Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sober Day #67- No Drama

Overuse of Alcohol is always accompanied by Drama.  (I think this is true- although 'always statements always make me nervous, lol).  For many the drama is overt, out in the open- noisy fights, door-slamming disagreements, drunk driving, etc.  For me, however- and many others, I am finding out- the drama was always covert, quiet, secret.  And I think it is harder to see the damage from this type of drama, harder perhaps to admit there is a problem with alcohol.

I liked drinking at home, by myself.  An old favorite book or some new magazines was great-  and I would quietly sip glass after glass of wine until I fell asleep.

So where's the drama in this scenario?  Inside!

It was the daily focus on:  What wine is in the house?  Do I need to buy more?  If so, where and when?  The avoidance of other evening activities that might cut into this drinking time.  The dropping out, bit by bit, of other enjoyable activities that didn't involve wine.  The morning fogginess, the butt-dragging approach to each new day.  It became a tunnel-vision version of wine, wine, wine- with everything else, everyone else being only of peripheral interest.  And althoughthis happened while I was continuing to function well professionally, working out and remaining fit, keeping the house functioning well-

There was always this internal drama, this continuing back-chatter of avoidance, alcohol-focus, recrimination, shame:  almost like living a second hidden life along with my outer functional one.  This was a huge energy-suck, and having no energy left for creativity and non-alcohol fun compounded the dominant role of alcohol in my life.

At just over 2 months sober, this is incredibly different now.  I awaken thinking of what awesome things I can tackle this day- rather than how little I can do and still function well.  I bounce out of bed- almost literally- rather than slowly dragging my feet to the floor.  I have energy and enthusiasm - not all the time, but the majority of the time.  My mind runs in fruitful circles around itself, devising new things to try and finding fun and satisfaction in things I'm already doing- even as simple as seeing a cardinal on a snowy tree out my kitchen window while washing dishes.

I have to admit that, to my surprise, this ability to spend time here and now, without all energy being sucked up by internal alcohol-related drama, is amazingly satisfying and nourishing.

So I have a new guideline for myself:  If something feels dramatic, compelling in a soap-opera sort of way, or becomes  an energy-suck type of focus?  It's time for me to examine it very closely, and see what lies I may be telling myself about this event/situation/thoughts.

Since a lot of early sobriety involves dealing with pains and dysfunctions that we drank to escape, there is a lot of sitting-through-pain and dealing with distasteful reality and non-productive adaptations we've developed over time.  Finding clues like:  Examine the Dramas-  seems to help me dig out those dark roots and mal-adaptive behaviours that I have probably been feeling/using since childhood.

I find I very much like these no-drama moments, and they reinforce my decision never to be a daily drinker, and over-user of alcohol again!


  1. I process a whole boat load of feelings differently now. Today we threw a birthday party for my youngest and I knew I was anxious because I didn't eat anything during the event. I buried anxiety with drinking all the time and it felt new to acknowledge that it was anxiety and not being hungover (which would have been usual for a Saturday morning). I think I've been anxious all my life and I never really knew but now I do and that's okay.

    1. Lucy, I too mistakenly turned to alcohol to manage anxiety- although I didn't realize that was part of my 'self-medication' plan. It is both harder and easier to say; I am anxious now. I will sit with it and feel it. It is an emotion, and cannot harm me unless I let it. Phew!

  2. Yep, it's incredible how much drama I no longer have in my head now I'm not drinking. Like almost none! It's another example of gaining space and room in our heads and hearts, for healthy, meaningful and important things. How good is that?

    1. It is really good, Sue! Sounds like we are both very grateful to have given up that source of bad feelings and anxiety! On to the really good things instead!!

  3. The drama of making sure there was enough booze in the house. Yup. The drama of hiding a hangover. Yup. The drama of pretending to not be drunk. Yup. And on it goes (went).

    Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Amazing how much daily planning can go into drinking. Iam 67 days without alcohol and I can't believe lifes clarity. The effort in trying to be a productive person while drinking is exhausting. Try throwing marriage kids and a job in the mix and everything suffers, Amazing how much you can see when the fog clears.


I'd love to hear about your journey, and hear your take on my journey. Comments are very welcome!!