Day 90: Wowowowow!

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THREE MONTHS!!!! Like my friend (or father? LOL) Jim says in his own post, this is the longest I have been sober since I was 16. For those of you who are in the first few days or weeks of your journey, believe me, if I can do this, then so can you!!! I never thought I would come this far, not in a million years. I am the only person in my immediate family who has tried (and done) anything like this. 

This is such an important milestone for me, because when I started this journey I promised myself I would do 3 months and then start drinking again if I wanted.

Gulp. Now what?

When I started, I (drunkenly) signed up for the One Year No Beer 90 day challenge, which provided invaluable support and motivation in the first weeks. It was a wonderful initial impulse, a kick in the butt to get me started and hold my hand as I wobbled insecurely and took the first few few steps on this crazy path of sober self-discovery.  However, for various reasons -most of them financial- I have decided not to sign up for their “One Year” challenge. So now that my time is up, what do I want? 

I definitely don’t want to start drinking again like I used to. Daily hangovers, guilt, shame and secrecy, NO THANK YOU!!

And now, THE question I can’t avoid : Do I want to go back to moderation? 

BEEEP BEEP SELF-DELUSION ALERT! RED FLAG! 

By now I have tasted the sweet nectar of peace of mind that comes with an AF lifestyle. I have left the horror and torture of the enslaved, perpetually dissatisfied mind behind, and I do NOT miss it. I have also read enough from everyone here to know that moderation is a dangerous illusion for “people like me”. Why can I only vaguely remember all those times that I did try to moderate and pathetically failed and promised myself over and over to “never drink again”? Why do those days seem so far away? I wish I could remember them more vividly, it would make today easier. I feel like my mind is messing with me and I feel weak in the face of temptation, of Mara, of thinking “I’ve got this” – but I’m not buying into the bullshit. I have tricked myself enough over the last 15 years. I want to keep my eye on the path and bathe in the newfound clarity of these last few months. LOL WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME ? I SOUND LIKE A RELIGIOUS TEXT !  

This three month milestone feels so vertiginous because from now on, I am “on my own”, without the safety net of having a “temporary challenge” to finish. Without the perfect excuse to pull out of my hat when I am offered a drink (“I’m on a sobriety challenge”). Now when I decline a drink I have to come up with something else to say. I have to “confess” to what I am ashamed of. This changes everything. This is real. This is me admitting to the world (not just to a small support group, or an online community) something that in its extreme form sounds like “I am an alcoholic and I can never drink again”. I know, I know, I can also frame it differently, without the self-flagellation whip. I can just say “I don’t drink”. By now I know that that’s enough for people to stop asking questions. I think this is more about my relation to myself and my own shame than to “the world”, who- let’s be honest- doesn’t give much of a f***k who drinks and doesn’t drink, as long as they can keep doing whatever they’re doing 🙂 

Does this mean that for the last three months I have not actually been doing this “for real”? That I have not given any real thought to going AF “forever”? In a way, yes. Because I have been thinking in terms of “day by day” and avoiding thoughts of “forever” at all costs, in order to be able to do this instead of giving up. On the other hand, the only thing I CAN do is to consciously make the daily decision to be AF, and climb this m**f**king mountain step by step. How else do you get to the top? I can’t fly, I don’t have a giant trampoline. If someone knows how to effortlessly teleport themselves to the top, please email me. But until then, it’s step by step. Sometimes it feels arduous, sometimes you get a second wind. But either way I want to keep going instead of just lying down to die on the side of the path on these snowy peaks of sobriety. (LOL I AM NOT GOING TO EDIT OUT ALL THESE HORRIBLE METAPHORS- THIS IS GOING TO BE A SPONTANEOUS POST, NO SHAME! Nadine, this one goes out to you!). To keep going, then, with nothing to hold on to but my internal resources. 

Gulp.

Let’s not be too dramatic. I do have support systems.

