Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Time and Sobriety

I'm still here, and still sober. Things are going well. Sometimes it doesn't feel like they are, but that's a matter of perspective. I'm in school now, I have a part-time job that I can handle, I start meeting with a psychologist tomorrow to get a handle on my anxiety, I'm in better shape physically. I'm doing okay.

I think tomorrow marks 18 months of being sober for me. I've also been truly sober (no pot) since January 1st 2013...my New Year's Resolution (one of them, anyway) was to give up pot for a year. This is the longest I've ever gone since my childhood without being intoxicated. It feels good. I want more of it.

I've had some crazy nightmares where I find myself drinking, I wake up horrified and ashamed, once the dream was so real that I was sure I had been drinking and just blacked out. These dreams are unsettling, but they remind me why I'm doing this. No matter what, no matter how long I stay sober, I know that I cannot handle even one drink. Those dreams are an alternate-universe version of me, a universe where I fail more than I succeed, and what's worse, a universe where I've given up on trying.

I'm lonely, but it's a good sort of lonely, I think. I'm using this time to figure myself out, to build up my foundations that were shaky or never built to begin with. I like being this kind of lonely, most of the time. But it's still a loneliness...I still find myself longing for people who understand what I'm feeling and what I'm going through. These sober blogs are the closest thing that's come to that (since I don't do groups). I want to find a bunch of weight-lifting buddies, actually, because there's a lot in the fitness community that's affirming for a sober lifestyle...but it's hard to find my niche, because drunk or sober, I'm an oddball. Also, I've got issues with straight jocks, on account of my having grown up a gay nerd....natural enemies in the grand scheme of things (though I know there are exceptions out there).

I wonder why I'm feeling so melancholy while I write this?

I'm in a new and different phase of being sober, though, from my first year. I know that I can't ever drink, and that's not as important-seeming as it once was: there's so much more to life than booze, which I always knew but never really felt before now. And I have a new perspective on time...I guess not washing away memories with alcohol every other day helps to show just how MUCH time there is, really.

My first ex and I had dinner the other night, for the first time in almost 10 years (I should say here that things are lovely with my current boyfriend....almost 5 years of being together now, and I'm very happy with him, as happy as I could ever imagine to share my life with someone). We ran into each other on the street, he told me that he is going in for heart surgery, and asked if I'd like to have dinner with him (no nefarious scheme involved: he is engaged to someone). I think he wanted some closure, and while it's been a while since I felt I needed anything from him, I did feel like it would be fitting to see how he is.

The 4 years that we dated, we drank. We drank like fish. He introduced me to the "Texas Mickey", and we polished one off of whiskey between the two of us in a weekend. We were late to his best friend's dad's funeral because we were hungover. We celebrated the beginning of the year 2000 by getting wasted and having a HUGE fight over Babe 2: Pig in the City. The night we broke up, he threw a glass vase at me that shattered all over the floor, and punched a hole in the door of our apartment before I called the police on him.

We only glossed over the fact that I'd been sober for 18 months. He was still drinking, and he assured me that he never drank that much these days. Maybe not....but in other ways he hasn't changed much. He told me how at his last job he got so frsutrated that he punched a hole in the office wall. He kept saying how much he'd changed, how he had things figured out, how I wouldn't even recognize his life....he said those same things all the time when we dated 10-15 years ago. He has a big heart, but he always seems to be stuck in a loop, where he is always learning "so much" about himself, but it's always the same lessons.

I'm painting a terrible picture of him, and at least some of it must be because I feel comflicted about our relationship, and about some things about myself. Have I changed? I think I have....but how do I know? I feel like I'm more mature, but am I in the same loop? Am I any better?

My sobriety is based in a few different motivations. There is a part of my being sober that comes entirely out of a survival instinct, and I think my first year of being sober was guided by that, a fear that my drinking would lead me to death, either of myself or of all my dreams and my self.  Now, though, there is also a desire to be a better person. I want to do right by the people I love and the people who love me. I want to contribute to society in a meaningful way. I want to be a good person who can be proud and happy with the way he lived. I am in a new stage of my sobriety. The questions are bigger, but they are good questions. I'm willing to stay sober and figure out the answers to these questions, because I have a feeling that it will be so very much worth it.

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