Ups and Downs
Work seems to have taken over my life the past week or so and I believe that is a sign that sober living is coming easier. I don’t have to breath it in through gritted teeth every moment.
I am letting my guard down, and while it’s nice to relax a bit it also leaves me panicked from time to time. I remember with a jump every now and then – like checking my bikini top for a nipple escape half an hour after getting off the waterslide.
Oh Jeez, am I still okay? Yep, all good. Still holding. Whew. Thank God. (Seriously, thank you God.)
We are driving home from the airport right now, my sweetheart and I, having just spent four days at a spa on the coast. My very manly husband was a wonderful sport about it all – wandering the resort in our white robes, indulging in massages and mud wraps instead of golfing, sipping juice and soda on our waterfront deck instead of wine or scotch.
My husband has been incredibly supportive about my decision/need to leave drinking behind – not at all judgmental or dismissive, as I feared. Why I ever thought he would be, I don’t know. His character has always been kind and caring. Maybe my mind created false possibilities as yet another warp in my pickled thinking.
I continued to mourn for wine on this holiday. I’ve visited the same resort many times before with girl friends and have always enjoyed it. I’d quietly pack extra bottles of wine “just for me” in my suitcase and then trip off to the nearby store with the girls on arrival to gather the supplies for our mutual happy hours – cheese, snacks, a bottle or two of wine. Sometimes I’d grab an extra bottle and say, “Just in case! I can always take it home if we don’t need it,” but honestly, I didn’t want the others to know that after the happy hour wine and the wine with dinner, I’d go back to my room and have some more all alone. “Just in case” meant, “in case I run out” – not “in case us girls need more.”
On this trip, I didn’t so much miss having wine in our suite. It was during the meals that I felt the absence of my old friend Sauvignon Blanc– the “go to” order that made every meal better. Two of the lovely restaurants we visited were advertising special 5-course meals with wine pairing hosted by the Chef. Two months ago we would have been “in” for this – my husband being an avid “foodie” and my being an avid wine drinker. This got me – we wouldn’t be doing that again – ever.
I felt guilt like a weight on my chest – I messed up something we both enjoyed by taking it too far. Stupid, stupid me and my stupid, stupid inability to not drink too much. (My recovery friends on Twitter have taught me this self-destructive voice is nothing but the “itty bitty shitty committee” that whispers malarkey constantly.) I recognized the guilt as useless but knew I had to feel the grief in order for it to pass.
I spent a day or two trying to feel grief without guilt but it isn’t easy to separate the two. We were having a great time, lots of laughs during our ocean front hikes and restful moments. Still I had a subconscious stream of thought narrating how much happier my husband would be with someone else (not true), that I’d spoiled everything (even though we were having fun) and that I probably didn’t even need to quit in the first place, it hadn’t really been that bad (the most manipulative self-assessment of all).
Eventually, the tranquility of the scenery settled me down and the expensive spa services started to have the intended effect – peace crept in. Over a divine plate of seafood I said to my sweetheart of almost 27 years, “I’m feeling like I’ve ruined everything. I feel like I’ve taken away something that we used to enjoy.”
“Not at all,” he reassured me. “I am so proud of you. You are being so strong and this is going to be good for us in the long run. Nothing bad will come of this.”
I know I m fortunate to have a partner who is supportive of my journey. He enjoys a few drinks but does not have addiction issues of his own, nor do we have any other relationship complications that cause some couples to undermine each other’s successes. This is all a blessing and one more reason why I should grab onto sobriety with my life.
My final spa session was reflexology, which I was almost dreading but had booked it anyway because it came as part of a package. I had only had it once before and remembered it as uncomfortable, and that the therapist had analyzed my health afterward based on whatever she detected by poking my awful, lumpy runner’s feet.
This time, I fell asleep and woke refreshed as she whispered, “All done now”. When I exited the room, she was waiting in the hall to hand me a small cup of herbal tea and go over her ‘findings”.
“Nothing seems to be a problem,” she said with a charming Swedish accent. “You must have a very strong constitution.”
I sipped the tea and answered. “I’m in a good place at the moment.”