Saturday, August 1, 2015

I'm out.

So, I've told pretty much everyone I speak to on a regular basis.
My husband.
My closest girlfriends.
My neighbor with whom I socialize frequently.
My sister.
My dearest friends from college.
My mother-in-law.
My mother.

My husband. His reaction was mild. 'How are you going to just stop?'...It's like he's forgotten how willful I am. When I decide something, I can stick to it. Not always in a good, 'oh aren't I so strong' kind of way. More of a controlling way. I smoked in college, when I was a waitress and that was the only way of taking a break without getting flack from management. When my boyfriend (now my husband) mentioned he didn't like it, I quit. That day. Never smoked again. When I decided, after watching the Boston Marathon in April 2008, that I needed to run a marathon, I joined a running group, ran my first half marathon that fall, and ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. And, then trained for and completed two more marathons and many half marathons...just because I said I would. Now, in other aspects of my life, I am amazingly lazy... but when I really want something, it happens. I am willful.

My closest girlfriends. One is also a psychologist so her reaction was measured. No surprise, no shock (granted, I've been talking about my drinking for our whole relationship, so she must have known it was coming), just a calm 'good for you/how are you feeling' sort of reaction. The other was surprised, and I was having an off day, so rambled on my explanation of why, so I think I came off as less than finite in my decision to quit.

My neighbor. Well, she had a stronger reaction, but she is a strong personality in general. She expressed loud shock, but after I explained my reasoning, she made the lovely comment, 'well, if anyone can do it, you are made of iron!' Isn't that great? You know how I love when people complement my will, my intelligence, my housekeeping, my child-rearing, whatever. I'm a sucker for a complement.

My sister. Another strong-ish reaction, but I don't think it was a reaction to what I was doing, in quitting, but more a trigger to what had been in her own brain for a while. After the phone call on July 9, she even emailed an apology for her reaction, and on Sunday, on July 12, she stopped as well. My sister, who used to wear the mantle of having a hollow leg because of how much liquor her tiny body could hold, quit. She read these pages and the Mrs. D book (seriously, a lifesaver) and just quit. Drinks plenty of seltzer and juice, of course, but no wine, no liquor.

My dearest friends. Again...measured yet supportive. More like a feeling of 'hmmmm, ok' than anything else. I think they were surprised and scared at how this may have meant a real problem they had no idea existed because we do not connect that often anymore. One of them did gently ask if there was some sort of problem, and I explained my reasons and then that was it. It wasn't the most important or interesting thing we spoke about the whole weekend, just something that was shared, like many other pieces of information longtime friends, separated by distance, share during a weekend together. Oh, and they drank (not like I would've prior to quitting, that's for sure). But it didn't bother me in the slightest. And there was a guest that weekend, who, for whatever reason (I think probably nerves as we didn't know this person too well), drank more than they should've and became sick. And, I sat there, stone sober, as that person was driven home, feeling complete sympathy. No judgement. How could I judge when I'd been in that situation too often myself? But besides sympathy was relief. Relief I would never have to wake up and wonder what I said or did, how I'd behaved.

My mother-in-law. This one sort of cracked me up...I'm not sure if she was just playing her cards close to her chest, but this was the second weekend I'd spent with her since I quit and she seemed to not see that I wasn't guzzling her wine like I'd done every other time we'd ever spent together (besides pregnancy) in our lives together! She gestured to my wine glass (full of seltzer and a splash of orange soda) and asked what I was drinking. I told her and also told her how I don't drink anymore. Ever. She was quietly surprised and, eventually it turns out, completely intrigued. Asked all sorts of questions on how I got to the point where I actually quit. I don't think she was gathering information for herself, she is happy with her wine, but still, she has alcoholism in her family and I think she was curious to have first hand knowledge on how and why someone gives it up forever. And, maybe she did have concerns about herself, but she's reserved and private in many ways and I don't think this is info she would ever feel comfortable sharing with me.

My mother. Well, she was tipped off by my sister a week or so beforehand. My sister had talked to my mom and told her she wasn't drinking and my mom was so happy for Sister and proud...called her an inspiration (which she is). She then explained that I had quit and spurred her on to quit as well. When I called my mom this past Saturday, we spoke of all sorts of news, then I mentioned how I know she spoke with Sister She said she was happy for us and that, since she spoke with Sister the previous Monday, she had not had any wine either. I sort of knew that would happen and for some reason felt bad about it. I think that's part of the reason I kept the quitting to people wouldn't react as if it was a judgement on what they were doing. Some people are fine with alcohol. Many people I know, actually. Just not me. I'm not sure about my mom. I don't think she drank near as much as I did, and as much as Sister tells me she did, but who knows? My family are masters of containment. We share only light feelings and edit down any personal info that may be unsavory.

There are some others I have to tell.

I am getting together with above referenced Closest Girlfriends and the third friend in our quartet this weekend. The third friend doesn't know...or at least I haven't said anything...but I know she will be nothing but supportive.

My sister- and brother-in-law, though I'm sure they will not blink an eye. Maybe a few jokes in the spirit of love and family, but I really cannot imagine either of them making any sort of big deal out of it. I'm sure they will be relieved to hear I'm not pregnant, because, really, what else could they have thought after spending the 4th of July weekend with me and not seeing me ingest a single a glass of wine or cocktail?

My brother. I can't believe Sister and/or Mother haven't said anything to him yet. They speak with him often, I speak to him only at family gatherings. Not out of animosity, I adore him, but because we just get wrapped up in our lives and then, boom, it's Christmas again. I'm curious to see how he feels about it because he's part of the reason I ended up stopping...that conversation he and I had years ago at my parents house when he said he'd quit for a while and I agreed to quit with him, and then we were both posting drinks and bar visits on Facebook within the week.

My beloved former-sister-in-law. Again, an easy tell. But I cannot wait to spend time with her the end of the Summer, when she and the boys come to visit, so we can hash out the minutiae of our life, as we do each time we get together. It's cathartic and sort of our 'thing' we have with each other.


  1. Great job! Love your writing... look forward to following along, cool you've joined Living Sober as well! Strap in, you're in for a bumpy ride - especially early on - your emotions will have you lurching all over the show and your brain will try to convince you that you weren't that bad and to drink alcohol again will be a really. good. idea. DON"T LISTEN! You've got this. Love that you are so determined xxx

  2. I did join LS, so far a great resource and lovely group of people. I am currently in a dip in my energy, but will keep strong and not drink.

  3. Thank you sista for starting this journey and being my inspiration. As Mrs. D said, "you've got this."