Sunday, 19 July 2015

Quick update: the short answer is, I am well!

It's been a couple of months since I decided to reconsider being sober. A few people have commented or emailed to ask how it's going, so I thought I'd write a quick note to say I'm doing fine. (But listen: If you are reading sober blogs because you are struggling with the drink and looking for support from like-minded people, don't read this post. Take a look at the sidebar on my blog, where you will find posts by many people who are committed to being sober. If you're looking for support, that's what you should be reading, not this post! If you think you know better than I do and you want to save me from myself, please keep those thoughts to yourself, OK? We're all just figuring out how to live and no one has all the answers: not me, not you, not some expert! And as usual, no talk of wolves or witches are welcome here. There are lots of places online where you can talk about that sort of thing and be greeted warmly, and that's grand, but it's not my cup of tea. If you're just curious how I'm doing, or interested in a take on drinking by someone who was sober for a year and a half and now drinks, OK, read on. )

Phew! Now that's all out of the way and I can talk. Sorry to sound bossy there. I'm just heading off some conversations I don't want to have, that's all. Other than that, hello!

First, yes, I decided to drink again, and I have. And I like it. I had forgotten how much I really love wine, and how little I care for most other kinds of alcohol. I feel like I've become reacquainted with an old pleasure. And that's lovely. I have found that in certain kinds of social situations, I have more fun, and I'm more part of what's going on, when I am joining in the drinking. That's not the main part of my life, and if it were it would probably stop being fun. But as it stands, it's nice.

Also, there have been no great dramas or tragedies. I was joking with my partner that there's a truism in sober circles that tells you to "play the tape to the end." For me, sometimes the end seems to be I have some wine and a nice time. Once I drank more than was a good idea, and then I went home to bed. It wasn't much difference than what happens to people once in a while, just a confluence of being too tired and having some wine. Most likely I was sillier than usual. I don't mind that. I don't need to absolutely control every moment of my life. So my tape isn't looking so scary, or at least, not to me!

There was one evening where I shared wine with some friends and later wondered whether I may have had a better time without drinking. One of the friends I was with also has a complicated relationship with alcohol, and may have been disappointed that I decided to drink again. It was interesting, and I realized that, with that particular group, next time I probably wouldn't drink. No matter. I'm still figuring out how to do this, and I'm learning as I go.

Aside from the pleasure of drinking sometimes, and the feeling of fuller participation with the world that comes along with that, the big relief for me has been to let up on the incessant self-examination that for me has gone along with being sober and blogging. As I have said many times, I don't have much faith in the ongoing self-improvement project of contemporary psychology. Sometimes, yes, things in life get messy, and something needs to be done to make a change. But I don't think we are the sort of creatures that respond well to an endless process of analyzing and bettering, as though we were products that could be continually tweaked for greater market share or increased customer satisfaction. There is a lot of talk about acceptance on sober blogs, and sometimes that's been helpful to me. But I keep wondering whether sometimes that shades into accepting the world as it is, which I think is a problem given that the world we are in needs some change. Maybe deeper kind of acceptance would be to accept ourselves as flawed, and maybe always to some extent unknowable, and to get on with trying to make the world better.

Not that I'm engaged in a grand world-improvement project now either. But I am reading lots and working on my thesis and paying attention much more to the world and much less to myself. I don't think that's incompatible with not drinking, by the way. I just found that to keep up the not drinking, I had to keep up a set of beliefs about being sober that were nourished by reading sober blogs, and that led me to pay more attention to myself than I want to pay. Having questioned that practice, I am neither reading blogs nor being actively sober. And my take on it is this: I'm living well.

