Well, that came out of nowhere. …. Well, okay, it didn’t, but it sure whacked me over the head, took all my money, and left me on the sidewalk wondering what the hell just happened.
The ‘it’ I am referring to is the brutal saboteur that is my brain/my addiction/my years of wine-training that came full-force to the table (so to speak) on Thursday at our family’s Thanksgiving celebration. As I said in a post that day, I had started the day a little crabby-pants because of a few factors, but that I had come around and was doing a-okay by the afternoon.
Then, POW! Got to the in-laws for the meal, and I suddenly could not focus or breathe very easily. I walked into the garage and felt a surge of old feelings that have laid dormant for the past several months because there have been no reason for them to come out and play. The cliche of being hit with a ton of bricks would be accurate in describing my feelings at that particular moment. I suddenly wanted a bottle of wine, I wanted a glass in my hand, I wanted to already be tipsy because I could have been drinking all afternoon because it was a holiday-day and that’s what this woman does on holiday-days. I wanted to be giggly and silly and a little naughty because the day was designed for all those things to be Okay.
In the moment I did a few weird things to try and find my ground. I went inside and gave hugs and kisses (that part wasn’t weird), then as people were putting their coats away, etc., I went into the kitchen and got down the wine glasses from the top shelf (I’m tall, remember?) for my parents, my mother-in-law, and one for me. Then, without lifting my head up, I walked out to the garage, opened the mini-fridge and got out a can of fancy iced tea for myself, and in the very next moment, opened the wine cooler and picked up a bottle of wine for my family. By the time I was back to the door going into the house, I had the thought, ‘I am an enabler!’ I got inside, handed my dad the bottle – I practically threw it at him to get it out of my hands, then I walked around to my wine glass, opened my tea, and poured myself a glass. (I haven’t used a wine glass since I quit drinking in June, I don’t think, and I thought the having one would make me feel better. But it didn’t. Like I told the hubs, I was just trying to find a thing that would make me feel better. Now I know for next time, a wine glass isn’t that answer.)
By this time, I felt a little spinny and a little panicky, so I just declared I was going to walk home quick and be right back (we live down the street). So I put my coat and hat on and trudged back home. I took 300 mg of gabapentin to relax me a little (needs must in this case), then I wrote that quick update to all of you in the midst of my spinny head, and then walked back down to the in-laws.
I will say the gabapentin didn’t help as much as I had hoped it would. However, having taken it, I couldn’t do anything More for myself, other than what some of you had recommended – find my own space, breathe, center myself, find some calm. And really? The discomfort I felt was okay. I mean, I was doing weird things trying to navigate my way through it, but even just sitting in the discomfort, which I did when I got back to the party, was okay. It wasn’t great, but it was okay. And I survived it. And I didn’t drink. So that was good.
I found the calm I was looking for more towards the end of the meal. It was a small get-together, and my parents, myself, my mother-in-law, and the hubs were all in the same room together, and we just talked for two hours straight. It was the best part of the day. Hands down. And that’s when I was good. I had made it over the hump of wanting and thinking a drink would make everything better, and wondering why it couldn’t be like it used to be for me, and all that baloney bullshit. We just sat and talked and Laaaaaaughed. And it was Wonderful. And I remember all of it. And I was present, I and enjoyed every second. What a gift!
The next day, the hubs and I brought the babes down for leftovers, and the wine bottle from the party was sitting on a counter in the garage -with wine still in it! It was then, 24 hours later, that I realized what a mess the actual holiday would have been if I had still been drinking. I guarantee we would have gone through 3, and maybe even 4!, bottles of wine, because I would have been pushing the stuff on everyone in order to make myself feel less guilty, and to shift the focus away from myself. I would have been embarrassed, even though I was with my favorite people in the world, because I would have worried they would notice how much I was drinking, which probably would have ‘inspired’ me to drink more because that equation is always the brilliant way to go, and then I would have woken up the next day hungover and pretending that I wasn’t, etc., etc., so on and so forth. … … Wow. Instead, all of my normie family members just had a glass, I drank my fancy ice tea, and we all enjoyed the day.
Things are different now. Different in a GoodGood Way. Thursday was hard and difficult and it sucked the Big One, but I’m here and still sober. Almost six months sober. CrazyPants. And Phew! Even with all of Thursday’s surprise mental hurdles, the day really did show me, without any doubt, that it is necessary I am sober. Mandatory. ‘Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.’
Day 172 and still learning…