Two Months Sober. Yee-Haw.

People keep telling me that I am doing so well with regard to my newfound sobriety, and I suppose that I am, but there are hard parts, and tonight? It's hard.

I have not written much about the hard parts of my new sobriety, because I didn't wanted to turn this weblog into a weblog about alcoholism. I didn't want to whine. I didn't want to sound sad. I would prefer to leave you smiling than sad.

While doing that, though, I have done myself a disservice, if this is to be a record for my future self, which it is. It is also a disservice to you, if you happen to be invested in this journey of mine, whether you are an alcoholic, are practicing sobriety, or you just give a good goddamn, because it is not only a journey of happy self-discovery and quiet reflection, not if I'm being honest.

It is sometimes hard. Sometimes, it is the kind of hard that I just want to stop doing:
  • because it physically hurts to be sober. I have always had pain that is seemingly unrelated to any physical ailment. My skin might hurt, or I have a headache, or my joints ache, or whatever. I almost always have pain. Regular alcohol intake mediated that rather well. Now I can't do that anymore, so I hurt. It's tiresome.
  • because I am alone more often than I have been since I was a kid. In order to cut drinking out of my life, I dropped an entire habit of living and more than 90% of my social life without any intermediary steps. There are those stories of the spouse who stepped out for cigarettes and never came back. Now I'm the one who stepped out for cigarettes, but this is the side of the story we don't usually hear about. I'm the one who disappeared from the narrative I knew, and now I'm waiting for this one to have a coherent plot line. It doesn't.
  • because I can't disappear from reality anymore. It used to be that I could hide out inside an alcoholic fog for hours on end for the cost of a few pints of beer. Now? Never. I am aware, I am aware, I am aware. I feel every last moment, the itch of my clothing, the hunger in my belly, the thoughts nagging in my head, and I seriously want to fuck being aware. Awareness, at times, is torture by tedium.
  • because this is a choice I have to make every day, whether I want to or not. It's a choice I want to make, and it's a choice I don't want to make, and yet it's a choice I make religiously, because I love myself and I love the Palinode and I love the future, and yet there are nights, really long and anxiety-ridden nights, like tonight, when I don't know how to say no, so I just don't do anything at all and instead wait in front of the television for it to wind itself down into fitful sleep.
  • because the world is so full of the thing that I want. It is on television, it is on the internet, it is in my e-mail inbox thanks to detached PR reps, it is in magazines, it is in the novels I read, it is in my friend's glass at the table, it is on your breath when you come to buy shoes from me.

  • I won't stop being sober, though. I will not stop. I need sobriety. It has become a part of my will to live. I would rather go through the periods of struggle and anxiety and teeth-grinding so that I can have the parts where I remember things and take care of myself and enjoy being awake and have the full spectrum of emotions and thoughts than spend half my life either drunk or recovering from being drunk and forgetting and wondering if this is how my life is going to be until I die, a long line of nearly identical and mostly meaningless events strung together by fatalism and hangovers.

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    Mid-life crises should be sexier events.

    This one's screwing with my complexion, the constitution of my bowels, and the frequency of my crying jags. We should glow like we're giving birth to giant, self-aware manifestations of our true selves. I should have lustrous hair and the chub of fruition.

    Instead, I feel like I was handed a consolation prize of one of those cheap spinning toys that makes sparks while also being given the bum's rush out the exit door.

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    You shouldn't listen to me. I'm feeling pissy.

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    Still, I'm here. I'm here at the end of writing this all down. I'm here, and I've arrived at two months sober.

    This is what it is, what I'm trying to learn: to ride out all the worst shit because it is my ticket to all the freedom I feel in between all the worst shit. And I just did it again.

    I rode it out. I bought my freedom.

    There's nothing more, I guess. It's midnight, and I'm tired, and I did it. I made it through, so now it's time for some chocolate ice cream, my new daily bread beer replacement reward for time served with good behaviour, and a hopefully long sleep while cuddled up with at least one of three cats.

    Oscar and my ice cream

    Thank you for seeing me through these first two months. Sleep tight.