HOME ALONE

a little warm-up to my girl’s night IN

Last night my husband was out of town due to travel for his work and I was left home . . . alone.

Many of you can probably appreciate the sweet freedom this allows.  When you live with someone it can be liberating and borderline decadent to have your home all to yourself, especially overnight. My Mom has long exalted the praises of a night spent solo and I wholeheartedly concur. This rarely happens for me and I couldn’t help but giggle at the vast difference in how I spent my evening last night, as opposed to how I may have spent the exact same evening a few years back.

You card-carrying alcoholics KNOW what I’m talking about. YES YOU DO, AND I CAN SEE THE   NAUGHTY GRIN CREEPING ONTO YOUR FACES RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE.

It’s hard to describe, really. We all know what our “single” behavior is like and it’s exactly like that but when you’re a drunk it takes a little bit more of a dark self-destructive turn than one in the direction of healthy self care.  I would love to sit here and tell you that I would use that time to catch up on my feminist and political reading and make myself some sort of wildly colorful salad and apply a charcoal mask while polishing my toenails, but that was never the case.  Not even close.

My nights would always start out innocently enough, with one or two (all right, more like four to six) very crisp martinis and some Gillian Welch on the stereo. Fast forward three hours and I’m blackout drunk; eating a sackful of greasy slider’s while singing “Round and Round” by RATT at the top of my lungs in the living room while Fight Club simultaneously blares from the tv set. Then there would be the inevitable phone-call to my dead friend Ben who always answered and always encouraged me to have yet another stiff drink and we’d be bitchy and judge-y together often until the wee hours of the next morning.  In his defense, he did talk me out of cutting my own bangs for two decades so I owe him solid props for that.

my, how times have changed

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this rare ritual unabashedly and really, no one but Ben was the wiser, and that’s exactly the type of thinking that can keep a drunk white-knuckling it for an entire evening in sobriety. NO ONE WOULD BE THE WISER. No one would know if I ran to the liquor store and I could totally get white girl wasted and hide/destroy all the evidence before my husband’s return. This type of dilemma can torture a drunk, certainly, but not this drunk, at least not last night.  One could argue that I would know, yes, me – the actual drunk doing the rationalizing but this is where you’ve forgotten that while not all liars are drunks, ALL drunks are liars and lying to ourselves is our speciality.  Sure I would know. But would I care? No, because we don’t care when we think we are getting away with it.  Childish, I know, but so very accurate, in my case anyway. In fact, I’d even congratulate myself on how mature and responsible I was for saving money and not driving.  Practically a role model and a law-abiding citizen, I was. Blurgh.

But I care, now. I care a lot now.

I guess my pain is too darn close in the rear-view mirror for me to even entertain these types of horrid thoughts, and I’m truly grateful for that. Of course the thought crossed my mind, how could it not, given my years of practice and experience? But the thought was fleeting, and laughable, really.

my not-so-distant future

The truth is that I spent my evening with Cortez, our asshole cat, and we shared some chicken fajitas and Mexican street corn. I scrolled through some social media and flipped through the new Rolling Stone. I turned off all the lights and we bundled up under fluffy blankets and watched the Season 2 finale of Ozark while eating chocolate chip ice cream covered in marshmallow fluff (now my guilty pleasure) and chocolate syrup. I was in bed with said cat listening to my meditation app by 10pm, I shit you not. And you know what?  IT WAS HEAVENLY.

It was simply lovely and I remember everything. I awoke this morning before sunrise and went to my bootcamp instead of waking up to the aftermath of a frat party wondering where all those bruises came from and what are tater tots doing in the bathtub?!?  

What do you do with unexpected time to yourself?  I promise I won’t judge. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing sixteen shots of Fireball and sobbing your way through Steel Magnolias. NOTHING I TELL YOU.

 

Ask for what you need

Waking up this morning to a grey sky with a crisp white snowy landscape was lovely. Unemployment doesn’t seem quite so terrible and inconvenient on mornings like this.  It was peaceful to sit in fleecy leggings while sipping tea this morning pretending to be some care-free gal who knows nothing about her car insurance bill coming due in two weeks.

Reality is still out there but today is about recharging my batteries and a little bit of self-care. I’m going to update my facebook status with updates including yoga and chai lattes but in the interest of transparency, I’ll admit to an episode or six of Intervention and a bag of cheesy poofs.

Self-care has become one of those annoying buzzwords in the last few years.  Much like “go-to” and “no-brainer”, which I both abhor, yet still use.  We talk about it a lot in recovery because it’s an essential part of self-preservation and doing what’s best for you. I try to practice it in theory, but like everyone else, I still have a life to keep up with and attend to and attention to oneself is often what falls through the cracks.  Often we don’t feel we deserve it and therefore not only is it not a priority, it barely registers on our radars.

Now, self-care means more than the stereotypical bubble-bath, especially to alcoholics. There are just as many facets to self-care as their are types of gin. There’s emotional, spiritual and physical self-care, not to mention mental and social. It can be as straightforward as setting boundaries with others to simply asking for what you need.

Asking for what you need is brilliance in its simplicity. The first time this was suggested to me I almost laughed at the ironic absurdity of the approach.  Why, asking for what I need?!?  No way. Surely it’s more layered and complicated than THAT?!?!

It’s not.

A few weeks ago my family and I had a holiday obligation to honor that none of us were especially excited about, specifically me. I had obsessed and projected and mentally spiraled the outcome of this said event into such a negative spin that I almost hyperventilated.  Yes, this event that HAD NOT EVEN OCCURRED YET.  I had to sit my sweet husband down and ask for help. I shared with him my concerns and fears and even when my hot molten crazy spewed forth from my insane alcoholic obsessive brain, he got it.  I’m not saying it will always work or you will always even be heard, but isn’t it worth the effort to at least try? My husband knows my foundation of sobriety is strong, but he also knows that those waters can get choppy and rough over circumstances like this and it’s not worth fighting a wake of resentment if it can be avoided.

And you know what? It worked out just fine. It wasn’t awesome, but it wasn’t miserable, and the people that mattered most were kept in focus. Isn’t it funny how the right thing to do is so often the hardest thing to do?  Why the hell is that?!  Sometimes just setting some boundaries and asking for what you need can get results that work for everyone, most importantly you. Recovery is hard work and I don’t think ANY of us need an EXTRA reason to get drunk these days.

Now this is not to propose that you get cocky and show-offy with your new found luck in communication.  For instance, after this last success I chose to exercise my newfound boundary skills by claiming to have come down with a terrible case of ANAL GLAUCOMA as an excuse to avoid a work function at my husband’s company.  “What the heck is that”? he asked.  “Oh, it’s nothing serious,” I replied. “It’s just that I can’t SEE MY ASS doing that” and then I laughed so hard I farted loudly at the same time.

It’s pretty awesome being married to me.