Well, I am on Day Two of my husband’s company work trip. I had severe anxiety in the weeks leading up to this moment about coming because of the emphasis on drinking. An all-inclusive, fun-in-the-sun, no worries kind of a trip. We’ve been on these before. I knew what to expect. Typically, I would kick off the week by drinking heavily at the hotel the night before, wake up in a frenzy to catch the plane, grab a Bloody Mary for breakfast, and proceed to drink on the plane arriving half in the bag by the time we arrived at the resort. The remaining days would be a blur: me drinking, skipping meals, being the life of the party, falling over, acquiring countless bruises from the escapades. Going home and exhausted, I would replay the week in my mind and try to recall all the dumb things I said or did, recount who I offended, and shrug it off to “Well, I was on vacation. I needed to blow off steam being away from the kids.”
Lies. Lies. And more lies. Who was I kidding? Blowing off steam? I could “blow off steam” daily better than an English tea pot.
This vacation, I vowed, would be different. I would be sober.
And that, scared me to death. Who would notice? Who would pressure me? How would I possibly have fun? How will I talk to people without a buzz on? What will people think?
Man, I gave my Ego way too much credit. Nobody cares, really. I had conjured up a whole gamut of scenarios that might happen. Basically, that was wasted energy. Most people are either so into themselves, their spouses, or their conversations they don’t have time to give ME a second thought.
That is not to say NO ONE has noticed. The usual suspects have. One guy, for instance, has given me crap nearly every four hours: “I can’t believe you’re not drinking. I like you better when you’re drunk. You aren’t as much fun. So you’re not going to drink the WHOLE week. Why not say fuck it and have yourself a good time?”
Yet another, “Are you pregnant? What’s wrong with you? Are you on some kind of cleanse?” (Ha, why yes I am, thank you!)
He says this as he downs his fifteenth Jack and Coke. He says this because I make him uncomfortable; he doesn’t know me sober.
In fact, I don’t know me sober. I have so much to figure out; many thoughts run through my head as I navigate this new lifestyle. What do I want to do today? What will I eat to feed my body and my soul? How can I serve others? How can I live a life that doesn’t need alcohol? How can I take care of my spirit and protect her so she doesn’t fall privy to the demons around?
But, so far, I like the person I am getting to know. I know I like waking up in a calm way, hearing the birds and they aren’t aggravating to me. I like getting a detox massage knowing all the chemicals are being lifting out of my pores making way for healthy, clean cells. One of the simplest but best parts of being sober is taking a breath and remembering the events of the day and knowing I did not offend anyone because of alcohol. The transformation of my body, mind and spirit can be overwhelming sometimes because I KNOW where I’ve been. For thirty years I fooled myself into what I perceived as living. And I was living. But I was NOT being and therein lies the difference.
This week, I have laughed, meditated, conversed, danced, played shuffleboard, air hockey (I beat my husband, for the record),walked the resort alone and took pictures, journaled, and have taken time to figure out what I want. This feels good.
I have a long way to go; I know that, but I am not willing to sacrifice how I feel today for some poison in a cup. My Higher Power gave me the opportunity to live out (hopefully) the second half of my life in the way that He intended.
Today, I know who I am not: the drunk girl, slurring her words, trying to make people laugh at the expense of others. I don’t have to cringe at the sound of a beer tab popping back against the metal- heck, for all I know, it could be a can of pineapple juice- not likely, but the point is, it just doesn’t matter to me. The thoughts of alcohol aren’t consuming me minute to minute like they used to.
Well then, who am I? Not sure yet. But I am willing to be sober one more day to get closer to figuring her out.