Day 72

Yes, really day 72. Haven’t posted in quite awhile, but not because I went back to the bottle. I’ve been meaning to post again for awhile now, but for one reason after another I just haven’t made the time.

I am still taking things one day at a time. Today I went to my first AA meeting. A friend of mine started going last week and asked me if I wanted to go with him, so I gave it a shot. I was really pretty nervous, but everyone there was really nice, honest, and supportive. It felt somewhat refreshing to say the words I’ve been avoiding saying out loud. “I’m an alcoholic.” So, I said it. There it is.

The awesome thing, though, is that I am at the point that I am becoming proud of my sobriety, rather than ashamed of it. I am starting to feel like my 72 days is a symbol of strength rather than something to hide or make excuses for.

I have to admit that this attitude change came, at least in part, from a very scary situation a few nights ago.

I went to a late lunch with my parents and we met up with my sister. They picked me up, because I have no license. We were at a restaurant/bar and they were having some drinks. My sister went home and I thought we wouldn’t be long behind her. One thing led to another and a couple beers turned into mixed drinks and shots and hours later I am stuck at a bar completely sober with my drunk parents who are supposed to drive me home. I texted my sister, who offered to come get me (us), but my dad said we would leave soon, which we did. My sister made me promise to let her know when I was home safe… Minutes later we were in a wreck. Car totaled. Shaken and bruised, but alive. For what was probably 1.5 seconds but felt like eternity the car was spinning out of control into a guardrail as I prepared for death. I didn’t see visions of my life before my eyes, but I truly thought about my mortality and the possibility that my family might be smaller by the time the car came to a stop.
We were lucky. I felt foolish. Sober me is still letting alcohol contribute to my bad decision making. No more. I will stand up for my sobriety and make safe decisions, even the tough ones.



Day 12

My younger brother started his sober journey before I did and suggested that I tell my friends about my choice, and bring them in so they understand my goals and what I am going though.  He recently brought his girlfriend to an AA meeting to help her understand his challenges and said that she was really appreciative of that.  Hearing that gave me some courage to open up.

I have slowly been telling my closest friends both about my newest DUI and about my choice to abstain from drinking. So far this has actually been a good process for me.  I feel less alone.  It is scary and stressful to hide things from the people you love and feels deceitful.  With each person I tell I feel a little lighter.  Also, I have found that my friends are sympathetic about the DUI, because they realize that they have been lucky not to have been caught.  I am hoping that they learn from my lesson, but fear that they wont.  How can I blame them?  It took me a second arrest to learn, and still I know that each day I need to make a conscious and deliberate choice not to drink and drive.

Not drinking and driving is easy if I’m not drinking, so that’s my choice.  Its that choice that I think a lot of my friends are confused about.  They understand the choice not to drink if I need to drive, but they have been saying things like, “but if you are just hanging out at home, you can drink then, right?”  One of them said “are you going to be able to have fun with us if you aren’t drinking?”  I was saddened by that question.  It made me sad because I wonder how much she needs that “social lubricant” to let loose and have fun.  At the same time it made me feel proud and strong that I know I can have fun without drinking.

Last night I went for “drinks” after work.  I probably drank 10 diet cokes.  I watched as the beers and shots went down, and because I was confident in my decision not to drink it was relatively easy.  It was made easier by the fact that my friends all knew about my choice and weren’t judgmental at all.  They joked about covering my tab, which was $2.50.  Throughout the night I laughed as much and as hard as they did, and I had a blast and remember it all.  I know I didn’t make a fool of myself and I woke up this morning feeling good.

I am learning so much about myself so quickly now that I am paying attention and I like the direction I am headed. situation

Day 9

Well, apparently I can’t count, even sober.  I have only a handful of posts here and already I have screwed up the day #’s.  Oh well, worse things have happened.

