A Dangerous Liaison

Still here.  Still sober.  Still appalled at the politics going on here in the U S of A.  My intent is not to go on a political rant.  However, I find myself in an almost perpetual state of agitation, anxiety and anger-and of course all fear based. Which comes from things not being the same as I’ve experienced them for the majority of my life.  Many of the the so-called norms rapidly changing. Seeing injustices done and seeing that so many don’t see them as injustices.  On and on and on..

I did watch the testimony of Dr. Ford-felt that I had to as a form of supporting her as well as the realization that many of us have or could be in her situation.  After watching her, I stayed tuned and watched Kavanaugh’s testimony. Without going into all of my thoughts and emotions about that-one of my first oberservations-within about 5 minutes of him beginning, was, “that man has an alcohol problem.” To be honest, I hate to think that I have or had anything remotely in common with him. But, he was doing something that I know I’d done many many times while I was drinking. Trying to normalize it all.  Trying to find a common ground with people through connection to alcohol.  He did it repeatadly. I used to to do that.

It’s funny, that slippery slope of having a drinking problem.  On the one hand, we try to hide it-not admitting how much we’ve had to drink.  Denying any kind of black out.  Saying the words “went to sleep” instead of “passed out”.  Expending a ton of energy to deny it to the world that surrounds us. Jumping through all kinds of hoops to hide it.  Sneaking.  Lying.  And yet, at the same time, trying to make it all sound so normal.  For instance, I’ve got a friend that’s been sober for like 35 years.  We drank like fish through high school and college-but she eventually stopped. Got in to AA-and is still very active in it.  I would find myself, in conversations with her, bringing up alcohol in some way.  I would be conscious of it. Almost as if to say, “see, I’m still drinking, but it’s just normal drinking. I don’t have a problem.” I will say, that she never once said anything negative to me about my drinking-or tried to step in.. But somehow, for some reason, I would bring it up-The thing is though, while I was talking about drinking as if it is oh so normal, the voice in my head was telling me that I was full of shit. That I know that I drank way too much..I mean I don’t normally talk about how much water I drink in a day-or coffee.

What I saw Brett Kavanaugh doing-and what I was trying to do-was validating it.  Normalizing it.  He was trying to get Senators to say what they drank-how much-whatever..

So we go on and on and on. Trying to normalize it.  Looking for validation.  Always on the lookout for someone “who really has a drinking problem!”  Always comparing – so that we can feel better about ourselves.  And even when we’re doing that, there’s that internal struggle-that voice that knows the truth. The voice that’s constantly pulling at us and driving us crazy until we can medicate it away again for a few hours.  That voice is always there.  Does Brett Kavanaugh have that voice?  Who knows.  Denial works until it doesn’t. What was interesting was seeing and identifying that behavior on the stage it was on.

I do know is that with almost 3 alcohol free years, I never talk about alcohol.  Rarely think about it.  There’s a behavioral aspect that just changes when we stop and have some sober time under our belts.  We’re not always thinking about it. We’re not looking for normalization or validation of our drinking. I get a picture in my mind of someone in a situation that’s unfamiliar to them. They go overboard in several directions because they don’t know how to act.  That’s how a drinking is when they’re trying to act like they don’t have a problem. It gets to the point that it becomes such a huge, ingrained part of our lives that it seeps out into every aspect of it.  It’s a noose around our neck and our psyche. It’s unbelievably freeing to be rid of it. And oh so easy to recognize when we see it.  Like I did the other day. One of the things that alcohol does is unite people who have absolutely nothing in common. It can make us complicit with people and situations that would otherwise be abhorrent to us.  It’s a total mind fuck!

