Sober Language

I have always been interested in other languages. I went to an elementary school that had one hour Spanish lessons each week for all grades. From Kindergarten to 5th grade. I only went to that school for two years but I remember learning colors, numbers, and short sentences. “Soy morena.” “La casa es grande.” Maybe that is what sparked my interest in linguistics?

I have some books to teach myself other languages. I took four years of high school Spanish and a semester in college, but I am nowhere near fluent. I have many phrase books in different languages. French. German. Mandarin. Portuguese. Swedish. Thai. I had one for Bahasa Indonesian and was very upset when I lent it to someone who lost it.

Now I am trying to learn the language of sobriety.

I read a wonderful blog about surrendering to sobriety. I can not predict that I will never drink again. But I feel I won’t. I feel I relinquished alcohol. I feel I have more reasons not to drink than to drink. I keep reminding myself of drunk mistakes daily. I translate those mistakes into reasons to stay sober.

I feel I am learning new uses for words. I am now associating abstinence with something other than sex. Relapse is not about only about a returning cancer. I am learning to say “no thanks” when offered a drink. Phrases such as “I can not drink anymore” and “I like myself sober” scroll through my head everyday.

The thing is, if I don’t have sobriety, I don’t have anything.

-Matthew Perry

I was fluent in the drunk language. I spoke in excuses. I verbalized expertise in hangover treatments. I once had someone give me a travel bottle of Advil for my purse for mornings I woke up in a stranger’s apartment. I walked the walk and talked the talk of an alcoholic. No phrase book needed.

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Mistake #65- I was living in a city abroad taking a four-week language course. There were 10 students from all over the world and only two of us from English-speaking countries. Myself and an Aussie guy. The teacher was a young, native speaker.

The weekend after our last class, the teacher invited us all to come out for celebration drinks. The party ended up being only me, my boyfriend, and the Aussie. We all met at a bar. Two female friends of  the teacher joined us. I think he was interested in one and trying to hook the other up with the Aussie. The six of us were having fun. My boyfriend wanted to leave. I did not. I never wanted the party to end. So he left and I stayed at the bar.

We all kept drinking and having fun. I was trying to be wing-woman and get the girls to hook up with the teacher and Aussie. But they both eventually left. The Aussie invited the teacher and I back to his flat. More drinking. I remember the three of us sitting in the kitchen, drinking beers, and sharing music we liked. We were on the Aussie’s laptop and searching YouTube with “oh you will love this band!” or song.

Don’t remember much else but waking up in the Aussie’s bed. Nude. I have no idea what happened. I never asked. My dress was laying on a chair like I placed it there. It did not feel like I had sex. Some people have told me before that during blackouts, I would undress and go to bed like I was at home. I never asked the Aussie. I preferred to believe the “at home” theory. If you say the excuse enough, like repeating words in a new language, it starts to become real.

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3 thoughts on “Sober Language

  1. I also read that blog about surrendering to sobriety. I have been using it as my mantra the past few days. It feels good to say it, to surrender to something positive. I thank you all for being here with your blogs offering honesty, words of wisdom, and sharing your stories. It’s what’s keeping me going right now. Thanks for your post.

  2. I too had a whole book’s worth of alcoholic justifications. I tried my best to sell to myself the fatalistic romance of the whole thing, even though, what was the point. I identify a great deal with what you say, post after post (except for all the nudity ;-). Thanks again for being so regular. Wait a second, that makes it sound like you poop everyday. Ha ha.. regular about posting I mean!

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