I am just so damn tired today.
I slept poorly last night and my mom is in town, so I’ve been social and walking all day and I feel like that’s an equation for even more exhaustion. I just want to go right to bed. I’m just so happy I’m not drinking. Even though I woke up in a funk and feel a little out of touch today with everything and just sloth-like, I know a drink would make me feel that much worse. I know there are things I can do to make myself feel better like have a snack, and make my art, and also, just lay down for a nap. I know that writing is one of the things that ultimately will make me feel better in the long run of today, but right now it feels not so great.
My words just feel lodged in my throat. I just want to say I’m so happy to have financial independence, to be on my own, and to be able to make healthy choices for myself. I think not drinking is such a freeing, independent choice. I feel like so often it’s something that’s really questioned when you don’t do it, when you say, “no thank you, I don’t drink,” and when you still go on to have a good evening and a good time. I’d rather be completely present for the beautiful moments in my life and be present for the moments like right now, when I’m exhausted and extra full of yawns, and would much rather stick my head under the blanket and go to bed.
I think this conversation is important to have even if today I feel like not having it, I know that not everyday is going to be a pretty day in sobriety, but that my worst day in sobriety is better than any day I had while drinking. While writing that sentence, suddenly I heard a voice in the back of my head criticizing me, “You don’t drink enough to have a sobriety blog. You barely drank.” I’m trying to remember that it’s never the amount, it was the meaning behind each drank I took. The glass always seemed so much heavier for me, until it didn’t. It doesn’t matter how much I drank, because if you want to talk numbers it wasn’t usually more than a beer here or there or a couple of glasses of wine on a really special occasion, but the day’s after were the worst. I would be so full of regret and my anxiety would peak. It just isn’t worth it for me even if that means I miss out on things or don’t feel as comfortable hanging out with some people.
Rarely do I talk about this, but on the morning’s when I would wake up with a hangover or something close, I would relish that time. I loved that I could feel the after effects of my actions. It felt like a punishment. It felt like a tangible way to say, “I’m here. I existed and I had fun.” I did have so much fun, usually. I did wake up with few regrets– and a phone sometimes full of deleted text messages and a head full of regrets– but didn’t that mean something? I was so sold on the idea that to be a normal twenty-something, was to go out with my friends and have fun, do shots, make a kind of fool of my self, and go to work the next day. Never mind that the so called fun had be bent over with headaches, late for work, chugging Gatorade, and shaking.
There were times where I drank without consequence, but those aren’t the times that had a lasting effect for me. Those were the times were I could qualify my behavior as “I don’t have a problem” and be okay with that. The times where my drinking had lasting consequences were few and far between, but the behavior was scary enough for me to be writing about it five, six months later, or in some case years later.
I was always scared to make art, though that isn’t what I told people. I parroted what my middle school art teacher had told me– I’m not good at this. But at 23, I decided to collage for the first time in my life, taking on a 100-day project of doing so everyday. I’m so grateful that I saw other women do this first, because I felt like I had permission to try it even if I knew I just wasn’t any good. I try to look at sobriety the same way: years of being told I had to be careful, but drinking a lot was normal for someone my age, and deciding to go against the grain after seeing other woman do the same, and say “no.”
I don’t know a lot of things for sure, but I do know that not drinking sort of feels like I’m getting away with something, and that something is my freedom, uninhibited by alcohol.
One of my favorite writers and sober rockstars, Augusten Burroughs writes:
“This is what I’m saying; you hate your life.
But you don’t know what life is.
Life is too huge for you to possibly hate.
If you hate life, you haven’t seen enough of it. If you hate your life, it’s because your life is too small and doesn’t fit you.
However big you think your life is, it’s nothing compared to what’s out there.”
It’s one of my favorite quotes because it’s so damn true in its entirety– there is so much more to life than this. I am scared not to drink, but I am much more fearful of what happens to me if I keep returning to alcohol. It’s not an old friend, or a relative I need to take care of, there is no wisdom in the bottom of the bottle, and the only confidence I get from a few beverages, wears of by the morning. But sobriety, sobriety doesn’t get worse as the night goes on, it doesn’t make me shake in the morning, or doubt myself the next day.