Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sometimes You Just Need To Cut Your Bangs

As I mentioned in the last post, another birthday has passed--sigh.  I used to kind of gloat inside that all my time spent in sand and sun hadn't made itself glaringly apparent on my features. I used to get the occasional, "How do you do it?" referring to my skin. (It helps if you hang around with a significantly older crowd and everyone assumes that you are their age.)  Even the occasional, "Have you had work done?" came my way.  (Only one teeny-tiny blepharoplasty ten years ago because my upper eyelids were threatening to fall down around my ears.)

Alas, those golden skinned years have decided to exact their revenge. I kind of take side glances out of my weaker left eye at my reflection in the computer screen these days and I often lie to the cap'n  and tell him the internet is too bad for video skype. Not because I don't want him to see me-- how he saw me every mornings during my boozer days and didn't turn to stone, I'll never know -I just can't stand staring at myself while I talk to him. I can't pay attention to anything he's saying because I'm noticing the newest crevice at the side of my mouth or how my latest attempts at improvement via make-up reminds me more and more of Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

On top of all that, I need a haircut!  The last one I had is a faint memory and the humidity down here causes my fine hair to droop about my face like ropes of over-cooked pasta. I told the cap'n I was going to get it all chopped off but he's got that guy thing about long hair and he promptly replied,"The Hell You Are!"

That's okay, I've got the guy thing about long hair, too. My friend, Barbara, says at a certain age woman should not wear long hair. I reply, "I agree. At the age of 105, it  might be time to get a whack job so I'll look my age."

But last night I'd had it . I was going out with some friends for dinner and it was hanging lank around my face and my too-long bangs were parted in the middle just begging for some bobby pins to complete my look.

In desperation, I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the shears out of the drawer. Chop! Chop! Chop!

Then I looked back in the mirror.

And smiled.

My bangs weren't perfect, but they weren't as bad as some of my grade school pictures where I swear my mother must have used my kindergarten safety scissors at the same time the one and only earthquake to ever hit Liberal, KS must have struck.  But just like in those pictures, I looked younger. Better.

I decided I could live with the rest of my hair for awhile.

NPR ran an article last week on moderation for heavy drinkers, In the article, Re-Thinking: Can Heavy Drinkers Learn To Cut Back it mentions Moderation Management and as many of you know MM is the organization that was and still is my main means of support through this recovery journey of mine.  MM has fought to overcome that all or nothing mindset of "If you are a problem drinker, you're only recourse is to quit drinking completely." that has been force fed to all of us through the years. Many of moderation's naysayers, have gone as far to say that MM is a danger to alcoholics, that it encourages recovered alcoholics to drink again. To that I say, if they were that unsteady in their sobriety, they were probably going to drink again, with or without MM.

 When I joined MM, I knew that I most probably, maybe even most certainly needed to quit drinking, the equivalent of shaving my head in the above scenario. I had been drinking heavily all of my adult life, twenty five years, more or less. In the latter years of my drinking, I'd developed a physical dependence to alcohol and found myself  stumbling downstairs at 2 am most nights to chug wine just to quiet my palpitating heart. By no one's definition, certainly not MM's, was I a candidate for moderation.  But I just couldn't get my head around walking around like a bald troll in a world full of people with luxurious heads of hair.  I worried that my husband and friends would not adjust to it well either.  It was too big of a change all at once.

So, basically, I cut my bangs. I started participating on the MM message boards and learning about and using their tools, such as counting my drinks, limiting the days I drank, spacing my drinks.  All those things that define moderation. My husband and friends raised their eyebrows a little bit, tried to cajole me into drinking more to assuage their own misgivings about their personal drinking, but then shrugged their shoulders and continued to drink. After all, I wasn't making them cut their hair.

However, those little snips here and there weren't working so well for me, I wasn't seeing the big change that I wanted and let's just say my hair seemed to grow back overnight. So I  I decided to take and inch or two off the ends and attempted my first 30 day abstinence period.  I didn't succeed, but I made it twenty days and I found out the world did not stop revolving, my husband and friends didn't run for the hills, and I lived through it.

I tried to moderate for a year. In the end,  I found that trimming the amount I drank  did not work for me. There was never enough change or progress to make me feel good about myself and I still had no control once  I started drinking.

