90 Days and Confused

14 Apr

Today I’m 90 days sober. Three whole months. It simultaneously feels a lifetime and no time at all.

In AA, 90 days is one of the magic numbers. They tell you to try and go to 90 meetings in 90 days when coming into recovery (which quite frankly is ridiculous if you have a job and a life…) but I understand that this is a guard against relapse in early recovery. A stabilising phase to get the drink out of your system and build recovery into your daily life.

Tonight I’ll collect my 90 day chip and will treasure it close to my heart. Without this sobriety, I erode myself from the inside out and I need to remember that.

But If I’m really honest, this past weekend I’ve felt the least stable in my sobriety I’ve been since those first few painful weeks. I’m finding it really bloody hard to reconcile myself to the fact I can’t drink. This weekend I was SO close. I had a major case of The Fuck Its and do you know what really scared me? I didn’t reach out to anyone for help. I didn’t want to. I just sat through the urge, white knuckling my way through a weekend of people drinking around me.

It was such an emotional weekend. I’m starting to get scared about sharing too many details about my life, but I spent the weekend at an event that was a non-stop overpouring of emotion everywhere around me. It was 48 hours of love, positivity and joy, and this made me want to drink. To heighten the emotion. To get that drunk high that comes before the fall. I just wanted to feel MORE than I did, feel the booze coursing through my veins and get a bit high on alcohol-enhanced life.

This was exacerbated by having a bit of a love interest enter my life. It’s someone who I, who I met through one of my hobbies for the first time last weekend and we spent the last two days together. I’m having that nervous/excited ‘does he like me? Do I like him? What might happen?!’ first stages of potential romance thing. This is compounded by my sober confusion ‘should I be thinking about a relationship now? Will it make me less stable? Do I really like him or just *think* I like him because I want some excitement in my life?’ No idea. I’ll have to sit tight on this.

We were out drinking two nights in a row and of course I didn’t drink, but I felt if I had, it might have moved things on a bit. One of the things I miss about drinking is that false intimacy it creates. Booze’s ability to smooth over the nerves and let you relax into a night. I’ve become a bit obsessed with dating sober, worrying about how I’ll do it, agonising over how I’ll miss sharing wine over a meal. Getting drunk and silly together. I brought this up with my therapist last week and she said, with a bite of much needed sarcasm and a dollop of tough love: ‘How terrible to have to enter a relationship being the authentic you. What a hardship’. We laughed together about it, but she’s absolutely right. The choices I would make regarding men when drunk are very different to the choices I would make sober. I’m scared to make these kinds of decisions sober, I think, because it means I have time to think harder about what I’m getting myself into, how it will serve me and what my deep down intuition is  telling me. As my therapist would say, how terrible! Poor me for having to think and act in my best interests!

I talked to my flatmate last night about all these feelings I’m having around missing out because of alcohol, and he said something that’s been absolutely revelatory in my sober journey. We have a phrase in Britain that sometimes precedes a compliment: ‘I don’t want to blow smoke up your arse but [insert compliment here]’ which he used and made me giggle. He didn’t want to blow smoke up my arse BUT I’m not one of those people who needs alcohol to socialise. He pointed out that I’m really sociable, have lots of great friends who would do anything for me and have a job that absolutely relies on my social skills. If there’s anyone who can navigate dating sober it’s you, he told me. And I know there’s truth in that.

There’s also truth in the fact that my life is just so much better when I don’t drink. I’m happier, more productive, more emotionally stable (most of the time), I have self-esteem and ambition again. So why the urge?

My flatmate made the very good point that I’m still so early in this journey. It would be worrying if I felt that I had it all worked out by now. The emotional pain of working through every new situation without turning to drink when it gets too tricky is a character building experience and I’ll continue to learn from it, getting stronger  every time I push through.

I’ve come so far from that morning in January when I lay shaking on my couch, knowing that the only thing I could do was surrender completely to AA. That this time, things really did have to be different. I’ve got 3 whole months behind me of waking up so grateful to be sober and even though the self-destructive impulse still comes on strong with alarming frequency, I value myself in a way I didn’t before. I’ve blogged before about how the Higher Power idea of AA really works for me, and since I got sober, so many things have happened that make it seem like the universe is screaming at me: ‘LOOK AT ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO THINK YOU’RE GREAT! LISTEN TO THEM!’ This sounds like I’m blowing smoke up my own arse (!) but in all honesty, in the last months I’ve found myself in situations where on 3 separate occasions people have made public speeches about how much they value me in their lives, how much of an inspiration I am to them. Honestly. And they had no idea I’m in recovery. They just felt the need to say ‘Hey! Well done for being you.’ Wow. This never happens outside the movies. If this isn’t the universe giving me a big sign to stop being so down on myself the whole time, I don’t know what is.

