Happy Effing Monday, my fellow sober freaks. Or, if ‘sober freak’ freaks out your freak, substitute any term that makes you feel sexy and amazing. Because being sober IS sexy and amazing. You know what’s not sexy? Hitting on someone at the bar and instead of saying, “HI MY NAME IS CRYSTAL,” you say, “HIZNAMEZRISTOL.” Being YOU is sexy. And when I say sexy, I’m not just talking about the GET IN MY BEDROOM NOW AND PUT ON THIS PONY SADDLE kind of sexy. I’m talking about being enigmatic, present, and there to live and love life with your fellow human beings. That kind of connection is beautiful. Being you in a world of other people being them. Sounds basic and obvious but to us candy obsessed kids, it’s very easy to forget.
And if you’re reading this and you aren’t a sober freak YET, Happy Monday to you, too! I obviously can only help by telling you what this process has been like for me and I know there are people who have read my posts who are still struggling to get some days of sobriety under their belts. And I totally understand. I read sober blogs for A LONG TIME before I had finally had enough and decided it all needed to stop. And this is still all so new that sometimes I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Surely this happiness and joy and peace can’t keep going, can it? Certainly I can’t live a life that is somewhat calm and lovely? But maybe I can. Maybe we can.
This weekend, you guys. Oh. My. God. THIS WEEKEND. This was the first weekend since getting sober where everything just seemed to click and nothing felt hard and everything felt right. I know, I know. Pink clouds. Be on high alert. The bad comes again. Blah blah blah. And I get it. I don’t expect everything to be great all the time. But more specifically, this was the first weekend where I didn’t feel the antagonizing discomfort of not knowing what to do with myself. While I haven’t actually had very many cravings for alcohol since the first two weeks of sobriety, I have craved the distraction it brought. And up to this point, weekends were big black holes that I was able to partially fill with good times and sober fun but there were still long stretches of time where things just didn’t feel normal or right. And even when I was finding things to do, there was always a dull ache that told me, “Well, this isn’t enjoyable, stupid hairy man. This needs beer to be what it’s supposed to be.”
But not this weekend. This weekend was correct. This weekend was the real deal. And it’s not like anything HUGE happened. None of my wildest dreams came true or anything. It’s not like I got to binge eat sweet stuff and discuss The Color Purple in a jacuzzi with Oprah and Gayle. I didn’t get to make love on a perfectly manicured beach with magical sand that somehow doesn’t get caught in your hoo-ha. I didn’t get to slap Guy Fieri from The Food Network across the face and scream, “YOU ARE NOT 22 YEARS OLD ANYMORE!!!” I didn’t get to do ANY of that stuff. And it was still an amazing weekend.
Saturday morning was spent leisurely drinking… COFFEE!, working out at the gym, and sitting around without caring about what was coming next. A general sense of peace and relaxation consumed me. I was smiling for no fucking reason, ya’ll. I was singing celebratory songs like Lady Marmalade and I was doing all of the Christina Aguilera growly shit. I was acting more drunk than I ever acted drunk. I WAS SO FUCKING HAPPY. Let’s pretend for a moment that I went back in time and was a dapper and well dressed 19th century gentleman with a monocle and cane. I would certainly have been one of those assholes that tips their hat to everyone and anyone they pass on the street. I would have bowed to them respectfully and said some crazy shit like, “AND GOOD DAY TO YOU, FINE SIR! THE SUN IS SHINING BRIGHT AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR LOVELY WIFE, ANNA” or “MADAME, YOUR DRESS LOOKS EXQUISITE ON THIS SPLENDID SUMMER MORN! NEVER HAVE I SEEN SUCH BEAUTY IN A WOMAN’S FACE.” …. “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING???” I thought. That’s how foreign unadulterated joy was to me.
“Why do you look so weird? What’s that look?” the boyfriend asked.
“It’s hard to describe. You know how when you’re like… happy?” I replied.
“Yeah,” he said.
“It’s like that,” I said.
“So.. you’re happy,” he concluded.
“Yeah, but… like actually happy. Not just happy. Like the kind of happy that’s not pretending to be happy. You know. Like. Happy.”
Then the BF and I hopped a train to the city to stop by a store to possibly buy new sheets. The store happened to be very close to the World Trade Center site so we spent some time reflecting and paying our respects at the memorial pools that mark the location of the footprints of the original towers. I was overcome with emotion. I’M SO… BLESSED? NO. DON’T USE THE WORD BLESSED. WE’RE NOT SURE HOW WE FEEL ABOUT GOD ANYMORE. LUCKY? NO. LUCK DOESN’T EXIST. OKAY. SO IF WE AREN’T BLESSED OR LUCKY, WHAT ARE WE? HOW ABOUT GRATEFUL. JUST BE GRATEFUL FOR NOW. REGARDLESS OF WHERE IT COMES FROM OR HOW WE BECAME SO FORTUNATE. FOR NOW JUST BE GRATEFUL TO WHATEVER AND WHOEVER WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANOTHER CHANCE. EVEN IF THERE IS NOTHING RESPONSIBLE FOR IT AND IT JUST HAPPENED THIS WAY BY CHANCE. JUST. BE. GRATEFUL. FOR NOW, THAT’S ENOUGH. And I was grateful. And it was enough.
