What worked for me quickie

Someone recently asked me if I would like to go my whole life having wanted to drink. No, I wouldn’t want that. I at times do want to drink, like I am not “triggered”, but just feel like having something and think “what difference does it make?” At times I still see no major issue with it, while knowing all the negative aspects. I miss the ease in doing it and of shutting the thoughts up for a moment. But, the thoughts have definitely calmed down and are far far less of an issue anyways. Which I know came only as a combination of: not drinking, TIME*, meditation, veganism*, sleep, completely cutting out caffeine, and working on staying true to what I’ve come to realize is “me”.

*Time and *veganism are huge. They are all connected, absolutely, but for so long, even doing “all the things” I was still miserable. For years. I thought it would NEVER GET BETTER and was immensely frustrated. So, it takes time, or took time for me anyways. But it DID COME.

Then. Becoming a vegan was when things really started making some damn sense. The cognitive dissonance finally vanished, like immediately. It was as if there was a mask dancing around my face all along and I finally turned and put it on my face and it just clicked on and I was finally looking out the right eye holes.

There was finally a real meaning and I could answer the question of “what difference does it make” on that. In the 30 days I’ve been a vegan, I’ve saved at least 30 lives in dinners alone. If I were to include the whey shakes and leather purse I had intended to buy and the egg whites I ate every.single.day for 10 years, the number would be much greater. There is the reason right there. I am no longer supporting the industries of dairy, meat and fish, leather and animal cruelty products. My dollars and energies are going to vegan or plant-based companies.

I still struggle with the “what’s the point” on the alcohol side of things. I do. Especially when I compare it to the real meaning that comes into play as a vegan. I mean, if I hurt myself but no one else, then so what. But I think it’s all part of what has helped me feel even incrementally better, if not much better. And that is was this journey was about. So I must stick with that.

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Denial in drinking

When I drank I always thought alcohol was “just part of being an adult, part of life, part of fun”. I would deny how I felt and how much I hated drinking, until I the point years later when I felt like I actually enjoyed it. At that point, I really depended on it (so I thought, that was the story I told myself).
I would so often deny how I felt in my actual life, how unhappy and stuck I was. And projected those feelings onto the alcohol. Like as if the alcohol itself was the thing making me unhappy. While it indeed was, it was not the root cause.
So I denied the fact that I saw no real purpose or allure in drinking to begin with, hated it from the very beginning, hated people when they were drinking, then hated myself and my life as I got more and more stuck in things that were more and more not in alignment with my true self, then hated the alcohol and tried to stop, while denying that I could also change my life.
It’s not just the alcohol itself that denial comes into play on.
I see denial in others – the same I had and beyond, still. I just saw it this past weekend when we visited a family member. She doesn’t drink during the week and used to be a very heavy drinker. I used to leave visits with her with alcohol poisoning, one time the morning after, I could hardly drive myself home and had to keep pulling over, as I was having major digestive issues, and major panic attacks and anxiety. I come home finally and cried and cried, in a wet panic. Another time after spending a few days with her and her “friends”, I was flying home in a deep depression and with alcohol poisoning again, but this time jammed on a plane between 2 asshole men who hogged the armrests and spread their knees out into my space… I was too destroyed to stick up for myself and had to keep rushing to the bathroom to throw-up. When my boyfriend saw me to pick me up at the airport, he was horrified, furious and upset to see the state I was in. I still continued to drink for many years after that experience too.
So, this person I’m talking about, considers herself fine as she does not drink during the week, ok sounds good. But she was in a “mood” for a couple days of the visit – Thursday and Friday. Then when Saturday rolled around she was changed and kept talking about the place we were getting lunch at. She said a couple times, as if she’d just realized it spur of the moment “I think I’ll have a glass of wine with lunch!”. I knew better. I knew it had been simmering in her mind for days already. Then her mood completely changed and she was giddy and then said “oooo I love Saturdays! It’s my favorite day of the week!!” I just looked out the car window, nodding to myself, like “yeah, I’ve been there, you can’t fool me” I knew that was why she wanted her husband to drive to the restaurant, so that she could drink. And so on.
Then at the restaurant she couldn’t wait to get the server and order her wine, I could feel her energy. Then quickly drank it and got another one. Later at home again she had 2 drinks with vodka.
So she will go the rest of the week without any at all. Many people would look at that and not see any issue at all.
I think it’s controlled in her case, in these occasions. But I know that when she goes on vacations for example, the drinking starts at 11 am and continues the whole time. Maybe she doesn’t get wasted anymore, but she’s had many drinks. So is that controlling it? Should we be “controlling” an uncontrollable substance?
Her husband was a heavy drinker also. He would pound beers and whiskeys and it was always “the thing”. He and I had a candid moment, while she was not around, and he said how he doesn’t much enjoy drinking a lot because he’s aware of how he will feel the next day. And that this knowledge ruins it. Also, that he doesn’t really enjoy drinking anyways, just does it to be social in social situations.
I was FLOORED. This guy did not seem like this was what was behind his mask at all.
So he is denying that he can simply not drink and he’s denying that there is nothing social about it in the first place.

