’ that’s captivating and teachable-momenting…… Then I realized that the point of a blog is to just WRITE. So here I go……
My beautiful, brave friend Susan succumbed to her pancreatic cancer on August 23rd. She fought for well over a year. And this was her SECOND fight. Her first battle was 6 years ago where she overcame breast cancer. Who knew that bastard would be lurking in her body ready to take her just when she arrived at the point in life we all strive for as mothers: You see your kids grow up into cool, productive adults who marry amazing, supportive spouses. Your daughter blesses the family with your first grandchild, a boy with gorgeous red hair and smiles for days. You are planning your 3rd trip to Paris and have finally finished grieving over your recently passed father.
On the weekend was her memorial. It was a casual, by-appointment-only open house where we reminisced over power point photos (largely supplied by yours truly) while gazing at her empty cowboy boots that hoofed a thousand steps over dance floors across the province. It was an incredibly cleverly planned event that enabled people to book an hour slot to pay their respects, exchange some memories and then leave so others could have a turn. The staff served: Wine, beer, tap water orange juice and iced tea. It was my friend’s funeral, so no, I am not complaining about the beverages offered. Yes, I do wish there was at least bubbly water, but it was a 1-2 hour event, I could survive without it. The real exercise for me was this: I knew I wasn’t drinking wine, but I realized in those moments that my wine addiction was so much more than the booze.
I fidget. I guzzle. I can’t sit still. I can’t engage in a conversation without my hands being constantly busy. It’s as if I want to create some kind of distraction for others, by keeping my hands constantly moving, so they can’t get a good LOOK at me. Because if they do, they will see all my flaws. They will see the blemishes on my face, they will notice my one eye is slightly set lower than the other. They will notice I have some weight to lose. So that’s it, keep lifting a glass, cross your arms, curl up a napkin into a tight ball, but for the love of God, do not stand there, vulnerable with nothing in your hands. So I drank water. I think I had 5 glasses of water and 1 iced tea in the space of 2 hours. I sure felt cleansed. I knew that if I had been drinking wine, I would have had at least 4 glasses in the 2 hours. I would have sent my husband for one, and of course my friends would bring back 2 from the bar, “1 for me, 1 for you” so no one would know which glass of wine I was actually on. I must write about this on another day........
After the service we then moved on to a dinner party at another friend’s house. There were 12 of us in total and it was a lovely, intimate affair. (COVID precautions present, somewhat). I enjoyed my special tonic and seedlip spirits. Hubby enjoyed a berry “Bubbly” and we simply enjoyed sitting and catching up on current events and the latest Netflix releases. After dinner, I poured a huge cup of tea and continued to visit, laugh, be witty, engage in discussion and also – sit back, listen and observe. That was the biggest takeaway from the evening. How I pressed myself to ‘pause’, be present and enjoy the moment. I didn’t need to always add to a conversation, or add a joke at the end, which may or may not have failed. I didn’t fill my sentences with a bunch of off-color words. I was just myself, in my own skin. It felt really, really amazing.
Yes, we were the first to leave; with the group understanding that we had had a very emotional day with the service in the afternoon. In reality, it was nearing 9pm, my new AF bedtime and I was exhausted. It still is so refreshing to drive home at the end of the evening not having that feeling in the pit of my stomach with the fear I could get pulled over and possibly not pass a breathalyzer.
It was a huge day in my AF growth (I’ve decided I really HATE the word sober, so I am going to define myself today as AF (alcohol free). As I write this blog, I started it on day 76 and today I am on day 79, so I find it interesting that I have had a few more days of growth and self-discovery. I start every day reading from my ‘sober coach’, Belle’s blog tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com and her post from her day 78 read something like “what keeps me from drinking is that I’m afraid I will regret it”. That did it for me today. Kind of like a mic drop moment.