Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day 51

Sunday morning sobriety is some of my very favorite sobriety. Waking up feeling truly rested, no headache, no dizziness, no worrying about what sort of emotions or arguments happened the night's just grand.  Getting out to the grocery and back again before ten is grand too. No crowds.  I overheard someone in the checkout line telling their cashier "we've learned to come on Sunday morning because everyone's either at church or still in bed hungover." I didn't say anything but I smiled because yup, me too.

Being sober makes everything on a Sunday morning easier, even dog puke. No kidding!  When I got up fully rested at 7:15 even though I'd been reading till one the first thing I noticed was  beagle-vomit all over the floor. When I was drinking, this would have certainly sent me into a tailspin. Probably with tears, definitely with bemoaning my life loudly to whomever might be around. Cleaning it would have been miserable too because Sunday morning "fine" used to be "only a little dizzy and my head doesn't hurt unless I move it too suddenly" and Sunday morning "don't feel good at all" was "icepick headache, thirsty but throwing up also sounds like a good idea, I'll feel better in a few hours lemme just lie down on the couch a while."  Today I thought the same "oh FUCK!" but instead of going into a full-blown tizzy I dealt with the other morning things, including sitting down with my tea, then just cleaned it up without much fuss at all but with thanks that I hadn't stepped in it before the lights were on and that it was vomit and not diarrhea.

Now that I'm nearly two months along, I'm appreciating all the time sobriety gives back. At first it was constantly thinking about NOT drinking and fighting all those deeply ingrained voices and responses saying that alcohol is the solution to everything good bad or otherwise. Then a lot of indulgence because I was deprived of my primary coping mechanism, not to mention fatigue and an emotional rollercoaster. However in the past few days I've begun enjoying the fact that not only are my evenings freed up to do useful or fun things but I can hit the ground running every morning.  Well, not literally running as I am exceedingly deconditioned but you get the idea. No more waiting till later in the day to start doing the stuff OF the day.

Not only that but if I'm awake I'm completely aware and that's nice too. This past February I went on my first cruise completely sober the entire time which I know for a fact made it far more enjoyable.  Even if I had only been drinking a little bit in the evening I would have still had lousy sleep which would have dulled the entire following morning and I had too many new and unique experiences to want that.  I snorkeled for the first time ever, gambled for the first time ever, left the United States for the first time ever, interacted with dolphins for the first time ever...and I was fully present for all of it. Sober vacationing is definitely the way to go.

I did get a bit of pushback. On night two when we were all finding like-minded cruise buddies one of the women in my group (already on her second if not third cocktail) noticed I was ordering club soda (BTW get double lime or double lemon so you can make an Actual Drink by squeezing them - one wedge doesn't cut it) and said "oh, you don't drink then?"  Just saying "no" would have been the wiser choice but I foolishly said "not any more." That turned into "oh so you used to drink but quit; why?" I don't know what inspired me to burst forth with "It started kicking my ass" but that's what fell out of my face. Absolutely true but not nearly as innocuous as "it wrecks my sleep" which is also true. In any case I figured that would be the end of it perhaps with a simple "oh" or even "well good for you."  Nope - I got "oh are you in recovery then?" While my stunned gears were spinning fruitlessly for a response she continued "because it's fine if you are; my bestie back home is in recovery and she says it's great; really turned her life around."

Well.  Fortunately the adjacent conversation became suddenly more interesting to her because I was sitting there with my feathers thoroughly ruffled thinking "I'm not in recovery; I just decided I should quit drinking" followed immediately by "but there's nothing wrong with recovery; weren't you earlier considering checking out one of the nightly Friends of Bill meetings?" In any case it was rather shocking but she turned out to be a rather shocking - in primarily entertaining ways - person in all other aspects so I got over it right away, A day or two later when one of our other companions was struggling with and complaining about a really rotten hangover I leaned in and quietly said "That.  That right there is why I gave it up."

In any case that was as difficult as not-drinking-while-vacationing ever got and there were at least three other people in my group who also didn't drink. I never did make it to a Friends of Bill meeting partly because they conflicted with evening trivia which my group fiercely adopted and partly because I wasn't really ready. However I did remember Belle's wise words which, paraphrased, are "if anyone notices or comments on you not drinking then you can be assured they have issues with alcohol too...normal people just don't notice or care." I also remembered that at pretty much any social gathering there's usually at least one other person NOT drinking: in addition to the two club-soda-double-lime cruise buddies I remembered several club-soda-and-lime colleagues, a tonic-water colleague, an orange-juice-and-tonic-water colleague and even a Shirley Temple colleague. Jason Vale, if I recall correctly, favored pineapple juice. Now, months later, I remember everything about that cruise with nothing but enjoyment and a smidge of pride. No fuzzy-at-the-edges anything.

Coming full circle back to today...even though I spent a huge chunk of time on the couch finishing my novel after the food-shopping, I still had plenty of time to do all my other tasks and felt good while doing them. I also felt good about just taking my time with things as I didn't need to rush-rush-rush to prove to myself and everyone else that "see?!? My alcohol consumption SO does NOT get in the way of any of my chores or fun or anything!"  It takes more than just a week or two to reach this point - took me every bit of a month-plus this time - but I am SO glad to be out of that stupid rat-race.

And now I'm glad to be able to have written a lovely longer post but it will soon be bedtime for me. I touched on a bunch of topics (sober beverages, clarity, time, AA, Jason Vale) but as that same woman whose bestie is in recovery (she's really interesting and fun; we've stayed social-media friends) says, "we'll put a pin in that."


  1. Happy belated Day 50! Was out of town so just checking back in. I'm so laughing at the Friends of Bill mention. I was on my 4th cruise before I realized what that group was about. Kept thinking "wow, a lot of reunions seem to be taking place for some guy named Bill on every ship I'm on!" Thanks for the fun reminder of that realization. It's nice those meetings exist as I'm sure a cruise without alcohol would be interesting. I definitely am still not ready for that!

  2. I truly value this longer post by you, I feel I know you a little better and like you all the more for it. I love the reference Belle makes to people commenting on drinking, that they notice because they might think they have an issue. I think it was on Belle's site that I saw "Sobriety! Not just for alcoholics" love that comment. You sound in a really good place and just getting on with it and I envy you finishing your book on the couch. I have two friend/family visits back to back weekends and I think I need some me time. The following weekend I need to chill out big time. Well done on day 51 or 52 when you read this.

    1. Thanks! I too love "Sobriety: not just for alcoholics."

  3. Thanks! I had never cruised before and assume many lines are different but alcohol was -not- part of the all-inclusive food-and-beverages so I saved a ton of money for sure :-)