Designated Driver
Designated Driver

60 Days of Sobriety as Told Through My Journal

by VT 12 months ago in humanity

"Am I Drinking Too Much?" was the wrong question

60 Days of Sobriety as Told Through My Journal

“So, why aren’t you drinking again?” As if we’ve discussed it before. We have not.

I meet them with an, “Oh, just taking a break right now. Trying to be healthy. Whatever. It’s dumb. I’ll probably drink tomorrow.”

I thought about writing up a nice, clean, pretty, packaged story. To do so, I combed through my journal to inspire and mostly remind me what was happening, now almost 90 days ago (I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning). What I found is that I don’t think I could be any more raw and straight forward about what this looked like other than to give it you exactly how I first laid it down.

One of the biggest questions I get is: Will I drink again?

My answer, finally, is pretty straight forward: it’s too soon to answer. Right now, it all feels too good. I see the work that my brain is doing to remap my reward system, and I don’t want to lose this good feeling just yet. I’d like to think that I can change my relationship with alcohol, and have the occasional expensive glass of wine with girlfriends over dinner. That’s just too far in the future for me to worry about right now. And frankly, not the goal.

Day 0

I knew I wanted to drink before I left her * office."Have you thought about taking a break from drinking?”"I feel anxious just thinking about it.”"That’s a sign”Ew.

Can we call it anything else? Can we not use the following words?

  • Alcohol
  • Sober
  • Drunk
  • Drinking
  • Binge
  • Self Medicating

Let’s call it… fun? Relaxing? Winding down after a long day?

Anyway, before I got home, I drank (Why do they put those rose cans right at the check out line?).

When I got home, I poured a glass of wine.I finished the bottle and had two beers.Five hits.I opened a random bottle of champagne we had because we didn’t have anything else.I woke up hungover.

Am I happy?

Okay. You had your fun yesterday. Just don’t go to the store, and then you won’t have the option to drink.

*therapist—after a session of unpacking some heavy stuff

Day 2

Only two days into this week, and I am feeling frustrated and stretched thin. Like I want to shout “Can’t you see I need to be held?!” But only an echo of that plea meets me.

What’s Not Working: Scratching, clawing for more... I’m too tired.

Let’s not all figure it out at once.

Day 1… Again

I remember last night in my drunkenness thinking, ‘Why not moderation? Why quit at all? Look how much fun I am having! Look how fun I am!’

Those were all thoughts before feeling this headache.This shame.This… pissed off I couldn’t make it four days until something came along that sounded better.

Progress is not linear. Here we go. Again.

Only I can decide if this is an issue. If I’m questioning if it’s an issue—it’s an issue.

Day 2, Again.

I will not drink tonight (It’s like my mantra today).

It makes me feel shitty and out of control and—fine: I don’t use it in moderation. I binge and avoid processing stuff I’ve been avoiding for a long time. Shit I didn’t even know was there.

It’s making me feel crazy.

Day 6

Repetition compulsion*… in more areas than one. I am a walking cliche. Blind to the fact that I’m repeating the same mistakes over again… for years! I’ve just been too fuzzy—too in a buzz to have the clarity to see it.

Remembering: My curiosity when I get defensive… it’s a gift.

*psychological phenomenon in which a person repeats an event or its circumstances over and over again

Day 10

"And all of these things work… Until they don’t"

Let’s be honest—did they actually? Because sitting in the rocking chair, buzzed, I still was wishing that my head would stop scrolling through my past and just shut up and leave me alone. The wine didn’t actually ever help. If anything, the wine made me feel more out of control. Like my PCC* had morphed and overtaken my whole head. Like an insatiable weed.

Weed sounds good too…

*Posterior cingulate cortex: part of the brain that lights up when you are visiting old memories, judging or shaming

Day 12

I see it now. When I don’t drink and instead feel… I want to run away and shut down.I don’t think I’ve ever been sober enough when these emotions came up for me:“It’s not safe to need other people”

Clarity. OH! That’s what I’m feeling.Not ‘fixed’… just seeing what it is.

Finally? There’s something of a lowering of the shoulders even though tonight’s clarity hurts like hell.

