I didn't realize how much of my time was devoted to thinking about my drinking. That shit was a full time job. With overtime. My whole life was my drinking habit. Morning: "Oh god, why did I drink last night. I hate myself." Noon: "I feel pretty awful. Why did I drink so much last night?" Night: "I feel a little better. How much can I drink tonight?"
When you get sober, after a while you stop thinking so much about not drinking and start trying out this person you are. At first all you can do is just keep praying. "Please don't let me drink. Please don't let me drive to the wine store. Please don't let me wreck it. Please don't make me start over again." All you are is not drinking. And relieved.
Then after a few weeks it gets different.
The choices you make in other parts of your life start to change. I am realizing that I checked out of everything because I was always aware that I might have a hangover in the morning and I learned not to promise myself to people.
This really hit home the other day when I called my doctor to squeeze in an appointment because I was sick. On the phone with the nurse at 7:30 AM:
"Can you be here at 8:30?"
Me: "Ummm.....yes." (OK, I did have to call and change the appointment to 9:15- the kids have to get to school first. Duh.)
I still went to that place in my head where I had to check in to see how hungover I was, could I squeeze in a nap before the appointment? And then I remembered I wasn't hungover, no need to check that. I don't have to arrange my life around my hangovers anymore. It floored me how much I maneuvered my life around making it easy for me to be hungover. How much I missed because I'd be too busy taking a nap trying to feel well enough to finish up the day.
I answer the phone now. I respond to emails and texts. I make plans instead of excuses. I keep those plans. And make more of them. I'm getting better.
There's something else I've noticed. I am clenched tense ready for fight or flight at all times. Last week at the dentist (look at me! Getting cavities filled! Taking care of myself!) she told me my gum line is receding in front not because I've been to the dentist only a handful of times in the past twenty years, but because I clench my jaw. So I started noticing. I am a clencher! But not just my jaw- my whole body! I am almost constantly in a state of what I'll call pre-action. A state of at-the-ready. Never relaxed. Never at ease.
I am always ready for the attack. Not TO attack, but ready to defend myself. At all times. Even while lounging watching Downton Abbey I had to consciously un-clench four different times. I have this misconceived notion that I'm a laid-back person. I've always thought of myself as easy-going. Affable. Approachable. This may not be true at all! I'm not sure what to do with that. It's not upsetting, it's just...interesting.
Sobriety certainly is entertaining. :)