Facing Down Demons
Someone I knew drank herself to death recently. She did it with a determined sprint toward the finish line. It wasn’t pretty. When you kill your internal organs with alcohol, it turns out that all kinds of terrible things can happen to you, and for her, one of the symptoms was her skin dissolving and not growing back. Horrible.
When she was sober, or even moderately not drunk, she was the life of the party, a raconteur, a bon vivant, a real pistol. She had a husband and kids, but none of it was enough to keep her alive.
Meanwhile, another of my beautiful friends has quit drinking and is struggling. She, too, is determined, but in a better way. Still, alcohol provided a structure for a big chunk of her life, and now she’s left looking at the space where that was like a building collapse happened. Big chunks of cement, dangling wires, and a loss of familiar territory. I’m rooting for her and praying for her because she deserves a big, grand, sober life. I know when the detritus is cleared away, she’ll have space for beauty and strength and love to grow.
And me? It has been almost a year since I quit drinking. I’m not sure of the exact date, but Mom 2.0 was May 2-4 last year and for some weird reason, I wanted to be able to tell Schmutzie that I had been sober for a month when I saw her, so I assume it was the beginning of April.
What I do know is that on April 21 last year, I wrote a post about quitting drinking, mostly as a ploy to keep myself from starting again. I figured spilling the beans would help me stay quit because then I’d have people to answer to if I started again.
I’m trying to figure out what to say about it. I wish I had had more big Life Revelations, but I’m not a really big revelation kind of person.
I do feel better, and proud of myself. I know I’m healthier. I never have to take tums before I go to bed to prevent a red wine stomach acid attack. I sleep better and feel better when I wake up.
Mostly, I’m happy to be on the consciousness team, people who have chosen to face up to everything clear-eyed and sober. I know I’m on touchy territory, because I don’t want to insult other people’s life choices which were also my life choices for more than 3 decades, though I took it much further than most people. Not everyone who has a glass of wine with dinner is slicing off big chunks of their consciousness the way I was.
I’m just happy for my fellow travelers, people I care about and admire so much. Hanging out in sobriety with my people – Jim, Elan, Laurie, Karen, Alexis, Heather, Marius, Ellie, Lisa…and everyone else – lets me know I’m on the right track, because I want to be more like them and less of who I was before I quit.
Do I still want a nice glass of pinot noir? Hell yes, I do. Just not today. Not today.