Happy Monday to you! Without actually going through a calendar and carefully counting, this is roughly the 54th Monday I go into a week sober. Sober and HAPPY, I hasten to add. I often think about what it might have been like if I’d found sobriety to be a difficult and shitty struggle. Like dieting – can’t do it. Cut down on coffee – won’t fucking do it. A post on another blog spurred these thoughts just now. I have endless admiration for anyone who successfully loses weight by dieting and I would love to be one of those cool people any day of the week. I suppose I just don’t want it enough to actually agree to any food restrictions. Would I feel – and behave – differently if my eating was causing me problems? I guess I’d be forced to. You’d need to have a pretty disastrous relationship with food to still chomp down donuts (or cinnamon rolls in my case) if it’d aggravate some serious condition like diabetes or keep/get you so overweight it’d damage your heart etc. Never thought I’d give up alcohol but then I did get to a point where I knew it was destroying me, so it wasn’t exactly a case of cutting back on a bit of over indulgence. No, in my case you can’t make the comparison between food/coffee and alcohol.
Food: I do eat like a trucker. Sure, I’d love to be a little slimmer but my weight isn’t causing me health issues and actually, I’m OK and I exercise too. My BMI is just about within the healthy range I think, although I base this on pure guess work given I never weigh myself.
Coffee: I drink the stuff like a demon. I’m sure it’s healthier to never have caffeine but as of yet it’s not had any negative effects that I know of. I can quite happily drink coffee late at night and still sleep like a baby.
Alcohol: I was putting away a staggering amount on a daily basis and spent my days in a hungover haze. It stopped me functioning and had started to really accelerate in a downward spiral. When you regularly wake with furious palpitations and genuinely worry that your number is finally up, your drinking has long surpassed over indulgence.
Food and coffee aren’t at this stage attempting to kill me. Alcohol most definitely was. Plus I need food to live – food, assuming you don’t have an eating disorder or other problems relating to what you can have, is healthy and enjoyable. Although I’m tempted to differ, coffee isn’t strictly speaking needed for survival, but it does have genuine positive attributes such as its taste and how it perks me up. Alcohol has none of those things – it’s never healthy (not even in moderate amounts), it tastes foul and there is nothing enjoyable about how I used to drink. It’s a pointless comparison, all of it. Alcohol for me was in the end a choice: drink and die or stop and live. Dramatic? Not really.
This morning at work Lady Boss popped in for a chat. We’ve not seen each other since the week I gave my notice, which is now almost a month ago and this week is my last. I worried it’d all be really awkward but she was as lovely as always and just asked what I’m doing next. I told her I’m looking to pursue a career in the recovery services.
“Oh?” she went and looked a little surprised.
I guess it’s not the most common career choice. There was no natural break or place in conversation to elaborate on why but it did make me wonder if she’d been surprised to know I’m an alcoholic. I’ve always sort of assumed they’ve just always thought of me as a bit thick. They’re bright people so if anything I’d be a little shocked if they had never wondered why I was always so muddled and slow to understand stuff, but given I even managed to hide the full extent of my problem to Hubby I suppose it isn’t all that strange. In a way, I wanted to tell her, but it just wasn’t that sort of conversation and she’s busy enough with everything else – it’s just me and my non-existent filter. Like Hubby always says: THEY DON’T CARE. Not my bosses personally as such or because they’re mean or horrid but because it’s totally fucking irrelevant and doesn’t need yapping on about or being brought up. I didn’t do a good job there, period. I’ve fired myself, period. Let’s move on, period.
It’s my own pride that makes me want to tell my bosses, now that I think about it. I somehow want them to know simply because I like them and if they know why it was the way it was they may think of me with a bit of fondness rather than have me written off as that useless person who worked for them for a while. Perhaps I want to tell them because of my guilty conscience? Would it perhaps make me feel better if people thought “no wonder she didn’t perform” rather than “what an utterly useless cow“.
Holy fuck, what’s happening here? Now I want to tell people I’m an alcoholic because that’d make them more likely to like me? Or less likely to totally hate me, rather. That’s just too hilarious, no? This thing that I was terrified to say for over a decade is now my trump card? Dear, oh dear.
No. No need. It is what it is and it’s time to move on. And along with closing the door on the past and the drinking, I also need to leave behind this ridiculous obsession I have with what people think of me. So fucking what? It is what it is and I can only do my best with what I have. I’m out of the woods now, I feel a lot more solid in my sobriety and it’s time to find my little place in the world. If I keep looking back it’ll consume me and drive me mad. What next? Will I contact every single person I’ve had any interaction with during the 12-13 years I drank heavily, explain everything in maddening detail and apologise in the hope they’ll think I’m a great chick after all? It’s so stupid I’m making myself feel quite exhausted – I made a pact with myself to take responsibility and own this, and that doesn’t involve pointing at a bunch of excuses and whining about poor lil’ ol’ me. Fuck’s sake.
Gosh, this turned gloomy, didn’t it? It shouldn’t be because it isn’t. The way to look at it is this: yep, I let my bosses down but I’ve now done them a favour. Telling them I was eyeball deep in addiction would just make things unnecessarily awkward and what are they going to do with this information anyway? Grow the hell up, Anna. I finish up as best I can and then everyone moves on. I’m sober and I’m happy. I’m moving in a direction where I know I can be of great value – I’ve got my own experience and I’m a kind person with oodles of empathy, surely those things in themselves are a good start? I’m in a good place and it’s all very exciting actually.
In other news, Hubby’s shoulder operation went well and I managed to get him home in one piece. Just a bit sore and uncomfortable, but they didn’t have to touch the rotator cuff (which would have meant four weeks in a sling) so it’s just a matter of taking it a little easy. Oh, actually – here’s a dark little thought for you: there was a fleeting thought sailing through my addict’s brain about his painkillers. I had the same ones when I had surgery a year and a half ago and they were LOVELY, got me all woozy and drowsy and it was a really nice feeling. Just a small little thought oh, wouldn’t that be quite nice that actually I would never have acted on, but it was there and I was aware of it. Oh, hell no. Go from severe alcoholism to munching prescription pills? I fucking think not. But this is sort of my confession booth and I thought I’d share because it struck me as both horrifying and interesting. How easy it would be, you know. And how appealing it was to my mind to switch off a little, get all doped up. Worry not, I honestly wouldn’t, but I do enjoy discussing the mad shit my crazy mind cooks up sometimes. I do have a stash of Diazepam in the cupboard, that my doctor prescribed me by way of calming me down during longhaul flights (massive steel tube weighing hundreds of tonnes staying in the air – tell me how) and I’ll sometimes think oh yeah, that’d be quite nice. Especially those nights – very few these days now that I’m sober, it has to be said – when I can’t sleep, you know it’d be quite nice to have the light switched off for you, but no. Just no. Honestly no. But hey, there we are and I think I’m pretty on top of which thoughts I allow to become actions.
It’s been 384 days. I feel freaking awesome and I’m so grateful I can’t even begin to tell you. Willow hit her three years sober and did some trapeze thing to celebrate, I saw the little clip she put on Facebook. I got to know her about a year ago and I remember thinking how amazing that she’d managed two years at that stage. I was of course still at a point where I didn’t believe I’d last even a month. So 384 days feels really fucking good, lemme tell ya.
Today I’m not going to drink.