“After a while the middle-aged person who lives in her head begins to talk to her soul, the kid.”
― Anne Lamott, Joe Jones
I’ve been involved in Moderation Management (MM) for over a year now and have been successfully plugging along through my plan of “indefinite abstinence.” While January reflects a continuation of my same (lack of) drinking plan, I find it’s once again exciting to anticipate my second Dryuary.
The other day, I was in the final hours of a great birthday, after spending time with family and getting wonderful well-wishes from lifelong friends. And yet, suddenly out of nowhere I heard that stupid internal voice and it said to me “aren’t you forgetting that now would be a great time to have a drink to celebrate?” And then it goes “you’re home alone, no one has to know, go ahead and *reward* yourself!” I suddenly faced that old internal dialogue where I tried to justify “deserving” a couple drinks to celebrate or reward myself. So, it was the moment of truth and it took about two seconds for me to go “I don’t think so – what a crock! I’ve come this far and this (breaking my abs streak) isn’t going to happen today.” Confirming I have the power to make a conscious choice and may choose not have alcohol play a role in my life going forward (at least at this time) provided a greater birthday gift than any drink(s) would ever provide.
Thinking back on this year, I am eternally grateful to feel that I am in a safe, stable place when it comes to managing the thoughts that come up related to alcohol and drinking. At first, I was disappointed that I couldn’t make those thoughts go away but now I accept that is the way it works for me and I’m pleased that I am able to acknowledge those thoughts are there and can work past them. I am grateful to be fully present to handle the daily challenges that arise in my life.
I have encountered a few unexpected challenges recently. As I’m sure many of you who participate in online chats and telephone calls know, I have spoken at length about my Mom and her struggles with respiratory issues and now congestive heart failure. Through her hospital visits, doctors’ appointments, and all the other daily ups and downs: I’m thankful to be sober and ready to handle any issue that arises at any time. I’m not sure how I would’ve handled this years ago without the support of MM. Then about a week before Christmas, my apartment building was vandalized, where one or more criminals violently broke down a maintenance door and stole all the keys to the building. Door locks were promptly replaced but one tenant still had his unit robbed. So, it’s been a nerve-wracking time for the residents in the building, as many of us feel pretty violated by the crime. At the same time, I am so glad that no one was hurt by confronting the criminals during their crime. Property is replaceable and is not worth unnecessary risk to a person’s life or injury. This scary event was one more reminder that I am thankful to not be fumbling my way home late at night anymore!
I recall that early in my sobriety, I felt frustration at times as I broke away from my previous drinking habits. I felt like a little kid again, telling myself I couldn’t have something (and in turn allowing some kind of inner stubborn streak to kick in).
That said, I recently came across the movie “Big” playing on TV (Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins) and it was really quite amazing to watch this movie again years later, in a different light. In a competitive business world, adults are shown backstabbing each other and behaving in childish, petty ways (at a toy company no less!). They drink excessively while discussing the same, mind-numbing topics at the company party. So, without giving away too much of the plot for those who haven’t seen it… I found a theme in the movie that sometimes we need to remind ourselves of what it was like to be a kid again by not taking ourselves too seriously, treating others the way we would like to be treated, and allowing ourselves to have some safe (and sober) fun regularly.
Post submitted by: Marc, MM Member