Changing my hair radically, I mean. I’ve had the same long layered hair for about a decade, and it’s coloured in a fairly distinctive way (unusual base colour, distinctive contrasting streaks), and I’m very happy with it which is why it’s been the same for a decade.
But I’m bored of it. I want something radically different. Also I need to hide a bunch of greys. So maybe an ash blonde bob. Or I have toyed with going balls-out grey – I can’t decide if that will look fabulous and brave, or just prematurely ageing. I’m 35. I have good skin for 35 (now. Now I do. This is the one physical marker of my sobriety so far. No weight loss, no anything else, but my skin is AMAZING) so perhaps?
What the actual fuck does this has to do with sobriety? Why on earth am I babbling about hairstyles on a sober blog. Go share that on Facebook, AA*. This here is a blog about personal growth and moving on from your great love affair with…ohhhhhhh.
This is a break up move. You break up with someone, you change your hair. It’s pretty much Chapter Two in the Big Book of Breaking Up.
I don’t know very much about breaking up. The last time I did it, I was a teenager. Then the Fates smiled upon me in the guise of now-Lovely Husband, with whom I have been happy since I was 20. Which makes me very lucky, and also very clueless.
So I did what any intrepid journalist would do, and googled ‘advice on breaking up’. Today’s text is therefore taken from the Huffington Post, because, well, why not.
1. If you’ve “broken up” more than once, it’s just not meant to be.
I’m unusual in the sobersphere, I think, in that I’ve never really tried to quit before. Well. I kind of have though. I’ve done the ‘only on weekends’. I’ve done the ‘every second day’. I’ve done the ‘two drinks maximum’. And each time, I told myself that I was giving alcohol One Last Chance – if this didn’t work out, if alcohol couldn’t meet me halfway, then I’d have to quit.
I didn’t quit. It seems obvious to me now that any relationship that needs that many attempts to make it work, doesn’t work. I suppose that in some circumstances, an attempt at moderation might work – there is, I think, such a thing as situational problem drinking, and when the situation is removed the problem is too. One attempt only, though, because for most of us, it’s just not meant to be.
2. Changing is a lengthy process that takes time and effort.
Apparently this is true. I don’t like effort, and I don’t like waiting, and so I have about five posts in draft along the lines of WAAAAAAHHHHH why am I not thin and healthy and running five times a week with an interesting set of hobbies and a whole new bunch of sober, lovely friends. IT’S ALREADY BEEN FIVE DAYS, PEOPLE. But I really like this because yes, any break up is a process of change. You just aren’t the same person any more, because no relationship is an island. Your interaction with that person, or that bottle, affects everything about who you are, how you interact with others, the choices you make in your life. When the object if your affections is removed, it leaves a hole in everything. It leaves a hole in you, because we are all at least partially defined by our relationships and interactions, and when they change so do we.
Time and effort. Huh. Well, FINE.
3. Backsliding is like eating a Big Mac when you’re on a diet.
Or drinking wine when you’re getting sober. I don’t even need to look for a metaphor here.
4. It’s been said to death but No Contact really is the only way.
I guess this is the advice to get all of the alcohol out of the house, avoid bars, avoid drinking friends. This isn’t entirely true for me so far; Lovely Husband drinks a bit, and the last cask of white wine that I bought is sitting in the fridge, still with a few glasses in it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not good advice. It’s excellent advice. I, personally, am not going to try and be friends with alcohol. It’s not my friend.
5. The cliches are true (in spirit, at least). Deleting Facebook and hitting the gym aren’t miracle cures, but being proactive in general and working on yourself is always a good thing. Keep your mind off the shitty relationship that you’ve idealized in your head.
I kept all of the text for this one, not just the headline, because, yes, yes and yes. Even Facebook is treacherous for me right now – I have never noticed before the sheer number of people who post things like “Ooof, hard day at the office, looking forward to a huge glass of wine tonight”. That’s not true. I totally have. But before, I used to notice those and tell myself that it was proof that I drank normally. The scary thing is that within my industry, I probably kind of sort of did.
6. You need a buddy to keep you accountable, if you’ve got one. Thanks again to Belle for being a sober pen pal when I need one, but even that is not really enough. I’m desperately trying to get ‘in’ with the sober blogging community, and it’s harder than I thought, and this is one area where I really, really notice that lack. None of my real life friends are alcoholics, at least that I know about, but God, all I want is someone to ring and say “I want to drink. Tell me why that’s a bad idea”.
7. Your ex is not the end-all be-all. You will laugh at yourself a year from now for thinking this. Trust me.
I already believe that this will be true. That wine isn’t the be-all. That I can relax, be happy, socialise, take the edge off the day, without wine. But it’s only faith and hope, right now, it’s not there with me, within me yet.
8. Holding on to this bad relationship is disrespectful to yourself. Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. And the nice thing about being sober is that the longer one is sober, the more respect one has for oneself. Right now I’m still kind of in “I don’t deserve respect, and if I’m not harming anyone, why not just fucking drink? It’s only my life. It’s not like I do anything meaningful with it. I’m stuck in a crappy job, I wipe up small child effluvia, I collapse on the couch. Whoopdefuckingdoo, what difference does it make if I do that with a glass of wine in hand? But it’s chicken and egg, right? Right, invisible friends?
So there we have it. Breaking up is hard to do. It just sucks, and you, by which I mean me, just has to get through it.
(I do note, though, that traditionally, break ups also come with weight loss. JUST SAYING)
*When I chose the moniker After Alcohol, I had absolutely not noticed the acronym. And then people started calling me AA. Look at me, I’m AA. I’m the grand arbiter of all things sobriety! Me and my twelve steps, we’re going to teach and preach**.
**Discerning readers will notice that giving up alcohol has not in any way diminished my tendency towards self-aggrandisation. It has in fact exacerbated it, which I might talk about in a future post, if I remember.