Thursday, March 14, 2013

Big Wooden Door






This is me six months ago. I'm the one on the left. Or maybe the right. No, definitely me in the middle. 

This picture looks like what drinking felt like to me. Like I had my head stuck in the middle of a big wooden door. It was heavy, and uncomfortable. My family is in there, too. Stuck just like me. And there's my life, trapped as well. But doesn't it look fun? Woo hoo, life of the party right there! Hand me another Prosecco!

Maybe this is the picture they should put on bottles of beer. Because it represents what drinking is really like. I mean, I suppose not for those people who can have one beer or two. (What is the point? Really?) So they can have regular labels. But for those of us that drink like I used to we get these. Would it help? Help if reality was staring you in the face every time you took a sip? I dunno, I think I would have just turned the bottle around and kept right on chugging.

Every day I try to figure out why I stopped this time. Why? What happened? Why was that day different? And all the days after that? 

Now, let me clarify. This is not a study in self torture- more like a wonderment. It kind of sounds like a puzzle and a bunch of gratitude all rolled into one. 

The other day I found a video I made of myself to myself on my phone last fall. It was me, telling me not to drink. Something along the lines of..."Later you are going to want to drink. Don't do it. NO MATTER WHAT." I can look at myself in that video and see that I am lying. I was totally going to be downing sauvignon blanc later that day. And for a few more months after that.

Sobriety is such a process. I began, in earnest, in January or December two years before I actually quit drinking. I was sober-ish for almost four months (Longer than now- but I can't remember if I drank a little here and there then. I think I did.) I felt great. But I started up again. My job went south. I had a hernia and couldn't run. More stuff. Bring on the binge. Bring on the funk.

And it was funky. At the end of my drinking I was a big ol' mess. Fighting with husband. Ignoring the children. Sort of letting life wobble and steadily unravel. Wandering around with that door on my neck. Lugging it everywhere. Ugh.

I finally had to trust myself. I finally had to believe myself when I said "I don't want to drink anymore" for the five millionth time. I had to put that damn door down or resign myself to a lifetime spent carrying it instead of just the twenty years or so I had been.

Getting sober is about truth, and also lying. Except that the truth is that you cannot drink, and the lying is you telling yourself that you are quite lovely, and wonderful. That you are perfectly OK even when you are at your craziest. Pretty much the exact opposite of drinking: when you told yourself it was OK to drink, and the lying was you bashing yourself over and over telling yourself what a failure and suckball you were.

Getting sober, to me, is this: You take this person, this you, and you start to care for her.You make her trust her. You refuse to hurt her, or be mean to her. You are flat out honest with her. Even when honest is really hard. You hold her when she is fragile and scared, and laughing hug her when she gets it right- or feels comfy in her skin. You encourage her. You forgive her past, her mistakes. You make her responsible for what she does. You make her want to live beyond even her wildest dreams because there you are, holding your own hand for the scary parts. You take the door away from her. You throw her hands into the air on a bike for her. Because, you love her.






21 comments:

  1. Man, I love this. I love your writing. I love YOU Miss Amy, even though we've never met. And you won't be shocked to hear how much I relate to this. Or how it made me feel a little better about all my failed quit attempts that you had them too before you got to where you are now. Let's make that bike a bicycle built for two and I'm going to hop on the back and come for a ride.

    Lilly xx

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    1. Beep beep. Sober bicycle for many coming through!

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  2. Also, while I'm here... :) Right before I creep off to bed... this also resonated with me because I've said I'm going to quit, only to drink again, a few too many times now so I feel like a liar. And I don't want to be a liar. Belle suggested that maybe adding some 'definitiveness' to the idea might help - that I'm a girl of my word and I can keep my word - and that made me think about how I want to be able to trust myself more and know that I can make a goal and stick to it. So I'm repeating that mantra to help it stick. That I will not keep lying to myself, or any of you, any longer.

    The last paragraph of that post is so perfect, so lovely. I'm going to copy it out to my inspiring-sobriety quotes file.

    No lotto wins, no Pulitzer prizes - I will not drink for 100 days.