The actions to break free are to begin with being really clear with yourself about how alcohol literally makes you feel, act, think, react, etc. Both when you drink it and the day after. Start there. Does it make you feel great on the first glass but then sinking thereafter? Like you’re trying to catch a slowly moving train? Do you keep piling the drinks on but can never grasp the railing?
When you are honest with yourself, then your actions will start to change. Then you’ll have 1 day free, then 1 week, then 1 Saturday, then 1 date, 1 cooking night etc. And you’ll see there is life outside of alcohol and you can’t deny that.
I still struggle myself on the long-term alcohol-free life. But I can’t deny that I sleep better, feel better, look better and have less anxiety, among other things, now that I’m not drinking. It just takes time to see and feel these things, you have to give yourself a real chance. Alcohol was not always in your life.

Plant-based L.U.V.

On my last post I was presenting my choice to become a vegan and some of the thoughts that were going into that choice. I knew moments after making the choice that it would not be a “30 day thing”, there’s absolutely no way in hell I would or could go back to eating animals, using animals, wearing them or any of that mindset. I don’t know how anyone could do so. It’s way different but runs parallels of sobriety. In sobriety, there are times when a person might (myself included) see a whisper of a reason to drink again, maybe even a screaming voice with gnashing teeth. Whereas with veganism, once I had seen 2 minutes of Melanie Joy’s video, I was all set and that will never leave. I could never go back to eating ice cream, knowing that milk cows are “forcibly impregnated” (ie: raped ok everybody?), made to stand in one place their entire lives and have their babies stolen from them and kept nearby so they will continue producing milk. And what, there’s more. More is done to them and less is done to them. Meaning – more atrocities, more enslavement, and less compassion, less consideration, less fairness, less quality of life, less hope…And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Do I see cows roaming around the hills and meadows around here in Maine? Yes. Maybe they are ok? Maybe they are hooked up to the machines only for parts of their days? Perhaps. Ok, so then it comes to another part of the equation – we are not supposed to be stealing their product and drinking it. That’s for the babies and that’s it. And how many wandering, meandering cows do you know of anyways? Do you drink just their milk? Ok, good. But it’s still bad for your body. Dairy causes cell multiplication, mucus, allergies, constipation, and so on. Lot’s more than I am knowledgeable about. But it brings me to my own experience thus far, with the plant based diet.

Top of the list, correlating to the fact that I am no longer in the DIRECT line of raping, torturing, killing and dismembering animals, is the immediate feeling of miraculous and long long sought after, relief. I finally felt like things made some damn sense inside. In my head in my body in my soul my spirit…I’m telling you…it was this clicking, this feeling like it was always there, right in front of my face and all I had to do was look directly at it.