Day 18

I know my goal. So let’s just sit back and enjoy it. I know what is best/ working for me. I made sobriety a thing for a reason. Listen to my body—and then the hard part—TRUST my body.

Day 24

“You poor thing.”

I didn’t know you were allowed to feel sorry for yourself. I’m only just learning that it’s okay to say that you're not… ‘okay’.

You are CHANGING.You are not stuck.You are not standing still.Growth/change always sucks, right?

24 Days. 24 Fucking days. I’m also allowed to be proud of that. Excited about that.

Day 26

Holy Yoga.

The great thing about yoga is I get to be 100 percent okay with not knowing what the hell I’m doing. I know the poses and can check my alignment here and there. But also, I can fall out of tree pose, or have to stop for a second to wipe my palms, because the sweat keeps me slipping out of downward dog. And I SMILE.

How beautiful the lesson I’m in is: it’s okay to be imperfect. Actually, it’s more fun that way.

Day 30

Happy one month of sobriety to me.I get to discover my story now rather than later. While Charlie is a baby and not later.

I’m pretty sure I’m in that ‘pink cloud’ stage people talk about. I don’t care. I love it.

Day 33

“Things are going to get real before they get better”*

I see you.I see how hard you are trying.I see your anxiety and pain. I get it.I’m sorry this is hard. But fuck the hair of the dog. Fuck the pushing down of feelings.

You know that a feeling is just a feeling. Stress is just stress. It will come. And it will pass. And you are doing the rebellious thing of just feeling it.

Your future self is going to look back and be so proud.

*coaching provided by Authentically Amanda

Day 35

Being fully present is an act of self love. I’m on day 35 now—making it through the fourth of July. I have never felt so present. So awake.Tired. But here and awake.

Day 45

There are so many big plans that I have it’s almost overwhelming. Maybe a run and a shower is what I need to get my head in the right place.

Or at least in one place.

Day 47

When does the happiness kick in?

Today I want to escape. Crawl into bed and drink until I pass out. Why? Stress? Really—is that it? Because nothing sounds better than a glass of whiskey after putting the little one to bed and jamming to some americana on the porch, and scrolling through social media until my thumbs fall off.

I wont—I’ll work on my yoga studies. I’ll drink tea. I’ll wake up without a headache.

If I knew no shame… who would I be?

Day 51

It feels like the universe is prompting me: “This is your season. This is your turning point.”

The only thing I need to do is step out of my own way. I used to be this lit up, but I think it stemmed from affirmation seeking, validation. This is a bonfire, not a candle.

Day 53

‘Anger- the little munchkin kicking my stomach and clawing it’s way out of my neck’ *

Right. How does someone get it so perfect? Describing a blocking in the throat chakra. I want to slam doors and burn out the tires in my soccer mom van. I’m growing less patient. Mad at the people who walk around and look like they have it all together.

That’s a story in my head—that everyone has it all together.

*From Journals of a Love Addict

Day 56

Day 56 of no drinking.

I met with friends today who spoke so openly about the same thing that I felt like I was going through. I practiced being incredibly honest—and when they didn’t flinch… when they responded “Me too”…

OH.Wow.What a relief.This is what real connection feels like. And I want more of it…

‘You’re doing the right thing. I’m proud of you.’ I can’t deny how good it feels.

Day 60

TODAY IS DAY 60 OF NO ALCOHOL~Make your therapist proud~Celebrating by sweating my ass off holding warrior 2 and feeling all the feels. Including a little woozy. Going AF has proven to me that it was not the beer or the the wine that was dehydrating me. I just, literally , do not feed myself water. Space opens! Look at all these crevices I’ve been neglecting!

”What you practice, you grow stronger.” Neuroplasticity.

Stop being needless.

Speak up about what you need.Go get water.

This week feels like I’ve been accumulating experiences that are reshaping how I trust. How I can be broken, and hurt, and wrong, and goofy, and energetic, and provocative, and wordy—and still be lovable.

And fuck. It feels good.

Read next: Whiskey: A Guide and History

See all posts by VT