I am closing in on 30 days without alcohol. I feel good, and I see some changes, I am sleeping better for one.
The friction with my wife continues… She says nasty things and I cannot ignore them or let them go quickly. This is a problem I have, and if anything I seem to hold on to resentment a bit longer without the alcohol. I am pretty sure she would say that nothing has changed – but I know differently. Before you can deal with your emotions, you have to actually FEEL them without a clouded head, and this is only just beginning. Someone pointed out to me that during the drinking times, even when you are not currently drinking, you still don’t necessarily FEEL things because your brain knows that crutch is available whenever you choose to use it. This was good for me to hear because I used to think “Yeah, I was drinking, but not that day, so it cannot possibly be the drinking that is fucking my head up.”
On Friday I was on top of the world, my son had been accepted to the private high school with Academic Distinction. Saturday was very utilitarian, worked in the yard and go some things cleaned up, a bit more about Saturday night later. Sunday I did not feel well – emotionally. Tired and depressed for no apparent reason. Wife and I were not getting along, due to some comments she made and me reacting, but I don’t think this was the whole reason. Took sons to lunch and movies, it was a good time, but I still was just kind of emotionally off all day. Why should this be? I am not drinking, I should just feel fucking great all day! My cousin was also having a birthday party for her daughter, I knew my Mom would be there. Ended up I did not go, my wife and young daughter went. I had a million excuses, it was far away, they boys didn’t want to go and I needed to stay with them. Really, I just couldn’t deal with it. The perceived pressure from my Mom (she has been very good about not pressuring me, which is why I say “perceived”) to discuss my issues, the thought of having to recount the burglary story (of my home 2 weeks ago) ad-nauseum, riding in the car for 2 hours with a wife who was not happy with me (nor I her), etc. I just couldn’t deal with it. I felt guilty about it all day, because I knew my Mom would be disappointed and probably just think I was “hiding” – well, actually I was. I do need to reconnect with my Mom, but this was not going to be the day it started.
So, there were some things that happened, but how could I go from being on top of the world, to pretty tired and depressed? I realized this was actually normal, I was just experiencing emotions and having to deal with them. On a historical Sunday the blues would have been shaken off with a few beers as I puttered around the house and did my thing. Now I have to deal with my thoughts and feelings.
Part of my Sunday depression may have been mourning for my past life, I’m not sure. My neighbors had a St. Patricks Day/Poker gathering on Saturday night. This house was one of my old drinking spots. I went and played poker, nobody hassled me, although my “abstinence” was discussed at times, and I even made a couple of jokes. One guy there has been sober 10 years, but he indulged in the ganja. I don’t really enjoy that too much so I was “stone cold”. People asked if being around drinkers bothered me, it doesn’t. I can have fun but I still find myself trying too hard because I am afraid of the stereotype that the sober guy is no fun anymore. Still care too much about what people think of me, put that on the fucking list. I had an OK time, but I just didn’t connect. While being around people drinking didn’t bother me, it just seemed kind of pointless. A waste of time, no meaningful conversations, just bullshit. It was kind of strange too, the hardcore guys, my “drinking buddies” were around, but they were not partying much that night. So the poker group consisted of the others who were usually the ones that only joined us occasionally, and the rest of the times just observed our “garage parties” as they passed on through. All in all it left me with a weird feeling, it was like “These are the amateurs, hanging out with the sober guy.” I have to say I don’t think they really thought that, it just made for an odd feeling.
When I say “mourning for my past life”, I don’t mean I wanted to be drinking or partying – far from it. I am talking about the feeling that I just didn’t belong there, that I could be doing something better. Still hanging on to the same old events, just without drinking, to show that I haven’t changed and because I don’t know what else to do with myself yet… But I am changing, and this is exciting, scary and sad all at the same time. So, the “mourning” I refer to is related to the idea that I could do the “same old thing”, just without drinking, still be the cool guy everyone liked, and have a great time – and then being hit with the fact that it just didn’t work for me.
So, today I am emotionally back in the middle. I start the week by writing this blog, and am looking forward to standing up at the Wednesday meeting and announcing my 30 days anniversary.
Let the journey continue.