Like a mask that had been invisibly floating, even had eye holes, nose and mouth holes, and as soon as it became pressed up to my skin, I understand something. I could see all the steps in leading up to this – the switching to almond milk, the interests in vegetarian recipes, the thoughts of “wouldn’t it feel so much nicer and cleaner to just buy vegetables and starches?” All the diets or even the lifestyle changes: calorie counting, ketogenic, low-carb, uncounted calories, all the gym time, protein powders, supplements, constipation, digestive issues, stomach bloating, sadness around food, knowledge that something was just wrong, but what was it?

Well. A lot of things were wrong and many things still are. Not just with me, but with the world beyond me. But “it is better to do something rather than nothing” and this is something that I can do, for the animals, for the environment, for the world. My health is important yes. But the fact that this goes beyond my health, my micro world, and into the world of animal care, then that is so significant, that is spirit world.

It all flowed so well. Foodwise – many things I had in my cabinets already. Here’s a list of positives of being a vegan, outside of the main – which is obviously animal welfare, thus far:

  • This feeling of reaching for something and finally putting my hand on it. Flow. Familiar thing, but all new too. Like I’d always been meant to do this, in my life.
  • Poop. OMG. For someone who forever had issues of one kind or another. I went 4 times in 1 day of legit detoxifying matter. Not something you wanted to know? Well, then skip down the list. No more pains, no more poop ghosting.
  • No mood swings related to food/ blood sugar levels.
  • Energy levels feel pretty balanced and regular
  • Lost 2 lbs so far, never hungry stabbing pain feelings
  • Skin is clearer and tighter
  • Sleeping better
  • No more urinary pains or pressure
  • Period slowed down (it was intense flow to say the least)
  • CHEAPER to buy food, easier to buy food
  • I like the foods, everything tastes great
  • Feels cleaner, no worry of temps when cooking or bacteria when transporting food or preparing foods (cutting boards, cleaning hands, sinks etc.)
  • It simply all makes sense.

 

I will add to this list as time goes on.

Strongly recommend and hope that everyone either is a vegan already or will be one someday.

 

Compassion, Justice, Authenticity

 

The combination of these three words: Compassion, Justice, Authenticity, comes from Melanie Joy’s TedTalk on “carnism”. I HIGHLY suggest watching it.

The disturbing and wrong-in-my-guts feeling of eating animals started when I was little, as far back as I can remember, I was thoroughly disturbed by eating eggs. I was horrified by their formation, even before I knew the details and had chicken friends of my own. There was just something so wrong about it. I recall in Walt Disney World, at the character breakfasts with Chip and Dale running around, my parents for some reason were insisting I eat scrambled eggs, which were nauseating me. One of the characters came over and was trying to entice me to eat them, when they saw the struggle I was putting up, and I remember crying and refusing while being hugged by the character while he tried putting the fork in my mouth. I remember also feeling (hysterical) but a relief that I was able to illustrate just how I felt for once, as this behavior was not allowed in my home.

Milk and cheese always tasted good (well, cheese did, milk ugg I hated milk but was forced to drink 2 glasses of skim every. single.day) but I always felt hollow, bubbly, stomach pains and vaguely queasy afterwards. This continued until I left home and could make my own food choices, as differences were not allowed either.

My father was a vegetarian for 2 years, but my mother did not enhance this decision of his, nor were we allowed to all partake of it. She would make absolutely foul smelling, looking and tasting bland dinners for him, that were things like burnt broccoli, white potatoes and onions covered in cumin. I can still smell it. Because she herself did not consider alternatives or get creative with food or flex whatsoever. She wanted the crap she always ate and that was it. Totally lacking in originality or interest, back to her chips and mystery book, alone in the cold, silent, lifeless “living room”. Furnace set at 62 degrees, no exceptions.

After that, in college, I met several straight-edge people, in particular, one was my roommate. and another one I worked with in the mail room of the dorm. His name was Rich I think. He was gorgeous, these piercing dark blue eyes with black eyelashes, tall, straight posture, wore skater clothes, had XXX tattooed on his hands. He had this steady, penetrating gaze, he seemed to find me interesting too. He seemed to have many things figured out and was guiet but thoughtful, very intelligent, respectful. I often think of him. I also knew vegans at my other job – Kinko’s – one was always sniffling and under the weather. For a long time I equated veganism with him – sickly, vitamin deficient, oddly abstaining from macaroni and cheese, surely there was no harm in it?

