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Facing Down Demons

March 23, 2014


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.

  1. Elvie permalink
    March 24, 2014 08:08

    Proud of you and your sticktoitness. I am glad you feel better, sleep better and it sounds like you are enjoying life more. Love you very much. E

  2. March 25, 2014 09:12

    I just love the way you say things. Thank you. I get you.

    • May 6, 2014 20:51

      Thanks, Heather. You’re an inspiration to me.

  3. Maria in Oregon permalink
    March 25, 2014 11:58

    Congrats! I have a friend who’s been in the hospital for almost 3 weeks now. She doesn’t even know where she is. She’s been drinking heavily for many years. They want to remove her damaged pancreas. She doesn’t know it yet, but her elderly mother, whom she lived with, has recently moved to assisted living and her house is on the market. So even if my friend gets out of the hospital, she will now be homeless. Ten years ago she was a successful professional. I’m very sad for her.

    • May 6, 2014 20:51

      Wow. That is a sad story. I hope she can get into recovery and on the path to better physical and emotional health.

  4. cindymaddera permalink
    March 25, 2014 13:59

    I started typing in all those cliched Hallmark congratulations tag lines and they all sounded trite in my ears. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of the way you stuck to your convictions. I’m proud of the way you did it, nonjudgmental of others, not preachy. You simple said “this is what I need to do for me” and I’m proud of the way you take care of yourself.

  5. March 26, 2014 23:55

    Today is all that matters. So proud of you.

  6. March 27, 2014 01:05

    Dearest Sue,
    I am very happy you are part of my life. You are, and have been, a constant and reliable source of inspiration to me for several personal reasons. You will hear them privately from me some time, likely in a coffee shop or restaurant over a small table . There is one reason though which I will cite here and now – it is a selfish one – you always make me feel good about myself and what I do. You are an encourager, an example of a truly honest person whom I have come to admire and love. Thank you. Bruce.

    • May 6, 2014 20:49

      Aw, Bruce, you know I admire you so much! It is always a pleasure to spend time with you and to get your missives. Much love.

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