Since my last post, I’ve turned 44 and it was my third sober birthday since some time during my teens. Today I’m 754 days sober. Strictly speaking 756, but I count not from the last day I drank but from the day I made the decision to grab sobriety with both hands, which was the day after the day after. It’s the decision I celebrate milestones of, I guess, as opposed to how many days I’ve been sober. I mean, I had a pretty long stretch of 13-odd years once! Before you ask, I am referring to the fact that I got drunk for the first time when I was 13. I might have turned 14, I can’t actually remember, but it doesn’t matter.
We’re just back from a weekend in north Devon. Dreamboat Hubby whisked me away for Valentine’s and we spent most of it indoors thanks to Storm Dennis. It’s always so nice to get out of London and every time we head off somewhere I catch myself thinking “we should buy a little place here” and fantasising about a little cottage where I’ll have a studio that’s half my writer’s corner with tonnes of books and the other half set up for jewellery making where I can hammer the hell out of silver and gold and force precious metal into beautiful things. But nope, I’m just not ready to leave London. Not that I could anyway, Bambino is still at school, but even if he was up for a quieter life, I don’t think I could go all in. It’s not as if I take advantage of all London has to offer and it’s actually really rare that I head into the city for a fancy meal or the theatre, but it’s just nice to know it’s there. Where we spent the weekend – Lynmouth – is a beautiful part of the world, but oh my God, there really isn’t much to do. Again, I don’t do all that much when I’m here in TW11, but WC1 and all that jazz is nearby. It’s the idea of not having the option that sits uncomfortably I think. I’m not one to wear high heels, but I own a few pairs and I like to think I can, should the mood take me. Weird, huh?
But there we are, any time we get back home – be it from a trip to Devon or to the other side of the world – I draw a sigh of relief. Home. Right here, in this spot, is where I want to be. S’all good.
Yes, 754 days and my third birthday sober. It’s not that big a deal, really, but then I can’t sit here with a straight face and tell you it’s ever been a struggle. It was uncomfortable and really, really strange to begin with and yes, it required effort, but I don’t recall ever really struggling. Then having said that, I remember blogging once about getting home from an AA meeting early on and the pull to go and get wine from the shop on the way home was so strong I nearly fell in through the door afterwards out of sheer exhaustion. Shit, I remember now. It was like I wasn’t in charge of my own thoughts or my own body, my feet walking in directions completely independent to what I might have insisted on. I recall Bambino giving me a hug when I got in that evening and I remember feeling like I’d returned from a battle field after trying to fight a huge, fire breathing dragon with a fucking toothpick to defend myself with. So perhaps it’s not all as rose tinted and easy as it seems now. There, there, little devious mind of mine – doncha play tricks on me…
What matters, I suppose, is that I don’t have even the tiniest desire to drink. What matters is that I don’t look at those weird creatures who can moderate and control their alcohol and feel jealous. Not one bit. I thought I would, but that never happened. Perhaps in the beginning, but that disappeared pretty quickly.
Another thing that struck me, that I was thinking about on our long drive home today, was how someone might have got through to someone just like me. “Someone just like me” – in other words, your average, bog standard drunk. The idea of abstinence is the number one deterrent and this is why Smart Recovery seems to work for more people than e.g. AA or other abstinence based programs. Pretty smart, if you ask me. I didn’t go that route, but I can see why it works. Come in, friends, don’t stress about the big A, let’s just get acquainted with this lil’ ol’ issue of yours and reflect as we go along. Obviously we then discover that moderation will never, ever work in a million, gazillion years, but because we were given a bit of time and space to still lean on our crutch, it didn’t seem quite so scary. And then you drop it when you’re ready. As most do, if they stay with Smart Recovery. Someone will eventually come up with a better recovery method than what’s on offer right now and when they do, more people will recover. Offer all the routes we already know of – Smart, AA, This Naked Mind, Sinclair, whatever – but also take the best of each one and tailor it to each individual. It won’t be as hard or as messy as it seems.
Maybe that someone can be me. Or you? It’s bound to happen and it’s not far off, I don’t think. We’re learning too much about addiction to keep going with only methods that work for a minority and the growing recovery community who’ve never set foot in any rehab or AA/Smart meeting and still wind up happily sober are getting louder. I know, I’m part of a few groups like that. I’m not saying do away with AA or Smart or even the unscrupulous rehab industry (except making it accessible for everyone!!), what I’m saying is that there are many ways and we need to make some changes. Or additions, rather. Yes, additions, not changes, is what I mean. There. Done for now.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. I started to write because I had something to say about counting sober days, but that got lost quickly. My posts are always like this – I log on here thinking I have something I want to say, but then just let my mind wander and it ends up a complete mind dump. Oh well.
Busy week ahead and life has never been better. 44 is a good one, I can feel it in my bones. Speaking of bones, I ordered sole for my main course when we went out for dinner on Valentine’s Day in Lynmouth. Big fucking mistake. I don’t know how to eat fish and spent the entire meal picking bones out of my mouth. Hubby had the same thing but not the same problem. Shut up, Anna, you’ve gone hyper again.
Today I’m not going to drink.