I've been thinking about how I don't write about being sober any longer. I mention it from time to time but I seldom delve deeply into the subject of my sobriety. I'm not sure why this is. It's not because every day is sunshine and roses and the beast is dead because that would be a stone cold lie. In fact, I just turned down a bachelorette party invitation for someone I care deeply about because I just didn't want to put myself in that place...you know? Fortunately she understands which is why I love her so much. Others? Not so much but I could give a flying fig about them so it's all good in the hood.
I think it's because now it just is. It's part of my DNA and part of who I am. I had a conversation recently with someone who loves someone who is struggling with alcohol addiction and it reminded me why I got sober in the first place. It's been rolling around in my head for a few days and since we all know that my head is not the best of neighborhoods and that my beast is sleeping and all that rattling around might wake him, I decided it needed to leave my face and hit cyberspace.
So here we go...
I got sober because I needed some quiet. All that chatter in my head about when, why and how much just got to be too much. I didn't really realize how bad it was until it was gone but I knew I couldn't take it any more. There were times I felt like my head was in a vice and it would squeeze until I drank it away...only to go back to squishing my head in the morning. For the women among you, think mammogram on your head and you'll get it.*
I got sober because I was tired of checking the whites of my eyes and my skin for jaundice. I got tired of Googling symptoms of cirrhosis (my dad had it...I knew what they were...go figure). I got tired of listening to my doctor chastise me because my triglycerides were through the roof (over 800...normal is below 150) and her knowing that I'm lying through my beautifully capped teeth about how much I drank. (FYI - she told me that they are trained in medical school to double the amount patients tell them about how much they drink or smoke. You're not fooling anyone.)
I got sober because I wanted and desperately needed a good nights sleep. I was tired of waking up a 4:00 a.m. in a panic with my heart beating out of my chest and the sheets soaked because I was sweating out the alcohol only to try to fall back to sleep and fail. Drunks do not sleep well.
I got sober because I was tired of surfing the Internet at 2:00 am to places I had no business being and then waking up wondering why my computer had so many viruses and Trojans on it. What a dumb ass.
I got sober because I was sick to death of blackouts, brownouts or whatever the fuck you want to call it when you can't remember what you said, who you insulted, why you fought or whether or not you had sex with your husband. I mean damn...at my age I have enough trouble remembering things, I don't need to add to that do I? Plus, I was so sick of fishing around with people to find out just how drunk I was and what I did.
I got sober because I was beginning to put myself in dangerous situations when I travelled. Getting drunk in hotel bars and stumbling back to my room or getting drinking at a bar and getting in a cab drunk is not safe behavior for a woman alone. I KNEW THAT AND DID IT ANYWAY.
I got sober because I was terrified that something would happen to the hubs, my kids or even the dogs in the middle of the night and I'd be worthless because I was shit faced. And lest you think this was only at the end of my drinking let me dispel that myth. After my oldest was born we took him with us to a dinner party one evening. When we got home he was a little fussy so I was trying to soothe him back to sleep...which is difficult when you're drunk. The hubs snatched him from me and sent me to bed. I will never forget the look on his face that night.
Speaking of kids, I got sober because what the hell kind of mother drinks herself into oblivion every night and then expects her children (who are all predisposed to alcoholism) to not drink either while they are underage or after they turn 21? Um...that would be me...living in the land of boozers. No...if nothing else they have seen the tenacity and fortitude it took for me to put down the cigarettes and the wine. Even if they never pick up either, they will always know that they have it within them to do ANYTHING.
I got sober because I couldn't stand to see that look in my boys' eyes when I had disappointed them...again.
I got sober because drinking made me fat and I was sick of it. I just wish I had quick drinking BEFORE I went through menopause which, by the way, came early because of the drinking. So if you're fond of that belly, facial hair and a metabolism as slow as Congress, keep drinking - you'll get there.
And finally, I got sober to hopefully, finally and once and for all, stop the pattern of addiction that has plagued my family for as far back as I've been able to trace it on Ancestry.com. It's on both sides - a double whammy - with both men and women. I feel like the Keebler elf has been sitting on top of my head for years going, "Knock, knock...anyone home in that empty head? Use the brains God gave you and stop killing yourself!"
*By the way, if you are due for a mammogram and have been putting it off, now is a great time to get one. It's Breast Cancer Awareness month and all of the glorius pink is a great reminder that it's time to get your boobs squished in a vice. It's worth it.