Today I was supposed to have court for my DUI.  I got up early, got there, waited for my lawyer and when she shows up she says something to the effect of “I didn’t really know your case was today, I’m not ready, so let’s get this pushed back.”  That’s fine and all, I certainly don’t want to go to court with an unprepared lawyer, but the whole uncertainty of this case is killing me.  I want to know if I’ll lose my license, for how long, will I do jail time, how much community service, what’s it going to cost me….?  I was almost looking forward to today to have some answers.

I did get to read the police report today.  That’s kind of a wake up call.  DUI #2 and you know you have a problem.  Reading a narrative of an event that you think you remember clearly and realizing that things are worse for you than you thought really puts a pit in your stomach.  I cried and almost threw up.  My car was not moving when I was “pulled over”, I was sleeping in my car both times.  Both times the car was in drive and my foot on the brake.  Talk about not learning from your mistakes!  They weren’t lying when they said that alcohol will impair judgement.  The only thing that keeps me sane and grounded through this ordeal is the fact that I did not hurt anyone.  I am thankful for that every day.

Obviously I wish I could go back in time and make different choices, but if I had decided not to drive that night I would not have chosen to make this positive life change.  Deciding to be sober is scary.  It is intimidating.  I now understand why alcoholics are always “in recovery.”  Its because every day you have to make a conscious decision not to drink.  You could slip up at any time.  Slipping up wouldn’t be failure though, because I have committed to this.  I heard a saying about weight loss and I think it fits here, “If you were going up a flight of stairs and you tripped would you give up and go back down?” I don’t plan on slipping up, but my point is that I plan on NOT giving up.

Day 6

So the weekend is here and I decided not to go to a party that I was invited to. I know that I could have gone to the party and not drank, but all of my friends know of me as a drinker, and I don’t really want to have to explain why I’m not drinking. I am able to admit to myself and to my closest friends that I have a problem, but I am not ready to admit it to everyone. It made me realize that one of my biggest fears about being sober is losing my friends.
I know all of my friends are going to be really supportive of me and I know that I can have fun with them when I’m not drinking. But my fear is that they will stop inviting me to things. After work we often go out for drinks and some decompressing, because the ER is high stress and it’s nice to be able to relax with people who understand the day you just had.  I am afraid I’ll stop getting the invite once people realize I’m no longer drinking even though sticking to a water or soda is totally do-able for me.
Ugh, I feel silly worrying about this, maybe my friends will be totally cool, and maybe I’ll need some time away from those situations anyway.  Time will tell.

Day 4

So today I am feeling challenged.  I am sitting at home, it is snowing out and I’m in for the night in front of a fire watching movies.  I really want a beer.  I’m having ice cream and blogging instead.  That’s why I bought the ice cream, so I could indulge in SOMETHING.  I keep thinking that it is not nights like tonight that I’m getting sober for.  And I’m struggling right now to make sense of this.  I’m just reminding myself that in the morning I’m going to either be proud that I made it through my moment of weakness, or I’m going to be mad at myself for having that beer.

Day 3

Well, today is New Year’s Eve.  It is 11:45 PM as I begin to type this.  Is this the biggest drinking holiday of the year?  I’m not sure.  Luckily for me on my journey towards being confident in my sobriety NYE has never been my favorite holiday.  In my early 20’s I baby sat on this night because it paid well, and in recent years I have often worked at restaurants or in the medical field, so I don’t really feel like I am missing out tonight.  Plus, it seems to be a couple’s holiday, and as a single person NYE often makes me feel lonely because I am missing out on a midnight kiss.  I guess my mind is more on that than on drinking, which is good.

Also, my thoughts are about all of the people who will be on the roads later tonight who have had too many drinks and about how I am lucky I didn’t hurt anyone or myself when I was driving with alcohol on board.  I will forever be grateful for that stroke of luck and I vow never again to get behind the wheel after drinking because luck runs out.

My resolution this year is not about my sober journey, but rather it is to make it through this year and have a better understanding of myself this time next year.

Day 2

As far as avoiding having a drink goes, today was easy.  I worked 12 hours and work another 12 tomorrow, so at most I might usually have had a beer when I got home, but not always.  So, no cravings for booze today, which is good.

