Fast forward to now, three months single again and nearly 15 months sober, and I am acutely feeling the loss of my former life and identity. I don't want them back again, but the distance between the me of now and me of then feels enormous, a tenuous bridge back to life I don't even recognize.
We passed a wine store offering tastings, and I suggested getting one - there was nothing else to do, and that would kill half an hour. Maybe some alcohol would loosen him up, and we could rekindle the connection that seemed to have withered between us. But he wasn't in the mood. I just want a boyfriend I can drink with, I thought. And then immediately flushed with shame.
But when I quit - and especially by the time I started going to AA, at four months in - I didn't feel like an alcoholic. I'd stopped easily, with no major cravings or desire to start again. For all the times I would have accepted the label while I was drinking, it just didn't feel true now.
I've been in the supermarket every day, wondering, why aren't I buying wine right now? I have hours in front of me with little to do, hours of sleep I'm not getting that wine could surely help me attain. And yet, I'm not drinking. Whatever stressors are pinging my nervous system, begging me to numb, my desire to be sober, to be present in the situation for both myself and my mom, is greater.
Previously, coffee, water, and wine were my go-to's, but without wine in my diet, water got old real quick. So after 25 years of declaring anything carbonated "gross" (mysteriously, beer didn't count), I've developed a taste for sparkling water. I'm living on the edge, I know, with Grapefruit La Croix.
Every trip, regardless of reason, had the same pattern: work my ass off during the day, drink myself to sleep at night. No matter that my friends there had dwindled, moved to the suburbs, making plans fewer and farther in between. I'd go out with work colleagues, and build relationships over glasses of wine, or happily take myself to a bar where I could sit in comfortable silence among the noise and energy of the city, which always drained me.