Monday, December 6, 2010

6 Months Sober - What It Is Like Today

*** Submitted by Leslie

I decided to quit drinking 6 months ago. Actually, I decided to quit years ago, but I actually stopped 6 months ago. It is the holiday season and I must admit it is hard right now. When the darkness falls and the candles are softly glowing, fire snaps and crackles from the fireplace, white lights twinkling on the tree; what would be more perfect than the oaken scent of a golden chardonnay swimming in sparkling glass with a long delicate stem. OK, in reality, I would have found a reason to ‘celebrate’ well before the sun set. By evening, I would be on my third, lacking the motivation to fetch wood for the fireplace. I might switch over to a proper wine glass near dinner time, but a tumbler has been a more discreet option for the afternoon. Honestly, I don’t care if the wine is chilled or not, and I won’t stop at a glass. I will more likely nearly polish off a 1.5 liter before I fall asleep on the couch ‘watching’ SNL or some other show I won’t quite remember in the morning.

This drunkenness doesn’t suit me. This is not what I aspire to be as a wife, as a mom, as a daughter, as a friend, as me. I don’t feel authentic or whole and I haven’t for a long while. Truly, I am an imposter who pretends to be a social drinker, always lively and fun to be around. But when I wake to a foggy head, grateful that my tolerance has mitigated a full blown hangover, I am afraid. Who noticed how much I drank? Did I say anything stupid or offensive? Did I slur, did I stumble, did I fall? Is my husband annoyed or disappointed, even embarrassed? Am I the topic of conversation amongst my friends? And scariest of all, did my kids know I was drunk?

We are a beautiful family. How dare I continue to take the risk of delivering the damage of alcoholism. I have driven drunk, I have passed out on the couch at night, awoken by the warmth of my piss soaking through the cushions. I have crawled in with one of my boys for a quick good night snuggle, trying to avert the direct current of my wine stained breath, only to wake beside him in the morning, still in my clothes from the day before. I want to believe that they are young enough to not quite notice, to believe my explanations. I want to believe that all of the love and goodness of our family has outweighed any impact from my drinking.

And so I find myself here on a therapist’s couch, keenly aware that I am running out of time as an imposter. I am on the verge of being discovered by everyone around me, from me and within me. I know people are starting to talk and it pisses me off. As I sit here today, talking once again with my therapist about my intention to stop drinking, he asks the million dollar question. “What is it going to take for you to move from this place of contemplating sobriety to actually achieving sobriety?” I stop breathing and drop my face to my trembling hands. In that moment, I see my little boy’s face looking at me with confusion and sadness in his eyes. “Mommy, why do you drink so much wine?” he asks my panicked soul. With my breath I release my tears, my fears, my denial and all of my resistance. My time has run out, I will do whatever it takes to be stop drinking.

So I find myself here on this December eve, romanticizing the allure of golden, oaky chardonnay and I ask myself “who am I to flirt with such fantasy?” I remember with gratitude that I lost that privilege long ago.

Today, December 6th 2010, marks the anniversary of 6 months of sobriety.

18 comments:

  1. This post brought tears to my eyes. I understand what you mean about feeling like an imposter. It is no way to live.
    Congrats on 6 months! I pray I will be able to celebrate that milestone... in 5 months and 3 weeks.

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  2. Congrats on 6 months!! Your story sounds just like mine, and I am so proud that we sober sisters are walking this journey together. Good luck with each day of the holiday, you can do it. I will be thinking and praying for you!

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  3. Congratulations! I also just celebrated 6 months of sobriety. I'm having a difficult time "remembering with gratitude" right now. But I remain sober and keep reminding myself how good it feels. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Congratulations, reading this post is EXACTLY what my life use to be like. I will be one year sobor Dec. 13th. and really can't believe it has been that long already. Looking @ the past year I have overcome so many things, but the best part is how my relationship has grown with my girls. It's been a struggle, but sobriety is so worth it! Keep up the hard work!

    Amber

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  5. beautifully written. this part..."This drunkenness doesn’t suit me. This is not what I aspire to be as a wife, as a mom, as a daughter, as a friend, as me. I don’t feel authentic or whole and I haven’t for a long while. Truly, I am an imposter who pretends to be a social drinker, always lively and fun to be around..." hit me right in the gut. oh, how i can relate. i celebrated one year last month. it's been incredibly difficult at times and am sure i'll get squirrely during the holidays. your ability to express why you stopped drinking and how you're feeling now is impressive and sure as hell helped me. hang in there. -adrianne

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  6. I LOVED reading this! Congrats on 6 months! I can only imagine...

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  7. This is so beautiful, and scary, because it hits me right in my gut. This is where I used to live, too, down to the "wine-stained breath" directed away from my sweet children, waking up beside them in yesterday's clothes. Thank you for sharing your story; it helps the rest of us stay strong too.

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  8. Thank you so much everyone for your comments. I am so grateful I am not alone. I know I have the strength and gratitude to make it through one more day.

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  9. Six months for me too...first sober Christmas. thank you so much for sharing - I relate to so much of what you wrote. I just wrote these words of yours on a little post-it and stuck it in my notebook --

    "So I find myself here on this December eve, romanticizing the allure of golden, oaky chardonnay and I ask myself “who am I to flirt with such fantasy?” I remember with gratitude that I lost that privilege long ago."

    Happy Holidays!

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  10. Thank you for your absolutely beautiful post. I hope to be where you are soon. xo

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  11. congrats on 6 months! I am at 11 months and also having a bit of a hard time during the holidays (all those cues to drink!) but making it through. Thank you for posting this!

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  12. Congratulations on your six months! I too have lived your story and was lucky enough to have attained sobriety before my children asked me that million dollar question about drinking. You are brave and strong and I really admire you. I only have two months under my belt but they have been the best two months I have had in at least ten years. Thanks for sharing your story and being an inspiration.

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  13. Congratulations on your 6th month milestone. It might be difficult, but the alternative is much more so. Keeping gratitude in our hearts is so important. looking around with 'new eyes' helps, too. Just wanted to add my best wishes to continued sobriety, strength and *gentle hugs*

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  14. Thank you for your post. I will be six months sober on the 23rd and I so relate to everything you have written. I hope I never forget how much I jepordized my relationships with my children and others close with me. Thank you for sharing this.

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  15. Thanks for this beautiful post. I celebrated 60 days on the 10th, and my birthday was on the 6th! There are so many of us out there, we all have to help each other.

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  16. I am 10 months sober and 36 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I can relate to so much of your story. WOW, congrats on 6 months sobriety. What a gift!

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  17. 6 months for me in 3 days. thanks for sharing your story, so like my own.

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  18. 6 months sober today. Good to hear, but I'm still pretty miserable. Amazing things have occurred for me, but I miss it. I feel like I'm a different person, and I'm not sure I like the new me. I miss the old one in many ways. But yes ... my life was not amounting to much. Now it just may be...

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