It has been over a month since I had a sip of alcohol. I’ve smelled a few, but never tasted. Not once. I was VERY tempted in the beginning. A margarita, a whiskey sour, a Corona with a lime in it…
As the days ticked on, it honestly did get easier. I felt far more comfortable letting it pass me by because I’d already said no a few times before AND because people got used to the idea that I wasn’t going to be their Fun Time Sally. I also got used to the idea that I didn’t need the drink to be Fun Time Sally, which was a nice change of pace for me.
I anticipated that I was going to get a big surprise by not drinking. I anticipated realizations galore and friendships highlighted and my own weaknesses strengthened. Instead…
Not drinking has not changed my personality, though it’s amplified others’ personalities and I noticed I didn’t like some people as much as I thought I did. (Don’t worry, I’m not talking about you.) It has not diminished my anxiety, though on a few days I felt a little more capable of WORKING on my anxiety. Abstaining has demonstrated to me that alcohol never really played that big of a role in my life (except during my divorce) and it’s a sort of take-it-or-leave-it thing.
I concluded the drinking experiment was over this past weekend. I decided I could, in fact, drink again. And you know what I did?
I didn’t drink.
I forgot about my own party. I anticipated a big to-do when I started drinking again and instead, I didn’t even remember to do it.
It occurred to me today that the actual lesson in all this had nothing to do with drinking. It had to do with anticipation. How much time do I spend focusing on what I think will happen? SO MUCH. How many changes have I made externally hoping they’d change something internally? I made assumptions about the drinking experiment. I thought something fantastic would happen to fix one or many of my problems. Sometimes I assume that I worst, in an effort to quell the pain when the worst happens. The time I spend anticipating, or in laymen’s terms guessing, is time I could have spent just being where I was. And how often does the worst actually happen?!
(I anticipate we will barely have enough money to cover all the unexpected bills coning due at the end of this month. But as of today, we’re fine. Today, we have enough to eat lunch and dinner and to buy a cheap bottle of scotch, which I don’t feel like drinking. Today is all that matters.)
Experiment over. Information gleaned. No major or amazing realizations, but a few small ones. It’s a few small steps at a time that gets you from start to finish. No one gets one big step and then BOOM, journey over. You win. You have to take the baby steps.
I hate baby steps. I like things changing overnight.
Nothing ever does.
And so I will continue taking these damn baby steps and drinking or not drinking and learning and growing and being a Fun Time Sally (sometimes).
What a boring experiment.