Can you believe it? July 28, 2013 I had my last drink, make that my last bottle and 1/2 of wine. I didn’t plan on it being my last, it just happened. The middle of the night conversations were the same as always, the regret, the self-loathing, the shame. But that morning the feeling of desperation was still smothering me, such a weight to carry, I just knew I couldn’t bear it any longer. I found Jean (Unpickled) and Belle (Tired of Thinking about Not Drinking). Saved my life. Changed my life.
I had already played around with every type of moderation gimmick for years. So, I’ve never looked back, I’ve never slipped or relapsed. I can’t really say why, I certainly dealt with cravings and lots of temptation for sure. But I. Couldn’t. Face. Another. Day. 1. or 2 or 5 for that matter. They were sooooo hard to get through. Husband #1 was out of the country, it would have been easy to cheat, but I couldn’t bear the thought of where I was headed. If I kept drinking I knew I would embarrass myself in front of my grandchildren, for God’s sake, my “grandchildren”. I wanted to be Sharon again. I had lost her in vats of Chardonnay somewhere in my 20-30 years of drinking. I didn’t drink because of a shitty childhood, though it was pretty shitty. I didn’t drink because of a lousy marriage or problem children. It just became a habit, like smoking, a nasty habit that grabbed me, drinking with dinner, then after, while watching TV, trying to read (haha). That turned into drinking alone at night when the house was dark and quiet. How fucking pathetic? Really, as often as my brain said you’re fucking pathetic, my arm put the glass to my lips. I’m sure there’s truth to the genetic theories, my mother had an additive personality and alcohol was among the list of things that ruled her life. But I can’t blame that or her, I chose to drink and now I’ve chosen to stop.
Ugh, what a horror ride through the tunnel of my drinking past. It’s necessary to relive it so you can remember why you’re here.
Maybe some of you thinking about stopping have that weight on your shoulders, I’m two years of proof it can be lifted and oh how light you will feel.
10 awesome things in 2 years
1. I like, love myself again and I am worthy of a whole lot of good shit! Rewards and bubble baths are still in my life. I was always a good person (I think), but I’m a better person now.
2. My relationships with family and friends are so much richer. I’m attentive instead of wanting to be alone with my poison. I actually listen to what people are saying.
3. I’m tons healthier. I exercise regularly. My blood pressure dropped significantly, all by itself.
4. My skin looks pretty good for an old broad and my gray hair is now an ashy blonde. Not something I learned, just an observation.
5. I find joy in places I had forgotten to look. How green spring is, how birds sing early, early in the morning. How much I love to walk, especially with friends. How fucking cold Chicago can get,. I think alcohol falsely insulates you, then you pass out in a snowdrift and die! Alcohol is evil. Sorry, I digress.
6. The witching hour is a thing of the past. It’s rare that I feel the need for tonic and lime or NA wine between 5-7pm. That was a surprise. I thought I’d always need a replacement in hand because so much of my drinking was ritual.
7. Sober blogs rock. I’m still reading sober blogs, though I’ve gone from reading 15-20 a day to having just 3-4 in my email. Most of those I read are people that started along with or soon after I started my journey. I grieved when a few stopped writing. And I got pissed when some started drinking again. I had to learn that it’s their issue and doesn’t mean I’m going to succumb too.
8.Life is a gift, don’t fuck it up. Life is good, everyday with clear eyes and a clear head is a gift. Every morning I’m grateful to the Big Guy or Gal ( I’ve been leaning more toward a female God lately) for helping me. I fell on my knees the day I decided to stop and asked for all the help he/she could send me. She answered, sent me lots of lovely and handsome Internet Angels to guide me along. Sometimes the Internet can be a very good thing. You all held me up and kept me going. Still keep me going.
9. I also learned that swearing again like I did before kids made me feel frickin good. Any sort of tension release is good. Husband #1 was and is happy about that. Wink,wink. You know you can take the girl out of the 70’s but you can’t take the 70’s out of the girl. Old Hippie here.
10. The most important tool I used against alcohol was Attitude with a capital A. Developing a kick ass attitude helped me through some rocky times. I am strong , I am invincible, I am… OMG I’m so old I’m quoting Helen Reddy! How bout Katie Perry and you’re gonna hear me roaaarr! Anyway, Sherry, the Queen of the Motherfucking Ninja Warriors, helped me along with that attitude and remains an inspiration today. I kicked that frickin wolf to the curb. He’s still lying out there, but he’s down and in the gutter. I’d like him to stay down for a very long time.
I pledge to you all I will remain alcohol free for another 365 days ( I’d say forever and it will be but I do better with smaller goals.) I expect you to hold me accountable and get up in my face if I sound whimpy at some point. Deal?
Enough already, Sharon, long and borrrrring. Yawn.
😃 Onward to year 3.
* update, Husband #1 is at 119 days, that makes me happy, too. Don’t know when he’ll imbibe again, he says he will, but he’s done an awesome job so far. Wink, wink.
Oh, one more thing. 63 is the new 42, it’s true, it has to be. I read it in an AARP magazine.