From this period in my life, I recall eating meat very rarely. One time at the cafeteria at school I got chicken wings, due to lack of alternative interesting looking food, I liked those because I could drench them in sauce and blue cheese dressing and they tasted just like those things, I hated the taste and texture, the weight, of chicken. But this time, they were even beyond all those things and I was confronted with the reality – the wings had a couple toenails and a tiny piece of a feather sticking out of one. I was HORRIFIED and took my plate over to the cooking staff, who promptly and without being shocked – explained that “That was how they came sometimes, it’s fine”. And went about their tasks again.

Then at my next college in North Carolina, I met another XXX girl who was also a vegan. She was very interesting too and took a liking to me as well. I went over her house many times to eat spaghetti and watch movies. She had a very short haircut, many piercings, tattoos and as Rich, seemed to be very self-sustaining and strong, clear in thoughts. Straightforward. I don’t remember why I stopped hanging out with her, maybe it was just the move back to Massachusetts.

Off and on, the issues with meats would come about. Then 10 years ago my close friend very vegan for 1 year. She told me a great deal about it and I found it fascinating. But also confusing, like, how can she deal with being out in the world? What to eat? How to not overdo the carbs and get enough protein? Will you get sickly? And so on.

Then in the last few years, my meat consumption was decreased and often I have thought or said to my husband “how nice it would be to just not eat meat, don’t you think? Don’t you think it would be not only cheaper but feel better? It seems so much cleaner. No bacteria in the kitchen. No dragging myself to the kitchen to render a carcass. No sadness. No feelings of shame and remorse and worry that I have to squelch by thoughts of “but this bacon is so tasty”. The full-on knowing of what it done to there animals.

I have said it again and again…left to my own devices and when I lived alone for years, I never cooked chicken or meats, I ate a lot of eggs, a lot of vegetables, a lot of starches. I had steak from take out once a month or so and it was good, but something inside always said “oh dear” when I looked into the box. Pushing down the real feelings and stuffing myself. I would usually eat toast, sandwiches, falafel, things like that.

So then last year, I recall suggesting several times in particular – that we try no meat for a week, my husband always comes back to the “enough protein” thing and we both don’t love eating beans. So on it went. Then I hear stories of people who go vegan and get these deficiencies and all these issues digestively, but I also hear the alternative.

Then I am actually seeing veganism everywhere I look, it’s not just a coincidence. And I am so glad to see it. It makes me happy and feels free and clean. Clean from suffering andf knowing something it wrong but doing it anyways. Something has been yelling inside. I am thinking about it, it pops into my mind quite often….it is an evolving revolution….And I am following this vegan and that one and watching this documentary and have chickens of my own and read this book and follow this guy and that woman and now here I am.

This video was introduced to me by the estimable Lee Davey of the Truth About Alcohol website. Honestly, I don’t care much for dogs, as I equate dogs with humans at this point. So her parallel for me would be better served as any other animal pretty much 🙂 but this video is just well…miraculous. And we can clearly see how you can also replace the word “meat” with “alcohol”. You can definitely see the connection, how everything comes together.

