The road is long

“Still” meaning – as a continuation of my last post. Not as a continuation of the past eight or nine months.  I feel like this resurgence of desire is on some sort of schedule: I’ve never read anything in addiction literature about an 8-9 month hump, but I’ve definitely read similar things from bloggers in the sobersphere.  So, once again, thanks for being you.  It’s easier, knowing that this will pass again.  I had a moment the other day where I felt like I was going to be fighting cravings forever.  And now I understand why people say “don’t think about ‘forever'”, because that’s exactly the sort of overwhelm that could drive one to drink.  But I know I can not drink today, and not drink tomorrow, and the chances are good-to-definite that fairly soon, I’ll go back to not missing it.

On the weekend, some old friends came to dinner.  The male half of the couple is one of my closest and dearest friends, although since they moved to the other side of the world almost a decade ago, we’ve drifted apart.  Back in our twenties, we used to meet at a bar and share a bottle of wine and some snacks.  And then we’d share a second bottle of wine.  And then we’d look at one another, because we knew perfectly well that the third bottle would tip us over into uncomfortably drunk, and we always said we wouldn’t drink that much next time, but neither of us felt done yet.  And so we would, always, order that third bottle.

Those were nights of talking so fast that our words tangled together, too much smoke and alcohol, and feeling slightly nauseated on the last bus home, near midnight.  Nights of bad judgement and hungover mornings afterwards.  I wonder, now, whether our friendship would have been as close if it hadn’t been so alcoholic.

This time around, I knew I’d have to tell them that I no longer drank, and I managed to slip the information into an email giving them directions to my house.  No big deal at all, luckily: we’re of an age where several of us have stopped drinking for various reasons, I gather.

So I cooked beef fillets wrapped in prosciutto, and they arrived with some fancy gin truffles as a hostess gift (2% gin.  I’m going to eat them, but not this week, not when I’m feeling a bit shaky) and three bottles of wine.   And the food was amazing and the conversation was great, and I’m glad I got to see them again.

But.

Three bottles of wine.  For three people, for one dinner.  They arrived mid-afternoon, and when LH failed to offer them a glass by four o’clock, they opened one themselves.

By ten o’clock, the conversation was flagging, a bit.  It never used to do that.

crossroad

I find that I look at people differently, now.  I watch my old drinking companions drink, and I notice how fast they tip the last bit of wine into their glass before opening the next bottle, and I look at their faces closely; are they puffier, redder, then they used to be, or is it just age?  I feel mean, thinking things like that, but I don’t intend to be critical.  I’m hardly Dorian Gray to their picture, after all.  It’s just that I’m not very far down the path of sobriety yet: the crossroad is still in sight, behind me, and so is the road I didn’t take.  When I watch my friends, I’m peering down that path.  I’m reminding myself why I took the one I did.

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13 thoughts on “The road is long

  1. “When I watch my friends, I’m peering down that path. I’m reminding myself why I took the one I did.” I also find myself in that space @ the moment, watching others helps ground me in terms of why I am doing this, those funny stories and now outrageous sounding laughter just don’t ‘sound’ the same anymore.

    Great post, thank you

  2. Yes. The road we could still be on looks a little worse for wear sometimes.

    At AA they warned me that 9 months is a very shaky time. Far enough in that we become complacent, I think.

    I find conversations do start to flag earlier. And I like to go to bed earlier too. My LH is not averse to telling guests it’s time to leave. I used to hate that when there was more to drink. Now I am glad he’s willing to be the party pooper!

