Saturday, June 23, 2012

Camping Sober

I'm pretty sure I'm coming out of my anxiety. I can't tell for sure, as my first day back at work is Monday. There's a part of me that kind of hopes that maybe I'll go back in and they'll say "Well, sorry it didn't work out, we're taking advantage of the probation period and letting you go." I'm worried that it was a mistake to take this job. I did it, in part because I was relieved that someone wanted me. But I'm overqualified for this post, and the pay is 75% what I was making at my last job....and I quit that job because I felt that I deserved more. So, in a lot of ways if they let me go I might be better off.

But in a lot of other ways, if I can stick it out, I might also be better off, just differently. It's frustrating being stuck between two possibilities.

But, regardless, there isn't much I can do about it before Monday.

I mentioned that I went camping a little while ago. I'm not sure if it's the first time I ever went camping sober, but I can't remember another time so it probably is. It was a little strange not packing booze for my trip. And frustrating as well, as my boyfriend only brought a 6-pack with him and my drinker's brain knew that was not enough. I confessed how frustrated I was with his lack-of-alcoholism "You're doing it wrong!" I said. Camping involves a two-four, not a six-pack. Jeez.

Anyway, sure enough, he didn't have enough beer and he was lucky that one of the other campers wanted to make a liquor run the next morning, or else he would have had to be sober with me.

The camping site we went to is a big gay camp site. It was a "bear weekend." A "bear" for the not-gay, is a big, hairy, bearded gay man. There's quite a little sub-culture going on there, and the weekend was organized to be a big ol' hedonism thing: drinking, drugs, nudity, and sex. In general, I support all of those things, though for me lately, hedonism means reading a lot of books in the sunshine, which is what I did, and it was fine.

I don't think I was terribly tempted by the booze. I did partake of some pot, and that was nice, but for the most part I was really content to stay by our tent while the rest of our group frollicked around the campgrounds, debating whether 9am was too early to start drinking (for most it wasn't, which is fine, because it's a party weekend, eh?).

I did get upset the Saturday, because my boyfriend didn't come get me for lunch. I just slipped his mind completely and he ate with some other friends before going back to the partying. He was suitably ashamed when I told him I was a little bit hurt (and hungry!), but what could I do? He doesn't let loose like this very often, and it was clear that it was a mistake and he felt bad.

Other than that, though, it was all pretty good. It was a success. It was a meaningful success.

My last camping trip was not so good. It was pretty much in the wilderness, with a smaller group of friends, and I was full-on drinking at the time. I was grumpy and frustrated the whole time. I felt like no one was drinking enough, I was self-conscious about how much I was drinking. I got so drunk that I fell out of my chair by the campfire and was embarassed and resentful of everyone. I behaved like an ass, and for weeks afterward my friends gave me a wide berth. That camping trip is one of the reasons why I'm sober today, because it was crystal clear that my drinking was getting in the way of my relationships. It still took me another 4-5 months before I actually stopped, though.

Last night I was talking with a friend and I told him that I really believed this summer was going to be a good one. He asked why, and I demured, just saying it was a gut feeling. Last summer was miserable for me. I spent most of it inside, drinking by myself, blowing off responsibilities and fun activities alike. Of all the grand plans I had last summer, I don't think I enjoyed (or even did) most of them. What's worse is that I felt like I was the only one: the sun was shining and I was inside in the dark with a glass of booze or a bottle of beer.

The real reason why I think (or maybe hope is a better word) that this summer will be different is because I am sober. It's not the only factor: I can be sober and miserable, people do that every day. But the fact that I had fun on this camping trip makes me optimistic about the other things I want to do this year. I'll miss the patio-drinks and the cold beer (now that is a powerful sense memory: the dewey bottle of beer on a hot summer day, the first cold, biting sip.....never again? That's right, never.), but in exchange I will have sunshine and the company of friends. That's a more than fair trade.

1 comment:

  1. I get both scared and comforted when long-sober people say the sight of a cold beer beaded with condensation still stops them dead in their tracks. Yes, I still feel that now, but kind of hoped it would go away...someday.

    I went camping this weekend and had a lot of fun. Well, it wasn't exactly camping because I just slept in a tent with my family in my own backyard. And I didn't actually sleep in the tent but bailed and went inside to my own bed at midnight. But otherwise, same thing. I had fun! Once I set my own hair on fire in a tent while drunk-camping. So, you know, anything is better than that.

    Glad to hear you're feeling those sweet, happy moments in sobriety. And isn't it nice to be able to read again? I missed reading and love having it back again.