I just did something I'd been planning to do for a while: I read my old blog posts. And though I shouldn't be, I'm surprised by how happy I was when I wasn't drinking. I also saw how, once I got to be lot busier with the semester--it was an especially busy semester for me--I stopped paying attention to why I wasn't drinking. So after the 100 days were up and I felt good, I genuinely forgot how bad I felt when I was drinking a lot, and how much better not drinking was.
I guess that's how this drinking thing works. Walk away and you can see the horror of it, but as soon as you're back in it, it's all coming up roses again, or the roses are all you can see, no matter what misery they're hiding.
The other night I was talking to my partner about this. I know he doesn't really get the not being able to stop after a couple of drinks thing. He's always hugely supportive of me, but never critical. Still, I had somehow invented the idea that he wasn't behind this new not-drinking routine I'm on, and I really wanted him to understand. The best I could say was that it was like being one person with two minds, and the two have trouble communicating. It's confusing, because it's hard to know what you think when you think two thoughts that are in exact opposition to each other. I think it must be confusing for him too, sometimes. How do you know who you're talking to: the sensible person who is only going to have a glass of wine, or the persuasive person who is convinced that draining the rose along with the red and maybe having a couple of large shots of brandy is the thing to do? He doesn't have the same problem. But he's seen me be baffled by my own actions enough times that he absolutely supports what I'm doing.
Of course, some of this thinking isn't new. But because I'm realizing things all over again, it seems worth writing again, just in case I need to remind myself again, as I likely will. At the same time, it's not quite like starting from scratch. This time I have all that recent experience behind me, so I know what I'm able to do: just don't drink. And if I use that experience well, I know what minefields to look out for.
In that vein, I've made a few decisions to take better care of myself in the coming few months. One is, I lightened my course-load a little. It's still going to be busy, but I have some breathing room. Another is, I've been reading fiction, and I'm going to keep that going. It's one of my great pleasures, and it's something that gets set aside when school starts. This semester, I'm going to keep reading novels and short stories. Not so much that I ignore school, obviously, but enough that I have an occasional break and enjoy the reading. And the third thing is, I'm going to keep paying attention to this process of stepping away from the drink. Last summer and fall, it helped when I did that. When I didn't, I lost some important perspective on what I was doing and why. I'm not sure what the process involves. Blogging, sure, and reading blogs. I've read some great books (reviews coming soon!) Mainly it's a whole lot of things that are all really one thing, paying attention. If I do that, honestly look at what I'm doing, how I'm feeling, all that uncomfortable stuff, I will know what to do next.
And if I don't know all of what I need to do, I already know one thing: I need to keep on not drinking. It really is better for me. Clear thinking, reading at night, tea and rain and real conversation in the evenings, solid sleep, money not spent on booze: those are just a few of the good things I'm tallying up every day. I'm grateful for all that all over again.
So that's how I'm doing. It's pretty good, all told. If you've read this far, many thanks. I hope you're doing well, too. Peace.