I’ll keep on moving forwards, keep on feeling the uncomfortable feeling of authenticity of being 100% myself and grow through it.

 

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32 Responses to “90 Days and Confused”

  1. lucy2610 April 14, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    Bravo lovely 🙂 90 days – I’m gonna blow smoke up your arse now but what a great expression this is ‘Without this sobriety, I erode myself from the inside out and I need to remember that’. Me too. Go get that chip with pride 🙂 xx

  2. 365 Reasons April 14, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    “(which quite frankly is ridiculous if you have a job and a life…)”
    HAHA I love that. That is how I feel. I hate going to an AA meeting and have someone try to make me feel guilty for not going to a meeting everyday. Work takes up 14 hours of my day. I don’t always have the hour and 40 minutes (most meetings are 20 minutes away from me) to go to a meeting. Especially if they are gonna make me feel guilty!

    I get you on the dating sober thing. I am worried how I will do it. But then I think it will be nice to get to know someone without that veil of booze clouding my judgement.

    Congratulations on 90 days! I am a week behind!

    • FitFatFood April 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

      We are so close! Let’s stay that way 🙂

  3. wren1450 April 14, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    I love your blogs. It shows that sobriety may not be tied up in a neat bow and put on the shelf; I love the fact that you are dealing so courageously and honestly with issues that are still present even with sobriety, while realizing how much worse they would be if you were NOT sober. I love what your therapist said about starting a relationship as the real you, not clouded by alcohol.
    Congratulations on your 90–day chip. That is just too fantastic.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Joan B.

  4. Binki (sobernoodles) April 14, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    I too love the comment about eroding – red wine did that to my guts and left me with diverticular disease, which put me in hospital a couple of times – but there is also of course the mental erosion that addiction brings. You are still in really early days and from being around people for nine months now who are recovering, I can say with conviction it does get better, but are all moving on at our own pace. There is nothing wrong with feeling a bit sad, insecure, regretful – you are grieving for your addiction – and bereavement from alcohol can be just as heart wrenching as losing a person, because it feels like you are losing the old you. In fact I would dare to say you are regaining the old you, the sober you that was present before alcohol got a hold of you. You were a sober person once and you have returned to that normal and natural state xxx

    • FitFatFood April 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

      I love this bereavement idea. That’s what it’s like. And my most recent memories of everything fun include alcohol, but I know that actually, the things that were fun were fun for their own sake and often I missed out on the genuinely fun bits.

      Thanks Binki x

  5. primrosep April 14, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    hey lovely. you put this so amazingly well. have been thinking of you coming up to your ninety days and wondering how you’ve been feeling. because for me the ninety days/three month point was almost bigger than the 100 days. I celebrated both, natch. but the necklace I bought myself for getting to that point – my 90 day chip – is the most valued symbol I have because it represents such a powerful, incredible achievement. and within those 90 days you have moved house, entered therapy, started a new job, run a marathon and now met a new bloke?! cough cough splutter missus what next?! letting the real, sober you make life changing decisons…hard as it is it is so so worth it. shout out whenever you need it, though. because, you know, crap happens. and this is too precious to throw away. xxx

    • FitFatFood April 14, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

      Goodness Primrose, I’ve used up a lifetime’s excitement in a few months! I’m doomed to a dull life forever now 😉

      Thanks you and I will keep this chip so close to me- I’m going to put it in my purse so if I ever feel tempted to drink I will see it there, winking at me next to my money…

  6. soberlearning April 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    90 days is fantastic! You are doing great. Self doubt is what we are all about, sober or drunk, right? At least when you have to reflect on things now, you are doing it with a clear head.
    You have made amazing strides in 90 days. Get that chip with pride!

    • FitFatFood April 14, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

      Shall I moonwalk up to the front to collect it, just for fun? No? Was only joking. Honest.

      Seriously though thank you. Self doubt IS what we’re all about and guess what? Us drinkers aren’t the only ones. Everyone has it and it just plays out in different ways to different degrees.

      • soberlearning April 14, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

        I was surprised by the hugging. I am a hula hoop girl about my personal space. Come no closer then the hula hoop.
        Enjoy every moment. Post a picture of the chip.

      • FitFatFood April 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

        Thank you- I will 🙂

  7. pumpkinwaffle121 April 14, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    90 days is awesome!! One bit of advice that I received from my sponsor during my first week of recovery was to “play the tape through!” It seems so simple, but it helps me everytime. There have been many times that I will sit and romanticize the first drink or drug… but then I imagine the second, the third, the fourth and so on. Where I will end up at the end of the night, and hpw I will feel the following morning. Playing the tape all the way through always seems to do the trick for me! (as well as calling someone in the program)

    • FitFatFood April 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

      I love that one- it really helps me. Thank you!