We left and did some shopping at the store and found a few sets of sheets. We took our time looking around, making jokes about various items. They were selling jugs that were being marketed as mixed drink “kegs” for parties. But they were basically just sun tea glass jugs with pictures of, like, liquor bottles and beach balls painted on them and words like PARTY! engraved into the glass in Comic Sans. The old me would have been very impatient. Why are we here? Where are we going next? Will there be a bar? When will I drink? ME ALCOHOLIC. ME NEED ALCOHOL NOW! FEED ME FEED ME! How much is that mixed drink keg? Not that I want it. I’M JUST ASKING.
But none of that was there. And for like the millionth time that day, I thought, WOW. WOW. WOW. WOW.
We then cabbed it to The West Village to catch a show and had a few hours to kill. We decided to get a bite to eat. My normal instinct would be to look for restaurants with placards outside advertising the happy hour drink specials. No placard, no business from me thank you very much. But without that qualification, there were suddenly DOZENS of places to choose from. Thousands of fantastic restaurants in New York City? Who knew!?
We ducked into a French place that looked cute and had a patio. I don’t even know what it was called. I just liked its vibe. We sat in the garden and I ordered a club soda with lime. The boyfriend said he was fine with water. But I wanted him to feel comfortable. So I said, “You know, you can order a glass of wine if you want. I feel really good and I don’t care. Besides, I don’t like wine. If you want a glass that’s fine. Just don’t order a cocktail because I think that would be weird for me. Oh and please if you feel buzzed please try not to act too buzzed because…”
I suddenly stopped talking. Both of my feet were in my mouth. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. I sounded like a crazy person.
“I’ll just have water,” he said.
“I’m sorry. I just…”
“It’s okay,” he said.
“Maybe it’s too soon.”
“I wasn’t planning on it anyway. It’s fine,” he said.
And it was fine. We ate delicious food, enjoyed the lovely atmosphere. It was hard to find something without wine in it but I managed. I know people say the wine burns off but I know FOR A FACT that this is not true so don’t even try to debate me on this one, girl. And even if it did, I don’t think it would have been wise for even the slightest hint of wine flavor to have hit my lips. That’s just how I’m rolling right now.
We ran over to the theatre and the show was AWFUL but we had fun laughing about it all the way home. Stopped at the drug store where I would have picked up several beers 50 days ago.
“Wow. Three beers?” the boyfriend would have asked.
“One for later, maybe. Or tomorrow.” I’d lie. Both beers would be consumed that night in addition to other stashes of alcohol he didn’t know about. The cans would be wrapped and put in the outside recycling. He wouldn’t ask about the beers I bought being gone already the next day because he either didn’t notice/care OR chose his battles wisely.
Instead of beers, it was La Croix sparkling water and some chocolate. We climbed into bed with the puppy, watched some bad TV, and fell asleep peacefully. Together. Connected. Aware.
Sunday started with an early morning recovery meeting. I have a lot of thoughts about these meetings I’ve been going to but that’s a separate post entirely. Then some breakfast, to the gym, and back home for more relaxing.
The boyfriend got up from the couch finally and said he was going to go clean up the bedroom and office. For a spilt second, I shit my pants. For a split second, it all came flashing back: HOLY FUCK. THERE IS A BOTTLE BEHIND THE DRESSER, I THINK. IS THERE? I CAN’T REMEMBER. DID I MOVE IT? I THINK THERE ARE SOME MINIS IN MY UNDERWEAR DRAWER. CAN I RUN UP THERE REALLY QUICK BEFORE HE STARTS AND GET THEM OUT OF THERE? As quickly as my body tensed up and my mind began racing, I remembered that wasn’t the case anymore. I settled back into the couch and put my feet up and let him go off and clean for me. I don’t have to worry about that ever again. If I don’t pick up a drink.
Then a phone call with my mother. You may have read my post a few days back about my fears concerning bringing my mom up to speed with where I’m at with this disease. That post is here. Long story short, she knew I got sober in 2005 but I’ve never told her that I relapsed in 2008 and have been drinking ever since. I had no intention of this conversation happening so suddenly but she started talking about my father (her ex-husband) and how active and bad off he is, her concerns for me and my future, and it just became very apparent that now was the moment. We can plan and plan all we want but sometimes the universe has something else in store. She cried. I cried. She was so happy I had found my way back. We vowed to remain open and honest with one another. It was all good. And I feel so much lighter. One plate I can stop spinning and focus on slowing down the other ones.
This is all getting so good, my friends. Every day that passes, I find myself amazed at the gifts that are being handed to me left and right by doing this very important work for myself. And if this much joy has been born from my dark and shattered heart in 50 days time, I surely want to continue down this path to see how much better it can get. Besides, I look so much better when I’m not puffy. Trust.
If you are happy right now, I’m so happy you’re so happy. And if you are suffering, please look at what has happened to me in such a short period of time and know that you can have it to. YOU CAN. YOU CAN. YOU CAN.