I’ve been gone. I took a break from my blog to tend to my kids, my job, my man, my house, my health, my spirit.
I’ve also been tending to my sobriety.
I quit drinking five months ago. Not a long time in recovery circles, but long enough to know that this has been a life-changing decision for me.
On December 23, I came home from work. I opened a bottle of chardonnay and poured a glass while I cooked dinner. Such a civil way to end the day, to take the edge off. I stirred the spaghetti sauce and poured another glass.
An hour later, I went out to the garage to put the empty green wine bottle in the recycling bin with the other empty green wine bottles.
There have been times in my life when I took my recycling down to The Recyclery so that my empty green wine bottles wouldn’t be exposed out there in the bin on the curb, clearly visible to my neighbors. Fourteen wine bottles in the recycling bin looks like you had a party. Unless you have fourteen wine bottles in your recycling bin every two weeks.
I’ve played my cancer card exactly once: to get out of a ticket for not wearing a seat belt ("Sorry officer, I just had reconstruction and it hurts," I lied.) But I don’t intend to use it to explain the alarming increase in my alcohol use. Yes, I went through a debilitating depression last Fall after my reconstruction. But my drinking had been progressing way before then.
I quit for these reasons:
I quit because I was drinking too much.
I quit because I discovered that moderation was not an option for me.
I quit because chemo threw me into complete menopause in 12 months, causing me to gain 20 pounds, upon which working out like a triathlete has had little effect.
But the main reason I quit was because of a conversation I had with my 15-year-old son about drinking and driving. “Mom, don’t you think it’s kind of ironic that you’re telling me to not drink and drive when you had two glasses of wine at home, you’re drinking a beer here at Jersey Joe’s, and then you’re going to get in the van and drive us both home?”
At that moment, I knew I was going to quit drinking. It took another couple of weeks. But on Christmas Eve, I walked into my first AA meeting.
It actually feels amazingly good and freeing to not drink. I find that keeping things simple works. I find that a ride on my mountain bike with Ocho works. I find that a steaming bowl of chicken and vegetables over rice works. I find that music works. I find that being here for my kids works. I find that God works. But keeping things simple is not simple for me. I’ve actually had to check out so I could check back in; I’ve had to focus on only the most essential priorities.
So, I’ve been gone. But I’ve been here. Where I intend to stay.