My last thread/essay about sobriety was everything I had expected it to be: The commentary was warm, receptive and, most of all, supportive. The “State of the Avocado” update continues to move toward that trend and makes this one of the best online communities I know of.
What I wanted to do, as a more regular fixture, was have these essays as a place to discuss sobriety and talk a little bit about where I’m at and see where everyone else is at, too. Some people in the community are going on years of sobriety, some for months, some weeks, some days and some just considering it. Walter, of farting dog fame, has a weekly place on the Tolerable Discussions thread, too.
On Sunday, I’ll be at 10 weeks sober. From alcohol. I know everyone’s different on their path to recovery, so I personally gave up alcohol, which I decided I had a problem with, but I did buy, and smoke, some legal cannabis last week. I chose a CBD-heavy blend with a low-THC ratio. I often describe this as being able to smoke 90s dirt weed without having seeds explode in your face. The overall focus of these essays and discussions, I think, is on sobriety, so I don’t want to spend the whole thing discussing the merits or disadvantages of marijuana, I just wanted to bring it up because sometimes I feel disingenuous in saying, “I’m sober!” but still having my own vice that I, personally, find harmless, but I know has habit-forming properties. Because there’s enough nuance in something, and everyone’s different, I wanted to bring it up as a talking point. Or, at least admit that I’m sober from alcohol, but still smoking the occasional bit of pot. I’m also aware it has the possibility of being a slippery slope, and if it winds up being a problem, I will not hesitate to kick it to the curb, too.
At nearly 10 weeks, I’m able to notice things that have improved as a direct result of not drinking anymore. I’m able to eat spicy food consequence free! Believe me, while I was drinking, I was still eating all kinds of spicy food, but I ran the risk of waking up at 3:00 a.m. to clutch my guts on the toilet. That hasn’t happened to me in a long time. My stomach has never been happier.
I’m also surprised by some of the things that haven’t improved. I remember if I was drinking while watching a movie, I’d be totally unsurprised if the next day I forgot huge chunks of the plot, or even how the show or movie ended, because I was drunk. But, it turns out I do that sober too, so I just have a pretty shitty memory in general. And in a weird way, I kind of take comfort in knowing that. Like, hey, chances are I wasn’t going to remember how that episode of Star Trek Voyager ended anyway!
I’ve long been familiar with “user dreams,” where you have dreams that you’re drinking or using drugs. Mine are always so mundane that they seem completely plausible, vivid and real. Most often, my dream will be of me in a bar and I’m on my third drink or something and I’ll realize, “Oh, shit! I’m not drinking anymore!” and I’ll have this guilty feeling that all of the work that I’ve done has gone down the drain. The vast majority of my user dreams have the same plot: I’m getting quietly toasted because I straight up forgot that I gave it up.
One of my favorite essays I’ve read about sobriety has been this one sent to me by my wife: 11 FEARS YOU HAVE ABOUT SOBRIETY, DISPELLED. The most truthful one is that you won’t lose any of your friends. No one worth keeping, anyway. A big turning point for me was being able to hang out with my friends and have it not be weird. I just say, “I don’t drink anymore.” One of my friends asked me how long, and gave me a high-five. It was a really great moment for me, and this sort of weird, nonsensical guilt I had, where I thought of myself as being in danger of no longer being fun, just sort of went away. The fact is, I’m the same person that I was, minus alcohol.
When I at first quit drinking, I had to keep reminding myself to take it one day at a time. From some solid advice I got from this site, it’s hard to contextualize “forever” or even “indefinitely” for that matter. During the holidays or special occasions, it’s hard to think about not drinking during all these times where, in the past, maybe you had a lot of fun drinking before. Instead, just focus on the day itself. I can survive today without a drink and I’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes.
The only trouble I really had recently was in moving. Again. For the second time in 6 months. Moving sucks. It’s terrible. I had to drive a U-Haul through downtown LA and it blew. This was one of the first times in a long time where I was thinking, man, a beer would be really good right about now. It sucked, but we got it done and after having a chance to unwind and relax, my desire to drink quickly went away. I think, moreover, it was because of my association with it. Every single time as an adult when I’ve moved, I’ve celebrated its finish by getting drunk. Now that I’ve done one of the more difficult moves of my life completely sober, it’s easier to imagine doing things like that again sober. Turning to alcohol becomes less and less of an option as time goes on.
Thanks for reading and listening!
Topic Question: Are there any good movies about sobriety you recommend? I recently saw Clean & Sober, as per my last topic’s header picture and it was okay! It was a bit of a mess, but I still mostly liked it. Any other recommendations?