I passed ten months sober last weekend, and I guess it was what I would call a hard weekend. Not necessarily that I would drink, but that I was thinking a lot about drinking, and caught myself throughout the weekend (and a little bit this past week) being nostalgic for the booze. If I look back, I think there were warning signs, little, tiny minor things that were creeping into my thought patterns and actions that could be echoes of my brain when I was drinking. Just little lies I would tell myself, that didn't hurt anyone, but didn't really help anything, either. Why was I lying, to myself, about stuff that I didn't need to lie about?
The details aren't really important, but basically I'm at one of those points where I'm worried about an outcome (getting a student loan), have done all of the things I need to do (fill out forms and send them in), and now the only thing left to do is wait. So, there's no control at this point. If anyone watched the Mars rover, Curiosity, land....those "14 minutes of terror" where none of the NASA controllers can do anything and just have to wait to see if their robots are smart enough to do everything right, well, this is just like that. Except weeks instead of minutes. And a lot more boring.
Anyway, all this stress was creeping up on me and I didn't really notice it until the Friday. My bf had some friends over before going out, and I decided to just hide in the bedroom and read (something I do, sometimes...I'm not always very social). When they left, I crept out of my room and suddenly I simply had to know if they had been drinking, and if there was any alcohol still in the apartment. I didn't intend to drink it, I assured myself (and I do believe it), but I still wanted to know.
There wasn't any booze, but (and this is where I kind of creep myself out) there was a shot glass, which I raised to my nose to sniff. Yep, there had been a really bad-smelling alcoholic drink in there. It was when I smelled it that I realised how crazy I was being, and that scared me.
The last time I was this long sober, about 7 years ago, I lasted 11 months. And I am at 10 months. I'm nervous. I feel like there's a trap around here waiting to be sprung.
The difference from last time is that back then, I never made the decision to quit forever. Even though I was sober for 11 months, I hadn't taken that last step, the one that I'm now sure that I, personally, have to take for my well being, which is admitting that I can not ever drink again. Back then, my sobriety was an experiment. I was just seeing if I could do it. And then the plan would be to gently ease myself into responsible drinking and live happily ever after, the fairy tale of being able to live a good life AND get wasted whenever I wanted.
So, that's a pretty big difference. I'm certain that it's the big difference. And the fact is that ever since I came clean about my inability to control alcohol and admitted that I could never drink again, every day ever since has been easier. That admission closes the door on a lot of the options I might have thought I had. This isn't an experiment. I had the experiment, I got my results.
I think last weekend my confidence was shaken. A couple of days later, the Sunday, I made myself go out with some friends to a dance club that has a retro night every now and then, and had a small panic attack when I realised that I was drinking soda water and my boyfriend had ordered a vodka and soda....what if we mixed up the glasses?! It was like a drunk dream happening in real life. I worked through it, and eventually had a good time (and came home just in time to watch the Mars landing, which was awesome....wouldn't have done that if I was still drinking).
I'm not sure where I stand right now. I guess it's a good sign that my biggest fear is that I might accidently start drinking again (do I live on a sitcom where misunderstandings and hillarious mix-ups happen every week? Um....no), like, I will trip and my lips will fall onto a beer bottle and then suddenly I'm guzzling cheap booze like there's no tomorrow....if my biggest fears are things that happen in cartoons, then maybe I'm okay.
But I also think that I had a close call. Like, what if, while I was already feeling like that, some life crisis had happened, and then a well-meaning friend offered me a shot to feel a little better? Would I have had the reserves to stay sober?
In the end, it keeps coming back to the basics. I can't know the future, there are a limitted number of variables I can control. I know that I want to be sober. I know that even if I do stumble, I will keep on trying to quit until I get it right. I know that I am strong enough to be sober today, and I will probably be strong enough tomorrow, and that every day that I don't drink is a victory and makes the next day a little easier.
I'm already making plans to have a quiet, little party for myself (and maybe the boyfriend) when October 5th, 2012 comes around. I want to write a post here. I want to give myself a hug. I want to go to a bookstore and spend a crazy amount of money on books instead of booze. I want to tell people how proud I am of myself, and I want a kiss from my bf when he tells me he's proud of me, too.
I'll get through this case of nerves, and I will do that while sober.