I have therapy. I have this blogging community which I have neglected this last month (I AM SORRY and I think there is something to dig up here too – beyond my worries of boring everyone to death and sounding like a broken record, why have I not been writing every day like I used to?).

I also have my weekly Recovery meditation group which is like a Buddhist version of AA. But I must say, no matter how atached I am to the concept, the reality of it is gradually turning into a kind of absurd joke. First of all, it’s a tiny little group  where I am sometimes the only attendee. Also, despite the group description, most people (including the current leader) aren’t really interested in Dharma stuff and have never heard of most of the words we come across in our readings. This is mainly because the actual leader of the group is in jail (no joke) for the next three months (for a DUI). The temporary leader of the group has ZERO familiarity with Buddhism and is still smoking hash oil and (this is my real issue) has made me very uncomfortable these last couple of weeks. He has been explicitly flirting with me during the meetings and insistently asking to hang out outside the meetings via text message. I have had to put him in his place several times, and even contemplated not going to the group anymore after a particularly unpleasant meeting last week where it was just the two of us and he made some disturbing comments, but in the end (and for now) I have decided to keep going and to work on feeling compassion for all this group of imperfect beings -myself included- who gather together and somehow try and improve ourselves through meditation and commitment to “abstinence as we understand it”. This group is my ritual which symbolically signifies my commitment to this journey. If I stop going I worry about what that will mean/imply/lead to.

One guy from the group (who has been sober for almost 4 years now) keeps trying to get me to go to AA with him, and although I am completely overwhelmed with work, I might go next week. Maybe AA is the safety-net that I need to feel safe now that I no longer have OYNB in the background. (On the other hand, I haven’t been using the OYNB support system/facebook group at all, so technically I HAVE been doing this on my own). I think that my resistance to AA is also because it makes all this feel “way too real” and like there is “something wrong with me”, i.e. that I am a sick, diseased wreck of a human (vs. the Buddhist idea of Basic Goodness in all of us). But I have never been to AA, so how can I know in advance? Maybe I’ll love it. In short, I seem to be having issues trusting myself and my ability to keep going “on my own”. I will explore this further rather than shy away from the discomfort.  

At the end of your OYNB 90 day challenge they send you one final email, in which they tell you that “you have been an integral part of a huge movement of social change. You are a pioneer of this movement, showing the way for others to follow”. This can sound a bit exaggerated, and to some, even preachy and moralistic (I don’t want to stop other people from drinking or become an annoying moralizing saint). On the other hand, I really do feel like I have started to explore the dark side of the moon (or of the force?^^) and gotten in touch with whole groups of people who have adopted a happy sober lifestyle and who are SO INSPIRING that I feel only love and GRATITUDE for them (for you!!!).

And who is to say that this, together with the mindfulness craze, the veganism, the climate strike movements etc. isn’t some kind of ongoing  social change ? Anyway, whatever happens in the world (whether it’s a revolution in consciousness or plain good old WWIII), I know that I have definitely experienced an “internal revolution”, in lifestyle, in emotional wellbeing, in spiritual belief (who would have thought?), in self esteem, self-love and self confidence. There is still SO MUCH WORK to be done, but for me, this “dark side of the moon” is the internal landscape which had remained unattainable while I kept drinking, and yet was only dark because I kept it out of sight. Now that I have “faced the darkness”, I feel like I have access to whole regions of my inner being that were kept out of reach by the haze of alcohol, and I want to keep discovering these mysterious countries. Unlike what I used to think, they are not populated by horrible monsters. There is nothing to avoid, nothing to run away from. On the contrary, I have avoided [myself] for too long and I am so grateful to be in contact with myself at last, even if it’s just the beginning. Without sobriety, this never would have been possible.

 All in all, I have no idea how long this AF thing is going to last, maybe my whole life, maybe tomorrow I will “relapse” (the dreaded word!), but I think the best strategy for me to keep going right now is to focus my attention on what I am learning/discovering/gaining, on how it helps me (and hopefully helps me help others) rather than on what I am missing out on or giving up on. 

