One Year: Celebrations and Observations

So, the parade is over. Confetti’s been tossed, marching band is back on the bus. Clowns have piled back into their teeny tiny car and driven off.  And life goes on.

The night before my one year anniversary, my husband took me out for dinner at one of our city’s finest restaurants. The waitress approaches to take our drink orders and excitedly announces that, since it’s the restaurant’s 40th anniversary, the first glass of wine is only 40 cents! I just smile and order my club soda with cranberry and lime – and the two of us notice how the waitress’s face falls momentarily.  Whatevs.  We had a delicious, special dinner on a lovely summer evening.  So we get the bill and his eleven dollar glass of chianti costs 40 cents and my two mocktails come to six dollars.  But, interestingly enough, most of the nice restaurants we’ve been to in the last year don’t even charge for club, cran, and lime.  When we called it to one waiter’s attention, he said, “It’s just water.”

Yesterday, which was the actual one-year mark, we babysat two of our granddaughters during the day.  They’re 5 and 2 and super active so I didn’t have too much time to reflect on what I was doing on this day last year.  Last night, we watched our youngest little sweetheart because it was her mommy’s birthday and we offered to take her so her parents could have some time to themselves.

She is just beginning to walk and loves nothing more than to practice her new skill, toddling from one end of the family room to her Grandpa, then pivoting and making her way across the room to me.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

As I’m watching her, I just can’t get enough of her energy: eyes alight with glee, her little tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth with concentration, huge grin, babbling with delight…. And I have that moment – when time freezes and you step outside yourself – and I remember EXACTLY where I was and how I felt one year ago.

And the contrast just floors me.  I was in the same room, holding this same precious baby, who was 2 1/2 months old, feeling so shaky and teary and scared shitless.  Terrified of the thought of never drinking again. So, so sad to have to say goodbye to alcohol. Too scared to to even try to imagine what my life would be like, post-booze. Feeling like I was teetering on the edge of a precipice, taking a heart-stopping free fall into an alien world.

And I had this moment of realization – I feel JUST like this sweet little toddler! Thrilled and proud and so friggin’ EXCITED about life!  Like I’m steady on my feet and confidently striding into the future! Getting stronger and more sure of myself and more confident with every step – I can’t WAIT to see what the coming year holds!

I hope you’ll come with me as I embark on the next phase of my journey – let’s go!!!

 

One Whole Year Alcohol Free!

A year ago tonight, I had my last drink. And I don’t remember for sure what it was.

It was a night like so many others; there was absolutely nothing remarkable about it. It was a Sunday.  I was keeping a food journal at that point and know that we had steak for dinner.  With wine, of course. And that, as was my habit, I’d made myself a big, fat martini to sip while watching “Masters of Sex.”

I quite possibly had a beer after the martini.  But I can’t definitively say for sure. The food journal entry ends after the martini.

I don’t have a clear memory of anything after about halfway through the TV show; my memory fades to black.

The next morning, I wake up with the usual mental harangue going on in my head: Damn! I drank too much. Scrolling back through the night before to determine exactly when it was that I lost my mental hold on the evening. Thinking: I’ve GOT to cut back! This just isn’t healthy! Hating myself because, yet again – it just got away from me. Despair, anguish, and desperation – my daily companions.

So I’m up early, re-watching the show because I can’t remember how it ended and God forbid my husband asks me what happened in the episode and I tell him I can’t remember.  He’ll know it’s because I had too much to drink and he’ll give me THAT LOOK.  That I HATE. The look that compounds the loathing and disgust I have for myself exponentially.  Because he’s the person I respect and admire most in the world.  And I’m so not worthy of him; not this version of myself, anyway.

A little later that morning, he sits next to me and we’re just talking.  Of course, I’m silently assessing whether he picked up on the fact that I’d had too much to drink and is, therefore, annoyed with me. But he seems ok so I relax a little.  Then he refers to a romantic interlude after I’d come to bed and says, “It didn’t even seem like you were THERE last night.”

And right then and there the blood in my veins turns to ice.  Because I fucking WASN’T.  I have absolutely no recollection of anything happening between us.  NONE.

It is at exactly that moment – that very second – that I feel the shift. An almost perceptible ‘click’ – as I close the door on booze forever.

Because I knew, deep in my gut – with every fiber of my being – if I didn’t stop fucking around with my attempts at moderation, or making rules about my drinking, or measuring drinks, or making promises to myself that I broke almost immediately – I was going to die.

And don’t get me wrong – I was beyond scared – I was terrified at the thought of never having a drink again. But the fear of what my future would hold if I didn’t stop was even scarier.

Any time I start to feel sorry for myself, or left out of the “fun” when everyone else around me is drinking and enjoying themselves, I try to remember how I felt the morning of August 18, 2014.

Do I regret quitting drinking?

Not for one second.