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!!!

 

Pride

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve gotten really used to feeling proud of myself, these past six months since I quit drinking. Prior to that, I can’t tell you how many mornings my heart would just sink when I reviewed the previous days’ drinking. There was just so much shame attached to it, even if I’d only had a couple of glasses of wine. The worst of it was when I’d wake up in the morning and couldn’t be sure that things were ok between my husband and me. There were too many times I couldn’t remember everything that I’d said the evening before and wasn’t sure if he was annoyed with me. Ugh.

He’d told me more than once that the only time he found me unattractive was when I’d had too much to drink. Seriously?? He didn’t find a slurring, stumbling idiot sexy? Pfffft. What the hell’s the matter with that man?

The hubs has what you might call “a glass face.” Every thing he feels is clearly on display for all to see. I’m especially cued in to his emotions, naturally. And the only thing worse than feeling disgusted with myself was seeing his displeasure with me stamped clearly on his face.

And oh, the paranoia. That itchy thing that I’d do, reading into everything he said until I could be sure that we were ok.

Words fail to convey how good it feels to know that, good, bad, or indifferent – anything that I do or say these days is willful, deliberate, and lucid. I never again have to wake up and worry that I’ve said something stupid or mean under the influence of booze.

I’m so proud of myself for taking the very difficult step of removing alcohol from my life It’s been so, so hard and even more rewarding. But the love and pride I see reflected back at me from my husband’s big brown eyes is just….. the best.