11 Months Sober*

11 months sober*

This past month, I did something I haven’t done since I was a kid: I didn’t get drunk at a wedding. A special shout out to my sister-in-law Bailey, my mother-in-law Kaylyn, and my husband Greg for ensuring that there were non-alcoholic beverages I enjoy available for me behind the bar. This was very thoughtful of them and completely unnecessary. It meant A LOT. Normal people don’t have this kind of consideration. Your kindness is extraordinary. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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A photo from the wedding. I am second from the right.

Honestly, not drinking at the wedding was really hard. I had a lot of fun, but I honestly would have rather been drunk like most everyone else (the reception was open bar). It’s especially hard being around other people who are drinking and having a great time. I feel very jealous of them.

In addition, something happened after the wedding that made me wish I had gotten drunk. I can’t get into details.

The following week was the closest I came to drinking again. One day I had a particularly bad day and watched the movie “The Fighter” to keep myself from drinking. For those who aren’t familiar, “The Fighter” is about two brothers who are boxers. One of them, played by Christian Bale, struggles with crack addiction. Bale’s character is forced into sobriety when he serves a prison term. When he’s released from prison, he visits his crackhead buddies. Just when you think he’s going to use crack again, he essentially tells them to fuck off. View the scene here. (Random fact: this scene was filmed right down the street from our house in Lowell). This scene is so powerful and inspiring to me.

I had a couple of “oops” moments this past month. They shouldn’t count against my sobriety, but for some reason I feel like I have to put an asterisk next to my 11 months, just like Roger Maris’ home run record.

1. Prior to the wedding, a bunch of us went to a Mexican restaurant. Bailey informed me that the bar had non-alcoholic margaritas (they dispensed them from a margarita machine and added the booze after). The choices were mango and strawberry. Someone at the table had a mango margarita, and without even thinking, I asked to try it because I couldn’t decide between mango and strawberry. The person who offered it up is not as familiar with my sobriety journey, so she didn’t stop me. I took one sip and immediately realized what I did. My husband came over at that moment and I said to him, “Oh my God why did I do that? I’m so stupid!!!” I ran to the bathroom to try to spit out what I imbibed. Then I went to the bar to get a cup of water to rinse out my mouth. Luckily I’m not a fan of tequila. Otherwise this could have easily tempted me to order a drink.

2. A few days ago, I went to a chocolate shop in Burlington, VT, and opted to try a cherry cordial along with a few other chocolates. I understand it’s common knowledge that cherry cordials contain alcohol, however I’ve only had non-alcoholic cordials and would assume that I’d be carded for purchasing alcoholic cordials. I took one bite and immediately spit the chocolate into a napkin. Then I asked for a glass of water to get the taste out of my mouth. I went over to the label behind the glass to see if the cordials were even labeled as containing alcohol. The “contains alcohol” warning was teeny-tiny and almost blended in with the background of the description card. Again, I felt so stupid.

Everyone is telling me that these instances shouldn’t count against my sobriety, but I can’t help but feel that my sobriety is tainted now.

On the psychiatric front, I’m adjusting my medication again. I was experiencing a lot of anxiety in the evenings for no particular reason. It even happened on the weekends, when I wasn’t working and didn’t have anything to do. It even occurred while I was on vacation this month.

I’ve struggled with this evening anxiety ever since I started taking Latuda. It has gotten to the point where I don’t want to interact with people in the evenings. I force myself to attend social gatherings, but feel very embarrassed about my anxiety. Greg has noticed that I’ve been on edge and continually asks me if I’m okay. I say yes, even though I’m not. There’s nothing he can really do, so I don’t complain about it.

Another side effect of Latuda is akathesia, or the inability to sit still. I’ve been walking for almost 2 hours each evening to stave off this side effect (and because I like to walk). My vacation messed with my normal regimen and I felt the inability to sit still a few times. To the point where I found myself interrupting time with Greg’s family to walk in 100 degree weather and in circles around my in-laws’ basement. This inability to sit still isn’t TERRIBLE, but it’s very, very uncomfortable. I HATE it.

I’ve been going back and forth with my Nurse Practitioner over medication for almost a year now. It’s frustrating, and I’m starting to wonder if she’s right for me. She keeps pushing increasing Latuda when I have repeatedly told her about the awful side effects I’m not willing to take on, like trembling, akathesia, and anxiety. I feel like she’s not listening to me. It makes me wonder if she’s getting kickbacks for prescribing it.

When I last saw her, I asked her about a prescription for medical marijuana to ease my anxiety in the evenings. She didn’t recommend it and thought it would sedate me more than Seroquel did. I wouldn’t normally ask about marijuana, but I was honestly getting kind of desperate.

Due to my insistence that Latuda isn’t right for me (I gave it a fair shot), she is now starting me on Zyprexa. It’s similar to Seroquel, but isn’t as sedating. I am lowering the Latuda dosage and will be rid of it in a week. Within just one week of taking Zyprexa and lowering Latuda, I feel much less anxious in the evenings. Last night, Greg was surprised about my lack of anxiety. It’s reassuring that he is noticing a difference too. I hope this will be the last medication I have to try.

Well, I’m almost a year sober. Yay!!! Just one more month. Thanks to everyone for your support and love.

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