  8. carrythemessage April 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    Congrats on you 90 days (green chip, in these parts). That’s fantastic!

    You are where you need to be (don’t you hate that expressions? lol. But it’s true). you have such great support around you – therapist, flatmate, and perhaps that new bloke. You have your AA family. Don’t be afraid to lean on them when the compulsion creeps up on you. It’s normal in many ways for us to isolate when we get those pangs. But we need to move through that and get used to reaching out when we are in some sort of pain (small or large). I like what your therapist said…made me laugh too. That can apply to me too.

    “One of the things I miss about drinking is that false intimacy it creates.” – what a dichotomy there! I miss the false things. Funny how that looks when you see it isolated. I was the same. Missed the false self, because that was all I knew. I was comfortable in the fake. But here we are, my friend. Living in the now, the real, the authentic! And it’s bloody frightening at times. But you’re doing well. I was still a bit of a mess at 3 months (my wife says I was a zombie still at that point). It’s around now that the emotional rollercoaster starts to slow down.

    Take things easy. Be gentle to yourself. You have come so far. Enjoy it. And what your flatmate said – bang on. We are learning to work our way through situations sober. It’s not easy at first, but it gets easier – I promise 🙂

    Blessings and congrats!

    Paul

    • FitFatFood April 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

      Great to hear from you Paul! And as wise as ever 🙂

      I will try to be kind. I find it easier to be kind these days, inch by inch I’m getting there x

  9. Birdo April 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    glad you have reappeared – was beginning to worry about where you had gone to. They talk about romance being a heady experience, like being drunk. So maybe it can be a useful substitute?! Also isn’t it nice to know that someone is interested in the sober you, and wants to go out and spend time with you NOT drinking?
    Your flatmate sounds awesome. And wise! x

    • FitFatFood April 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

      He is awesome and wise! I might tell him that, you know, blow some smoke up his arse 😉

      I have been a bit quieter on the blogging front. As many people describe, the further I go along the fewer revelations I am having. Because I had so many Day 1s last year, I learnt lots and lots of lessons and now these are slowly solidifying.

      I’m still here though, and another day under my belt 🙂

      I hope you are well lovely Birdo x

  10. iversonjj April 14, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    congratulations!
    its a process. breathe in breathe out … one day at a time until the magic happens …

    • FitFatFood April 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      I love the idea of progress not perfection 🙂 That really helps me.

  11. Debbie April 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

    Congratulations on 90 days 🙂 Just remember it’s all cyclical and you will bounce back!

  12. thirstystill April 14, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    Congrats on 90 days! Hooray hooray hooray! I like what your flatmate said about not having it all figured out. I know I get that too, the idea that at x days (90? 100? 365?) it will all be OK. But I think these ups and downs are just how it goes. Still, the ups are good and the downs have their lessons, at least sometimes. Best wishes on the new romance! And yes, well done you, just for being you. xo

    • FitFatFood April 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      You’re right, arbitrary numbers mean nothing, but the progress in how we feel means so much…

      The downs always have their lessons, you are very right 🙂 x x x x

  13. Rebecca A. Watson April 15, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Congrats on 90 days! That is so great 🙂 I agree with thirstystill. These arbitrary numbers don’t mean anything. 30, 90, etc. days. Sometimes we have cravings. Sometimes shit sucks. Sometimes life is awesome. Sometimes we meet cool new boys. Hang in there and know that you’re doing great. You’re on the right path. HUGS!

    • FitFatFood April 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

      You’re right, And the biggest lesson of all of this is that however terrible I feel, I go to bed sober and the next day I just wake up feeling better.

  14. themiracleisaroundthecorner April 15, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    I doubt I could add anything to this wonderful post and comments that would enrich. So I will just say… huge congrats on 90 days, I am so inspired by you! You are truly showing all of us how it’s done 🙂

    • FitFatFood April 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

      Thanks so much. It sure doesn’t feel like that so I appreciate the kind words!

  15. jenisthesoberist April 15, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Congrats on 90 days FFF! I sometimes feel cravings around milestones. I haven’t examined the why’s too much, but these cravings will pass and you will be past 90 days sober. Hooray! Keep doing your thing! xx

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Day 14 – Here | Lucy's New Life - May 7, 2014

    […] people’s blogs, I’m so thankful they are there. I ran across this gem this morning from FitFatFood, “One of the things I miss about drinking is that false intimacy it creates.” My god […]

  2. Boys Boys Boys | FitFatFood- Blogging to Stay Sober - July 13, 2014

    […] someone out for a drink that I’ve had a huge crush on all year IRL (he made an appearance here but nothing came of it). I don’t think he’s interested, but if you don’t ask, […]

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