Why am I still waking up with a hangover when I haven’t had a drink in almost a month? Sooooo frustrating! I take more advil these days than I did when I was drinking. Well, maybe that’s a lie. But seriously, when does it stop?
I have two things to say. One, I went to a wedding last night with really good friends from work, all of whom drink like it’s their job and I DID NOT! Not a sip. I even leaned on the bar. I acknowledged to myself that that martini and it’s beautiful, huge, round, green olives looked lovely, and the chardonnay was the perfect color…not too light, not too yellow…and then remembered how shitty I would feel tomorrow if I imbibed. And here I am feeling shitty anyway. HOWEVER, I am thrilled that I did not drink and am also proud of myself that I didn’t white-knuckle it–I made a conscious choice not to.
Have I mentioned that this is at least my second foray into sobriety? I was sober for eight years until a year and a half ago. I never really white-knuckled it then either, which does sort of concern me now. The difference this time is that I’m totally admitting that I am an alcoholic. I know I have a problem with drinking. Eight years ago I would have told you that I’m quitting because my ulcerative colitis was flaring because of wine and for health reasons I was backing away from alcohol.
Quick sidebar story: I was in a masters program for social work a couple years ago. I was taking a class on counselling and we had to visit a support group of our choice and write a paper on it. There’s a church down the street that holds tons of AA meetings so for convenience sake I went to one on a Saturday night, figuring I’ll go for 20 minutes and then pump this paper out in 30 and be done with it. There were two entrances to the room which was filled to the brim with people. There had to be 150 people in there. I choose the second entrance to walk in–which was the entrance that dumped you smack dab in front of all 150 of them. HELLO. Ooops. There were NO seats left, except for this one little chair RIGHT IN FRONT. Gawd…why me? I slunk over to the chair and tried to look as inconspicuous as I could, cuz obviously the only reason I was there was for research. NOT because I was an alcoholic or anything. The meeting started and the leader points to my side of the room and says, “Let’s start over here” so people started introducing themselves. I had to hold back my internal laughter when the proverbial AA intros started: “Hi my name is Joe, and I’m an alcoholic. (crowd responds) HI JOE!” They really DO that!!! I actually giggled. And then it was my turn. Gulp. “Hi, my name is Gail. And I’m only here to write a paper. Seriously, you guys. I don’t drink now. I’m totally NOT an alcoholic. I’m ONLY here for school. REALLY…I’m not shitting you. This is just research.” That’s what I wanted to say. But instead I said, “Hi. My name is Gail. And I’m an alcoholic.” BOOM. Ugh…I wanted to crawl under a table. Here I am in this meeting, in MY neighborhood. What if someone recognizes me? SHIT!!! What the fuck was I thinking!!! I ended up staying til the end. Listening to all the stories people told and thinking wow…I’m not THAT bad. And then wouldn’t you know, I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up to see a guy in one of my yoga classes. He says to me, “You’re in the right place”. I was horrified. I quickly tried to explain myself, stumbling over my words, excuses excuses. REALLY, Dan. I’m SO not supposed to be here.
That was my one experience with AA.
The second thing I want to say is that I am very, very happy to be sober. And also that I totally forgot what the second thing was that I was going to say. Honesty is what I’m going for these days. But I’m seriously so happy to be sober. I’ll think of it and tell you later. My brain is tired. So that’s my story today and I’m sticking with it.