A Year of Mostly Sober Living in No Man’s Land

It’s been just over a year, Dec. 15, 2013, since I made a committed effort to not drink alcohol and then began this blog.

I lasted four months. And while the majority of my days since that day in April have been sober, many have not been. As I have reengaged alcohol, my life has not experienced any terrible decline – but there haven’t been any remarkable highs, either.

I’ve been living in a sort of No Man’s Land – when I drink I am disappointed in myself, anxious and (always, doesn’t matter how few/how many) hungover. When I don’t drink, because I don’t have a consistent plan, I remain anxious and uncertain. It’s a terrible place to be, this No Man’s Land, and yet I have not committed myself to leaving.

In the past few months, I have gone to a handful of AA meetings. I come away with nuggets of wisdom (“I’m not much, but I’m all I think about” is a new favorite saying I gleaned from one meeting). But I haven’t felt a real connection with either the participants or their stories. As Unpickled put it once, I don’t know that I am broken enough for AA.

I have not received a DUI. I have not been fired from my job. I have not ruined my marriage and had my children taken from me. I am not waking up having pissed myself.

Instead, I choose to numb myself with alcohol, even when there is not an overt issue. I do this despite knowing that 1, 2 or 4 glasses will mean a hangover the next day. And the hangovers are the devil. And a hangover means that I am not driving safely, or doing my job well, or engaging my husband and my children.

And that, of course, is a connection even I can see. Instead of alcoholism, I have hangoverism. Splitting hairs, I know.

The 4 months of true sobriety gave me the first-hand knowledge that everything in my life – EVERYTHING – is better when I don’t drink. The 8 months of mostly sober, and my visits to the AA rooms, has taught me that I can manage to drink and not completely blow my life up. It’s a pretty low standard though, don’t you think? And there is no enjoyment or joy in it.

I need to regain some sober traction. I need to get 30 solid days under my proverbial belt.

Thanks for letting me share. It’s nice to be back.

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10 thoughts on “A Year of Mostly Sober Living in No Man’s Land

  1. I so totally can relate to this. I gave up for 71 days and I was so so happy, life was so much more manageable then I thought I would give moderating a go…….3 months later I feel I am in no man’s land as well, I know I need to get out of this hell hole and I bloody well am. New years eve is going to be my last drink. I am exhausted with drinking alcohol and the thinking about it , it takes up too much of my head space. 2015 is going to be MY year, this is the biggest gift I can get and I get to give it myself. Thanks for your blog x

  2. Pingback: “Just How Bad Does It Need To Be?” | NoMoreSally

  3. Nice to see you here again. I agree with you–for me, everything is better when I don’t drink. Like you, I went back and forth for a while, quitting for a spell and then drinking and then quitting and drinking again. I was never going to be completely convinced by what other people had to say, but I did eventually pay attention to my own experience, and I’m so glad I finally quit for good. I was surprised to find how much joy there is for me in being sober. I hope the 30 days help you clear your way through that awful No Man’s Land. Take care. xo

  4. Thank you so much for your post. I’m TOTALLY right there with you. Just turned 46, menopause is hitting pretty hard, and along with the anticipated physical symptoms have come along a lot of BIG questions about my lifestyle, relationships, and what I want my future to look like. I came of age in a particular subculture where nightlife was key… Lots of musician friends, so naturally bars were where we spent our time. Alcohol became part of our social fabric, and even as we started families and stabilized our lives, drinking was guaranteed a place at the table in any setting.
    Some friends went too far, and have since found sobriety through AA. Some others are still at it, romping on rooftops like youngsters til 4am. Still others of us are just sort of hovering around the edges, enjoying the pleasures of good microbrew, a nice wine, a creative cocktail. But the mornings are harder to bear, the older I get, and as I look at the years I have left and the creativity I have yet to express, the money and stability I have yet to earn, and the actualized woman I have yet to present to my daughters, I can see that alcohol is the road block.
    My mom was a real fall down drunk when I was a teen. So this has been my yardstick. As long as I was never out of control to that degree, drinking was OK for me. And in fact, there is much of these drinking years I don’t regret! Beautiful, poetic memories have been made. Tom Waits and Shane MacGowan could make songs of them.
    But here and now, the rules are changing. I’m examining my relationship to alcohol from a new angle, and realize that even though I, like you, haven’t gotten a DUI, or scared or neglected my children, alcohol is a barrier to achieving a joyful life. The momentary warm glow of an evening drink fades with the morning’s sour headache.
    The simple act of quitting won’t be hard. I’m not an addict in that sense. But how it will change my relationship with my friends and husband is what troubles me now. I wish there were meetings for this transition! I want to talk about these things in a supportive environment with others going through it as well. If you have any leads, please let me know.
    40 days into mostly sober living,

    Jess
    California

    • Hi Jess! I often said that I didn’t want an AA meeting as much as I wanted an “AA lite” meeting. The sober blog community and reading all the self-help books you can stomach are about the only leads I can offer you. Whether or not we are “alcoholics” aside, sobriety is a more interesting and vibrant lifestyle than a drinking lifestyle. I highly recommend it. Your daughters will be so grateful. And you will LIKE yourself more for the effort you exert and the awareness it provides.

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