Her video was very interesting, also horrible to see the factory videos. I had know most of this information, but to see it again was just unexplained. I cannot understand how people could do these kinds of jobs, just to get a paycheck. I imagine the people who do the jobs go home and watch tv and drink beer and try not to hear the screams at night. All for what. I had to really brace myself to watch the videos. I’ve actually been thinking more and more about vegetarianism and veganism, for a long time now. It’s akin to quitting alcohol, very much so, and that whole process of thinking beforehand for long times, checking in with myself while still eating meat, seeing how saying things like “I’m not eating meat this week” makes me feel etc. But just to stop this suffering, would make everything so much more worthwhile. So terrible.
-It is like last night when I watched the Amy Winehouse documentary called “Amy”. I was on the verge of tears for the entire 2 hours. Seeing her so happy, then so destroyed. With no one really helping her, with people literally ruining her. Her onstage completely trashed and helpless. I had to look away many times, as it reminded me of myself and I remember the pain so well.
-And I agree the same information can be taken towards alcohol and beyond. “Everyday we engage in a behavior that requires us to distort our thoughts, numb our feelings, and act against our core values…we don’t even know we have a choice…”
-To watch other people put meat/ alcohol into their mouths…is unsettling to say the least. I think it must be even harder on the meat side of the issue, than the alcohol side. Because I think it must be more emotional.
– Compassion, justice, authenticity – those are so crucial.
– “We pay for our carnism with our hearts and our minds”
– myths versus facts
– filters of seeing the world

On a side, much easier to digest note, something I am noticing about vegans – she/they look fantastic. Not only healthy and alive, but wow, so so much younger than they are.
Same happens with non-drinking doesn’t it.

– This new way of seeing alcoholism, well I am overtaken. It’s just been such a brighter way, I feel horrified, such an understanding, but then freed from the oppressive bubble of beliefs that are just taken as “how things are”.

Liberty

I’ve have been kicking around changing my name. To finally take on both my husband’s name (which I’ve always liked and rather disliked my odd sounding one) and also my first name. This idea popped into my head out of the blue a couple weeks ago and I realized right away what I would change my first name to: Liberty.

The name hit me just right and I thought “yes absolutely, that’s the one”. I told my husband and he gave me “the face” and said how much he always liked my real name and that changing it would be all this paperwork and hardship, cost.

Which is true and I’d thought of that. But to me, just the idea that yeah, I could just fricking do that if I wanted to, was very interesting and meaningful.

To me, it feels like my secret name, my real name. Like the name I have that I don’t say out loud, not because I’m ashamed, but because it’s not an audible thing, it’s my feeling name or my spirit name. It has nothing to do with the Social Security office.

A few years ago, one of my favorite humans Holly Whitaker said “It’s not over until you’re free”. I wrote this in my phone, as it really touched me, as does so much of what she says. While there are so many things that I will never be free of, at the very same time, I am free of them.

I have realized I can create my own reality

I have realized I can create my own values and beliefs, my own worldview

This morning I saw on IG the quote: ” Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”

Then, while listening to Lee Davy’s podcast with Ted Izydor, they were talking about authenticity and recovery and Ted said how addiction is “rigid in all capacities….very rigid, very routine…the opposite of rigidity is flexibility”. How quitting something and not relapsing ever, or going back and forth between the behavior and not the behavior, is very very uncommon and to do so would be perfectionism in a sense. And that they are getting along the bridge each time, making it further across the way. Their using life is farther behind then and their new sober life is closer and more present. Also, they touched on how people can relapse in thoughts, not just in action.

Meaning, to be one day thinking “oh maybe I could drink again” is a relapse too.

Interestingly, I was just talking about this exact issue 2 nights ago with my husband. He asked me what my definition of moderation was. I said how I really didn’t think moderation made sense as a word. Because if you’re deciding to “moderate” then you’re thinking about it and it may not really be “moderation” it may just be more of “controlling the problem”. That I thought that having 2 five ounce glasses of wine, pushing the cork firmly into the bottle immediately after, taking the bottle into the kitchen, putting it inside the cabinet and patting yourself on the back for doing all this is called “drinking” to me. Not at all “moderating”. Because you’re putting all this thought and effort into doing/not doing something. And doing it for a reason. Why not just have none? Why not have the whole bottle?

That doing the above and believing that you’ve solved any problem is disillusion.

