Not quite a bed of roses.


inner roseI recently had a reader, who apparently is contemplating getting sober herself, ask me if my sobriety was as easy as I made it sound.

Her takeaway from reading all of my posts was that it seemed pretty easy for me, and that I appeared to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. I’ll certainly agree with the latter, mainly because I try to have a sense of humor about life in general — though admittedly, it’s often a very dark sort of humor. But her observation that my sobriety seemed to come easily surprised me, because this process hasn’t been easy at all – and I thought my blog reflected my struggle. But maybe it doesn’t.

It’s true that a lot of my recent posts have been fairly upbeat, and I think that’s a reflection of my feeling good about my sobriety and the AA program and the 12-step work I’m doing right now. And maybe because of late, I’ve just chosen to write about the good things. I’ve gotten lots of feedback from readers saying that they were helped or inspired by my posts, so I guess I thought I’d keep up the positive vibe.

But trust me, there’s plenty of struggle and darkness going on, even now.

Much of it is stuff that I’ve kept down for a long time, and now it’s all bubbling up to the surface as I work through my first Step Four. And then there’s a lot of junk in my current personal relationships that is feeling really difficult to deal with.

Much of it involves my feelings toward my parents. And there’s a good bit of it involving, B., my boyfriend. I’ve been sober for almost six months now, and this is still very new territory for me, and for him. I wasn’t sober when we started dating 2.5 years ago, and this is a big change that affects both of us in many ways. We don’t talk about it all that often, and maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal to him, but it is to me. I mean, I drank for 25+ years, and now have quit cold turkey. That previously ever-present alcohol is no longer present in my life.

Actually, it’s there – but it’s just not an option for me to partake of it. It’s gotten easier to deal with, thanks to AA, but not always. This past Saturday, for example, I was really on edge for a number of reasons, some involving B., who’s had quite a lot on his plate lately and has been feeling really stressed. We were going out to a concert, and I suspected he was going to be in a bad mood. I was eagerly anticipating the show, and I (selfishly, perhaps) just didn’t want to deal with his grumpiness. And, while I waited for him to arrive, I really, really wanted to have a drink.

I said the Serenity Prayer – out loud and in my head – numerous times. And I called A., my sponsor, as I paced around the house like a caged animal longing for escape. How I wanted that relief, that numbness, that all-encompassing fog — that alcohol had brought me in the past.

Luckily, I was able to reach A., and she shared a few of her own experiences in her relationships, and suggested some ways for me to deal with my situation. I was extremely grateful to have her help, which helped me get some much-needed perspective and navigate my way through a scenario that once might have baffled me. Once again, AA came through for me.

The evening turned out pretty good, for the most part. It certainly wasn’t the disaster it could have been. And now I have another experience under my belt that I can draw on in the future, when I might encounter another, similar situation. Or, perhaps, when a fellow AA turns to me for help.

In any case, I suppose I just wanted that reader — and anyone else who stumbles upon this blog — to know that my recovery so far has been both easy and difficult.

Peaceful and painful.

Joyful and sorrowful.

Beautiful and ugly.

Rosy…and thorny.

6 Responses to “Not quite a bed of roses.”

  1. cool. yeah they dont say are you willing to go to ‘any lengths’ for nothing! but doing juts that is DEFINITELY the ‘easier softer way’ 🙂

  2. 2 M

    Hi There,
    Thank you for responding to my post and questions. By no means did I intend to diminish what you are going through or the accomplishment of having made it out of that foggy place ( I know that fog!) I just can’t see the day where I can do the same and was looking for an easy out, you know, kinda like in Monopoly when you score that “Get out of jail free” card? Your sense of humor is great, inspiring and, I guess, for me, palliative. I know things in my life need to change. As I write, I am watching my daughter create a shadow dance on the wall. Pretty darn cute. Uh….but I am having a glass of wine at the same time. It’s only 3:47 where I am. Kinda sad, no?

    Anyway, I intend to continue to read your blog, as much for your journey as well as for your writing (which is great.)

    Any feedback for me re: how you think drinking has affected your daughters? Mine is only 4 and I am 36. I am a very functional person so I believe that none of this has affected her that much yet, but you never know the messages we all pick up when we are young.

    Again, best wishes to you…truly!

  3. 3 C

    Hi Megan – and thanks for writing. I sent a reply email to your yahoo address – did you get it? I answered some of your questions there, so look for it. Maybe your spam filter got it. If so, I can re-send. Just let me know.

    As to the effect of my drinking on my daughters, well…I’m not sure at this point. I actually have started a post about that very subject, but haven’t finished it just yet. I’ll post it soon. In the meantime, I can say that I feel that any adverse affects haven’t shown up thus far. But we shall see, right?

    I can completely relate to the glass of wine before 5 pm scenario. I usually waited until 5, but not always. And then it just took me till about 10 to finish the bottle. Sometimes I’d start another, sometimes not. I have to say that I’m truly thankful not to be doing that today. But I do get those pangs of longing every now and then…

    Thanks again for reading and for writing. Let me know if you got my email – and feel free to write to me anytime.
    And – best wishes to you, too.


  4. 4 Lydia

    I don’t think you make it seem too easy. And remember, active alcoholism is no walk in the park. That is hard in its own way.

  5. 5 alphabet819

    Thanks for the post.

    I can really relate to wanting “that relief, that numbness, that all-encompassing fog ” that comes back especially under stressors like you write about. The serenity prayer helps as does talking to other drunks in recovery.

    Thanks for staying sober despite the “thorns” of life – it gives others courage when they struggle with their own.

  6. 6 Molly

    I am a mom, who used to drink wine starting a 5 pm too! Can’t say I ever had a drink before 5, but I definitely thought about it. The ironic thing about raising children and drinking, is that you get into this mindset where you feel like since they are driving you crazy, you DESERVE to drink. It’s like a treat for you. But for me, it was one of the indicators that I really had a problem, because the drinking would almost always make me feel worse physically, more short-tempered, and make me want to put my son to bed as soon as possible so I could “relax”.

    Since I quit, bedtime has been easier and more mellow, because I have more patience and I feel better too. I have been substituting no alcohol beer at 5 pm, which works for me.

    Also, I wanted to quit drinking altogether because I want to show my kid that you don’t need to use alcohol every day to have a good life. He comes from an addicted family on both sides, and I feel like he needs to learn EARLY that drug-free is the way!

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