Today is my 33rd birthday and I want to thank everyone for the well wishes.
As of Sunday, I have gone 7 months without an alcoholic drink.
This past month was hard. We had a few days with warmer weather and Greg decided to grill. I always enjoy having a nice IPA with a burger or steak while sitting outside and enjoying the sun. Greg and I also enjoy going to a local brewery on nice days and sitting on their patio. Now we can’t do that.
This month I’ve freaked myself out after having a few very vivid dreams about drinking. The other night I had a dream I was on vacation with friends and I had a glass of wine. The wine was so delicious and I gulped it down quickly. Afterward, I told myself that I absolutely must not tell Greg. He would be so disappointed. I was disappointed in myself, but also felt a sense of joy in my mischief. I’ve had a few other dreams like this and woke up thinking I actually slipped.
The idea of giving up alcohol forever is repulsive to me. I may be switching back to my old medication, Seroquel, which poses less of a risk for an interaction with alcohol. I’m considering this because I’m still experiencing a lot of anxiety, which Seroquel helped with. I am hopeful that if I switch back maybe I can enjoy a drink every now and again. But will I go back to my old ways, unable to stop once I’m flying high? Can I just enjoy a beer or glass of wine for the sake of flavor and trying new things? I don’t know.
Right now I’m reading Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola. It’s such a poignant memoir that I can really relate to. Hepola specifically talks about how alcohol was so intertwined with her identity and not really knowing who she was once she gave up alcohol. I think that’s what I’m struggling with now. I don’t really know who I am, and I’m not sure if I really like myself.
I feel incredibly boring. Worst of all, I feel very stupid for some unknown reason. I feel like I just came out of this fog where I believed that I was smart and am finally realizing that yes, I am actually stupid. The feeling reminds me of Charlie in Flowers for Algernon when he begins to regress intellectually after experiencing a period of genius after surgery. The worst part is that he is aware of it. I am not certain what is going on with me lately, maybe a shorter attention span, but I feel like I struggle more to grasp things. It’s embarrassing. I sometimes have to ask Greg to explain things that seem pretty basic and I wonder if there is something really wrong with me. I’m easily bored lately and maybe that’s contributing to a lack of attention. I struggle with conversation as well. The words in my head seem intelligent, but sometimes when I try to speak them, they come out all wrong. They’re awkward. I think drinking helped me combat my self-consciousness about my intelligence (always a huge problem for me) and gave me the courage to be more conversational.
On the other side of the coin, I think I was smarter before I started drinking. I mourn the brain cells I murdered and miss the girl who impressed teachers and adults who said she was wise beyond her years.
I finally have a therapy appointment. I immediately looked up the therapist on LinkedIn (yep, I’m a stalker) and was relieved to find that she wasn’t a new grad and has more experience under her belt. I’m hopeful that she can help me work through some things.
Giving up drinking is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but otherwise my life has been pretty easy. I’m grateful for that. And I’m grateful for the support from Greg, my family, Greg’s family, and all of my friends. I love you all. Thank you.