With Love





Your Road

This blogging world is something. It’s such an outlet and a huge world of help, compassion, support and sharing. For those of us that stay anonymous, there’s a freedom to express ourselves without anyone knowing who we are in our day to day lives. It’s safe. Following blogs allows us to have a peek into someone else’s life and their pshyche. At times, while reading a post, I can actually imagine that persons’ living space-their family, their pets. There are posts that make me laugh out loud.  (these are mostly from Sober Mummy-compliment!) There are posts that make me sad and make me wish I could give the blogger a real-life hug.  Some posts make me angry and some frustrate me.  No matter my reaction to a post or whether or not I choose to comment, I know that while there may be vast distances between the bloggers that I follow-whether mentally or spiritually or locationally, I know that we all have one thing in common.  That is addressing and exploring our relationship with alcohol.  Learning to deal with something that has become a problem in our lives. Trying to learn how to give it up or cut back. Trying to live differently.  Better.  Fuller. And of course, not hungover.

I also notice a strength in my fellow bloggers.  Because, even with anonymity, putting something out there in cyber space that others will see and possibly comment on requires an honesty about ones self.  A positioning of vulnurability. There are some posts that I read that are so tangible to me,  the pain of the blogger reaches out through my screen.  Or their joy.  Or their ambivalence.

What an outlet this is!  And what a gift to not only be able to share my experience for whatever it’s worth, but to share someone elses.  And while the blogger may not realize it, it is so easy for the reader to see the progress they’re making.  So easy for me, the reader to see the struggle of a fellow blogger.  To feel their disappointment when, even though they have made incredible progress in giving up alcohol, other parts their lives seem to be even more topsy turvy than while drinking.  (of course we know that their lives aren’t more topsy turvy, it’s just that they aren’t disconnected like they were before.) It’s inspirational to see someone in such pain plodding on with what they know will, in the long run,  give them a better life. Trying to do the right thing-knowing what the right thing is-in spite of the pain in the process. There are bloggers that decide, after not drinking for a time, to try moderation.  There are bloggers that make me wonder if they actually want to quit. Or I read about a blogger’s, yet again, Day One. They write about it, knowing they will get some stern comments.  But, they keep putting themselves out there, hoping that there will be just one comment that will make it all click.  Of course it doesn’t actually work that way for most of us.

Why?  Because there’s work to be done.  Deep, internal, soul searching work. And so, while we may put our struggles and successes out there for all to read, it’s a personal journey. And, it takes courage. We all want to get to the same place-the place where we are not spending the greater part of our days and lives with alcohol as the premier focus.  There are many ways to get there.  However, what is kind of nagging at me is that many think that THEIR way is the only way.   And they are extremely and strongly vocal (or verbal in this case) about their views.  I don’t think there is only one way.  What may work for you may not work for others.  For example, I am not a fan of AA.  The idea of having to carry around a belief that I will always be “sick” and that I am powerless does not sit well with me.  In fact, I refuse to believe that I am powerless over alcohol.  Yes in the sense that if I decide to drink and I drink too much, I will become drunk-thereby giving my power to wine or vodka or whatever.  But I will not live my life avoiding situations where there is alcohol. This won’t and will not work for me.  I have found a way that works for me.  A support system and a way of being. BUT, if AA works for YOU and that’s the only way you can get and stay sober, then by all means, that’s what you need to do. I have even suggested it to a fellow blogger or two who seem to never make any progress on their own. The same is true of rehab. I believe at times, it’s the only thing that can remove a person from alcohol.

Some people need something that is black and white and regimented.  Others-like me- work better when they can create their own “program”.  Combining several schools of thought to personalize the process.

The point is, that there is no one way to get and to stay sober.  For me, it’s having a strong spiritual belief system.  It’s about eating properly, exercising regularly. Blogging and reading blogs. Ordering a Mocktail when everyone else is ordering a Cocktail. Being aware of triggers and not allowing myself to “buy into them”.  Knowing what situations to avoid and to leave early if necessary.  Reminding myself on a regular basis what it’s like for the 24 hours after drinking that bottle of wine. Knowing that my body is healing after years of abuse.  Continuing to look deep inside-with a therapist if necessary-to connect with myself. To heal myself.  To go past the fear. To have a Sober Toolkit.

I also realize that there are some things that cross over no matter what path someone takes to sobriety.  Things that should be done and work across the board.  I think it’s important to respect everyone’s journey.  To remember that we are not all made the same way.