So now I’ve been here a few times, on my tenth day sober. I like day ten. It feels long enough to have detoxified, to feel healthy and clean, and like an accomplishment. It feels like I can be sure that I’ve recommitted myself after several shorter stops and starts. I haven’t been blogging as much, I think because I wanted to prove to myself that I was really doing it this time, the full 100 days, and I wasn’t sure I trusted myself to keep going. But I’m feeling confident today. Here’s what’s helping me this time around:
First, I made the very difficult decision to leave my job. I love my career and find it very fulfilling in many ways. I’m talented at what I do, people respect me in my profession, and I have lots of room to grow. I’m sure that most people did not see my departure coming and expected me to continue to rise through the ranks. However, I am positive, after reflecting a lot about myself and what is healthy for me over the past couple of years and especially the last couple months, that it was not good for my health to stay there. I know that for me, the amount of stress I was dealing with at a job that is notorious for causing “compassion fatigue” and severe burnout was simply not good for me and not good for my ability to stop downing a bottle of wine every night. So I resigned. Life is too short to sacrifice your health and happiness to stay in a job just because you feel it’s the “right” thing to do, people expect it of you, or any other reason. Ultimately, you only have today. And today I choose to make decisions that take care of me. I’m stepping out in faith that I will figure out my next path. I have savings, and a plan, but it’s still a little scary. However, I am also finding that just shaking up the routine of coming home stressed out of my mind and popping a bottle of wine to cope has already helped. I’m doing different things with my time this past week and it feels pretty amazing to have the pressure relieved.
Second, my husband is taking a break from drinking for a month or two with me. He’s not a drinker of the same variety as I am (he drinks beer, I drink wine. He drinks mostly on weekends and can easily go all week without, I drink daily. He can open a beer, drink half, and leave the rest, I cannot.), but it still helps to have us be doing the same thing for now, especially while I get some time under my belt. I’ve opened up to him more about what’s been going on for me and he is always there to listen and have my back. Pretty awesome.
Third, I opened up to one of my best friends about my struggle today, and she’s the first person I’ve talked to about this whole thing aside from you fine people in the sober blogosphere, my husband, and lovely the Belle (who inspired me to go for 100 days in the first place and who keeps patiently resetting my start date for me without judgment…). This friend is one of my main drinking buddies, but also a true best friend, who I’ve been close to since we were 18 year old babies. We’ve worked at a deli together, been roommates, gone to school together, and had countless partying times together. Lots of fun, but also a large number of the craziest times I’ve had, and a lot of the things I regret, have involved her. She is one of my favorite people on this planet and I love her to death… I was scared to tell her about my issues but felt like in a way, she would understand because she has seen me at my worst. I was still afraid though, that my decision would somehow damage our friendship; that she would think I’m boring now, or wouldn’t want to hang out with me. I was so happy to find out that I was wrong. She totally understood and even related stories of a couple other friends of hers who are doing the same thing. She’s been traveling a lot, and seems to have grown immeasurably herself.
In short, I underestimated her and it hit me that I’m probably projecting my own shit onto her. Just because my drinking self used to find sober people exhausting, boring, overanalytical, and irritating doesn’t mean that’s how she feels. True friends will just be happy to hear that you’re taking care of yourself, and that’s what she did. We went to yoga, had lunch, and I dyed her hair, and it was great. No thing. I’m not going to go around telling all my friends, but I did realize something today: It’s okay for me to go ahead and make decisions that feel right for me. I don’t have to have anyone’s permission or approval to choose what I know is the right choice for me. I struggle with allowing myself to just do what I need to do out of fear of how those choices might inconvenience others. I feel guilty for being vegetarian when invited to someone else’s house, for example, because I don’t want them to have to change their cooking plans for me. Similarly, I was scared to be sober because I don’t want any of my drinking friends to be uncomfortable around me. Does that sounds crazy? Enough of that!! Only we know what it’s like to live in our own bodies, and what our own intuition is telling us about what to put in them. I’m learning that I need to give people more credit… most people who love you really don’t care about what you eat or drink as long as you are healthy and happy.
It really comes down to support. I’m supporting myself by leaving an unhealthy situation no matter how scary that change is, my husband is giving me some kick ass support, and so is my best friend. And so are all of you. So maybe there’s something to this asking for help business. 🙂
That, and I am allowing myself a supportive cupcake as the need arises.