I haven’t written in days. In part because I feel defeated by the rejection and silence my submitted pieces have evoked, and in part because I am lazy and uninterested in chasing the heartbreaking muse.
But, at some point, I knew I was going to need to post to this blog. The other evening, as I was slathering a flour tortilla with hummus for dinner, I started to think about what I would say to mark the end of my sobriety project. Then, I thought about what I didn’t have the courage to say, and I decided that’s exactly what I needed to write about.
My one year of sobriety ends October 10, on my 33rd birthday, but when that day comes I will be heavily intoxicated with pain medications after my hip surgery. This detail has lingered around the internal conversation I have with myself about whether or not I will drink at the end of my year. It occurred to me that I could cut the year short
Last weekend, one of my dearest friends from Peace Corps Lesotho was getting married in Denver, and I knew that, as devoted beer lovers, she and her soon-to-be-husband would have ample amounts of quality beer on hand for the celebration. I polled a few friends about this scenario: I could end my year of sobriety with my Peace Corps friends (my greatest drinking buddies) and good beer, or I could continue to wait out until the deadline and decide from there. All but one told me to go for it.
Leading up to the weekend, much like in Italy, I was really unsure if I wanted to drink. Maybe I needed more time to be sober, maybe I was letting down those who had rooted me on in the last year by drinking, or maybe I was stunting my self discovery if I so easily turned back to drinking. I flipped the choices back and forth, like a coin, and decided to make a decision on the spot.
The Friday wedding weekend welcome was at a brewery, but I didn’t even look at the menu. I was so enthralled with catching up with my Peace Corps friends that I couldn’t break myself away for five minutes to order a drink. At the end of the evening, most people were a happy buzzed and I was drunk with endorphins.
The next day, when two of my friends and I were getting ready for the wedding in a hotel bathroom, they offered me a glass of prosecco in a beige mug. I took it. Over the next 12 hours, I had exactly five drinks and was far from the dizzy drunk that my Peace Corps friends know of me.
I debated sharing this because I am worried what you all will think. Maybe you are disappointed in me, that I caved into drinking at a wedding, that I am starting myself back on a slippery slope. Or, maybe you are excited that I can now finally return back to my three-beer self. I don’t know how to tell you this, but I am not sure I am going to be either of those. I wish I could come to this blog and write something inspirational and definite about how I feel about my year of sobriety and where I will go from here, but I don’t have that clarity. All I can say is that I was sober for a year, then I had some drinks that I don’t regret, and now I will likely be sober for the next few weeks while I am recovering from surgery.
One of my close friends who doesn’t drink asked me if I planned to drink again, and I told her that I wish I could drink like her, just one or two here and there, but I wasn’t sure if I could.
“You can,” she said.
I didn’t believe her, but after this weekend, I am wondering if she is right.
By the time you read this, I will have had my hip surgery. I am planning to go dark in the next few weeks and only focus on healing, physically and emotionally. I have a stock pile of books, multiple away messages set up and a freezer of ice cream. I am not committing to anything other than recovery. My body and my heart need it.
Maybe I will gain some introspection on my year of sobriety and what it means for me after time passes, but right now I don’t have answers. I am not sure if I will order a glass of wine when I am out with friends, or if I will go on to be sober for another year. The only thing I can say is that I need to make that decision for me. I need to not take anyone else’s opinions into thought, not even my own shoulds, but listen to my realest self and move where she tells me to go. To do that, though, I got get quite so I can listen.
For now, I just want to say thank you for following along on this journey and offering more support than I had ever anticipated. Sometimes you’ve been the only thing keeping me going, I plan to pay that love and encouragement forward. Thank you.