Instead of the word moderation, I would put it like, “people who don’t have a mental alcohol issue” and those people are very few. Those people would look like my mother for instance. She never drank, not ever. Because she knew people who drank and it looked like they lost control and she didn’t want to lose control. Also, the mere smell turned her stomach. Then like 15 years ago someone made her a madras, she drank some and said she liked the taste. 6 years after that I took her to a pub and got her one, she drank some, left most of it and said it tasted good. Then had a cocoa and a cookie. That was the last time I’m aware of that she has had alcohol so far.

Everyone else who drinks is biding time, controlling it by using a good amount of energy, thinking about it, doesn’t give a shit and doesn’t think about it, but suffers in some way from it and will most likely, eventually have to look into it.

I see nothing “sober” about a person who is always trying not to drink. Who bemoans the fact that “they can’t” or “shouldn’t”. Who drinks O’Douls every night. That is not sobriety, either actionable or mental. That sounds like rigidity, not like freedom or open. That sounds closed and gray and tight.

Putting it all together, it was quite wonderful to see clearly how not drinking anymore is the simplest way to go – it is the way of the freedom. My husband recently was upset thinking that no having a beer after work meant there was one more thing he had to think about or couldn’t have. He didn’t want to think about it and wanted the freedom to have it or not have it. This was in response to my plea of can we just not have alcohol in the house right now? I was struggling with the “what’s the points” recently, for 2 weeks. Did not drink, but almost did, in a mental sense and would have in a real sense, had like 2 mm more of that kind of thinking matched up, it felt like. What stopped me was, I am not sure exactly. It was him telling me it was definitely not worth it, that I would feel shitty, the knowledge that this was true, that even if there was no point, I’d thought there was one enough previously to start this journey again, I’d regretted it in 2016 when I started again – after just exactly this same thought process, that I needed to give myself a chance to fell better still, that if there was no point, then that didn’t mean I should drink, there just was no point.  Having no point did not equal drinking, it meant doing more of the things I liked and hanging in there, hanging tough and maybe there would be something brighter on the other side, even though it was so so so incredibly dark, for a while again. And you know what? There WAS. There literally WAS SOMETHING BETTER, BRIGHTER THERE on the other side of that period of like 2 months.

People always say, myself included, “oh I want to be free to decide” which you are. The only way to keep your freedom though, is to make the best decision. The one that keeps you, me free. That is where the liberty truly is. It is nuanced but it is real palpable too. It is not just my spirit name, it is my spirit. If I put my spirit into a word. It has become known to me, expressible.

Have your true freedom, be liberty.

 

 

The Martian Question

mart

Quick post – a valuable mentor of mine suggested I consider what I would tell a Martian about drinking. How I would explain to the Martian why we do this as a society, as a planet (those cultures who do). And whether or not alcoholism is a disease.

It’s always interesting to me how these thoughts seem fully formed in my mind, but they only really jump to life when I write them out. Here are my thoughts:

In regards to alcohol, I do not believe that alcoholism is a disease. I’ve never believed this, even long before I started this whole process. I think addictions are their own category; an ever changing combination of beliefs, fears, mental issues, traumas, frustrations, maybe physical issues, habits, coping mechanisms, hobbies even. Addictions are pretty individual but they also have some general characteristics like being used to numb/ change feelings/ thoughts, even if temporarily/ to feel a sense of control (initially), a sense of freedom to do it (also initially).

To a Martian, I would describe the act of drinking as – we humans get stuck into our smallness-es due to traumas, fears, worries, boredom – an all encompassing feeling of lack of control and freedom. Rather than just walk off into the sunset like we would like to, we often have this sense of duty or lack of choices or creativity in thinking of choices, so we run off into the sunset in our minds instead. We are physically there, oftentimes doing or acting in ways we don’t want to, so drinking this poison kills enough of our brains and senses, but keeps enough of them alive (usually) so that we can still go through some motions. We become dependent on the anesthetizing and it’s reinforced that existing in our societies is so bad, that we can’t live without it properly. Even parties or vacations – fun things – require this dropping out. And quitting the drugs must be SO HARD (spoken rather sarcastically, because this is what we are told over and over) because it’s so ingrained in our lives that most people don’t even try. We just give in and sink to the bottom of the pool.

