Second Sober Thanksgiving

Wow.  What a fantastic day. Eighteen people this year, but Mother Nature smiled on us and it was in the mid-fifties and sunny. We even had a few windows open to keep the house comfortably cool; there were no muddy or snowy boots and shoes to contend with. Overall, I give it an A -.

There was just one little moment of tension, and that was between my husband and me. He was helping clean up after dinner and I let my passive aggressive bitch flag fly. I sniped at him for no good reason and immediately regretted it.  He was super annoyed with me and I don’t blame him. There were a couple of moments of tension but we worked it out and then everything was great for the rest of the evening.  But boy howdy, I’m ready to pass the hosting torch.

I realized the next morning that, even though there was all manner of booze flowing (none in excess), there wasn’t a second of wobbliness or craving or “oh poor me.”  Not ONE. As a matter of fact, I walked into the room just as my sister-in-law and her new boyfriend poured themselves glasses of white wine. I peeked at the label, out of curiosity.  It was Riesling, and my first thought was actually, “yuck.”

And here’s something else that’s really cool: we finished most of our holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving – AND – we’re working together today to put up the tree and decorate it.  I’ve never – EVER – been so far ahead of the game. Or felt so calm,  prepared for, or excited about the upcoming holiday season.

Life is so good.  Sobriety is the best gift,  and it just keeps on giving.

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What Sobriety Looks Like Now

So I’m more than 14 months into the rest of my life without booze. Here’s what’s different, and here’s how I’m staying the course in my recovery.

With very rare exceptions, I’m much more comfortable socially as a non-drinker. Last year, just two months sober, I celebrated a special birthday and my husband and I went out for a nice dinner. The waiter approached the table with complimentary champagne. I awkwardly told him that I don’t drink (the words felt so strange in my mouth) and he kind of grimaced and whisked the bottle away.

This past weekend, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the day we met.  Fast forward to another lovely restaurant; another polished and gracious waiter who approached the table with two flutes of sparkling wine. He said, “I hope you drink prosecco!” I gracefully smiled and replied, “Well, I don’t  – but he does!” And my husband enjoyed both glasses.  The waiter asked what he could bring me and I ordered my standard club, cran, and lime. Which he brought in a champagne flute, also.  He said, “For toasting!” And we did and it was just fine.  None of the kind of skin-crawly uncomfortable moments I had to tough my way through during almost every “first” last year.

I think about not drinking a whole hell of a lot less.  And it really doesn’t bother me about 98% of the time.

I don’t keep track of the days any more. I don’t need frequent treats and/or rewards.  We’re so lucky in that we’ve reached a point in our lives that money (or the lack thereof) isn’t an issue.  What helps is that I grew up with very little, and times were extremely tight for the first several years of our marriage. So I’m really frugal, pretty low-maintenance, and extremely grateful to have some financial freedom in our advancing years. But if I really want or need something, I go ahead and get it.

I do my best to continue to avoid overwhelm.  I’ve only had a couple of instances over the past three or four months where I took on too much and felt completely overwhelmed and, quite frankly, a little batshit crazy.  After the last incident, my husband and I talked about it and he’s said he absolutely will not allow me to take on too much again. EVER.  Not that I’d pick up a drink – but I’m still figuring out how to handle extremely stressful situations in an emotionally healthy way.

Therapy is on hold for now; my counselor had to have some major surgery and she’s still on the mend.  Looking forward to unpacking some baggage I’ve accumulated since I last saw her.  A very awkward and uncomfortable family reunion that I dreaded for months and ongoing issues with my mother will be right at the top of the list of discussion topics.

I just focus on spending my time with the people in my life who have earned it and deserve it.  And I’m working hard to jettison any guilt that might be trying to worm its way in.

Exercising. Eating well. And healthy doses of treats.

Kindness, compassion, and self-care.

All these things are working together to keep me grounded, sane, and so, SO happy. So at peace.  So fully alive and present and aware of the joy that has blossomed since I quit.

So worth the hard work.