Thursday, January 25, 2007

Miscellaneous Musings

I've had a few things I wanted to post about this week but almost no time to do it.

First, I was called on to speak during a pick up meeting on Sunday of my group. I hadn't ever done this, but a woman there encouraged me to do so. I asked to be last on the list but she and the organizer put me first! I was terrified. But when I got up there, it was kind of amazing and the nervousness vanished and all I saw was supportive faces in the audience. I'm sure there were more than a few who wondered why I am there week after week without speaking. And it went okay. I don't remember a lot of what I said, but I was up there for a while and Karen, the woman who put me up to it, was ecstatic when I sat down.

Second, I think I'm going to ask Karen to sponsor me when I see her this Sunday. I still have been hanging back from that little task of getting a sponsor.

Third, I had one of those "you know you are getting used to being in the program" moments when I bought a cup of coffee yesterday and paid with a twenty, received 18 one dollar bills in change and thought "Good! 18 meetings."

Fourth, on the way home tonight, I was musing about my first love whose birthday was the other day. I haven't seen him in over twenty years (and never imagined I would ever say that). It's a long story but I often feel sad over the road not taken. (I ended the relationship. We were very young and I wanted to "experience life". HA! I realize now I wanted to party without him around putting a damper on things. Even then my disease was showing itself.) In any event, while I was feeling a little sad, a thought occurred to me--a certainty, a voice--that told me my life is exactly the way it's supposed to be and I'm with the person I'm supposed to be with. Wow!!! Revelation! I really felt it.

Anyway, tonight I am grateful for:

many months of no hangover mornings

a feeling that I am growing spiritually

that I don't have to drink anymore ever

that tomorrow is Friday and there is little planned for this weekend

that my husband is away for a couple of nights so I have some quiet after the kids go to bed

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Five Months Today

I hate to say it's my personal best after trying for four years, but there you have it. I feel great. I do not want to drink again, although that Little Bastard whispers to me sometimes, like today, when he thought I should celebrate five months sober with a glass of wine. LB is not the brightest star in the constellation, is he?
LB can't fool me because I know that there is no such thing as a single glass for me. I want gallons if I have any at all. I never want to feel another hangover again. So to celebrate, I am going on my first commitment of the group I belong to. I'm hoping they won't call on me to speak, however; I've never done that and not sure what I would say.

Today I am grateful for:

Five months of waking up without a hangover

A little quiver of joy when I realize I don't ever have to feel hungover again

That my children are healthy and happy

That we are having meatloaf and mashed potatos for dinner tonight (comfort food!)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My drinking spouse

Jenna asked about what it's like for me to have a drinking spouse as I try to get sober. My husband is a "normie": he can take the drink or leave it although he likes Party (with a capital P) when he gets the chance. Mostly, though, he has an occasional beer or two on weekends and that's about it.

What does he think of his recovering spouse? I suppose I should just ask him. I think he definitely approves of the improvement on the home front in the sense that I'm not hungover, angry and irritable all the time (when I wasn't drunk that is). He seems to understand in a way he didn't before that this a permanent change for me. At least he doesn't make suggestions like he used to such as I should just try to cut back or only drink on weekends . He doesn't begrudge the time I spend going to meetings or online and he'll talk about my sobriety experiences with me; he doesn't change the subject immediately like he used to. In fact, I think for the first time, he would be really disturbed if I did pick up a drink. Now I'd have some explaining to do where previously he just kind of shrugged or seemed happy that I was ready to party again.

BUT (there's always a but), I still have a sense that my sobriety is all well and good provided it doesn't interfere with what he wants to do. If he wants us to socialize, I had better be ready to do so even if alcohol will be there. He does make sure I have nonalcoholic drinks and all (and is happy to take me home early if he can return to the party), but the concept of declining an invitation because it might be too much temptation for me is foreign to him. He gets bummed that I don't want to entertain much anymore, because that will involve serving alcohol (he can't conceive of having guests over without serving alcohol--I guess I can't either if they are normies.)

This is probably as good as it's going to get with him. We met because we both were party people and this is a big change for him. He's made progress in that he accepts that I can't drink moderately and that if I start again, I will be back to daily drinking. But he's never going to change his habits for me. The good news there is that he is not a daily drinker or an alcoholic. He does enjoy a good party and will stay until the bitter end with whoever is still partying, but he doesn't need to do that all the time.

I should also note that he is a nice guy, if a bit selfish on certain things. He doesn't want me to suffer; I think he just didn't/doesn't grasp what it is like to have this condition. It's out of his experience. I will say that he has never once made me feel badly that this is how I am, even if he is impatient with the impact on his lifestyle. No recriminations for being an alcoholic.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Memo To Self: Be Prepared

Last night shook me up a little.  I had to attend a wedding. And I mean "had to" as the groom is a business partner's of my husband's whom I barely know and whom I didn't even know he was such great friends with.  This little event began with a big cocktail party on Friday night which I refused to attend. As I told my husband, someone I barely know does not claim two nights of my long weekend, especially for a cocktail party.  However, I conceded the wedding itself, which was last night. (Husband stayed out until 2 AM drinking on Friday, BTW.)

I was viewing this event as a major annoyance rather than anything I thought would be fun so I didn't worry about drinking or the desire to drink at all. I wanted to just get through the ceremony and dinner and get home. (This wedding also took place during the Pats-Chargers game to the trepidation of just about everyone there except the bride and groom. A woman at our table kept giving us cell phone reports from a friend throughout the game, which was entertaining.)

So I was extremely surprised about how strong the urges to drink were. It was a long cocktail hour and the waiters kept circulating with bottles of red and white wine in their hands so that no one's glass ever got empty. Except mine which contained seltzer! We also seemed to be in a corner of the room where the appetizers never made it, which didn't help much either. By the time we were seated, I was experiencing a major desire to drink and all I could smell was alcohol. I did NOT drink; it wasn't an option, but I didn't enjoy the discomfort either. The folks at our table were all intent on getting a buzz on though, which didn't help.