But those dramatic swaths of time I spent abstaining, as recommended by MM?  They saved my life. I hadn't had one day, much less a week, or a month without booze, in a decade .  Those abs periods introduced me to a life I had never experienced as an adult.

A much gentler world.

They also introduced me to a person I had never taken the time to get to know.


After that year, I could finally imagine a life without booze. But even more, Since my "hair" no longer consumed me, I looked forward to the baldness of life in all of its fierce and liberated beauty with an anticipation I hadn't felt since I was young.

I haven't had a drink in almost four years and I've never regretted or been disappointed in one second of it.

Does hanging around and listening to people discuss moderation tempt me to try again. Nope. My unfettered hairstyle suits me to a "T".


  1. You skull is beautiful my friend...just like your soul.

    And btw - Happy Birthday. Until May we are the same age. After that you get to be younger than me so rejoice! You're just a kid.



    1. Lots of beautiful bald people in this blogosphere, and you're one of the most beautifullest. Thank you for shaving your head before me so I could see how bold and beautiful a sober person can be.

  2. Happy Birthday! And lots of love xx

    1. Thank you, sweet friend! I'm going to go catch up on your life today and I'm sure to be dazzled as always. You inspire me to do more.

  3. Always lovely to see your posts. I wanted to dislike the NPR article more, but the closing felt right. After nearly 4 years sober time here too, my immediate reaction was feeling threatened by the idea that others might conclude I wasn't alcoholic enough for abstinence. Then I remember, duh, not drinking has been nothing but blessing for me. I have no desire to return to the hell of hangovers and obsession and nothing is missing in my life that a drink would help. I'm glad MM was there for you and countless others.

    1. The gang's all here! It's so good to be back. MM is like so many things in life that people form immediate strong opinions about without actually trying it. I'm that way about Yoga. lol There are actually several active perm absers, myself included, that are among its most active members, even a sub-group for perm absers. I've never seen anyone try to talk someone that has decided to perm abs, to try a little harder to moderate. It's more about letting people find their own way, and supporting them along that way. I'm glad that both MM and my blogger friends were there for me, they were the two groups that got me through to the other side.

  4. Nicely said, Kary. Love the comparison to your bangs!

  5. I love this. The analogy, and the act of new do's and learning to love them. Sobriety is a bit like rebirth and taking the plunge as heavy as cutting one's bangs is scary, but surprising. I also couldnt help but think of the many times, during my drinking, I would have this burning desire to change, something. I would ultimately cut my own hair, mostly in a fit of feeling fed up. It never quite soothed me. It was the drinking I was tired of. Now, I hope to be happy with myself regardless of my hairdo. And, when I need a change, I will make sure it truly is about my hair and not my habits. I may even see a proper hairdresser :) Thanks for this post. And for your blog. I am 8 days clean and determined to make this stick. Your blog is among the ones I follow and frequent daily and has inspired me to document my own journey through blogging. Thank you for that.

  6. First, you used the word "assuage" which I love. :) Lol

    I really connected with this post. I get so frustrated with the "be like me/my way" mentality. Different things work for different people. Same things work for different people. Different things work for same people. The one key is knowing myself- what works for me. And then being brave enough to do those things, even when the crowd goes the other way.

    I am growing my bangs out that I cut last fall after weeks of deliberation. :) I get comments that are about 50/50. Half cut them again, half grow them out. And then there's my mother who always thinks my hair looks better another way than it looks at the moment. :) I haven't decided yet. What's really cool about life is how many choices I do have. There's really just one I have to stick to no matter what: not drinking. I'm so glad you're back around xxxooo

  7. You look marvelous! Really! All those years in the tropical sun! Please keep writing. I like your recipes too from the old blog!

  8. Sorry if I mislead anyone, but that's not me above. I wish. I'm not that brave, hair-wise, or young and my head has too many weird bumps and lumps to look that good.
    I just shopped for a picture of a girl that looked happy and bald. Sshhh. don't tell her.

  9. As a matter of fact, I've been told more than once that I have Bette Davis Eyes, and my name at one time was Davis so...that first picture is probably a more likely doppelganger, especially with that red lipstick. My favorite shade..