You might be thinking “Who on earth takes alcohol on a hike? Aren’t you supposed to travel light?” … Well, yes. Except when drinking is your top priority and—so you believe—the “only” to enjoy things. So yes, you read me correctly. This was a sober “first” for me.
In the past, if I went hiking and camped overnight, I would make sure to bring some kind of booze to “celebrate” by the fire after a long day of effort-making. Well, this weekend, after doing a portion of the Appalachian trail, some of it under the rain (one full day of it with horrible blisters on my feet), the reward was the joy of roasting marshmallows on the fire, and the simple, magnificent, joy of resting. Boy did it feel glorious. I don’t even think I would have wanted to drink, had the option been available.
Anyway. In less than a month now I will have been sober for a year. My “anniversary” date is September 4th.
I’m saving the “big” thoughts for my one year post, but for now, to celebrate 11 months, I want to make one simple observation. Last month I had quite a lot of fantasizing about celebrating 1 year with a beer. Now that the 1 year landmark is approaching for real, the fantasies are dissolving, and instead, the desire to keep going is creeping up strong.
The timing of my PhD here is a blessing: I must submit my final draft on September 20th. Then, I will take a week long trip to California (my first time on the West Coast!) with my boyfriend… this will be our celebration/goodbye trip.
This means that my 1 year anniversary will happen in the middle of the final push before submitting my manuscript. There is no way in hell that I am messing that up by messing around with alcohol. So, I consider myself safe for at least another month, until I fly back to France on October 2nd.
That’s when the real challenge begins: back to the town where my drinking friends and family live, with the PhD postpartum blues, the boyfriend partum blues, the joblessness, the loneliness that comes from leaving 6 years behindon another content. A whole new life to build.
What kind of life will that be? When I think about it, a mixture of anxiety and hope blend together, which I can’t even begin to unravel right now. So instead, I return my attention to the present moment, to the work I still have to do, and to the comfort of knowing that the addict’s “all or nothing” mentality won’t be able to take over my brain when the 1 year mark comes by.
I feel very small, but also very determined.
Like a strong, hard, little rock.