Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Long Ago and Far Away

I suppose my presence at this web space is sort of summed up by the phrase, "long ago and far away," because there are so many gaps in time between my posts!

I've posted so long ago - and have been so far away - HOWEVER - I'm still clean and sober with no  relapse mistakes... 10 and a half clean-time years!

When I started this blog, I was pretty sure I'd stay sober a long time, but have to admit I'm still a little surprised at hitting the 10 year mark... what, with so many of my "temporarily clean" peers who relapsed around me during this past decade. I've had a lot of relationships "tank" and caused the end of a great many of these, myself... I've had to chose sobriety over friendships on a number of occasions.

Boundary setting has been my more difficult work,  however, I've "done the work" and allow very few individuals around me for any length of time who engage in social substance use.

I think some people assume that once a person is clean for quite a while, being around booze/social use of substances becomes tolerable... my weigh-in on that subject is...

Neh!    Maybe yes for some, but no, it's not true for me.

I understand that some peers of mine can drink or even smoke the green stuff occasionally without being called addicts, so I can tolerate a very short burst of watching someone else drink and have fun and then I still enact my "plan b" (escape the situation/leave) - not so much because I am temped to use but because the social drinkers start getting silly, louder, and I NOTICE this more than ever now. I just have limited tolerance now of being around people engaged in social substance use and I think that's okay - however I'll call back to what I said earlier,I've "caused the end of a great many" relationships.

All in all, at this 10 year point in my sobriety journey, I have finally stopped thinking of myself as "a drinker" - rather - An abstaining drinker or a person who can't drink when I am out, say, with a friend at a restaurant when the waitress/waitor asks if I'd like a beer/drink special with my food order... I actually say, in my head "no, I don't drink, I'm not interested" and reply to the server accordingly.

In a long ago, far away place and time during my early recovery, when in a similar social situation as mentioned above, my self talk was more like, "No! I'm not allowed to ever drink again," and "No, I can't let myself drink," or sometimes, "If the waiter forgets I said no to booze and he asks me about ordering again, I'm going to have to run out of here." Haha! I can still remember the fear of  relapse, fear of making a mistake, the worry that went along with going to eat in a restaurant that might be a licensed establishment... and I'm grateful that now, I truly feel in my mind, heart and spirit, that "No, I do not desire a beverage with alcohol in it."

There are actually a few alcohol free beverages I can not drink today because my taste-buds play tricks on me... lime cola and one of the tomato/vegetable juice mixes are beverages that are completely free of alcohol but I cannot drink them. I swear they taste like they're spiked with booze to me, so maybe this is a good trick my taste-buds are playing on me.

To anyone still in that fist-clenching, sweaty-brow, clean under 30 days stage of early recovery... YES, it does get better, being clean! Hang in there - take care of yourself. The days, months will add up (stop trying to count them too often - they will pass whether you count them or not!), and in a while, you'll be able to look back on things, in general and feel like your active addiction is long ago and far away - and it won't have a hold on you anymore...

Stay well, all~~
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