Or maybe I can also keep negotiating with myself and set a “6 month” or “one year” goal and see how I feel then. That seems much easier than “sober forever”.  Urgh.

Day by day. Thank you to every single person who has read, liked a post, commented or shared their own story on this blog – my gratitude knows no bounds ❤ 🙂

NOW, ONTO SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS! 🙂 

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

xxx

Anne

Published by nomorebeer

Learning how sobriety helps you ENJOY life.

28 thoughts on “Day 90: Wowowowow!

  1. Congrats on the three-month mark! You’re doing great. As for not having an excuse like a challenge, there are some books that help you through even the first three years of sobriety. I forgot what they’re called but you don’t need to have an external support group to give you a reason to keep this challenge going. Like you say, you don’t need to frame it like “I’m an alcoholic and can never drink again”. I’m not an alcoholic and never struggled with an addiction (other than food maybwe), but the simple answer “I don’t drink” satisfies people around me. Then again, yes, you do need to overcome your own shame.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes yes yes, thank you Astrid. It’s a huge help to discover (and be reminded) that there are plenty of people in the world who simply don’t drink and for whom it is no big deal and things CAN be as simple as that. Somehow that makes all of this much easier, and your comment got me out of my head, so a big THANK YOU 🙂 xxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello lovie. I am cooking dinner so just a quick comment here. First off HUGE CONGRATS!!!!!! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈 for 90 days!!!!!!! Do keep going. Moderation’s a bitch and you’ve come so far. Second, bahaha about the metaphors, thanks for the mention, I love it. 😄😘🌱 Third, drug users in Buddhist groups define throw a (monkey) wrench in things, most especially if they are hitting on you when you’ve said you’re not interested! The group in the Dordogne was not at all like that, with one or two exceptions, mind you I’ve only gone during family retreat times. Fourth, yes go to AA and please tell us what it was like!!!! ( maybe I will try it too :)) And fifth, you are doing so awesomely! Rock on sister Anne!!! ❤️😘🎉🌈💥🙏🌱🌿🌟😇🙏

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thaaaank you Nadine 🙂 If I make it to AA I promise I will tell you how it is. Actually I might even go just to have something to write about on here other than “oh sobriety is so scary and wonderful and oh how much longer will I be able to do this please send encouragements” LOL 🙂 🙂 🙂 Now I will let you get on with dinner preparations – those boys are lucky !!! xxx Anne

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have been thinking the same thing about AA… for months. :)) The nearest one’s a long drive away… ah who am I kidding it’s not the drive that scares me lol. But “don’t knock it till you try it” as they say… maybe it’s time to get brave. :)) It’s actually the whole *lacking* anonymity that freaks me out. (Ah, that pesky ego. Sigh. :)) Looking forward to hearing your experience if you go 😊💖

        Liked by 2 people

      2. aaaah, yes I understand! Being in a “foreign” country myself, I think the non-anonymity part is less harsh, but back home in France my ego would poke its alarmed nose in the business for sure! yes will let you now if I go 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yes that’s it… also, I do not love the “Hi I’m an alcoholic” mentality… I prefer “Hi I’m alcohol-free and getting more conscious and aware than I’ve ever been” kind of mentality ;))
        But as Wendy said below, and as I too always say (thanks to learning this phrase many years ago during my time with LLL) – “take what works and leave the rest” I guess. :))
        xoxoxo n

        Liked by 2 people

  3. 90 days is awesome. Think back to day 0. Do you want to go back there?
    Me neither, so I keep going forward!

    I would look for a recovery group without creepy people. I went to one refuge recovery meeting once, but I did not find the people there a serious as those at AA (so most were struggling to get any sobriety) and not Buddhist enough for me. Lol I can be difficult!

    Anyway, yay for 90. I can honestly say that at 6 years I still feel pleased with myself that I no longer drink. It’s still a great decision.