A Vacation from my problems

WhatBob

This quote from “What about Bob” often pops into my mind. As annoying as that movie is at a lot of spots, it’s very funny and so well done. Many people want to strangle Bob by mid-way through…

In 2015 husband and I went to Acadia, as we do every year at least once, and I had been (at that time I said “sober”) since August 13th. We did not have a good time, it was really the first time it was a struggle up there in the 12 or so times we’d gone previously. It was the end of the season, everyone was worn out and didn’t give a shit and rushing everything along, food was crummy at each place. It felt like they were just cleaning out their fridges, which they probably were. Also, the feeling of being part of this hand-over-fist-money-making-scheme-so-they-can-go-on-their-own-vacations-for-3-months ($50 for a simple breakfast for 2 people; $3 for a glass of seltzer water; $10 bowl of oatmeal; $20 bowl of bisque etc) thing was even more noticeable than usual.

I definitely attributed that starkness to the fact that I wasn’t pouring ($40 for an $18 bottle of wine at the store) wine down my neck anymore. In the past I would follow along with everyone else and have the 2 cocktails at the window in the cute side street bar with the cool music playing and watch people go by and make fun of them, then go to dinner and split a bottle of wine, then go to another bar and have a couple gran marniers (and want more still) then go back to the room and sleep like terrors and force myself to hike again the next day. Repeat all the next night – $200 poorer each night.

But that time, I tasted every crappy morsel and noticed every rushed movement, the tourist pack felt highly oppressive, I struggled to maintain any kind of “vacation vibe”, we left early.

Fast forward to 2016, I had not been drinking (by then it was just “not drinking” not “sober”) for some months, as I did for most of 2016. The months of drinking were dark DEEP BLACK holes of frustration, depression, angst, self-torment, anger, nightmares…but then I reflected back on 2015’s trip and as we were going there for husband’s birthday, I thought I simply had to “have and be a good time” and that there was not way around it and the shit in my mind so I rather panicked and pushed myself to drink. I remember mentioning it to my husband and telling him how I thought I could allow myself to drink on the trip to try to relax and he said oh yeah you’ll be fine, you’re on vacation. Which is an acceptable thing to say, I mean what else could he do, tell me no? It was a hard spot to be in, I wasn’t asking for permission and I most likely wouldn’t have listened to another response. Because a man in the rain doesn’t understand the man in the cold. It’s ok. We are all going through this alone, there is no true wiggle room on either side.

So I drank on that vacation (wine, cocktails, 6 or so gran marniers – all that on the first night – I felt desperate to get a good feeling, to relax to have fun). I recall this reaching feeling in my head, it just grabbed and grabbed and tried and sought and it never came. The feeling of desperation hounded me that night, snapping its jaws. The next day I was so ill, not as ill as throwing up, but I was miserable all day. I didn’t want to hike but I didn’t say anything about it and we did anyways and had a good one. Then that afternoon I was so cranky and surly, we went to a seafood place on the water and I had this sangria that tasted like rotten koolaid and hated myself immensely, Still that reaching desperate feeling, trying to make up for the shitty way I felt, leading to total flaccid impotent feelings. I couldn’t drive home the next day, still wasted from the first night. After that trip I drank some here and there I think, then started the Whole 30 in December and drank nothing for some months.

Now it is 2017 and we just returned from our Acadia trip of the year, I no longer drink (it’s not “sober” or “taking a break” or any of that now), the last day of drinking for me was July 23rd, so that’s a little over 3 months but I’m counting-not counting. I can’t believe it’s only been that long, it has this always been that way feeling. It is frustrating to have the knowledge that if I’d just stayed stopped since August 2015 I would have over 2 years under my belt and would be in MUCH better shape by now in all the ways, but I am not living in the land of regrets like I used to thankfully. It is worth a note here, but I don’t walk around hating myself over it anymore.

