Tuesday, June 30

Today I am sober. Today I will not drink.

Sometimes I catch myself wondering how it can be mathematically possible for crises to overlap in such a short amount of time. It's more or less experiencing one negative thing over a series of weeks or days and then randomly, one Sunday, things get worse. Silly me. I thought things were going to get better! Ha!

I've noticed when there is a series of unfortunate events in a short amount of time, the last one to occur affects me the most, yet my emotions toward it are very lax and numb. Of course! Why wouldn't this happen? Everything else did. Within the first few moments of the impending crises, my heart is loud and I'm counting my breaths to try to remain mindful. But in the coming days, I'll be very lax when addressed about the situation. Oh, yeah that happened. But why wouldn't it? That's just how things are nowadays. Haha, fuck me, right?

I'm not good at hiding sadness. My face makes it abundantly clear whether or not I've had a good day. I can rarely slap on a smile and tell people that I'm doing okay without having my eyes glass over, knowing that I'm lying and trying my best to hide it. Instead of a Resting Bitch Face, I have a Something Happened Face. I'm not sure which facial features alert others to the fact that something is wrong: my eyebrows, the small crease in my forehead which thickens at the sight of any strenuous situation, the pout made worse by certain lipsticks. 

"I'm fine" is probably the biggest lie I've ever told. I've told everyone this lie, time and time again, no matter how I'm feeling. My entire family could be murdered by a Kardashian, and my response would still be "I'm fine." Keeping my emotions tucked away is partly due to the fact that I don't want to appear vulnerable, as I grew up thinking it was a sign of weakness. I'm assuming this practice was engrained in me by the fact that sometimes when I was crying, I was told to stop crying, as if there was no room for me to physiologically express my feelings. So to save face, my immediate instinct is to lie. 

On Sunday evening, I experienced the biggest craving to drink since I've been sober, mostly due to the overlapping crises I was alluding to earlier. It's a strange thing, wanting nothing more than to drink in the worst way, yet knowing you aren't going to succumb. Around 10pm, I started getting antsy, like I needed to be somewhere but I forgot where exactly. I thought I had forgotten something, but in reality, the liquor stores were closed and Wisconsin was 90 minutes round trip. But the consequences of relapsing outweighed the temporary catastrophe I was experiencing. Crying in bed and texting my mom from under the covers was safer and potentially healthier than sluffing into Spring Street Tavern in a wife-beater and sweatpants for my usual Jameson and Coors Light. I didn't succumb to my demon, and I made up for it in nightmares where I was actually drinking. 

I'm not experiencing drinking dreams as much as I used to. They used to be fairly frequent, especially within the first 60 days of sobriety. Today is Day 136 without a drink. Some of the old timers and those more experienced with sobriety have told me that eventually, I'll stop counting and I'll just BE sober, even though it's not common within the first year. I'll get my next chip at my six month mark, on August 14. From what I've heard, the six month mark can start to get tricky. You start getting comfortable and begin to trick yourself. Maybe I can be sober. Maybe one beer will be fine. But before you know it, you're back to watching all three (four?) Jackass movies in one night between bottles of riesling and cabernet.

I'm a lot stronger than I originally anticipated. Rehab strongly cautioned me that I'll need to stay away from my triggers once I was released into the wild. On Day 12 of inpatient, I was instructed to come up with a list of my possible triggers:

Football games
Holidays/family gatherings
Weddings
Sunflower seeds
Central Avenue Liquors
Open mics
Comedy shows and theaters
Cinco de Mayo, Saint Patrick's Day, and all those holidays that aren't really holidays
The Monday Night Comedy Show/Spring Street Tavern
Corner Bar/Comedy Corner Underground
Mayslack's
July Fighter shows
Hot summer days
Vic's
The Uptown VFW
CC Club
First Ave
Collaging
Tucson
Northeast Palace
Knight Cap
Grumpy's
Chicken wings
Friday and Saturday nights
Concerts
Outdoor festivals
Campfires
Buffalo Wild Wings
Certain music
Super Troopers
The Bulldog
Airports/flights
Drink tickets

I left a few things out of this list for the sake of anonymity, but that's the gist. I've actually experienced most of these things as a sober person, and I really haven't been bothered much by it. What's nice about being sober is that if I'm suddenly uncomfortable, I can always leave. I don't have to worry about where my car is or who I'm with. I can always go home and be safe in my own environment. I'm assuming that although inpatient alerted me to all these triggers, it's possible that it was another scare tactic. You'll surely relapse if you continue doing comedy! Yet I haven't. A little over 12 weeks of sobriety, and I'm out two to three times per week at showcases or open mics. The only trigger I'm afraid to encounter is flying. But like the showcases and open mics, maybe it won't be as bad as I'm imagining it to be. 

They tell you in rehab, "Imagine how much energy you've put into your drinking. If you put that much energy into your sobriety, you'll be unstoppable." I don't feel unstoppable, in the least. But I'm doing much better than I assumed I would be. I made a big decision which impacts me positively, I survived a break up without drinking, and I still have two months of summer. Kitty let me get some sleep last night, and I've been up since 9am, for whatever godforsaken reason. Maybe that's the Wellbutrin kicking in. I have two more boxes to take to the post office, and then I get to play my favorite game, "FIT EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE CAR." I'm looking forward to it. 

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