Whew! It’s been a while since I posted and I’d like to get back to doing so more frequently. Being sober is more and more just my default setting and I don’t always feel like I have something new and revelatory to say about it–or when I do, I don’t always have the quiet time or the focus to articulate it. Maybe I’ll let things develop organically for a while–make shorter posts, and about whatever’s on my mind, whether sobriety-related or not. Probably I’m overthinking things, as I have been known to do, oh, most of the time.
Anyway, here is what’s gone on since my last post in mid-January:
- I got the swine flu. (And look, I know it sounds pretty awesome, but I would advise you not to run out and get it yourself. It’s really not that great, and you don’t get any special pig-related powers, even temporarily.)
- I traveled cross-country to visit my parents and have The Talk about their finances/estate/end-of-life medical directives (my parents are only 69 but my mother has been quite ill and it seemed like the smart thing to do, and went really well).
- I decided the ever-swirling chaos and ongoing leadership crises in my organization at work just could not drag down another year of my life and that promises of this year being better, while sincerely meant, weren’t based on anything I could really count on. So I identified a cool new role in a very different part of my company–actually, it didn’t exist, so I invented and pitched it–interviewed for it (with swine flu, which contrary to popular belief does not make you any smarter), landed it, and will shortly transition to it. I’m leaving a really wonderful group of people and that’s a heartbreak, but the job itself had become a heartbreak too. I really need a change and I’m glad I could arrange one thoughtfully.
- I received a slew of very angry emails from my sister, who suffers from a personality disorder and was unhappy with my polite rebuff of an offer to ‘get close again.’ The decision I made a couple of years ago to cut ties was absolutely the right thing to do for my own health and safety–and this latest episode just confirmed it–but that doesn’t make it easy. There’s always that voice in my head saying that only horrible people cut off contact with their own siblings, no matter what hell those siblings have visited upon them. Would I revisit that decision someday? Yes, I would. Situations change and so should our responses to them. But I’m very, very gun-shy at this point, especially now that addiction issues are apparently in play along with the BPD. My parents are in a fair amount of turmoil with her, and I’ve decided the most moral middle ground I can occupy is to support them however I can while keeping far away from any direct involvement. That in itself is a fine line to walk, and risky given the super-porous boundaries between my mother and my sister. But it’s where I’ve landed for now.
So the point is, a lot of shit has gone down of late, and it’s exactly the stuff that would have sent me diving into a bottle of wine at this time last year. (Not that I ever needed much of an excuse.) Even just visiting my parents *without* illness or awkward conversations would’ve been enough to set me off. And yeah, there were moments where doing it all sober seemed extra tiring. But more often, I had these spontaneous moments of gratitude that I was sober. That I could be thoughtful, measured, lucid in my actions and words. That I could pace myself and know when I needed rest (even if I couldn’t always take it right that moment). It sounds crazy, but I actually felt happy to be facing all that stress without alcohol in the way, like I had a much better chance of coming through unscathed that way. And I just LOVE that I felt that way.
I did realize, though, that celebrations are still a challenge–landing the new job, getting out of the old one. In the past, that would have meant a great dinner out with a great bottle of wine (and Manhattans, and so on). But event-level restaurants still feel a bit weird to me at Day 240, and I haven’t come up with a substitute that doesn’t feel contrived or not-me. And yet there are times something beyond quiet satisfaction is called for–I just don’t know what it is. Something to keep percolating on, I guess.