Years ago I went through a terrible depression, and when I was getting better and returning to the world, a friend expressed disappointment with me because he didn't like my pace or tone as well any more. He liked me better when I was more quiet, more interior. (In other words, when I was depressed.) I mention that because I feel the same shift in me now--I'm bored with all that being quiet and interior, and yet that may be a great deal of what makes up the bond between me and the world of sober bloggers. It's not that I can never be like that these days, it's just that it's only a part of me, and one that's less front and centre when I'm more engaged with the world, as I have been this past while. That goes along with my decision to drink again, but it's part of a bigger process of being in the world in a different way. So if I seem different, I am, and I know that, and I know it's not always welcome to everyone. But it's who I am, and I am pretty darn OK with that.

In any case, this may be my last post, as it doesn't seem to make sense to write in a sober community about the joys of drinking, or to write among people who are working on self-improvement to say that I think a lot of that is bunk. I don't want to be the poster girl for drinking, or to be put in a position in which I'm defending drinking to people who think it's an unhealthy practice. I really am just figuring out how to live, and that may end up being a more private process than this blogging adventure has been. But I did want to say hi, and say I'm doing well, before I sign off altogether.

Happy July to you all!

15 comments:

  1. Lovely to hear from you!! xx

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  2. Dear Thirsty,
    I am glad to hear from you as well!
    Good luck on your thesis!!
    xo
    Wendy

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. God wishes appreciated! I hope you're still rocking the good life! xo

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    2. I am! I went kayaking today for the first time.
      It was really fun.
      I know how to canoe so it wasn't hard to pick up.
      We have these awesome lakes downtown Minneapolis.
      xo

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  3. Good on you TS. Keep in touch every so often though :)
    All the best,
    anniemac xx

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    1. Thanks, Annie! You keep in touch, too. Hope you're doing well. xo

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  4. Hello, glad you're doing well. I'm paying less attention to all the tracking, you know all that counting is just weird, it takes too much life. I'm sober for a bit because I'm feeling ropey what with all the hot weather and pollen, but I figure I don't have to define myself one way or another. Other people don't give it a second thought do they, like you say, sometimes they overdo it a bit then they don't and it's just the ebb and flow of life. Check back in again though won't you, on a purely selfish note I'll miss you if you disappear completely!

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    1. Hi KT. Yes, the tracking can get a bit disturbing. Glad to hear that sober helps you with the heat. Thanks for your kind words. I won't lose track of you altogether! xo

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  5. So thankful for this post. I hear myself in many of your written thoughts. Especially the constant introspection, this "quiet and interior" world that I am living in, the need for complete control and this "endless process of analyzing and bettering." I will miss your posts and your honesty. I encourage you to keep posting - what we have with this blogging community is more than just sober blogs, but shared lessons on everyone's different paths. Disregard those who want you to do it JUST LIKE THEM. They are the real control freaks - you're just trying to figure it out. I am grateful for your story.

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    1. Thanks for this. I'm so glad what I said resonated with someone! Not sure where I'm heading with the blog, but I'll leave off deciding for now, and I'll at least check in once in a while on yours. xo

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  6. Hey Thirsty, thanks for writing and good to know all is well with you. I'm loving living in the Maritimes. If you're ever back and want to catch up, let me know. I'd love to meet you in person. XX

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    1. Thanks, Sue. So good to hear your move has worked out for you. And yes, it would be grand to get together. When i go east, it's usually further east than you are, but who knows where my travels will bring me! Same goes for you if you're ever on the west coast! xoxo

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  7. great to hear from you and I *loved* this part of your post:

    "But I don't think we are the sort of creatures that respond well to an endless process of analyzing and bettering, as though we were products that could be continually tweaked for greater market share or increased customer satisfaction."

    Wow. yes. Great sentence. And the rest is well-written as usual :) Sad to hear you won't be writing much more, but I get it. I do love your writing tho so if you ever blog anywhere else, let me know!

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  8. I hope you don't quit blogging, the world needs more blogs on drinking on an enjoyable basis for those who can't seem to keep it at that level but don't know that they need to quit completely. But I understand fully the need to quit obsessing about drinking. There is so much more to life.

    Your life sounds full and lovely. Just as it should be. Good for you!

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