I’m back to lay down some thoughts.
First, an update on C since the last post was about him. Then, an update on my latest steps and missteps along the road of sobriety.
After a successful Dry January and a “damp” February that started with intentions of moderating (the details of which were hazy and became increasingly more so as the month went on), C recently shared that he is planning to go bushy-tail again, starting this week and attempting to go 8 weeks this time, instead of 4.
During St. Patty’s Month?? I asked. Yes, I know, he said.
The driving force seems to be weight-loss, the first time around a 10 lb loss leaving quite an impression. I’ve expressed my respect for his goal and offered support in any way he needs, trying hard not to be too over-the-moon about it because I don’t want to add pressure or do anything that might make it harder for him to focus on his own reasons for doing this.
While I’m not sure how sustainable a goal weight-loss is, I’m encouraged at his desire to do this a second time shortly after his first and am hoping that 8 weeks will reveal the more lasting benefits of being alcohol-free.
It’s nice to hear him express a different mentality about drinking, occasionally bringing up the detriments instead of constantly defending it.
Whether as a result of his recent choices about alcohol, or the positive outcome of a couple honest conversations at the turn of the year, or any number of personal changes we’ve both made, our relationship seems a bit sturdier lately and I’m grateful.
We seem to be headed in a good direction and I know his changing attitude toward alcohol has given me a lot of hope.
And as for me?
Well, I’m still chuggin’ along 100% sober*. And honestly, not missing it 99% of the time.
My theory about that last 1% is that it’s hanging on because I haven’t had enough practice saying No during those specific types of moments. Like date night, for example.
C & I went on an overnight date on my birthday in February. C had planned it all in advance and surprised me with a really posh hotel, the Bungalows in Asbury Park, and dinner at the equally well-reviewed Tides Hotel. The whole experience was perfect. But I found myself craving a pre-dinner fancy cocktail. You know, the ones that pack a punch and leave you with a euphoric glow for the span of dinner, and then quickly dissolve into a blur of dinner wine, post-dinner digestif, night cap or two or three…
Of course, C & I only go on these kind of fancy dates about once or twice a year, so I haven’t had as many chances to say No to myself as say, a weekend night at home.
Of course it’s a little harder.
The only remedy is more practice! I must tell C.
*I’ve added the asterisk because while I’m alcohol-free, I can’t honestly say I’m 100% clean and sober. I’m still smoking pot on the regular. And the state of my gnawed-down stumps of fingernails is causing me to question whether this habit is really helping or hurting.
Hear me out.
When I quit, I had so much energy for self improvement that I made sweeping and grandiose changes to my diet, exercise and overall health choices, even cutting back my coffee intake and replacing with green tea at the peak of my zealousness.
Over the months, that fervor has diminished leaving me with a few healthy habits like meditation and kickboxing and yoga and green smoothies in the morning, but also a few unhealthy habits that have crept in – mainly pot (I’m smoking almost nightly), staying up too late scrolling social media and making impulse purchases online (yeah, not the greatest, I know), and then as a result of the late nights, drinking way too much coffee in the morning.
Hence, the bitten-down nails.
I was starting to wonder about my own mental health as I’ve recently found myself incapable of stopping the nail biting – something I’ve been able to control better in the past.
Then one day it hit me as I was pouring my 4th cup of morning coffee (increased slowly from 1-2 cups, to 3, to 4 and now more like 5 or 6). It’s the coffee! That’s why I’m gnawing on my nails! Why do I need this much coffee? Well, because I’m not getting enough sleep. And why not? Because I find myself stuck to the couch from about 9:30 (when I should be headed to bed) to 11:30 pm, mindlessly scrolling Facebook and online shopping until the pot wears off.
And the lightbulb went off. It’s the POT. OMG. I thought it was relaxing me. And maybe it is. But overall, the chain reaction is having the opposite effect.
So now, I’m considering cutting back or quitting entirely because I don’t like what it’s doing to me overall. The tough part is that I think I’ve replaced alcohol with this new escape and that means I haven’t really dealt with the underlying problem yet.
No answers or resolutions, just thoughts out there in the ether.