The day I decided to quit drinking, I looked at Mel through wet, messy eyes.
” I’m afraid this is going to ruin our marriage.”
I said this directly to him. Then my head dropped and I wept. UGLY CRY.
My whole body shaking with the unknown. SO MUCH FEAR.
For over 20 years, we have been drinking together. Some of those nights ending in rage, screaming and anger and sometimes in passion.
Either way, LOTS of emotions tied into this whole drinking habit/culture/ life…
My relationship to alcohol has been:
very long and personal,
abusive at times,
a bit confusing.. to be honest.
Never have I loved anything that made me feel so bad.
To me drinking was fun, celebrating, laughter, silliness, crazy nights, so many good stories, memories, being cool, hanging out, something to look forward to.
In my mind, there’s NOTHING worse than your drinking buddy getting sober.
What a buzz kill.
I asked Mel, ” Are you mad?”
“NO. Why would I be?” he was sincere.
” Well, to be honest, I would be really pissed if you quit drinking on me, first. Like, REALLY MAD. ” I admitted.
But over the past few years, I did NOT like who I was when I drank. Especially when we would be alone. I would start to say mean things. I would be cold, rude, direct and certainly not loving or kind.
With my kids, I found myself more tired than energized by drinking. I found myself wanting to rush through bedtime/ reading with them so that I could go to sleep or lay down. Even with 1-2 glasses of wine. I found my pitta temper and fire on a much shorter fuse when I had ANY alcohol than when I was sober.
UGH. Facing all of this about yourself sucks.
But it’s true.
And so, when I finally said, ENOUGH to drinking- my biggest fear was that our marriage would come crashing down.
I asked myself over and over ” who am I in this relationship without alcohol?” And there was just a lot of silence on the other end. B/c the I realized- who am I in my LIFE without alcohol? OH SHIT- this is so much more complicated than I could imagine.
And I really just wanted to feel what it was like. THE GOOD NEWS. It’s been WAY easier than I imagined it would be and that I truly do have these beautiful authentic relationships to others AND MYSELF that have nothing to do with the alcohol that I thought was fueling so much of the connection. PHEW.
The BAD NEWS: I used alcohol to cover a lot of trauma I did not want to deal with. Now, I’m facing it – actually I’m looking it RIGHT in the eyes. Holding the gaze. Feeling all the feels and breathing the whole time. I CAN DO THIS. When it becomes to much, I relax. I go for a walk, I call a friend. I GOT THIS.
I used alcohol to numb myself from feeling DEEP and PROFOUND jOY that I have in my life. I always thought peeps used it to hide from the discomfort- but actually, discomfort is my jam! my thing! I’m good with the shadows.. I used it to take the edge off the moments of connection with my family, my loved ones, my own accomplishments or celebrations. Like some ” I don’t really deserve this” kinda stuff.
But, now I’m going into 5 months ( WHOA) and honestly, our marriage is BETTER than it was 6 months ago.. in so many ways.
- I feel more integrated and not split between sober Pleasance and drinking Pleasance.
- When I really do feel something about our marriage or my life, I FEEL IT. I can’t hide or avoid.. well, I mean I CAN.. but I don’t. So that when we sit down to talk or confront – more often than not, I am kind and compassionate and loving, which really is the essence of who I ( WE) are. And that feels awesome.
- I made a commitment to myself long ago to live my life fully with an open heart and open mind and strength. I make the choice every day to integrate and be honest with people. So, in this case, it was time to deal with my demons and my unhealthy relationship to drinking. What occurs after this.. well, it’s not my biz, really.
- I’m thinking A LOT these days about what is my biz and what’s not. What’s my responsibility and what’s not. If it’s not my job to make sure everyone else is comfortable all the time.. does that mean I can talk more openly about my trauma? My demons? MY shadows? If I don’t have to try to get you to like me or to please you- does that mean we can GO THERE with the really uncomfortable stuff that I buried with my drinking?
I’ll update you again in a few months- if you want to talk about any of this, or if I can help you process, digest or connect to your own story with alcohol- I’d love it.
I’m NOT a hater of it- I’m not a NO DRINKING FOR EVERYONE advocate, I’m just sharing my own experiences in hopes that it inspires you to think about yours!
P.S. Our dog is named Miller Lite Silicki. Yep. I know. I know…