Flirting With Sobriety

I guess it is time to make it public knowledge.  Over the course of the past year, I have been on a journey to sobriety.  There is no tragic story to tell.  No accident.  No DUI.  No medical diagnosis.  No “holy shit” moment.  It’s been more of a gradual “what am I doing to myself” realization that made me question my alcohol intake.  I’ve had a lot of time to think…

I drink warm lemon water every morning to boost my immune system, improve my digestive system, and level my body’s pH.  I take probiotic, Vitamin D,  Evening Primrose, and ashwagandha supplements daily.  I have a functional approach to my health and am proud to say that I am 43 years young with ZERO prescribed medications.  If something is wrong, I solve it with supplements, diet, and exercise.  It works.

And yet, I ingest a glass (bottle) of wine, two, three, five times a week.

I mix maca powder, chia seeds, turmeric (with a pinch of black pepper), and spirulina into my smoothies. I make, bottle, and drink kombucha.  I use my juicer regularly.  I fill my plate up with more veggies and whole grains and less meat.  I eat fucking kale chips.  

And one of my favorite ways to celebrate the end of a work week is with a dirty vodka martini with three olives.

I read the labels.  I watch my sugar and salt intake.  I limit myself to two cups of coffee a day. I pass up soda for sparkling water and snub my nose at people who drink energy drinks.  I gave up smoking years ago because it is so very harmful.

And I don’t bat an eye at the whiskey on the rocks that I enjoy every other week or so. 

I run.  I lift weights.  I sit in the sauna.  I do yoga. 

And treat myself to a Bloody Mary occasionally on Saturday mornings.

I exfoliate.  I dry brush. I soak in Epsom Salt baths.  I smooth on sunscreens and serums and lotions and under-eye treatments.  I drink eight (big) glasses of water a day. 

And during the summer, I won’t think anything of sucking back a six-pack of Corona Lights while floating around in the pool. 

Was it a kick-ass, productive week at work?  I celebrate with a drink.  Are my kids stressing me the fuck out?  I smooth out my nerves with a glass of wine.  Sad?  Drink.  Happy? Drink.  Celebrating a milestone or an accomplishment?  Drink.  Bonding with friends?  Drink.  Mourning the death of a loved one?  Drink. 

And it is not just me, folks.  These are all accepted and encouraged societal responses.  <blink, blink>

When I first started down this journey to sobriety, it was more of a “how long can I go without drinking” approach.  I was coming to realize that I was using alcohol to celebrate/soothe/emphasize and it took longer and longer to recoup after a night of imbibing.  I started slow and focused on not drinking Sunday through Thursdays.  I could fly through a work week, sans alcohol, no problem-o.  When I started adding weekends, however, the Friday and Saturday drinks were imprinted into my being.  Weekends alcohol free were fucking rough. 

I’ve been doing this soberish thing for over a year now.  Sometimes, for a couple of days, sometimes a couple of weeks.  I had several 20+ days under my belt before I succumbed to the cravings/enticements and had a drink or two.  Each time I “fell off the wagon”, I was left with the same bad taste in my mouth: it wasn’t worth it.   My longest period of time “AF” (which I later learned meant Alcohol Free, not As Fuck, lol) was 55 days.  I am currently sitting at a solid 48 days AFAF (alcohol free as fuck). 😉

So, 48 days. Big deal, right?  What is different now?  I am reading “Quit Like a Woman”, which is saturated in feminism and basically states that the root of all alcohol addictions are because of old, white, men.  Which, I do NOT agree with.  But, a couple of topics that have struck a chord with me…

Alcoholic.  Alcoholism.  The terms used to described a person who is unable to control their drinking.  I mean, what the fuck is this??  Alcohol is literally a chemical, and an addictive poison at that.  So, a person who can “tolerate” the occasional ethanol poisoning is considered okay?  And what is the limit?  One ethanol poisoning a day for women, two for men?  Any more than that, it is considered a problem?  What is the criteria for cigarettes?  What number of cigarettes a day can a person smoke before it is considered a “problem”?  What about cocaine?  Meth?  See my point?

Take my normal responses, society-approved responses to alcohol that I described above, and replace my drink of choice with the word “poison”: I ingest a glass (bottle) of poison, two, three, five times a week. One of my favorite ways to celebrate the end of a work week is with poison. I don’t bat an eye at the poison on the rocks that I enjoy every other week or so.  I treat myself to poison occasionally on Saturday mornings.  I suck back a six-pack of poison while floating around in the pool. Doesn’t have quite the same romanticized feel, does it?

