I passed 90 days on August 10. Ninety days is the big AA milestone — you get a pin or a sticker and give a speech.
I have gotten to the point where I’m not thinking about alcohol very much. In fact, it takes up more of my mental space to stay away from sugar, sweets, and treats, which I am still trying to do. I used to think alcohol was everywhere, but it’s sugar, sugar is everywhere.
Okay, they’re both everywhere. And abstaining from both does make me feel like a big ol’ ball of no-fun sometimes. To the point where when I go out to dinner at people’s houses I pretty much drop the no-sugar thing. This doesn’t bother me from a health standpoint — I know occasional indulgences aren’t going to kill me — but it does bother me a little. I guess because I want to treat myself when I want it, not because I feel like it’s impolite not to. Why does it feel impolite, though? I don’t know, but it does. Food and drink are bound up with all kinds of social rituals, and not drinking, or being on a diet, throws a wrench in the works. A small wrench, to be sure, but a wrench nonetheless.
Anyway. Back to alcohol. What have a learned the past 90 days? For one thing, I’ve learned that it’s easier to quit entirely than it is to cut back. When I cut back (which I successfully did many times … temporarily) it required constant vigilance, which created tension, which worked against the very reason I was reaching for the bottle at all — to relax. Why did I not see that contradiction before?
Whew, I need to relax. Let me pour a drink — (but not too much!)
Mmmm, that was good, is it gone already?
I could probably have another one. (But not too much, promise!)
Oops, heavy hand. Oh, well, I’ll just drink it slowly.
Is it gone already?
Am I acting funny?
Must. Act. Natural.
Aw, who are they to judge me anyway? Just a wee drop more. (Not too much … oh, fuck it.)
Is this relaxing? I don’t think so.
What else have I learned? Well, to be honest, not much. By that I mean, I feel like it isn’t past tense — “learned.” I feel like it’s all ongoing. I started having a glass of wine a night when my oldest daughter was still a toddler. So that “maintenance drink” has been a part of my life for a long time, long before it got to be more of a problem. In a way, I haven’t led this life, my life as a mother, without a crutch, well … ever.
Huh. I never thought about it that way before. So, if I feel I don’t have any wisdom to share, that’s because all giving up alcohol has done for me is to give me the opportunity to learn. Learn who I am, learn how to live. And that’s not something you can learn in 90 days, or even scratch the surface. So get back to me in another 90 days, or maybe 90 months, and I’ll have something to share.
Now, where’s my pin?