I still had the “sobriety” decision kind of looming over my head throughout the day which made me more grumpy at work.  One of my co workers said that I looked like a “sad bulldog”.  Fortunately for me this co-worker always says things like that, so I did not take it too personally!

As far as mental hurdles go I had 2 today.

As I was getting ready for work I saw a commercial for some type of bacon deliciousness when somewhere in my gut I got this feeling of deprivation and depression.  It wasn’t until I consciously evaluated those feelings that I realized that these feelings were related to my decision to stop drinking.  I had to remind myself that giving up alcohol does not mean that I am giving up all of my indulgences.  Sure, giving up bacon, chocolate, butter, salt…. would probably benefit me as well, but one thing at a time!!!  Realizing actually gave me a sense of relief.

My second hurdle was during my drive to work.  That 20 minutes of the day you get to be alone with your thoughts, the good and the bad.  My AM self conversation went something like this:  “Self, once you are sober for a while maybe you can have one drink at a time.” “Yeah, one drink at a time is reasonable, I could handle that.” “Sure you could, nothing bad happens when you only have one drink.” “That’s true, but I usually want another drink after I have one.” “Yeah, but you don’t HAVE to have another drink.” … and my thoughts went on like this for a while and ended with me being almost MORE convinced that I should not have any drinks because sober and on my way to work I am arguing with myself about whether or not I can moderate my drinking, and history has proven time and time again that the answer is “No.”

Another thing that I realized today is that I know I am making the right choice for myself, but as of now I am ashamed of that choice.  I don’t want people to know that I gave up drinking for a few reasons.  First, it is an admission that I had a problem, which is not something I am proud of.  Second, I am afraid that I’ll “fall off the wagon” and people will be judging me.  I have many family members who struggle with drug and alcohol and I have seen them “off” and “on” the wagon and I know my family is nothing but supportive of them at all stages, so I am aware that these are pressures I am putting on myself.  Just part of my process I guess. Cant expect too much at Day 2.

Day 1

I know this is not going to be easy, which is why I decided to write down my thoughts.

Last week I was arrested for my second DUI.  I have been struggling with the possibility that I’ve had an issue with alcohol for a long time now.  The first time I recognized that I needed to make a change was back in 2005, so sobriety has been a long time coming for me.  It has taken this long to get to this point because most of the time I can drink, have a good time, and there is no issue.  I don’t “need” alcohol, and I don’t drink every day, so I never considered myself an alcoholic.  “Alcoholic”- dirty word.  My problem with alcohol is recognizing when enough is enough, and that is what gets me into trouble.

I am embarrassed and ashamed that it was not the time I totaled my car, nor my first DUI that got me to the point where I know I need to make a drastic change.  I thought I had learned my lesson.  I could “drink responsibly.”  I thought.

Now I am thinking about my future and what I want out of it.  I want to find love.  I want to continue in the career I enjoy and am proud of.  I want to be healthy and happy.  Sure, I have had plenty of fun while drinking but I have fun sober too!  I have never regretted anything I have done sober as much as I have regretted some of the things I have done while drunk.  I am finally recognizing that alcohol will not help me get the things I want in life, in fact it has likely slowed my progress towards my goals.  It has taken me way too long to acknowledge that.  Up until now I have associated drinking with being “fun”, “happy”, “life of the party”.  I know I am not going to change my mindset in a day, week, or month.  This is bound to be a thought process that sticks with me for a while, but I am trying to recognize the flaws in my logic so I can change.

Today I am overwhelmed by the ramblings in my head.  I’m thinking about lawyer fees, professional setbacks, finding rides to places, and my shame.  I am also remembering that I have great friends and a supportive, loving family who are all sure to support this decision because it is the right one.  A decision I am making for myself alone, but something I can’t do without them.

Day 1 is daunting, but I am looking forward to waking up on Day 2 without a hangover.