Tag: 365 days sober

11 Days Down Isn’t Much

flammable gas

It’s only been 11 days since I stopped drinking alcohol. If I’m being honest (and why not?) it feels good to not drink but it irritates the fucking bejeezus out of me when people encourage me or tell me how healthy it is.* I definitely don’t want anyone agreeing that it feels good not drinking alcohol. It bothers me that I don’t have any evening treats to look forward to.** I’ve been drinking tonic water with lime. It’s good. It’s okay. It DOES-ish.  I’m not sleeping better than usual, but I’m not sleeping worse than the poor sleep I usually get. I’m certainly still more irritable than normal, but I suspect that won’t go away. It’s the real-real me. I like myself better when I have beer to look forward to, it keeps me mellower all day long knowing I have that pillowy mellowing drink(S) to look forward to and I like that less edgy sharp me.

Other people do too even if they aren’t willing to admit it to my face or out loud.

What makes me itchy is realizing how it’s only been 11 days and I have nearly a full year of this left to go. The fact that it makes me itchy is the reason I’m doing it in the first place. My mom is going into surgery tomorrow for a hip replacement. This is routine and I should be able to get through it just fine without any alcohol and that’s what I’ll do.

Unless something goes terribly wrong, which it most likely won’t since it’s a very common low risk surgery. I’m just saying that if something goes wrong with her surgery I will probably end up drinking beer and will have to start the clock over. But today I’m preparing myself to fly through this experience alcohol free because I’d really rather not have to start over. That I have to do this there is no question. Life is full of trauma and bad days and rough seasons and it’s okay to swig some liquid courage through all of that if you’re not guzzling liquid courage every single day just to deal with other humans. Being able to get through a bad day without booze is important. It’s an important thing to know you can do and to often DO. It’s a life skill I let erode away.

Not only is tomorrow my mom’s surgery, but it’s also registration time for Max. He’s going to be a sophomore in high school in just a week.

Working on turning my dining room into my apothecary has been fantastic. It’s strained my back but it’s worth it.  Getting my cabinets organized means it’s easier to find what I need to make things. It’s easier to see what I’m low on and what I have way too much of. I’m excited to have that room looking good and being functional.

The kittens are all sleeping off their post-breakfast exhaustion. Right before they ate they were playing on every surface of my office, paying special attention to my laptop keyboard. Here’s a piece of unsolicited advice: NEVER DISTURB SLEEPING KITTENS. It’s the same rule with human babies.

That’s the kind of rule one lives to break and regret.

My dog’s seratoma thingy is filling up again. I’m trying really hard not to think about the vet saying surgery is the only option. What if we can’t afford the only option? What then? I can’t bear the thought of Chick being in discomfort but what if I can’t do anything about it? I’m going to tuck that thought up into a neglected corner of my brain for now because I have too much to do in the next couple of days. I’ll call the vet on Thursday and discuss reality.

I’m on my last cup of coffee right now. This means it’s almost time to shower and go run those pesky errands. I’ll feel better once I’ve done them. Then I’ll have to work on freezing all the soup I made and pick my mom’s dog up from the groomer and then make Max food and then take the kittens in…

One foot in front of the other.

I just paused for a second to admire my tiny oak leaf that I keep on my desk. It’s smaller than the pad of my pinky finger. And it’s absolutely perfect.




*Remember that I’m a deeply conflicted person pretty much at all times.

**Don’t make any suggestions at this time, please. I will bite you.

1 Week Down, 51 to Go

Jesus calling 2

Yesterday was one of those days designed to either show me why humans have been brewing alcohol for a few thousand years or that I can get through anything without it.

I woke up to an intense ant infestation in my office/kitten nursery. Ants swarming through their food and even on their fur. Tonka the tiny black leopard appeared to have fallen into his own diarrhea and had to be washed. My dog had what appeared to be an abscess on her ear. And after washing Tonka and clearing out the litter box and mopping my office floor and setting out ant traps and rigging them up with kitten-proofing, the kittens all decided to PLAY in the litter box. 3 kittens with terrible diarrhea playing in the littler box is my new worst nightmare.

