Day 37 Alcohol Free. I did not realize the extent of the sense of loss and grief/ discomfort I would experience throughout this alcohol free journey. I had not yet learned that letting go of a steady (albeit highly dysfunctional) companion would feel so odd. Not just hard, not just sad, nor merely lonely- but confusing in many ways. Ungrounding. Unsettling.
I am ending a long term relationship that has been a constant in my life for most of my years. I am now 61- my first episode of drinking (like many) was at age 14 with Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill. Giddiness, dizziness, silliness, laughter, risk taking; the first evidences of the lure of the sneaky snake’s lethal venom.
There are many complicated emotions attached to letting go of something so known. Who will I be without this familiar presence, without all the easy, agreeable (to our drinking culture) excuses for avoiding, escaping, unwinding, dismissing, denying? Without the romance of the beautiful wine in the bottle, and then in my glass, and your glass, the discusssions of where and how it was made, the comparisons to lust and sex and sensuous pleasure? Who will I be in this new life I am creating?
There is uncertainty not only throughout this pandemic concerning what the world will be once we resume our lives. In addition to the insanity of the life we are all managing presently, there is unrest and uncertainty deep inside my heart. I am going to have to transform my life. I am, in fact, in the process now of transforming my life. I am tightly held in a cocoon while slowly developing wings and I don’t know how long I need to remain in this safe haven until I have enough strength and trust and certainty to grow and develop beautiful new wings. I know my wings will take me to magical places and I know I will feel joy beyond what I have ever known, but this in-between place is difficult. This growing up, this healing, is tortuous sometimes. This alcohol free “hero’s journey” is not for wimps! It takes immense determination and fortitude, courage and trust, to take this wild train ride into unknown territory with all it’s terrifying curves and detours.
Even at 36 consecutive days without alcohol, I am still finding that some mornings I awaken and get out of bed grudgingly feeling dull, listless, empty- even though I am sleeping and eating well, getting outside and moving my body, and spending a lot of time allowing myself to feel the feels.
Sometimes I am very impatient. I want to feel amazing and bursting with energy. It’s ironic how eager and expectant I am to be magically “repaired” in such a short duration of time when I spent so many years dancing the awkward bipolar dance of my relationship with alcohol and the ultimate acknowledgment of what became an addiction. Alcohol and I have had many varying stages of joy and despair, pain and pleasure over our many years together. We were such good friends (I thought!) for many of those years, until we weren’t. We were inseparable at times, which ultimately lead to the start of the downhill spiral of anxiety and depression. When the negative affects of alcohol became so unbearable that I wasn’t functioning well, and every part of my life was suffering because of it, I woke up to the awareness that it was time to say goodbye to the despicable presence, the Temptress. It was time to admit that my health and happiness depended on our parting of the ways.
I have no doubts, no second thoughts, about the fact that I will be so much better off with an alcohol free future. But that doesn’t make the tough moments any easier. Doesn’t change the fact that I have no motivation to move at times. The only way out is through, I know that. We are all in this together. I will do this. I am fully responsible for where I landed in this alcohol-induced hell. I am equally capable of building a future blindingly bright and full of unlimited possibilities, a future I can only imagine and dream of now.
I have your back and I know you have mine. Sometimes just sharing is enough. Knowing we are all in this together gets me through the hardest stuff. Thank you for being here with me, for going through your stuff too.
Life is good, life is full, life is here and now.