What is sober?

“I am in school now so don’t really think I will have time for blogging. But I feel confident I can have that percent up to 99% by January 21, 2017.” -me in one of my last blogs

Wow, I predicted that correct. I have not blogged since December 2016. Part of that is due to school. The other part is due to being in a happy, healthy relationship. My last posts mentioned the start of a new relationship. He and I are still together 28 months later. It has been a wonderful experience, getting to know each other, and not having booze to cloud my thoughts. We have taken it slower than any other relationship I have experienced in the past. But sometimes, too slow. Like he doesn’t seem to want to ever live together. And this makes me want to resort to my “run away!” answer. I told him if we are not looking at places to live together by our 3rd anniversary, I will apply for job in other countries. (Unfortunately, I might not be eligible for a lot of jobs in other countries because of my DUIs. Recruiters have told me it doesn’t matter how old the DUIs are, they could prevent me from obtaining work visas.)

As far as abstaining from alcohol, I was able to remain sober for all of 2017. It was the first complete year after I originally quit drinking that I did not have alcohol. I was able to travel and avoid the temptations. I went to Tulum, Mexico, and enjoyed many non-alcoholic tropical drinks. 20170112_130412

I went to the south of France in the summer of 2017, where I was tempted by wine, but managed to abstain and focus on art. I toured Renoir’s home and Arles, where Van Gogh once lived. I enjoyed my days with no hangovers and felt I was able to fully appreciate the sites I saw. I worked on improving my photography skills and read a lot of books.

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I took my mom on a trip to Europe, where we visited the Heineken Experience, and I used my free drink token for a Pepsi. She had a beer. Afterwards, she told me she was proud of me. She had beers in Germany and Netherlands, and some wine in France, and I only drank water, tea, and coffee. Being with my mom helped strengthen my sobriety. We spent three weeks traveling and sharing stories. I told her some of my drunk stories which helped her realize that I really had a problem, not just a weakness. She had her first-ever green beer on St Patrick’s Day in Poland, and I told her of my last drunk St Patricks in Savannah. I got so shit-faced, I had a fight with a guy hitting on my friend and I had to skip out on site-seeing the next morning due to my hangover.

(This year, I am working St Patrick’s day and annoyed by the people that need to day off  to get drunk.)

I started to see a therapist in 2017 to deal with my depression and anxiety. I went to her for over a year, but did not find it very helpful. I don’t feel she helped me develop coping skills or deal with my anxiety. I felt I got more out of blogging than talking to her. I was prescribed Lexapro, which made me gain 20lbs. Well, that plus being in a relationship, less time to exercise, and the stress from school. Maybe if I lose the weight I gained, I will find a new therapist and a different medication. I finish school this May and hope to use my free time to hike and bike.

I managed to avoid alcohol when meeting my boyfriend’s family. I was filled with nervousness and unease at each occasion, but I also knew that I might make a fool of myself if I drank. His parents like to have a glass of wine with dinner. His siblings drink wine or beer at the few events I’ve been to at their homes. I choose ice tea in the summer and water in the winter. My boyfriend got me into flavored, sparkling water, which we both drink as his family functions. He still doesn’t drink alcohol much around me. He did have a glass of wine the first dinner we had with his parents, but I think that was due to his jitters.

Then, I did have alcohol with my boyfriend. We managed to avoid alcohol our first two anniversary dinners. But we took our first big trip together to the US Virgin Islands for his birthday. For most of the trip, we enjoyed virgin-cocktails. The last night, we went to a nice restaurant. When the waitress handed us the wine menu, I asked if he wanted a bottle of wine for his birthday. He said “sure. Do you really want some?” I said if we limit it to one bottle to share, which should be about two glasses each, I can handle it. I picked out a nice Malbec, which I realized I missed so much since sobriety. It felt nice to be a littel tipsy, but I did worry “what are you starting!!!” My boyfriend and I agreed we would limit sharing wine to special occasions like our birthdays.

Then a few weeks later, we went on a weekend trip to a casino. At dinner, I asked again if he wanted wine. He seemed eager, like he wanted alcohol, but didn’t want to suggest it. He said he could go for a beer. So I decided I would have a glass of wine. It became two glasses. I felt tipsy. I had fun playing blackjack and slots. I ordered another glass of pinot grigio while walking around the slot machines. I was hoping the alcohol would lead to a sexy night in our hotel room, but we both passed out as soon as we got to the room.

Since then, I have had drunk dreams and guilt dreams. There is a tiny part of me that contemplates “moderation is possible”. But I have a disease. I need to remember I am not able to moderate, even with a few glasses at special occasions. I keep thinking the further I get away from my last drink, the more I think I am normal. I need to remind myself of the reasons to stay sober. It has been five years since I decided to quit, but never 100% sober. It is still a struggle and might always be a struggle. I need to reread my blog. Return to blogging. Read more sober books. And get back into shape!

 

 

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