Tuesday 20 June 2017

Round 3, Day 644: Still sober, still quiet, feeling full of life again

Last time I wrote I mentioned going through a low spell, and I wasn't up to keeping up with comments or really even keeping in touch at that point. But I was (and am) really grateful to people who stopped by and said hello.

These days I'm doing much better. It's been almost 4 years since I started seriously considering stopping drinking, and during that time I've thought a lot about what we do when we drink and what it is to be sober. I still maintain that the two time periods during which I decided to return to drinking were useful to me, as they absolutely killed any remaining lure the drink might have had. These days I have no pull to drink. Booze smells like poison. Increasingly I can't even cook with it. Though I rarely do anymore, yesterday I tried to make a small white wine deglaze to go with dinner, and it smelled so much like poison I couldn't bear to eat it. My husband ate the sauce (he claimed it tasted good, not "poisonous") and I just squeezed a lemon over my fish and salad. Really, no wine for me, thanks!

The other day I was caught up in a 911 call to get some help for a guy who had fallen down drunk on the sidewalk in front of my building. The guy was a mess, and he was hostile to me (nothing personal, I'm sure, I'm any woman would get much the same misogynist words from him) so there was no cozy moment sitting with him to keep him company. And I don't want to describe the scene too fully as I hesitate to glamorize the ugliness of it all. But afterward, when my husband and I had continued on our walk to the local fish shop to pick up some food for dinner, I broke down in tears. I couldn't help thinking about how this guy's life has been wrecked by booze. I'm not claiming it's his only problem, but it's clearly a big one. He's a person, and once he was ten years old, and maybe he felt hopeful in that way you do when you're a kid, and he probably kicked a ball around with his friends and smiled and was loved by someone.  And I thought about how many people I know who drink too much and live through so much more misery because of that, and how much I drank and the damage that did to me and to people around me. And also, yes,  I thought about how lucky I am that I got hold of that problem and was able to resolve it. All this came crashing down on me as I walked down the road, and I was overwhelmed with the horror of the drink, how big a role it plays on our culture, and how much damage it does, and how happy I am to be free of it.

Well, I cried for a little bit, and my husband hugged me, and then I got over my weepy spell and, feeling a bit more exposed to the world than I'd been a little earlier, I picked up some fish and walked back home. By then the police were seeing to the guy, and he was sitting up, and my only further role in the event was a brief chat with one of the cops about whether the guy had actually had his pants off when I called 911, or whether his pants had just fallen a good ways down but were still somehow, technically, on. I had no solution for this quasi-legal conundrum. I just thanked them for coming, skirted the increased attentions of the (pants now definitely back on) guy, and came home with my husband to make some dinner.

Having been through another big depression (and I'm still shaky at times but I'll say I'm through it by now) I have such a huge appreciation for the ordinary things in life. It sounds cliche, but it's no cliche to live it. A short walk in the neighbourhood with my husband, a chat at the fish store. Some fresh salmon, panfried, served with a arugula, radishes and cucumbers from the farmers' market, some chewy sourdough from the bakery near my work, and a glass of fizzy water with a drop of cranberry and some sort of cordial that makes for a pretty pink drink. Then tea and strawberries with yoghurt and an early night. For me, that was a beautiful evening. I have many evenings like that, and I enjoy them.

I don't blog much these days, and I probably won't, as I don't have a lot to say about the drink thing anymore. I've been getting interested in doing some new things -- I took up sewing and have learned to make my own clothes! Life feels full. There are some things I find tricky, for sure, and I guess I am still on watch for the return of another low spell that could drag me down again. But life is good. So this is just a small hello from the other side of lots of things, in case anyone was wondering how I was doing, or in case anyone could use a flare sent from the far side of depression, from someone who lived through another low spell, sober, just to find out how it is. It's grand, I tell you, grand. Peace and joy to you. xo

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Round 3, Day 526: Quiet over here. Still sober though

I've gone quiet here on the blog, in part because I'm going through one of my depressions and this one is more sharp in the tooth than what I'm used to. I'm less sad and more angry than I've often been when I'm low, and that doesn't lend itself to social interaction much, even online interaction. Not that I'm angry all the time. It's more like 90% absolutely nothing, 10% rage. Neither is much fun. But I'm finding a way to do things that might be enjoyable and even enjoying some of them. I'll get through. These days I see how much I relied on drinking to get past the worst depression. Without that, I don't have the emotional release and the built-in checking out that booze brings. Now I'm fully in the world, for good and bad. Except when I'm reading fiction, and then I'm in that world. So I read a lot. I think it helps.

Still, I recognize that it's better not to be drinking, and I have no intention of going back to that. Every now and then I have a pang. I'm usually caught off guard when I'm reading something set in blustery weather and the character comes in from all that drear and has a wine or a scotch, and I wonder whether I could just step out of the grey and have a drink. But it doesn't take much thinking to see that it's never worked out for me before and there's no reason to expect that would change, and I see that tea or coffee or sparking water would do just fine, even for the imaginary me who has just stepped in from the imaginary nasty weather.

It's now the longest stretch I've ever been sober. Last time after around 15 months, I decided to drink again. I guess coming up to that time I was a bit worried that I might have to face rethinking all that again, but I didn't. For me, it's never been about a sudden urge to drink that I can't counter. Instead, I have in the past been sucked into thinking my way back to drinking, building a case for why I should try it again. People have laughed at that, but it does give me a strong foundation now. It would be a joke to think that drinking would make anything better these days. I suppose it's often a joke to think that. Not a very funny one either.

Hi to any blog friends who are still out here. This post is really meant as just a quick check in, in case anyone noticed I was quiet and thought I'd fallen back to the booze. I have not. I am here and sober and living. That's good enough for now. Peace to you all, and joy if you find it.