A Better Day

Here are Four Things to know before we get to the thing that you are most interested in:

Thing One: I am a Military Wife. My family has moved nine times in 16 years, and two of those were international moves. I understand how to adapt for the short-term. I can suck it up, grit my teeth and dig in.  The cubicle is my new “home” and I understand that I need to reconcile myself to it.  I brought in a lamp, a picture. I moved the computer so my back is not directly to the opening. I asked about moving to other empty cubicles that have access to natural light or are off the main hallway (and therefore not so confined) and was told by HR that my cubicle “is the designated space for your position.”

Thing Two: For my happiness, I WANT to work. For our finances, I do not HAVE to work. My paycheck makes our life comfortable and affords a private school for my son, who has a disability. But, my working is not a deal breaker for my family. Because of Thing One I have not had a traditional career trajectory. But now that the children are a bit older and we are no longer moving every 1.7 years, I am very committed to making a career for myself, rather than piecing semi-random jobs together. This new job was meant to be IT. Yes, it has long hours and yes it is in a cubicle. But God Damn It, I am no longer mucking about in part-time situations. Instead, I bellied up to the Big Girl Bar and took a Big Girl Job. I AM NO LONGER DICKING AROUND. I am all in and this is IT.

Thing Three: I am a judger. I judge other people against Who (i think) I Am vs. Who (i think) They Are. I have never had to be a full-time cubicle dweller. Up until last Monday, Cubicle Dweller was not Who I Am. So, while the tall grey walls are undoubtably restrictive, especially for 8.5 hours a day, I am wrestling with whether it is the confinement of the actual cubicle that I have the real problem with, or just the idea of being a Cubicle Dweller.

Thing Four: The new company is a nightmare. It is a poorly run, highly toxic, very unhappy place. As part of my first week orientation, I met with almost every single employee – either in small groups or individually. Ostensibly, these meetings were to help me understand what each department/role is and how my department interacts with them. Without exception, these conversations almost immediately devolved into workplace tales of bitterness, frustration and disappointment.

Last night, Thing 1+2+3+4 = 3/4 bottle of wine.

I specifically went and purchased this bottle and was very intentional in my drinking. I was not interested in being social, or enjoying the taste, or thinking I could moderate. No, I wanted the wine to numb MY bitterness, frustration and disappointment.

It did not work. I drank three glasses and felt pathetic the entire time.

And the wine didn’t stop my ruminations. Not even for one second. Instead, it just made them worse, because now I was ruminating on my job/history/circumstances and ruminating on my drinking.

So, this morning I threw the rest of the bottle away.

I don’t know what I’ll do about the job issue.

But I do know that while I drank wine last night, today is not a new Day One. I don’t think of December 15, 2013 as the day I started Not Drinking. Instead I think of December 15, 2013 as the day I knew I was better than that wine bottle – I am better than what life inside that bottle has to offer me. Last night I was lucky enough to remember that.

So whatever day I may be on, Day One or Monday or Birthday, I am always on a Better Day than I was December 14, 2013.

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15 thoughts on “A Better Day

  1. I am yet to hear someone say that they decided to try drinking again and it was the best thing ever…but sometimes we just need reminding why it’s not. There’s a lot going on for you.. not just the cubical but all that goddam negativity in your face from a bunch of unhappy people. Don’t be them! Don’t let them drag you down! Go into your cubical knowing exactly why you are there (all good reasons).. do what you can to make your time in the cubical fun (headphones to listen to music while you work?).. think outside the cubical a lot.. keep a smile on your face.. remember that their glumness is their choice and you can choose to have a light mood.. and keep being the honest, lovely, brave person that you are. Big love from New Zealand xxx

  2. The lesson learned here I suppose then is that booze doesn’t make things better 🙂 It may have once, at one point, but the landscape of alcohol and it’s effects (mentally,emotionally, physically) shifts on us and seems to always be out of grasp.

    Drink lots of water and get rest as needed. Be kind to yourself today 🙂

    Paul

  3. Toxic work environments really do suck. In one myself, to the point that it is hostile. Not sure what I’ll do about it either and need to be clear headed before I make any decisions. I guess there is not enough cubicle to block out the bitterness flowing thru that place. I can’t always close the door to mine either. Glad you know you are better than the wine bottle. Damn the battle and the bottle.

    • So nice to meet you! You’re right. Having that CLEAR HEAD is paramount to not making things worse – and finding a positive solution. I can see now that I was placing way too much emphasis and importance on this specific job. My mother reminded me today that while I really want this job to work, I CAN QUIT. In a way, it is just like drinking: I CAN QUIT. How does that nugget of truth get lost so easily?

  4. Your plate is very full….. I feel the sane way…. I’m better now than I was 6 months ago but I know alcohol won’t help subway. It may numb me but the guilt next day us worse. Glad u spilled the rest out. Thinking of u

  5. Though I don’t know you I am thinking of you. I share a lot of similarities with you and if you are anything like me you might be dealing with finding your new identity. I definitely am, especially in regards to career– which totally sucks at the age of 43. Give yourself some kudos for realizing what you want, both in regards to the bottle and work, and sticking to it no matter how difficult. You sound like a pretty amazing person to me, caring for a disabled child, moving for your husbands work, working for a non-profit … take it easy on yourself.

    • Thanks Lucy. Just visited your site. I love your tagline: GOODBYE BOOZE. HELLO CLARITY, HEALTH AND HAPPINESS. So true. Thanks for your kind words. They mean a lot.

  6. I feel really glad about what your mother said. It’s good to know you want this job to work, but yes, you can quit if it isn’t the right job for you. It’s not worth being miserable over. (I’ve worked in toxic environments too, and I have found doing that quite draining, Sometimes it can be done though, and you can even be a start to some much-needed change. Good luck with it, whatever you decide.)

    You do have a lot going on, as everyone is commenting, but you sound sane for all that. I really agree with you about not going back to day 1. We’re not machines with reset buttons, and we learn as we go in this quitting drinking gig. So many of us (me included) had to go back to drinking to find it wasn’t the answer, though I have to say, you’re quicker than I was in learning that! I hope you’re having a good weekend and taking good care of yourself in the midst of all this stress. You’ll figure it out, and it sounds like you’re well on your way to doing just that. Take care. xo

    • Thank you! I was just reading your latest post. Such good stuff there. I will check out Barbara Ehrenreich’s book. I loved “Nickel and Dimed.” It is such a comfort to come to these sober blogs and find such a warm community.

      I really do not see a need for a reset button. In my mind, last night was a great reminder of why I made the choice to stop drinking. I am grateful for it. And am VERY GRATEFUL to be sober tonight.

  7. Hey there! I’ve just discovered the sober blogging community and found your blog before this latest entry. As one who’s tried to quit drinking many times before, I can relate to the combination of forces that led to that 3/4 bottle of wine, particularly the self-judging component. Take care and learn — that’s what I’m trying to do this time around and hope you’ll do the same.

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