    Gin truffles sound gross. I never did like gin. Lol

    Great post

    Anne

  3. I remember a few years ago recognising that we ‘should’ take more than one bottle with us when we went to a friends’ house. and that often got dressed up as a bottle of something sparkling as well as a bottle of wine. or something darlingly local-to-us, its local provenance a feeble disguise for the fact that one bottle just wouldn’t cut it for us (ie me 😦 ) any more.

    have been to a couple of dinner parties recently. and one turned out to be an excuse for drinking, whereas the other didn’t. would say amount of wine consumed at the latter was roughly half that at the former. the second was a great more fun for me, frankly. came away buzzing with laughter and shared jokes. that’s the best sort of buzz, and it can definitely still be found, although perhaps not with people still on the other side of the River Booze.

    re the eight/nine month wobble: have just had a look at my posts from around that time and though I didn’t record many alcohol cravings at that stage, what I was dealing with a lot was coming to terms with relationships with other people now that I was no longer drinking: dealing with feeling isolated from friends who didn’t get it because they were ‘normies’. I can imagine it would be harder still acclimatising to relationships with heavier drinkers. and if you have known this visit from your old boozing buddy was in the pipeline may perhaps that prospect have been triggering some drinking urges?

    very best to you, dear Allie. your posts are always so welcome and I am truly glad you are on the right side of the River Booze with us all!

    • I did remember your posts, Prim, and it helps! I’m only just at eight months, i worked out, so i guess that means I’m gripping tightly for a bit longer. Yeah, I guess knowing that he was coming for the night might have been connected. I don’t know. I’m fortunate in that my usual social life is centred around people with small children, so it’s daytime and largely sober.

  4. Thanks Allie I think it’s pretty helpful to know that these thoughts are likely to be ongoing. I’ve already noticed lots of stuff about my drinking friends who are heavy drinkers on the whole and as much as most of them have some great qualities I don’t want to be going down their path any longer. It does mean that meeting up is less frequent but they are still there for me in other ways. Thanks for this .

  5. I can totally relate to this. I notice little things about my usual circle of friends that I did not notice before and, as this is a safe space for me, I can honestly say I find myself longing for new friends. Not that I will let go of my current friendships, but I am curious about forming new friendships that don’t start off with alcohol in common. It is one of the things we have to look forward to. 🙂

  6. Pingback: repost: the road is long | club east: indianapolis

  7. Sorry, Allie. That’s what I get for blogging with two dogs and a plumber all demanding my attention at the same time. There’s a reason I’m on the medication I’m on. And I just noticed it this afternoon. Yikes!

  8. Great post. I can relate to the feelings and thoughts when you watch others drink – those you used to drink with – and realize how much of the relationship was based on alcohol.

  9. I’m at a similar stage to you, between 8 & 9 months, and I can relate to a lot of this. It’s not exactly feeling cravings for drink, but I feel a disconnect with the people around me, and, for the first time in ages, I’m feeling doubts about the path I’ve taken. I find the thought “maybe you could just drink one bottle of wine a week” harder to deal with than the more straightforward, “I’d like to have a glass of wine now”. The fact that this thought is accompanied by the idea that my one bottle of wine a week would be consumed in one sitting *might* indicate an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and I should keep the fuck away. Truth is, I feel fine when I am connecting with people in non-boozy situations, but when I try to fit into that Saturday-night-fun vibe, when others are drinking and I am pretending that I’m the same person I was, but now I just have a sparkling water instead, I am finding that really uncomfortable, disconcerting. I’m feeling unsettled at the moment, and I want my positive vibes back! Thanks for the post 🙂 xx

  10. Most, if not all, the people I know now don’t drink much. Or at all. It’s that whole growing up thing, I imagine. Most have kids, or if they don’t have kids, have demanding jobs and all of them have some sort of responsibilities which means that the old days of boozin’ no longer apply. As people age, the need to get lit up lessens more and more (unless they are alcoholic, of course! Or maybe under different circumstances).

    The longings did come to me now and then, but they pass as quickly as they come. I would be lying if I said I didn’t watch with a certain gaze at times how people drink, but that’s because I am in awe that they can have one or two and stop or leave some of their drink in the glass, unfinished…lol.

    Anyway, this too shall pass, my friend 🙂

    Paul

  11. I can relate to this too. It’s like a flashback to your former self, watching others drink. Life is more serene and focused now – and a lot more satisfying!

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