Thursday, July 30, 2015

MIssed This More: Life After Recovery

I spend most of my Wednesday nights in the Moderation Management (MM) Chatroom, Wednesday night is Abs Chat night.  Many of the people that visit on Wednesday night are not people who have chosen permanent abstinence from alcohol, they are people who are going through a temporary period of abs, as prescribed by MM, or people who are curious or considering permanent abs for themselves.  (In MM we used the term "sobriety" to describe both successful moderation and permanent abstinence.)

One of the most common questions is, "Do you miss it?"

And my answer is always, "Yes."

Now most of the time one or more of my fellow absers will vehemently reply with something to the tune of, "No, I don't miss it one bit.  Does someone miss cancer after they survive it?"

And I kind of shrink back in my virtual folding chair and think, "Is there something wrong with me?  Am I doing something wrong?  Am I not doing enough?"  Because I do miss it.  Sometimes every day.  Sometimes all day long.  Sometimes not very often.  Sometimes not very much.  

But I do miss it.

Last night, same conversation, same questions.  "Why do you miss it?"  "Do you think you miss the fantasy of it, rather than the reality?"  "What do you miss about it?"

My answer, "I don't know."  "It's hard to explain."

If some magical genie popped out of the lamp right now and said to me, "Abracadabra! You will now be able to drink moderately for the rest of your life."

I just might.  Drink.

But there ain't no friggin' lamp.  Ain't there sure ain't no friggin' Genie.

So last night after chat, I took my bath, ate my ice cream and crawled into bed to finish reading "Beautiful Ruins."  It's a good read, light and easy.  A fiction story about an actress who had an affair with Richard Burton in the 60's and ended up pregnant.  Suffice it to say, I didn't really relate to the characters in the story.

Except one.

The child that resulted from the union of this actress and Dickie-poo ends up as a drug addict.  At the end of the story he is recovered.  This is a quote from the book that describes his life post-recovery.

"In Sandpoint, Idaho, Pat Bender wakes at four, makes the first of three pots of coffee, and fills the predawn hours with chores around the cabin.  He likes starting work before he's had a chance to really wake up; it gives the day some momentum, keeps him moving forward.  As long as he has something to do, he feels good, so he clears brush or splits wood or he strips, sands, and stains the front deck, or the back deck, or the outbuildings, or he starts the whole process again on the front deck: strip, sand, stain.  Ten years ago, he would've thought this some kind of Sisyphean torture, but now he can't wait to  slide into his work boots, make coffee, and step into the dark morning; he likes the world best when he is alone in it, that dark, predawn quiet.

Further down the page...

"And on those days when Lydia, the lake, his coffee, his woodworking, and the Richard Burton film library aren't nearly enough, on those evenings when he craves-fucking craves-the old noise and a girl on his lap and a line on the table...-on those days when he imagines getting just a wee bit higher (See: every day), Pat Bender concentrates on the steps.  He recalls his mother's faith in him, and what she told him that night he found out about his father (Don't let this change anything), the night he forgave her and thanked her-and Pat works: he strips, he sands, he stains-strips, sands, and stains, as if his life depended on it, which, of course, it does.  And in the dark morning, he always rises clear again, resolute; ...

No matter my urges, no matter my 'missing", I don't drink.  And every morning I get up, I feed my birds, I pull my chair up on the deck and say my rosary.  Watch the birds.  Say, "Thank You."
This morning, I mixed a bowl of dough, I kneaded it, I watched it rise.  Twice.  Then I formed cinnamon rolls and watched them rise too before I baked them.  My oldest is coming home tonight. There's a pan of lasagna baking in the oven.  Fresh cinnamon rolls on the counter.

As much as I miss drinking some days, when I was drinking, I missed this life more.


  1. Well sure I miss it. Not often, more on the side of rarely, but then one day I'll drive past a place I've never been and wonder wistfully what it would be like to have a few drinks there. I'll miss the early sweet lull of drink that imprinted my brain over nearly two decades of regular, heavy drinking. No real surprise that it stayed, nor that the places and occasions that trigger are a fantasy. Your lasagna, cinnamon rolls and family visit sound so much better. Honestly. Thank you for writing and sharing this beautiful piece.

    1. It was better. Brief crystal clear moments spent talking heart to heart with my son (very brief, he's not much of a talker) that I know would never have happened had I still been drinking. Or, if they did happen, my memory of them would be foggy and the memories of the whole visit would have been clouded with worry that I had drank too much, said too much, said the wrong thing.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Wendy. The downside is, my son was on a diet and since he is more committed than I am, I ended up eating most of the cinnamon rolls. :( I froze the lasaga and sent it home with him, though.

  3. "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" ~Hamlet by William Shakespeare

    That's what I think whenever I hear someone protest so vehemently about not missing drinking (cancer? really?).

    I miss it. I miss the romance. I miss bars (I loved bars). I miss that first sip and that feeling of ahhhhhhh. And if the friggin' Genie popped out tomorrow and made me a normie you're damn right I'd drink.

    But when I drink there is no romance, I stumble out of bars and that first sip only leads to hundreds more. I miss it like I miss my twenties - they were fun while they lasted but I love this life so much more.


    1. Exactly, Sherry. I miss the romance, but the romance turned sour. I miss my first husband sometimes, too, but it doesn't mean I'd remarry him.

  4. Beautiful post my friend. Made me feel nostalgic for my boozing days ........ But not much :) xxx

    1. Yes, my dear,and you are so busy out there making your jewel shine for others that it makes my eyes water.

  5. I don't miss the anxiety and hangovers.
    I miss the anticipation of a wild Friday night.
    But age, more than anything, has resolved that. It is nostalgia for youthful excess and freedom.

    But today's life is like a jewel. Beautiful from all angles. I prefer this today.

    1. Sometimes we just need to spend more time polishing our jewels. No matter how hard I polished my drinking life, I couldn't get the tarnish off.

  6. And this is why after all the blogs I've read, yours is the one I come to first.

    1. Thank you, I needed to hear that. It makes it worth it.