I do walk around with the knowledge that there are no redeeming qualities in drinking and that I have miles of data on how booze will not make me fun, happy, relaxed, carefree etc and that it will literally make me the opposite of those things. And it’s the most basic, outdated, contrary, lazy, boring thing I could do to myself in order to achieve those positive emotions. I mean how lazy-ass is it to be like: Oh I’m on vacation, it’s me time now, I was to relax. Let me just strap this bottle to my face like a feedbag and let it do all the work. I’ll put my well-being, health, thoughts, motor skills etc, into the hands of this faceless liquor company and just let the night roll on. I’ll be completely irresponsible to my own life and desires and allow the booze to do it’s work. Because I’m a totally uncreative idiot who can’t make things happen in my life, I need someone or something else to do it for me. I just live other people’s dreams and the imaginary world they portray (Sex in the City for example…2/4 of those ladies DO NOT DRINK IN REAL LIFE – isn’t that wonderful and hilarious? How STUPID are the people who buy into that shtick?). I love it. that’s the ground zero for the alcohol industry.

You may think I was sitting around judging. I was not. I did notice who was drinking and who was not, in a general sense, and there were more people not drinking than I would have thought were doing so in the past. I noticed the guy at the next table in the pub who got a seltzer and lime. I noticed last time at mid-day, the table of young guys at the hip cafe who got a pitcher of water and coffees – they were not hung over, they were perfectly normal. I noticed the couple who got drinks and left without finishing them. I also noticed the guy at the bar sitting with a full pint of beer for an hour, not even touching it. So there were quite a few who didn’t even seem interested in it. So it made me wonder rhetorically, why some of the ones who did get the drinks even bothered?

Really it was all a bit of nonsense. My seltzer was $2-3 for example (but it is anywhere actually) whereby my husband’s brewery beer was $5-10. Beer is $5 but seltzer is $3? That’s bullshit. The seltzer is pennies. That’s like charging for water. Oh wait…they do charge for water in some spots. Sigh…silly utter nonsense and there’s no booze-haze to make me forget about it.

So I see it all. And I could do it all reasonably (no hangovers no lack of ability to drive or walk or pee without falling down). And I felt sad and cried and I felt happy and laughed and it was a great experience all-in-all. I was upset about all the tourists this late in the year, even the workers were surprised and disgusted. When we went to Compass Harbor there was a cruise ship off Nananau Wood’s compound. It was rough walking and just being, around that many late seasoners. I couldn’t deal. We walked at Sandy Beach and people were doing things I felt you didn’t need to do while in such natural beauty, just be outside dammit. People were driving drones on the beach and  walking around with tripods and equipment, everyone was staring at a cell phone every day, in their cars, at their dinner tables with their partners (each person staring at phones, at the same tables). It was overwhelming nonsense. And the dogs at the dinner tables oh my god. But then I am aware of how my parents are – the constant cranking about what people are like, with the hair or clothes or tattoos or dogs or children or groups or talking or noise….and I realize I simply CANNOT become like that. Or even stay the way I am or am becoming. I simply CANNOT. I refuse to end up that way, I will not.

I realized I was not being responsible for my own life, for my own feelings. I was putting my feelings into the hands of other people. My happiness was contingent on other people not having emotional service dogs in baby carriages, on other people making way on the sidewalk or not, on how many people were on a particular trail…I was making it up to them to decide for ME. Just like the booze situation. “I’m sad, booze make me happy”. It’s all lazy whiny bullshit.

I take full responsibility for my life, for my feelings, for my actions, for my goals and desires and emotions. I can’t take a vacation from my problems, but I can make less things “my problems”.

And – we will be buying kayaks and tents FINALLY and camping and staying out of the tourist assembly line. And that’s it. Now that we have the energy (thanks to not drinking) and don’t have to take booze into the equation, we will be able to do the things we really always wanted to do. If I’d still been drinking I wouldn’t have been able to make that happen.

You can’t know till you know. Can you get through life not knowing it? Sure. People do all the time, in all levels of dishevelment. But again, once you know, you can’t unknown. And maybe you know…