    Take care!
    Anne

    Liked by 2 people

    1. oh wow, 6 years, congrats that’s such a huge achievement !!! As for the creepy guy… I know, it sucks. But Buddhist Recovery is such a nice idea !! I’ll have to weigh the pros and also base my decision on how things unfold in the upcoming weeks. The initial organizer (who is great and actually knows stuff about Buddhism) comes back in February…. when she gets out of jail lol. Thanks for your comment Veteran-Anne, love xoxo Newbie-Anne 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree that the Buddhist recovery mix is excellent.
        Have you read meditations from the mat by Rolf gates?
        It combines ashtanga yogas 8 limbs with recovery and aa.

        It’s one of my favourites. I love the yoga philosophy.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Well done! 👏👏👏👏What a great post too – you sound in a really good place and you don’t sound like you want to go back at all. I tried moderation after 3 months – didn’t work but I learnt stuff and stopped again soon enough. I agree with the others about ditching the group with the creepy guy – bad support isn’t good. AA will depend on the group so worth a try – I didn’t like the focus on how bad I was as a drunk rather than being sober. Ive found being honest with people – I say I was drinking too much and I feel so much better without it – is usually enough for most people and feels ok to me xxx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. thaaaank you ❤ I will definitely give the "I feel much better without it" response a try. I think I am still relying heavily on others' opinion rather than finding self-worth in my own beliefs about myself. The work never ends 🙂 xxx Anne

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Congratulations on 90 Days, Anne!
    I also hope you keep going! When I reached 100 days, I then made 150 the goal, etc. It worked for me!
    I do find support in AA, but I use the phrase” take what you need, and leave the rest”.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Congratulations on 90 days! That’s a long time in the alcoholism world. Great job identifying that your brain thinking of moderating as a trap. The one sentence around moderation that always stuck with me was “if you could moderate, you’d have done it by now”. AA might help you, especially if your meditation group isn’t going to work out (doesn’t sound like it!). I sympathize. One of the main reasons I stopped going to AA is witnessing a few creepy old men ruthlessly hit on young female newcomers to the point that they’d never come back. There’s something wrong with the mentality of the group, IMO, when a very common joke is that Step 13 is sleeping with naive young women.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. whaaaaat that step 13 anecdote is chilling !!! I watched a (not very good) movie a couple of weeks before my day 1 in which the sponsor guy clumsily tries to flirt with the new young female and uses very explicit language and it’s a total fiasco and horribly awkward – but I didn’t know that was a thing !!! Now I understand why the men who want to take me to this AA meeting next week keep insisting on the fact that the group is mostly women …. arghhh human nature 😉 (though I am young and identify as a woman I am NOT naive so I’ll be fine hopefully ^^)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well done Anne, I know we started near enough at the same time. Knowing you are sticking at it helps me, so you are definitely not allowed to now go back to the booze. Or my decline and fall will be on your conscience – for all eternity😉 and that’s a long time to carry guilt!
    Brilliant Anne xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. hehehe thanks Jim. It’s so nice to hear from you I’ve missed you!! 🙂 I definitely don’t want to carry the weight of your decline and fall on my conscience for all eternity so yes, imma keep going 🙂 I think I needed to face vs. repress these questions honestly so that the decision to keep going is truly 100000% mine 🙂 xxx Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Anne

    Huge congrats 🥳 that is such an achievement. I’m so impressed.

    I have no idea what it will feel like at 3 months (I’m just approaching 3 weeks!) but I know I’m the same. I can’t see this as ‘forever’, I don’t even have that conversation with myself. But I also know right now that the moment I put a drink to my mouth and take a sip, I won’t be able to stop. If I still feel like that then I have to plough on.

    Good for you accessing so many support systems (though the guy ‘hitting’ on you is a worry). I hope you decide to keep going, for now anyway. I love hearing from you and reading your posts
    Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s great that it gave you motivation. You are doing so well and all positives for you make it worth overcoming the challenges. Seeing and hearing from others at your stage and beyond is so helpful and supportive for me.
    Thanks 😊

    Like

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