I sent this text last Saturday morning to a friend I had been chatting via text on Friday night. I sent this text because… well, it was warranted. I had text some things that maybe needed to be said, but not in the way I said them or in the condition I was in when I sent them. This should have been an in-person conversation, but I took a friend’s checking-in-on-me-text as an opportunity to dish out all the bullshit that had been weighing on my heart. They didn’t deserve it. On Saturday morning I felt embarrassed. I felt miserable. I know I made my friend feel miserable as well. To their credit, they took it every bit of it. They accepted what I said with love and compassion and understanding. I am always so grateful for my friends and their patience with me. The only thing they said after my apology text: “Drink some water. I love you.” That, readers, is an excellent friend.
It is probably clear from that story that I kinda fell off the wagon. It would be more appropriate to say that I jumped off the wagon, and ran beside it. I could see it. I knew I could jump back on at anytime, because I was running alongside… then somehow, I looked away and it was gone. My wagon had left me and I was standing there, holding an empty glass and looking at the bottom of my second bottle of wine for the night.
Let’s rewind. A little flashback to Day 26.
Day 25 (blog post previous to this one) I was feeling strong. Feeling good. Feeling like I was built for the sober-life. I loved being sober. Truly. Loved not having hangovers. I loved the feeling of control when I wasn’t drinking. But the coron-apocalypse was still young. The stress of social isolation was still new. And my “30 Days” (a perfect excuse) was coming up.
I almost stopped the blog and didn’t post about this. One of my best friends said I should blog about everything on this journey. He said that it would be a good story and others may also be going through what I am/was going through. He tries to keep me accountable and asks “when did you last blog?” I know he knows, because he follows this blog, but it is kind of him not be shitty about it. He also knows that I started drinking again. Many of my friends do. None of them said a word. I love them for that. They silently cheer me on and love me, even when I fail.
I like to consider myself self-reflective. I try to be honest with myself, even when it hurts or is embarrassing. In the interest of self-reflection, accountability, and because I know I cant be the only one that has failed at this, I am going to try and deconstruct my failure in the hopes that it will help me in the future, and maybe someone else.
The day after posting “Day 25” was Day 26… obviously. I’m not sure why, but being so close to 30 created a shift in my thinking. So excited to be at that first milestone. I wanted to celebrate my 30 days sober (a first for me in a LONG time) with a glass of wine. Typing this now, it seems very silly, but at the time made perfect sense. Kind of vanquishing “The Foe,” if you will. Maybe I felt like I would be taking control of what I thought was controlling me. My plan was to blog on day 30 and discuss the merits of having a glass of wine on day 31… I never made that post because I had that glass of wine on day 30 instead. If I’m being honest, I had two. Instead of seeing Day 30 as a milestone in the journey of my sobriety, I think I starting seeing it as a “mini” finish line. On day 26, I was fully ready to jump back into sobriety after day 31, having sated the “defeated” foe that had been mostly quiet for a couple weeks. But then again, if I am being completely honest, that old foe had started to chat me up around the same time. By day 30, I was persuaded that “quitting anything” would be folly in such a scary and turbulent world. So… on to occasional, and responsible drinking! And “sober over 40” isn’t “moderate drinking over 40” so the blog was on hold… indefinitely it seemed.
I allowed other people’s opinion of my sobriety to influence me. Even though it was unsaid, I knew that my “quarantine buddy” was growing weary of my sobriety. And if I am being honest, I loved being sober, but didn’t really care for it when only one of us was. And since we are all adults here, I will just say it… Sex when one of you is completely sober and the other is a little more on the sloppy side of the drunk spectrum is less than mind-blowing. Also, I thought I could handle having a glass to ease that tension a bit, and enjoy a glass if I wanted to (leading to Mistake #3).
Hubris. I thought I had learned all that I needed to about myself. I KNEW I never wanted to be hungover again and if nothing else would do whatever it took to not be. I KNEW that I could drink moderately. And I did… for a couple weeks. Funny…the things you THINK you KNOW.
That was 23 days ago. It took me 21 days to go from sober to responsible drinker to a raging hangover. 3 short weeks.
Maybe it IS impossible to be sober during such a scary and difficult time. But fuck, if I’m not gonna try.
I think failure is an inevitable part of the recipe for success. This is true of anything worth trying. Weight loss, fitness, academic, personal, or professional goals. Very rarely do we succeed in anything without some bumps and bruises along the way. I failed. I’m not perfect. I didn’t get it “right” on the first try. So fucking what? Just because I DID fail doesn’t mean I have to STAY a failed. I can choose something different, and I do. Yes, I am angry at and disappointed in myself, but I have forgiven others for far worse. I have had two days of self-pity and self-loathing. Two days of a bad belly and icky bowels and just feeling “off.” It’s time to be done with that. So, I am going to take my own advice and forgive me. I am going to be accountable to myself (and others) through this blog. I am going to be honest. I am going to move on.
And because this is still my motherfucking journey, I’m not considering this a starting over. I’m not calling this “Day 2.” I am still on the same journey I started 53 days ago. Shit happens. I have to forgive myself or I will never move on. And I do so I can.
Next goal is to get to Day 90. That is 37 days from now. For those counting, it is 7 days longer than I made it this last time. Between now and then I am going to work on considering 90 days a mile marker, not finish line (mini or otherwise). This is the marathon, woman, not the sprint.
It’s not the falling down that defines you.. its getting right the fuck back up that does…
I would love your input. I’m not a meeting joiner – but any tips/tricks, AF hacks you have, I would love to hear them.
I am grateful to this community for your ear. Grateful for my family and friends.
Stay In. Stay Healthy. Stay Sober.