Big Alcohol is fucking scamming us, ya’ll.  And if there is one thing that I do NOT like to be, it is manipulated.  Or told what to do.  Cari, you are a girl, you can’t be a mechanic.  Say that to my 22-year career in maintenance.  Cari, you can no longer run long distances.  Say that to the 10 miles I put in last week.  Long story, short, if it is a challenge, I accept, mother-fucker.  

Right now, Big Alcohol is tricking us into thinking that we need alcohol to relax, to have fun, to cope.  Alcohol is romanticized in movies, TV shows, books.  We wear cute little sayings about wine and beer on t-shirts. We have purses that can hide a full bottle of wine.  Alcohol is being served at theme parks, movie theaters, zoos. We are not only made to think that ingesting poison is normal and right, but we spend BILLIONS of dollars each year to support this habit.  

Anxiety?  Depression?  High blood pressure? Heart disease?  Digestive problems?  Must be something else.  Not the ethanol alcohol that we are putting into our bodies on almost every occasion.  Right.  Right?   It is fucking ridiculous. 

The two friends that I have shared my thoughts surrounding my journey to sobriety with have taken a somewhat… less than supportive response.  I get it.  When one of your drinking buddies gets sober, where does that leave you?  Stepping away from alcohol is a scary transition, and one that I have been trying to overcome for a long time now.  I have reset my counter more times that I can count.  And I very well may reset it again.  As many soapboxes as I stand on, even I am sometimes hesitant on the finality of never drinking again.  Something that is pushed down our throats that we think we need, and is fun, and is normal is hard to walk away from.  

But my eyes are open, and I will no longer be manipulated.  I dedicate this page to those of you who are just as thirsty for knowledge regarding this subject as I am.  I plan on sharing tidbits of knowledge gleaned, “Quit Lit” that resonates, successes, failures, and everything in between.  

Why “Flirting with Sobriety”?  I am done with booze.  I am aware of the harmful effects, the amount of money spent, the trickle-down effect that drinking, even ” drinking responsibly”, can cause.  But embracing sobriety in a society where drinking is the norm is awkward.  So, I flirt with it, and hope that it embraces me.  

(A disclaimer:  This post is not to try and shove my awareness/awakening down anyone’s throat.  There is nothing more annoying to me than a “born-again” anything.  I am simply describing some “ah-ha” realizations that I have had, as of late.  Take it for what it’s worth.)

8 thoughts on “Flirting With Sobriety

  1. You’re so right about all of these points. Big Alcohol has totally duped us. I wish Netflix would do a documentary series about it, but I bet Big Alcohol has their hand in Netflix too and wouldn’t allow it. I’m astounded every day by how much were all being scammed by the whole industry and no one is calling them out on it aside from those of us quietly writing blogs and self help books about it. But we have ‘a problem’ so we’re different from everyone else. Bullshit. Alcohol has a problem. Actually I wrote a blog post with that title. Good for you for working on being AFAF (Alcohol Free As Fuck! Haha) I’m doing the same 😊

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  2. Pingback: Big Alcohol – One Year Without

  3. A big, hearty, longlasting applause from my corner over here, C. [applauds] I was raised by a chronic alcoholic (drink in one hand, Bible in the other…boy, wasn’t THAT fun?!) and stating drinking when I was 13. Yup! It was only 13 or so years ago that my foreverdude (Josh) quite literally locked himself, along with my kids, into the bedroom for their own safety, after I tied on a good one, one night. On the way in there, he grabbed a crucifix from the wall and waved it around at me (like I was Dracula), as he locked the door. I had pulled out a wad of his hair shortly before that and was just completely out of control. I was never an everyday drinker, and only drank several times a week, but when I did, I didn’t stop until the shit got good and crazy.

    Needless to say, the next morning (after being locked out of the bedroom by my dude), I had some serious thinking to do. I needed to make a choice: my dude and kids or my drinking; it was that simple. So, I quit drinking hard liquor right on the spot and never looked back. I had every intention to allow myself to still have wine with salad or a beer down at the river, etc. but what actually happened was, after I dried out for months, I began seeing things differently and ultimately fell out of love with drinking altogether.

    I decided to go back to college and ended up getting degrees in psychology, counseling, as well as certifications in substance abuse. it all helped me to understand the psychology of addictions and how they affect our brains. Also, studying it all helped me sort out my super crappy childhood. Anywho, it’s been almost 15 years that I quit drinking (to excess), smoking pot, and cigarettes too. I just quit everything all at the same time. it was the best thing I could’ve done. My kids grew up with a sober Mom. I was able to give them what my Dad could never give me: the gift of a sober parent.

    You got this, kid. 😉 Stay on track! If you fall down, don’t be too hard on yourself. Get back up again, shake off the dirt, and keep going. Progress, not perfection. 😉 [slapping you a high 5!]

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  4. Pingback: 100 Days Alcohol Free! – viCARIously Speaking

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