I am nearly three quarters of a year sober. Good Lord. Who would have thought. I have recently been fantasising about future drinking. Wondering if I should drink around my 50th birthday (and sons’ 21st). Wondering if I am now a dull socialite now that I am not on the booze. It is a very tricky thing alcohol. And I realise that so far in, you can forget how you felt hungover. You can see the rational people (and the piss heads) you know EASILY and swiftly pouring alcohol into their heads without a thought, without a worry. And it seems at times like I may have been too drastic. I have conversations with my treasured child and hear their slight panic over the silent pressure on them that my non drinking exerts. Drinking is rooted and engrained in our lives to such an extent that I am not sure it will ever be uprooted. And in my less joyous moments can think, well why should it?
It does not take long, if you stick close to sober supports to remember that it causes carnage and horror in so many lives. It seems innocent, but then turns and steals. The reason for this post is that I really want to be honest. It is not always easy and beautiful to be sober. You feel sometimes like the outcast, like the boring one. I need to realise that this is not true. I choose how I go to bed. I choose how I wake up. I have not spent fourteen euros on one gin and tonic! I absolutely love it. For me it is good to realise something about THE THING.
Belle recently posted a podcast called the Thing is not in the Thing. And it really rang true for me. You see, I can be tricked into thinking that the fun, the celebration, the inclusiveness, the camaraderie we feel is in the actual glass. We crave fun, celebration, being included and camaraderie. Those are the things all of us would like. Unless we are very introverted. OK, rephrase. Those are the things I would like. We have been told by society and advertising (the booze industry needs everyone to agree and believe in this) that this all resides in that glass. And when we raise it to our lips with our nearest and dearest (and our friends and others) we somehow enter into the bond of fun, camaraderie, inclusiveness and celebration. Alcohol equals fun, camaraderie, being included, bonding, celebration, fun.
Am I still believing this? I guess on occasion I do. I think that it is vital to remember that this is the most lucrative lie of our times. The truth is…. Alcohol destroys lives. Ruptures relationships. At the best it just helps people not to face their issues, helps to gloss over things which, when faced could be life changing in a positive way.
The comfort we need…. the soothing of irritation, the blotting out of misery, the warm calmness we crave…. when we are really really out of sorts for whatever reason…. does not reside in a liquid. We need to be creative in facing the discomfort and seeing what it has to teach us, however painful that may be. And we need to be creative in finding soothing things which do not debilitate our minds, bodies and lives.
For me, I need reminding. I need it hammered home. I am only one slip away from regret and being back in that space I hated. I am delighted to be here. Just so delighted. It is precious beyond words in so many small ways.
Hope you have a lovely Sunday.