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    1. One of the biggy biggest things about sobriety is that I can trust me again. I say every day that I am not going to drink, and I don't.

      And the other thing is I think I love myself again like I did when I was a little girl. In my head I'm starting to feel OK with me. Phew.

      100 days!

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  3. Wow I love this line "the truth is that you cannot drink, and the lying is you telling yourself that you are quite lovely, and wonderful." That really resonates. I'm on a day one, not quite getting why I've had so many "day ones". This helps. I love your blog and it's great to read about your successes.

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    1. I've had so so many day ones. Thanks for reading. :)

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  4. Amy,
    You have a great way of taking all of the emotions and memories of the shitty alcohol trap and putting a visual on them. How studid must we have all looked as we dragged our doors around thinking we looked really cool.
    Being kind to yourself - that's the "new black"
    Here's to that!
    Carrie C x

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    1. Thanks. :)

      I don't ever want to put that door back on again. Ever.

      Self kindness. Beautiful. It fits just right. And is good for every occasion.

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  5. This is yet again another brilliant post that I relate to so much. What a stop/start journey I went on to get to the 'finally sober' point. Wow that video must be really powerful to watch. I don't miss the drinking me at all. I do not ever want to go back to being that person that just managed everything the same but with a shitload of wine being processed by my brain and my body every day. Pouring wine on top of everything is such a ridiculous way to live, but that's just what I did. Pour more wine in. Pour more wine in. Pour more wine in. Thank Fuck We've Stopped That Madness!! xxxx P.S. I was an ABS girl... 'Anything But Sauvignon'!! xxxxxx

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  6. Lovely stuff. Self-love, self-forgiveness, self-esteeming...all these things are so powerful and vital in our healing. When we get to those things, booze doesn't creep into the picture. When we have the self-loathing, self-abasement and self-criticism, that is where booze looks inviting.

    Wonderful post :)

    Paul

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    1. I swear, it's so true. As soon as I stop caring about me I get twitchy. So I have to be sure to be extra nice to me so I can keep going. It works every time.

      Thanks Paul. Cheers. :)

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  7. Such a great post. I had many, many day ones, I still dont know why that last one was it, but i do know that i just quit fighting it, i have done enough research. :) and self-love is so important, I never felt comfortable in my skin until I got sober. Thanks for reminding me!

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    1. I am just getting to the point where I feel comfortable in my skin. It is such a breath of fresh air. Such a relief.

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  8. Great post, Amy!

    The war with myself is over and the white flag is flying!

    This means, the chatter in my head stopped. I don't drink any more.
    I love the way sober feels. I don't want to go back to those struggles - that's what keeps me sober today.

    Spring feels like it might be a bit harder than being Sober in February. I will need to stay centered and reminded I cannot have just one!

    Day 40!

    Jenny

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    1. Hurrah Jenny! Day 40 was where I got really emotional, but also where I really started to feel like, OK. I really have GOT THIS. I am not kidding. 40 days is no joke.

      Spring means instead of glasses of wine vases of fresh flowers. All over the house. And maybe cookies. :)

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  9. Wow! I love your writing. It just resonates so strongly. Thank you for posting, you all help keep me on the this wonderful sober path when I feel like the edges are fraying a little.

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    1. Don't be 'a-frayed'! :)

      Thank you. :)

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  10. i'd be scared shitless to see a video of myself from before. i used to call clients (because of the time change) when it was evening for me (thus wine time) but daytime for them. I'm sure someone has a voicemail recording of me. it's gross to think about. i'd never do that now. Like lilly mentioned above, being sober means that i can stop lying to myself. saying that 'no one notices' was a lie. and now it's done. thankfully. beep beep sober car coming through.

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    1. Luckily it was a sober me telling me to not drink later. But I have loads of pictures of drunk me, and they all make me feel so embarrassed. So stupid. Eyes drooping, shitty half smile. Ugh.

      Beep Beep indeed. Run over those awful pics while we're at it.

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  11. Nice job. That last picture is great. Very nice composition!

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