I'm working tonight, and a woman just told me she quit journalling because she didn't want to reminded about how much her life sucked. Sometimes I do that too, just write about the things that aren't going well and then forget about jotting them down when they are. So here goes, some notes about a few things that are going well these days:
1. I look better. I'm not vain, but I'm vain, you know? I know this sounds superficial, but it matters. This past week, several people have asked me what I was doing different. I'm not super public about quitting drinking, because most people wouldn't have known I drank a lot in the first place. But I do look healthier. My face isn't puffy. My eyes aren't red. I've lost a few pounds, but it's more that I don't have that blown up look that booze gives. An old guy who comes into work, he used to be a big drinker, and I think he clocked what's going on. The other day he gave me a knowing smile and said, "Looks like you're taking good care of yourself. It suits you." I would have thought that would be embarrassing--what, did I look like crap before? (Ah, yes, actually.) I just said thanks, and he said, "Keep it up."
2. I feel calmer. A few weeks ago I wrote about rage. Oh man, was I angry a lot. And now I'm just not. I still get overwhelmed sometimes. At home the other morning, I managed to knock a cup of coffee all over a library book and a stack of magazines, costing me the price of the library book and making me late for work because I had to sop it all up before I left. And then I was late for work without even having had a coffee. All that and I was calm. That would never have happened when I was drinking lots. Never.
3. My mind is clearer. This coming year I have a lot going on. I have to write a thesis, apply for grad schools, write the GRE. All stuff people mostly do when they're younger. I had been feeling swamped by it all, and now I'm not. It's still a lot to do, don't get me wrong. But it's not as scary, not as insurmountable. I'll do what I can with it, and see how it all goes.
4. I'm less worried about how I explain not drinking to other people. I'm not completely comfortable with this one. This coming week, my partner and I are going to visit his parents for a few days. They like wine, and we have always had long lingering dinners with multiple glasses. This time I won't. I'm not sure what I'll say yet, but I don't think I need to make any big explanation. I'll just make sure I have fizzy water and lime on hand, and I expect there won't be much drama about it at all.
5. I sleep a lot. I sleep like a log for nine or ten hours many nights. How is this possible? I thought quitting drinking would mean I'd have whacks of time. I'd be up with the birds. No such luck. Probably it's healing sleep or something, I don't know. But I have tons of energy when I am awake, so I'm counting it as good.
OK, that's enough with the list. Everything I've said is true, but it doesn't really capture it. I feel more like myself, and I feel like a new person. I had no idea how much better life would be without drinking. No, it's not perfect, and things are still hard, but there's an enormous difference, and no amount of me trying to enumerate what that difference is seems to capture it. Whatever it is, I'm pretty darn grateful. Today I'm 50 days sober. Hooray for that!