March madness – sobriety edition

I stopped drinking in March. Although I’ve been dancing with the idea since November, I’ve always had one great reason not to quit: I didn’t want to.

I must have given a different reason to each person that asked why I stopped drinking. I needed to quit smoking and it was too hard with a drink in my hand, I wanted to lose weight, save money, I wanted to NOT text people to choke me, I wanted to adhere to my intermittent fasting schedule, I wanted to get up earlier and actually feel ok in the mornings, I wanted to focus on writing, I wanted to focus on comedy and performing (which I hate to admit I’m better at sober), I want to reduce the cripiling anxiety I get from not knowing what I did the night before, I want to be able to drink water in the morning without throwing it up, I want to wake up in the morning knowing exactly where I am and how I got there, I want to know where every charge on my ATM card came from, I want to make genuine connections with people that are not sloppy, I don’t want people to describe me as loud, I don’t want people to think I can’t handle my alcohol, and I don’t want to drop my phone in the toilet. Again.

You get the idea.

“I drank too much” is an understatement for me. I drink until I can’t walk. I wonder if binge drinking is an accident or not. It’s not like I’m thinking “I need to get fucked up tonight.” It’s that one drink becomes twelve.  I’m lucky I live in a safe place.

Alcoholism is romanticized in my head. Hovering an inch or two above rock bottom, an alcoholic’s life could crash any second. My life was never that fucked up. I didn’t betray anybody, I never got fired. Surely, I didn’t I have a problem. What a fool.

So, I was sober for March. This was the longest I have been sober for nine years. I anticipated being uncomfortable at bars. I didn’t expect to be clenching my teeth walking past the soju aisle during bouts of loneliness. Since alcohol is my only vice here, my addiction bubbled up in weird ways. Mostly in the form of anger and compulsively buying similar shades of red lipstick.

On March 31st at 11:50 PM I was counting down the minutes, let me tell you. I wanted to drink so bad. And I did. I drank a shot of whisky and two beers faster then Cinderella could run back to her carriage. It was the best feeling to have a beer with a good friend.

But honestly, I’m scared.

Stopping drinking, even for a month, made me think deeply about why I do the things I do. It made me stare into the eyes of my addictive tendencies and acknowledge things that I never have. I am not perfect and I’m pretty sure I am not swearing off alcohol entirely. But now I know that there is something within me that takes control over my conscious decisions.

The first step is admitting, right?

One thought on “March madness – sobriety edition

  1. Hi Caitlin,

    You are being very transparent and above board. Admitting to (self) is most honorable, admitting publicly takes guts. Both you and Michael seem to be on similar paths. Was that by accident?

    Self-awareness and knowledge, (know thyself) is a precarious thing, and a long term process. Always been difficult for me to look in any mirror, a glimpse will do. You held up the mirror and seemingly held your gaze. Learnings comes from the inside out. If one is desiring to make changes, look into a mirror for that person holds the 🗝 – author unknown I celebrate you for taking earnest steps, questioning what is and being more healthy in mind and body. Difficult to resist temptations, sometimes they speak in deafening tones. Got to be difficult being a young person trying things on for size . . . making not-so-popular decisions and going against the tide especially in a foreign country. Yet, I believe you are finding your way and questioning is always beneficial . . . keep the window open.

    Tonight I will see your mom and dad at the New West Symphony, with music of Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart. Could it get any better? They both seem to be doing well, with your mom very engaged with outside activities. I can’t keep up with her comings and goings. She has the energy of a 22 yo!

    Always good to read your writing, so keep scribing.

    xoxo Aunt Judy



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