Room service is my saviour, travelling alone. I am not ready yet to eat solo without wine, or tag along with drinking strangers. Always remember to ask about alcohol in desserts! This is all that remains of a trio of toffee apple. The cream would have had calvados in it (unknown as it’s the dessert of the day and there’s no listing). I asked and they sent me one with virgin cream just for me. My treat! Hope you’re all finding your own ways to a little indulgence tonight. Happy Wednesday sober folks!
I’ve tried to give up before, keeping the same patterns and the same friends. Glugging down pints of diet coke until I get the shakes, dancing and laughing… and seething with resentment. Every time I fell off it was at a party (twice at festivals). I tried to go to festivals! With the same friends who were taking 2 litre bottles of home made cocktails, just like I used to. Recipes so killer and divine I wouldn’t dare repeat them on a sobriety blog.
It doesn’t work, it won’t work. In AA they rightly tell you to protect yourself from wet situations in the early days but the promise is held out that one day you will be so far released that you will blithely sit in the centre of a drinking maelstrom and suffer no ills. I don’t see it, or at least not for a very very long time. I read somewhere that it takes the same amount of time to get over a relationship as was spent in that relationship. I’ve been binge drinking to blackout for 25 years, so I reckon I’ll be safe in pubs around age 70. We should be nearing peak oil by then so we’ll all be on curfew and the pubs will be looted and burning, so it’s a moot point.
So, now there’s no more late night pubs, no more rowdy house parties, no more hotel bars after the conference has kicked out. No more dirty gigs in basements, actually no more places I can’t get a chair and a decent view (but that’s more age than sobriety, no doubt). All these things I can do without. But I wonder still, does this mean no more dancing? No more festivals? I picture myself in a field at sunset, beautiful orange light casts shadows of gyrating bodies, a rhythm pumps, guitars crescendo. Is this lost to me? Could I be there (me, the queen of the 2 litre cocktail) and be sober, free, dancing, happy?
I don’t know the answer. My new sobriety is all eggshell and puppy eyes, vulnerable and crushable, adorable, mine. I can’t risk it for a chance at clean euphoria. Maybe one day, maybe if I ever find my sober compadres.
But for now no, I guard it all, jealous as a dragon.
Tomorrow I conference alone, which would have once meant something very different but now means this:
1. close attention to the programme, 2. checking if the hotel has a gym, 3. packing a novel and 4. ordering room service.
Everything changed. Everything had to.
The drunkalog is where you beat your chest, beat your brains out on the floor, prove to God and his wife why you just had to get sober, because you’d have died, or your house would have exploded or you’d have eaten your own cat to get another drink.
I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe in inventory either (the supposedly benign, nay, essential form of drunkalog).
You don’t need to know the age I was when I first blacked out, the number of sexual partners of whom I can’t remember their faces (names? Gimme a break) the lists of people I’ve let down or the much shorter list of those I’ve buried.
Truly, neither do I. I don’t need lists to flagellate myself with, I don’t need absolution in the eyes of God or one single other person. I need to not do any of those things again. That’s all.
I forgive myself of everything I did when I was drunk, and I try my damnedest never to think about those things again. I earn the right to not look back, by being here and sober. That’s all anyone needs to know.
Come out of your confessionals and into the light, no one is condemned to repeat anything.
This blog has been inspired by my finding out that several resources actually exist that promote sobriety in the UK without following the usual path of God, steps and meetings. These include The Brink in Liverpool and the blog Tired of Thinking about Drinking
I’ve only just started reading Belle’s blog and I’ve not even visited The Brink yet, but I have been sober this time for 1 year, 4 months and counting. It has struck me more and more that one of the great hurdles for people who stop drinking, especially when it has been central to their life before, is how socially unacceptable it is to never drink. Now, I have lived my whole life in the NW of England, I come from a Catholic background, and a working class one. So the drink had always flowed. And maybe its just the voice (what Belle calls Wolfie and what Rational Recovery calls the beast, the limbic reward centre who’s quest to push its own button is translated by your upper brain into elaborate, self-delusional lies) telling me so, but it seems to me that the necessity of drink is still the predominant message out there. So, not being able to handle that necessary drink is something to be ashamed of: you are spoiling the party for everyone – you with your weakness, your problem, your fun sapping selfishness that sucks the drunken camaraderie out of the room. The gang. The mob.
I want a change in the world, I don’t want others in my boat to feel ashamed and isolated and boring. I don’t want that for myself, either. The blogs and dry bars and even commercial things like soberissexy.com make me think that maybe a change is possible, is on the way. Lots of different social groups have found acceptance over the years, and while I wouldn’t for one second want to say the stigma of being sober and in recovery is comparable to the anguish of being gay in the 60s (sober bashing rarely involves actual beatings, as far as I am aware) what I am looking for is our Stonewall moment, where we stand proud and say ‘We’re here, We’re clear, We’re not getting sloppy’!!
I am sick of standing in a corner, haunting the back rooms of Churches, going late and leaving early. I want my safe spaces and I want them plentiful, unremarkable and out in the light.