A favorite author of mine, Mayra Hornbacher, wrote in one of her books about a moment when her life “broke in half”. When all the sudden, everything was either before or after that event. It struck me (as does most of her writing- She’s amazing; if you haven’t checked out her work you should!) because I feel like I’ve had several of these moments. Most recently, it was the day I decided enough was enough with the alcohol…almost two months ago to the day.
Now, some of you may be rolling your eyes at this point. After all, what is two months?! And it’s not even like I’ve been abstaining for that long, I’ve only been moderating. But two months to me has been a lot of things. It’s been a baby shower, a bridal shower, a birthday, a housewarming party, a three-day lake house weekend, a football party and a wedding. It’s been being the designated driver, being (constantly) asked if I’m pregnant, secretly pouring O’doulls in a glass at parties so I don’t have to explain why I’m not drinking that day. I’ve abstained at some of these events and moderated at others, but my 2-3 drinks only gets me so far. In my circle of friends and family, I’m the last sober man standing within the course of 3 hours.
So it does feel like my life has broken in half. Sometimes I feel like I’m on the outside looking in at my old life. My friends call me “grandma” when it’s only midnight and I want to head home. I’m getting better at navigating social situations, but events tend to last forever when everyone is drinking. It seems like now I’m always the first one to want to leave, which saddens me a little. Should I be able to be having more fun sober, or is it that things just drag out way past the natural finish when everyone is drunk? I’m really not sure of the answer yet.
I’m also relearning all of my own little quirks and traditions and routines without alcohol, or with much less alcohol. I have yet to use a gift certificate my brother gave me for my birthday for my favorite brunch restaurant because I can’t picture going there and truly enjoying it without a bloody mary or a mimosa, but then I won’t have my designated 2-3 drinks for a weekend night. I’m currently making a big pot of sauce and meatballs and drinking non-alcoholic red wine (read: weird tasting grape juice) because drinking wine is what I do when I make sauce and making it without it seemed strange to me.
But it’s not all bad. I haven’t had a hangover in two months. I’m kicking ass at work because I’m always at 100%. My running times are improving and my house is cleaner. I’m savoring the few drinks I do have per week and truly enjoying them. I’m learning, albeit reluctantly, that life is better without getting drunk. My life broke in half two months ago, and I’m hoping I’ll never go back.