With My Love in Paris

Come on, you bitch – you could at least give me a bit of a challenge! A weekend in Paris and I don’t even get the urge? That’s just pathetic. I thought you’d try to dig your claws into me better than that, you pathetic loser. I expected a goddamn FIGHT! Instead, there I was, happily strolling down Rue de la bleu-blah-chopee-doux with the love of my life in the city of light without a care in the world and just enjoying our weekend. Turned out that the hardest battle was to stop myself from buying the bomber jacket from Diesel I’m lusting after so badly it’s driving me a little nuts. Here it is, the beauty:

d jacket

Just look – it’s so prettyyyyyyyyy and I want it so badly! That sexy thing is much harder to resist than alcohol – in fact, the more I look at the picture the more I want it and I keep picturing how great it’d look. Fuck, I really want it.

I mean, for fuck’s sake, that’s a little disappointing by anyone’s standards, non? I can only assume it’s down to all of that brain washing again how I expected it to be really tough to quit drinking. I quite honestly thought I’d be going through hell or at the very least struggle with it. Yet here I am, feeling better than ever (well, since my drinking got bad anyway, which is more than a decade ago) and so overjoyed to be feeling well and in the moment that it gets me emotional. Quitting drinking has brought no negatives, is what I’m trying to say. Only so many positives that counting my blessings is becoming a bit of a drag because there are so many.

On a serious note though, I do realise that it’s different for everyone. I suspect one of the main reasons why I have found quitting drinking the way I have is because I didn’t drink to numb my feelings or to get away from anything – I drank to enhance everything and when I finally realised it enhanced nothing but instead only caused me harm, it was mostly a relief to walk away. It’d be very different if I felt discomfort or pain sober and needed something to ease it – I do get that. However, I can only speak for myself and perhaps there is a place and a need for my voice too, a story that isn’t full of battles or a show of strength to get over it. I can tell you RIGHT NOW that I don’t do perseverance or strength. I am doing this because it has come easy. Immediately I woke up in the mornings feeling great – instant reward! Compare that with almost always waking up and feeling totally shit, unsteady and miserable. Bad tempered too. Within a couple of days when it was all out of my system I was free of the anxiety alcohol brings out in me and suddenly there is a Sophie I have missed so, so much: calm and contented Sophie.

There is part of me who doesn’t want to say these things. Part of me feels it’s disrespectful. I’ve sat in enough AA meetings and listened to endless stories of how difficult sobriety is and how some people really have to struggle and fight with all they have to stay away from the booze. In the face of that, I almost feel I should shut the fuck up. I still maintain that perhaps this is just the cunning nature of alcoholism, that I’m in some phase where the disease is luring me into some sense of security and getting me to think I’ve got it sussed, only to shoot me down with a well aimed large glass of Sauvignon Blanc with soda when I’m sufficiently cocky about my sobriety. BOOM! Down she goes, smug little bitch! I honestly don’t know. I can only say that I don’t want to drink because I know it doesn’t do to me what it does to non-alcoholics like, say, my husband. He had a beer with lunch over the weekend, then another before dinner and a couple of glasses of wine with his meal… …and that was it. No obsession or compulsion took over his mind and body and he was happy just like that, no burning desire or devil scratching at his throat. Even though I’m no longer drinking I all too well remember how I drank and could only look at him slightly bemused when he ordered a coffee with dessert. WTF, who DOES that? That’s when I’d be wanting to rush off, find the nearest bar and drink like it was a competition and then ensure there was plenty more back at the hotel to take me that last distance into the thick veils of black-out. But no – he is a normal drinker and to an alcoholic like me, it’s fascinating to watch even now. Like someone putting their hand on to a hot stove and not getting hurt by the heat.

But perhaps there is a space for my voice too and for my experience even though I have relatively few battle scars to show for it. What is certain is that I would have had the worst kind of scars and open wounds had I continued drinking, so maybe my story is very similar to many others and I was just fortunate to get the hell off that scary carousel before it had spun me right to a REAL hell.

I’ve not been to an AA meeting for over a month. I did want to collect the 3-month chip last week but.. ….didn’t. I still feel I should go. Not because I’m finding not drinking difficult but because it seems like That’s What You Do. Stupid, isn’t it? I’d happily recommend AA to anyone with a sincere wish to quit drinking and I know the program works wonders for a lot of people. I guess the main thing is to keep an open mind and not fight in either direction – don’t fight the program and don’t fight yourself. I fought myself there for a little while, tried to force myself into thinking it was the right thing (hell, in AA you get told it’s the ONLY thing so it’s sort of like you have no choice) despite some things not feeling right to me. I guess my view is do what feels right for you, be it AA or doing cartwheels. The idea of going still seems a bit …meh… so I guess I’ll go with the feeling and see what happens. I don’t need everything mapped out right this second, do I?

So, a weekend with my love in Paris didn’t make me want to drink – pretty spectacular, I’ll have to say! I booked it when I was still drinking back in early January. I always knew I’d eventually get to that point when I’d be done with the drinking because there was a long build-up and I was increasingly fed up with always feeling rotten, but I suppose I didn’t realise it’d happen THEN and Paris was almost my first thought following my decision that enough was enough: what about Paris?!!! Oh shit, what will I do then? I remember thinking perhaps that’d be my hall pass. It did seem like a problem to go away for a romantic weekend and not drink. I mean, what do you DO if you don’t drink when you’re in Paris? But there we are – I didn’t and what’s even better is that I didn’t feel like it. We had a wonderful time and not drinking never seemed like a bad thing. It was fucking FABULOUS to wake up in the morning and be full of energy and explore that beautiful city. Thank God I no longer drink! What was I thinking? So much time wasted. I’ve been in Paris before (drinking of course) but this time it actually felt like I was there. Ah, to be present – it’s good stuff.

Three months and one week now. 97 days sober. I just looked at that number when I’d typed it and got a little tear in my eye. Hi 97! I can’t tell you how happy I am to see you! Who would have thought we’d make it?

Today I won’t drink.

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