It turns out Chick had a seratoma rather than an abscess and the only way to fix it if it doesn’t stay drained is surgery which we absolutely can’t afford. So fingers crossed the antibiotics and steroids will keep an infection from forming and the blood from pooling.

I want to be working on my fiction. I haven’t got the brain space for it what with this litter of incontinent (though adorable) kittens and not drinking alcohol (if that’s your biggest way to relax your mind it takes a lot of energy to simply NOT do it). I had this revelation the other day that this year of not drinking can be anything I want it to be. I do feel pressure to make money to cover our increasing bills (rent went up by almost $200 a month, for example) but we’re squeaking by and not drinking means less money is being spent on alcohol. As long as I don’t replace that spending with some other daily spending, then not drinking is a little bit like making us more money.

This year is about rediscovering other modes of self care besides drinking tons of beer. It doesn’t matter what that might mean to other people, it’s about what it means to ME. It’s vital that I remember that fact. This is my life. I get to make up the rules about how I live it. What I strive for. What I work on. Outside of my responsibilities to my family and my animals, what I focus on is up to me.

It did strike me yesterday that I’m doing volunteer work. I didn’t really think about that before. These kittens are so much work and have taken up so much of my brain space and at the end of the day I couldn’t be mad at these little beings for helping to make this week really tough, and yesterday in particular. There are so many animals in need in this world. In need of medical attention. In need of being adopted, protected, nurtured. Being part of an organization that dedicates itself to the care of feral cat colonies is an honor. I say I’m doing it because kittens are adorable. And they are great therapy in some ways. But they are a lot of work. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Putting in a lot of hours to care for sick motherless kittens pulled from a feral colony. It’s worth it. I’ll need a big break from fostering after this. But it’s worthy work. Being part of the vast network of humans who are actually doing good for other animals on the planet.

One week down, 51 to go. I probably shouldn’t think about that too hard. Has it been torturous so far? No. It’s irritating more than anything. I’m more irritated than usual. With people. With myself. With the perpetual sunshine and heat. With food. With clothes. My tolerance for mess and chaos is lower. But so is my energy to deal with it all. There’s no treats I look forward to at the end of a hard day. I bought some potato chips because that’s something I don’t eat often, mostly because they make me feel disgusting afterwards, but I ate a few handfuls and realized that chips aren’t that good. Certainly not better than beer. There’s nothing soothing about them and they make my body feel like shit. Fuck that.

I’ve been watching a lot of Poirot. (I’ve watched them all a million times before, it’s comfort tv) The nice thing about watching it is that it reminds me of one of the reasons I have to stop drinking: so I can get my body back and get dressed up again. Not in full period deco costume. It just reminds me of how much fun I used to have dressing up and how I have no fun getting dressed now. It reminds me of how I would like my house to look. It inspires me and delights me. I re-watch the Miss Marple episodes all the time too.

I’m so tired from this week that I want to be on the couch all day watching more of both. Maybe eat some Chinese food. Look through magazines. But I have to cook some food to freeze so it doesn’t get wasted. I have to do some laundry. I need to do some yard work. But I don’t know, maybe I’ll just sit back and watch all the Poirot. I’m making up the rules right? The most important thing I’m doing is not drinking. And that’s a lot.

362 to Go, If I Was Counting


I have just 362 more days of not drinking alcohol and I feel fine.


I’ve been burying myself in food prep and preserving. No exciting beverages to drink is a thorn in my side and please don’t tell me how good kombucha is because I’m telling you that NO BEVERAGE IS AS GOOD AS BEER.