I think one of the problems here was that I didn't engage in a lot of mental preparation for this event and for how I would handle the drinking. The result was that I was kind of blind sided by the desire to drink. I did do some quick things that helped me, like telling someone I was with that I don't drink. I felt that it was a bit of insurance that I wouldn't pick up as that would be going back on what I said to her, if that makes any sense. I also immediately turned my wine glass upside down at the table and handed the champagne toast to my husband. If I'd had my cell phone, I would have called someone from AA, but I hadn't brought it with me.

Things got better once the dinner was served and I did manage to have a little fun at that point. The music was great and it is turning out that I can still dance sober. And the woman seated next to me helped remind me how I never want to go back to drinking. She is this gorgeous woman -- smart, beautiful, great career, vivacious, all that -- and she was pounding drinks like there was no tomorrow. She had four straight vodkas while I was seated next to her plus several glasses of wine and champagne. And this was AFTER the cocktail hour. Eek. While she was a lot of fun as a dinner partner at first, as the evening progressed she got drunker and drunker (as did her boyfriend who could barely stand)and it was simply not pretty watching this progression. I told my husband that I didn't ever want to be this person again (not that I had the gorgeous and vivacious thing going for me ever).

so I guess the moral of the story for me is not to take any event where there will be alcohol for granted...even if the event is a chore rather than something I am actually looking forward to. I'm grateful to be up early this morning, sober and feeling good.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just checking in

I haven't had much to say the last few days. Things are going pretty well. I am amazed, however, that when I think I'm doing well in my sobriety and really getting the hang of this thing, how a craving for a drink can hit me upside the head.

Tonight, it was while driving home from work and chatting with my husband about boating this summer. We bought a boat and are looking for a place to moor it. The place he is looking at is where a number of people we know moor their boats. And according to my husband, it is very social. Apparently on Friday nights people have cocktail hours on their boats while docked at the marina. BOOM! Big craving to drink hits. I want to have cocktails on the boat like everyone else, yells my addictive voice. I want to have cocktails RIGHT NOW.

Fortunately, I was going to a meeting anyway and was able to slay that dragon right away. But it scares me how powerful the urge can be.

For those who asked about my dinner with my friend the other night, it turned out her husband came along and we did not have much of a chat about drinking. She did ask if I was a friend of Bill W's and I was proud to answer yes. She also drank quite a bit and got a bit sloppy by the end of dinner. I was glad to part company when she did. I do love her though and would like to tell her of my experiences with the program. Although I have never known her to have any inclination to stop drinking.

Today I am grateful for:

many mornings of no hangovers

fried calamari that I had at lunch--worth all 21 of the Weight Watchers points I had to pay for it

that I've got meetings to help me when the addictive voice gets strong

for a fun time rough housing with my 9 year old son. He still loves a good pillow fight, thank goodness.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Master of Fear

Tonight I was asked to chair a Big Book discussion meeting. We read chapter 7 (I think that was the number)--Master of Fear.

I have not been much of a Big Book fan, preferring the practicalities of the Living Sober to the "born again" nature of the Big Book.

But I really liked this reading. And the discussion that followed. The part I really got a lot out of was the growth that the writer described after he put down the drink. He was able to move past his fears and his failures. This gave me so much hope because I believe that one of
the biggest problems my drinking caused for me was an emotional stuntedness and an inability to move forward in my life on nearly any front. I was stuck and I realize now that no growth was possible so long as I was drowning in a river of wine.

I also appreciated the part about not fondling the fun drinking memories. I have a tendency to do that and tomorrow night I will be having dinner with my best friend from high school with whom many of these fun memories occurred. She is also the person I had my last drunk with. I don't know if that was fun; I went into blackout and can't remember. I have pictures and all I see is two drunken middle aged fools. I put down the drink a few days later.

I've told her I don't drink anymore and I expect we will have a discussion about that. She is an alcoholic who has never tried to stop to my knowledge.

Tonight I am grateful for:

waking up hangover free for many days--months--now

for Scout, who sought me out and clued me in that my profile didn't show my blog. I had wondered why some of the bloggers to whom I post comments regularly never visited. I thought they had visited and perhaps didn't care for me. (I'm working on this characteristic of figuring it must be because I'm unlikeable.)

for a kickass meeting and being able to arrive early and having people know me, like me, and even want me to chair

that things at my job went pretty well today

that I have a whole weekend to myself while my husband and kids are off skiing

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year, friends!

I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

Health is on my mind a lot today. My Dad went back in the hospital on Christmas eve with chest pains and so spent Christmas there. He is fine, but lost a toe to poor circulation from a diseased cardiovascular system. He is home now and looks good.

I went to see Body World, the exhibit of human bodies with my kids this past week. Pretty fascinating. I was particularly interested in the pathological tissue. Seeing what the inside of hardened arteries look like, the brain after a stroke, the heart after an attack--these things really made me think of my health and how poorly I've been treating my body the last five years or so.

So today I started Weight Watchers. Even more importantly, I have resolved to take a thirty minute walk every day, rain or shine. It's not much but it's a start.

I am very grateful for many things today:

Waking up on New Year's morning with no hangover (can't say the same for dear hubby)

Enjoying myself with friends and good food last night and feeling comfortable enough to leave before midnight (left hubby there, we brought separate cars for that purpose)

The ability to change my habits to improve my health--there's still time

For a lovely day at home and a fire in the hearth

For home made vegetable rolls

That I made it through the holidays sober for the first time since my last pregnancy ten years ago. And it wasn't awful.