It’s the first day of 2017. You know, that magical moment where we collectively release ourselves into the belief that we can make any handy or hard resolution and it will somehow stick. Magical moment people.
Am I missing it if I don’t jump on board? Am I doomed for a month or a year?
If I have even an inkling of desire to try sobriety again–and I do–is today my inevitable jumping off point?
Am I supposed to be getting sober today?
Today?! When my house is a mess. When the kids have been home for what feels like a decade. When the laundry hasn’t been done in weeks. When the bills continue to pile up unpaid despite our best intentions and efforts. When there are still more days to this holiday season. When my fridge is full of champagne and wine and my cabinet of liquor.
I’m supposed to want to feel all of this today? Happy 2017–here’s a shitload of feelings you’ve skated out on since you started drinking again on Thanksgiving. And since you waited until Christmas was over, we’re not even going to gift wrap them for you or top with a proverbial bow. I missed the merry and I’m left with my last chance: the guilty.
I do feel guilty today. I feel like shit too. Too much holiday food, way too much jolly imbibing, not enough moving my body, not enough engaging my mind or soul. All of this adds up to: depression. Even, despair. Occasional hopelessness.
I can maybe blame drinking. Does that mean I should? Does that mean this is all my fault if I don’t/can’t get it under control? Does that mean I need to stop, stat?
Ah, guilt. Yes, here you are.
I could be doing better and I’m not. I could be being better and I’m not.
I could have kicked my very good reasons to the curb…and I did not. I sought the excuses instead. I sought the reprieve. I sought the release from reality and responsibility and reliable rhythms. I did that. And I take full responsibility for it as both a choice and a lifestyle.
I posted this on my Instagram in the past week:
The thing about me and drinking is this: I can do it. I don’t get drunk per se. I don’t black out. I don’t get naked or sleep around or act crazy. I don’t get mean or angry or unruly. I just disconnect. I peace out. I numb. And I do it as often as possible. In the times I need to and the times I probably don’t. When we have a break from the kids and when they’re right in front of me. Always if the occasion calls for it and occasionally when it does not. So I had a drink with dinner on Thanksgiving. And then I drank my way through the days, weeks and now month to follow. Because that’s how it seems to work for me and drinking. Like that.
I gave myself through the holidays. Who gets sober around the holidays?! (one answer: plenty of people)
Today may well mark the end of the holidays. Today may well be my best day for a life overhaul or even a relatively minor re-calibration. Today may be what I let slip between my fingers.
And that’s okay. Did you know there is still tomorrow? Did you know changes can be just as powerful on January 2nd or 3rd or 12th? Did you know shifts can occur in February and March and May? I know.
I just want to call this shit like it is. I stopped drinking and smoking weed in the Fall and found immense value in five weeks of sobriety. Falling back into old habits is: familiar, painful, sad, scary, inviting, consuming, relieving. Complicated. I don’t know that the sober path is the right one for me. I also don’t know if that isn’t a lie I tell myself to allow room for behaviors that harm me. I feel very aware of not knowing many things right now.
Which leads me to feeling grounded in the winter solstice ritual my family and I did for the second year in a row. We wrote down everything we’d like to leave in the previous year and burned it in a backyard bonfire. One of my mine was: fearing uncertainty. I feel very uncertain about how I proceed from this point. Sobriety? Today? Tomorrow? Whenever? Moderation? Cutting back? Strong-arming? Ignoring? Excusing? The options are endless. The only certain is the lack of certainty.
I don’t know if I’ll get sober today or not. I’m guessing I’d have to be a bit more sure of it to power myself down that particular path. I don’t know that I’ll try sobriety again in the near or far future. But I know things are held there for me that I want, that I strive and long for. I know I’ll be working to find my way to those things, however it is I meander there.