If you’re going on this ride with me then you have to let me be all up in my feelings. That’s part of what this whole year of not drinking is about, because one of the marvelous things about alcohol is that is has a great capacity to take the edges off of one’s feelings. But if you’re like me and you have ALL THE FEELINGS IN THE WORLD AT ONCE INSIDE YOU PRETTY MUCH ALL THE TIME – you come to look on alcohol as a cloaking device. It’s blissful. No tea or juice or fungal beverage is going to compare to that. Believe me, I’ve tried them all.

It’s no big mystery why people like me seek out substances that can quiet down the noise in our heads and hearts. In my opinion we shouldn’t have to live life in such torturous conditions. There are those who suggest embracing all the noise as a beautiful part of life. I think people who say that don’t actually know what the fuck they’re talking about. I suspect they don’t know the level of noise I live with every day. If drinking tons of beer every day weren’t one of the main things keeping me fat and my pocketbook empty (and let’s face it, if people weren’t so fucking judgmental about it) I wouldn’t bother quitting drinking alcohol ever.

Don’t think I don’t know what I’m doing either. I’m 45 stinking fat years old and I was born an old person who grew up super fucking fast. I’m no novice in dealing with life’s gnarlier side. I’m not new at this struggle with my mental illness. I’m not a 20 year old just realizing for the first time that maybe I’m different and maybe JUST MAYBE I might be mentally ill and in need of self care and medical care. I knew I needed help by the time I was 13 years old. I just want to make that clear. When I open up about this kind of stuff there are always people who (in a genuine – I like to believe – wish to be supportive) make suggestions as though they imagine I’m completely un-selfaware and totally new to the problems I’m facing and also weirdly incapable of doing my own research.

This lights a flame to my already hugely flammable irritation. One of the main things I experience when I’m fully up in my super raw feelings is irritation that is easily fanned into rage. I usually turn this onto myself when it reaches the rage stage because I feel guilty for being so irritated and it’s no one’s fault I’m such a mess anyway BUT SERIOUSLY, CAN YOU ALL STOP BREATHING FOR A WHILE SO THE NOISE OF IT ISN’T IN MY HEAD ALL DAY LONG?!

Luckily for me (and everyone around me) I AM actually medicated with psyche meds. They really do help. A lot. Like, a lotlotlot. If I stay off of alcohol for long enough they very likely may work better than they do when I’m drinking alcohol. The fact that I’m on two psyche meds at significant (if not large) doses and still feel the level of irritation and noise I do should give you an idea of how bad it is when I’m on zero medication.

I’m especially suspicious of anyone handing out ideas that sound cultish and/or anti-medication. Nope. I grew up around a lot of cultish people and it gave me a strong allergy to them. One might even say that the commune I was in the first few years of my life was basically a cult. I can sense out a cultish vibe even when the person emitting it isn’t aware they’re doing it.

So here I am. Only 3 days in. What will I do today to take care of myself? I think I’m going to do a little cleaning. Cleaning is hard to start but it’s the same as writing – it clears out noise. In this case it’s physical noise. The dirt on my floor. The grime in my sink. All noise I can scrub away. It comes back practically immediately, of course. But the act of doing it is an act of self care because it’s giving yourself a cleaner space in which to exist which gives you more space to fling out the unwanted mental crap. It reduces the distraction of noticing all day long how long it’s been since the last time you cleaned and consequently reduces opportunities for self flagellation which can be a dangerous to people like me. We’re masters at finding reasons to punish ourselves.

I might not do a lot of cleaning but I know I have to do some laundry and I know I have to clean the kitten’s area in my office with an actual mop. I’ll start with that. Because I also have to clean the litter box and will need to use the tub for that, I’ll probably end up cleaning the tub because otherwise I’ll think about how gross the tub is after using it to clean the litter box. We’ll see what all gets done. I will NOT allow myself to kick myself for anything I don’t get done. Them’s the rules today.

This constitutes writing for the day. Though I’m thinking about fiction projects and my desire to sit down to some good fiction writing since I haven’t in ages and ages – I must ease into new routines slowly. So first is the daily writing to self (either here or in my private journal).

What are you doing to take care of yourself today?