Sobriety – Growth, Failure, Vulnerability, and a Milestone

Two weeks ago today, I was have a pretty rough day.

I want to preface this post by saying that “Quit Lit” is amazing and inspiring – but sometimes it feels a little out of touch with my reality. I can relate to the successes and to their “pre-sobriety lives,” but you very infrequently hear about people that fail along the journey as well.  What we get is the final version of success with very little “I fucked this bit up royally” accounts. Usually, the message goes a little something like:  “I quit on my first try – and you can too!” Which is a wonderful message, but I think not very relatable for many of us on the alcohol-struggle-bus.

This blog post, in particular, is a very vulnerable account of my most recent (and hopefully last) failure on this journey. This blog was never meant to be a white-washed version of my AF journey – but a rather raw, honest account of it. When I made that decision, I didn’t really internalize how difficult unfiltered honesty would be. But I want it to be out there so that maybe it can help someone. If nothing else, it can serve as a reminder to me – don’t go back. You hated the way that felt.  

A wise woman never did but should have said (and I’m paraphrasing): Not everything is sunshine and fucking rainbows, Punkin. Sometimes life just fucking sucks. And you deal. Or you don’t.  

Best of luck on your journey and I appreciate you all.  

Honestly, I’m scared shitless to post this… But with all that said…

For those of you paying attention, this blog cuts off around May and resumes just recently (September). This is because I felt that I was unable to handle my divorce, COVID isolation, fear of what was to come, and the sheer logistical maneuvering of what I needed to handle without the occasional beer or glass of wine.  This was a failure on my part. Intellectually, I realized that alcohol did not help me, but just numbed me for a time. Emotionally and psychologically, the “ALA” (alcohol-loving-asshole) convinced me otherwise. I felt I was keeping it “under control.” That is to say, not losing control or making an ass of myself, generally. I thought – sobriety sounds nice, but I have a handle on it (the drinking) this time. I’ve got this. (Hubris.. always my downfall).

Well. I bet you can guess how that played out.

Enter two weeks ago.

I had to interact with my ex-spouse to give her something dear to me – but belonged to her. I wanted her to have it. It was her responsibility – and not having it would make my life easier, but at the same time, a little sadder.  I had not physically laid eyes on my ex in at least 10 months.  Even the divorce was no-contact. Because of COVID, it was a virtual court appearance. Quite literally, I “phoned it in.”

She was meeting me in the evening, at my house, and I was anxious the whole day leading up to it. I was off work so decided to clean the house top-to-bottom (a stress reliever for me), and stop at my local brewery to get a six pack of my favorite- to have a couple and loosen up/relieve stress before she got there.

By the time she got there, the house was spotless and I had 3 or 4 beers in me. I was buzzed, but not drunk.  I was cordial. She was cordial. I gave her what she came to gather. She did not come inside. It was all very detached. All very sterile. Then she lied about something. Something that I knew was a lie. It was an old lie, retold to make me feel sympathy for her – but because this time I was certain it was untrue, the lie just triggered that old feeling of being tricked – being played – being a gas-lighted – of being a fool.

I stayed quiet. I wished her well. She left. But I was definitely set off by the lie. After she left, I finished the last of the six pack, then moved on to 3 giant “might flaws” that were in the back of my fridge. By the end of the first one of those, I was properly, pissed drunk. By the end of the 3rd, well..

A very thoughtful guy I am dating called to see how I was doing. He knew it was going to be a tough day for me and was trying to give me space – but also trying to understand how I felt and how he fit into those feelings. I am still not even sure exactly what he said – but I remember it felt like an accusation. I blew up! I said horrible, intentionally hurtful things. It is no exaggeration to say that I verbally attacked him.  I am very ashamed of the way I acted and the things I said. I am sure I really hurt him. I feel terrible for that.  He came over that evening and forgave me even before I asked for forgiveness, and did so quite easily, given the things I had said.  I am grateful for that. When he has acted the same way towards me in the past, I have not been so quick to forgive.

So, after verbally attacking someone just trying to be there for me and literally poisoning myself to the point of being sick for days, I decided the next morning that this is it. I’m giving it my all.

I decided I would not announce it to anyone (outside of my online group and this blog), or make any sweeping public proclamations. I didn’t even tell the guy I am dating.  He has been with me on this on-again-off-again journey, and I feel like he thinks my desire to quit drinking is an over-reaction to a “bad night.” Maybe it is. Maybe it’s just me being fed up with “bad nights” in general, and thinking there has to be a better way to finish this thing (life) out.

So, I decided to just do it. Quietly. Use this blog. Use my online support group. Be honest with myself first, and others. Be vulnerable. Be open to change.

I’m still working on addressing the root-cause. How do I confront my triggers? How do I ease the pain of being triggered without alcohol? How do I just feel all those feels and be okay with it?  This bit is still under construction. Ever the work in progress.

But so far, keeping this journey confined to myself, that group, and this blog has been the secret sauce. I have spoken about this with two other people. But without any great detail.

For now, I don’t explain why I’m not drinking. I’m just not doing it.

I am currently at 15 days sober and 221 since I started my sobriety journey. Overall, I feel really good. I have had all the weird “chronic detoxing” things you hear about: headaches, disturbed sleep, exhaustion, weird dreams, emotional shit. But I have also had some wonderful byproducts of sobriety: less bloat, more mental clarity, better perspective, NO HANGOVERS (right now, this is #1 on my “positives” list).

I am looking forward to what 365 brings. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Financially. I am committed to 365 now.  I really feel something has “clicked” in a way that it had not before. One year. I can do this.  If you are struggling like me – YOU can do this.

This time is the last time.


Much love, friends. Stay healthy. Stay Sober.

Published by soberover40

I'm a professional, a mom, an entrepreneur, unrepentant bibliophile, and a lover of all things in nature. Oh yeah, and I may have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol...

6 thoughts on “Sobriety – Growth, Failure, Vulnerability, and a Milestone

  1. Hey I just wanted to say that I felt this a lot. It has taken me about 10 years to what feels like finally addressing this thing properly. 10 months now after years of 2 months, 4 months, 7 months 2 weeks, back to 2 months, and on and on and on. I dont know why it feels so final this time, I surrendered (I dont go to AA), I did feel like I couldnt take it anymore, the cycle of it all when I know there is better out there for me. I want to say to you be kind to yourself you are going through major and painful changes. I am looking forward to reading your words and am here too for support. Take care and take it all one day at a time so the old saying goes!

    Liked by 1 person

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