Friday, March 8, 2013

The New Job Feeling

You know how, when you start a new job, you just don't feel quite right? You don't know where the bathroom is, or who to ask for help. You just don't know how things work around here. And then, after a few months you start to feel more comfortable. Make some friends. Find your feet. You don't feel like an asshole all day because you have no idea what's going on. Then people start asking you questions.

You get used to it.

Sobriety is just like that.

It's hard to leave a job where you're comfortable. Where everyone knows your coffee cup is the one with the owls on it. Where you are part of the wheel. Where it's safe.

Drinking is just like that.

I've been thinking a lot about what keeps you there when you're still drinking and you want to quit so much but you just can't. You just can't. And this is why.

It's the new job feeling. It's the I-don't-know-what-the-fuck-I'm-doing feeling. When you get sober you don't really know what to do. I made a full time job out of drinking, being hungover, and guilt. I didn't know how to do anything else. And it sucked, but it was comfortable. Safe. I knew how to do it. Not do that? Well then, what the hell else am I supposed to do? I don't know how to not do that. So it was easier to just stay at my old job- drinking- than go get a new one- being sober.

Doing new things is hard, period. Even when it's something fun, like riding a bike, it's hard. You have to baby bird put yourself out there for the world to see. And then you might fuck it all up. You might have to start over again- how embarrassing. You might have no clue where the bathroom is. Or who's coffee cup with the owls on it you just broke by accident.

Now try starting a whole new life. Holy crap. No wonder people put off getting sober. No wonder I told myself "I'll start tomorrow!" so many times. It's the new job feeling times a thousand. It's like trying to learn to ride a bike. With no hands. Blindfolded. On a tightrope. While playing the accordion. Which I don't know how to do either.

But eventually I had to say fuck it. I quit. This job really blows. I had to get a new one because as safe as the old one was I couldn't stand it any more. The old job feeling (drinking) was worse than the new job feeling (being sober).

Here's the thing about jobs, and life. You can always change your mind if it's just not working out. You can always go in and tell the boss, "This isn't a good fit" or "I'm seeking other opportunities" or "I quit asshole". You can make your life anything you want it to be. Ask for promotions. Be a cake decorator when you've always been a farmer. All of it takes practice. All of it gives you that I-have-no-clue feeling.

Especially sobriety. But who knows? With some practice, you could be really good at it.


  1. *fingers crossed*
    Great post!

  2. I love your analogies...they just make so much sense! Great, great post!


  3. Now try starting a whole new life. Holy crap! - now isn't that so true! Scary too! But just like with the new Job, you put one foot in front of the other and you get going. Great apology! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Great analogy, great post as always Amy. xxx

  5. I can certainly relate! It is truly like figuring out a lot of new things and way of being!
    It is uncomfortable for sure - like a new job.

    I had no idea how to attend a major event sober - but last night I figured it out. It was nice.
    It was different and like a new job - just a bunch of things to observe and learn.
    They really don't keep the coffee going at those things after dinner...just the wine. Who knew?
    Most people go home really early and don't drink much....never knew that!

    Uncomfortable, but I am learning along the way!

    Thanks, Amy. Cool post!

    1. Uncomfortable, but not impossible. That's the secret. :)

  6. Yup...we're in a whole new line of work in our lives now, aren't we?

    Good stuff :)


  7. This made an awful lot of sense for me. Change is hard. When everyone else (including myself) is used to seeing me with a big ol' glass of wine at all social events, it's hard to re-define ourselves if/when we are not drinking. People initially wonder - are you pregnant? Health issues? Why aren't you drinking? It's going to take some time and practice to get used to my new skin. I know it's no one's business but mine...but living in a VERY social environment will add to the challenge. Not an excuse - just a reality. But totally love this post!

    1. I think the bigger deal we make of it to other people, the bigger they make it. If you are casual about it, then they can be too. Practice is the best part. :)

  8. Such wise insights! Thanks for sharing!