One of my favourite bloggers as well as someone I have come to really care about is Functioning Guzzler. We’re also travelling side by side when it comes to how long we’ve been sober, both of us around the eight months mark – I imagine if we were school children we’d end up sitting together. Again, it strikes me how it’s both quite strange and remarkably lovely that you can think that way about someone you never met. I like it. Her last post is called What I Miss About Drinking. Honestly, there was part of me that felt a little scared to read it in case she’d mention something that’d suddenly wake the Beast now that I am in a place where I actually struggle to think of anything good booze could possibly do. Yes, it might be a dangerous little game but since when do I care about such things?
So what do I miss about drinking?
Because I immediately thought “uh-oh” as I started reading FG’s post, I suppose I should point out that I don’t want to create triggers or get someone who’s sober in the mood for a drink (or ten), so if you think that might be you, please instead head on over to look at some lovely pictures of puppies HERE.
I think the most significant shift in my thinking around drinking was how I came to the realisation that I’d lost nothing. I deliberately avoid saying I “gave up” drinking because I’m so adamant there was nothing to give up – “gave up” does insinuate that I might have made some sort of sacrifice and it honestly doesn’t feel that way. For example, when I stopped drinking, the first thought that popped in to my head was “OH SHIT! What about our romantic weekend in Paris? And the Foo Fighters concert in Gothenburg?” because those were already booked. Turns out of course that both were much better because I was sober and not dull and pointless like my alcoholic brain had tried to make me believe. It’s my alkie brain that wants me to think that I gave something up when I stopped drinking. It still begs the question though – are there things I miss about drinking? Good stuff that just doesn’t happen when I’m sober? Sure. But it’s still isn’t REALLY to do with the booze. Here goes…..
1. The anticipation
Yep, there was always a sense of excitement and anticipation, much like the sparkly happiness you might feel as you head to the airport to catch a flight on holiday. I’d look forward to those glasses of wine by the river on a Friday evening like I’d look forward to going away somewhere – the feeling is the same. And more so if it was a Friday or Saturday when I’d know I wouldn’t have to worry so much about the next day. Gosh, I can conjure up that feeling in an instant and I remember all too well how it’s so strong it makes you feel on top of the world! Oh God, that feeling…
2. Putting the world to rights
One of the loveliest things about those drinks by the river was just chatting away with hubby. Elaine and I used to have really fun conversations too. Those chats were, I suspect, more fuelled by the anticipation and excitement rather than the actual wine, but sober conversations aren’t the same.
3. Debbie Does Dallas
There’s no polite way of saying this. I turn into a porn star when I’m drunk. All inhibitions go out the window and nothing is sacred. Drunk Me will do stuff that makes Sober Me shudder. Drunk Me turns dirty in a way that makes Ron Jeremy look like a choir boy. This makes me a fun person to be married to. Sorry, not sorry – it does.
4. I don’t dance sober
A few drinks loosen me up and I get up and shake my booty. Sober Me is a little too pathetic to do that. I need a couple of stiff drinks down my neck before I hit the dance floor.
LET’S STOP THERE!
No, I’m not getting triggered or finding that I’m gasping for a glass of wine, but I’m having to stop myself from adding what I’ve come to believe at the end of each point. I want to do that separately, so here’s the fine print that I wish I’d discovered much sooner:
1. Nope, I don’t feel that anticipation and excitement in quite the same way sober. I’m happy it’s Friday and look forward to the weekend and spending time with my gorgeous husband, sure, but no, that woohoo feeling isn’t quite as strong as the feeling I got when I knew I’d be drinking. I could lie but I won’t. However, I do know it was based on an illusion and so the whole thing is bloody false anyway! Like finding out your partner was leading a double life all along. You thought it was something it just wasn’t. And I can’t go back from there. I see booze for what it is now and it sure as hell isn’t worth getting excited over.
2. Ever got caught in a conversation with a drunk person? I mean when you’re sober? Well – what do you think? Of course, it does feel like you’re coming up with the most profound truths, observations and conclusions when you’re wasted and yes it can be fun (if you are drunk, that is). Question is, however, if it’s enough to make me want to drink. And are those conversations REALLY more enjoyable? Not really, right?
3. I would imagine if hubby is brutally honest he probably does miss those craziest moments and the most outrageous things Drunk Me initiated (yes, Drunk Me is always the fire starter) and I can’t deny I liked how hubby would say something appreciative about the previous night’s antics in the morning – I felt really pleased with myself. Problem is, how great is it if quite often you can’t remember it? And whilst Sober Me doesn’t drag hubby into the fire escape, sex does tend to be a lot better when you are actually there to enjoy it in the moment as opposed to remembering only fragments (“oh shit, did we really do THAT??”) or worse, need to be told what happened.
4. The dancing thing I think is just one of those little lies I’ve told myself, a way for my alcoholic brain to make me believe I need booze somehow. No, I’ve never been and probably never will be the person who gets up there like a Travolta-esque whirlwind, but the truth is I don’t like doing it drunk either. If I feel like dancing, whether I’m sober or drunk makes very little difference – it’s ALWAYS awkward! It’s just how I am. Is it suddenly more fun because alcohol has numbed me and I care less? No. So that’s just a big, fat myth in itself. Alcohol doesn’t make me brave, it just removes my fear and there is a BIG difference between being brave and being fearless – the two are opposites! Being brave is when you’re scared shitless and manage to do it anyway. If you’re fearless you don’t need to be brave because why would you need to be brave in order to do something that doesn’t scare you?
So there we are. And may I point out that none of this is in response to FG’s post or her thoughts around what SHE might miss, these are just some of the thoughts that popped into my head around whether there is in truth anything I feel I’ve lost when I showed alcohol the door. There isn’t. And certainly not enough to even consider going back to where I was. Not right now. Not today. It’s just a normal Friday and I feel happy and content and I’m looking forward to the weekend. We’re heading to the pub with two of the neighbours as it happens but I won’t be ordering wine because, well, why would I?
Today I’m not going to drink.