Tonight I bought a bottle of wine and brought it home.
I’m tired of this. I’m bored. I need to feel more pleasure. I just want to be normal.
I’m tired of thinking about this all the time. I’m tired of fizzy water and tea. I’m tired of feeling like someone on the outside of life.
I told myself not today and I don’t want another Day 1 and I don’t want to disappoint everyone, including myself.
I kept saying out loud, Why can’t I have both? Why can’t I just have a drink to satisfy my desire to just feel good for a little while AND still be considered sober? Why? No, it doesn’t makes sense, but that was what I wanted.
I just want to be normal. I’m sick of the waiting and the hoping and wanting. I just want to feel good again.
So I told myself, I just want to be normal for today and I bought a bottle of wine. I also bought a small bag of Sriracha potato chips, a couple of cheese enchiladas and a whole bunch of flavored seltzer water.
I came home and put the wine on the counter. I looked at my calendar with all the days on the wall crossed off — today is Day 26 and there have been weeks of crossed off days since September, but never 26 straight days. I thought about what tomorrow will be like if I just have one big glass. What if it makes me sick? I need to row tomorrow. I’ll just have one glass.
I reminded myself that the wine is not going to make me feel so good that it will be worth it. What else can you do to make yourself feel good?
I just want to be normal. I just want this to not be a big deal anymore. I’m over it.
I put my glass on the counter. I opened the bag of chips and opened my patio door. I looked out onto the water. I looked for the sun. I ate the chips like there was no tomorrow, without slowing down, all they way to the last one. I put the enchiladas in the microwave and turned on the TV. The Martian with Matt Damon just hit the Roku selection, but it’s still only for purchase at $14.99. I was going to wait until it dropped to rental price, but decided screw it. I love that movie and I’m going to watch it now. I need pleasure. I bought it and hit play. The microwave beeped and my enchiladas were done and bubbly. I pulled them out and sat in front of the TV with a spoon. I was going to start watching and then pour the glass. I was going to do it, I just was waiting a minute. I swallowed the melted cheese of the enchilada, bite after bite, and the emotions of the dramatic movie scenes came quickly.
Suddenly I was sobbing. Fully, loudly sobbing. I just want to be normal. I don’t want to be sober anymore. I just want to feel good. Where is the pleasure? Why does it have to be this way? I just want to have a glass of wine, that’s all. Is that so bad? I just want a glass of wine. Just a glass. My dog came over to console me, tears running down my face.
I stood up and went to the fridge for an NA beer. In that moment I knew I would’t be opening the bottle of wine. Not today. I started sobbing again, a new wave of emotion coursing through me, coming from I don’t know where. My dog stayed close, concerned. All of this pent up emotion coming out: a sadness, a loneliness, a grief for whatever this means — the bigger meaning — that I am no longer drinking and on top of it all, where has the pleasure in my life gone?
A flash of red caught my eye and it was the sun setting on the horizon, a sinking blaze reminding me to be in the moment, to savor it. But even then, I could access only the faintest appreciation of the beauty. What am I going to do?
I’ve been reminding myself why I’m doing this, and all of the reasons still hold. But despite all my effort, I’m bored. And I’ve lost some perspective. I need to find a way to pull back, get a little distance and find the goodness in my life. There’s so much of it, but today/tonight I’m just mad.
I told myself, Not today, and it’s holding for now. I worry about what this means for hitting 100 days. If I’m losing perspective and the sand is shifting under my feet. I keep thinking, If “Addiction is an elevator that only goes down,” then when is life going to get better? It’s only been 26 days (this time) and it seems like forever. This is sure a heckova lot of emotion for just giving up alcohol. Then again, plenty of people say it’s the hardest (and most important) thing they ever did.
Where is the goddamned bliss?
It’s only been 26 days.
I keep thinking about Bradley Cooper (If only he knew how important he’s been in my journey) and how he surely must have pleasure in his life without alcohol. We don’t all need to be Bradley Cooper.
Maybe my dopamine receptors are so fucked up after 25 years of drinking that they are just off-line. Yes, I find moments of pleasure that I cling to, with my dog, with films, with my work, with friends, with nature. Maybe it’s just that today was Christmas and I was alone and the sun didn’t come out until the afternoon. Maybe I triggered myself more than I realized with the talk of adopting a dog.
I don’t know. But I’m sick of this.
I’m in bed on a Friday night at 8pm with my dog and another fucking cup of tea. Now I’m just being bitchy. On past nights this has been bliss – the bed, the dog, the tea — but today/tonight, I’m having trouble finding it. I’m going to sleep soon and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day, ’cause this sober day pretty much sucked.
I told myself not today, and if I still wanted to drink tomorrow then I could decide then. If I made it to 30 days, even better, then I could re-evaluate.
I don’t know, but I do know I need to figure out where to find that pleasure. I’m reminded again about Augusten Burroughs’ point of view that I need to find something that I want more than I want to drink. It’s too fluffy to say “I want myself more,” even though that’s true. I will feel this craving until it passes, but I am going to need to find pleasure in a way that has only been a glimpse once or twice in the last month.
That’s what I need to do. Feels like my sobriety might depend on it.