You pull down the chest bar. The cart you’re in jerks, as you pull forward. The slow steady clicking, as you go up the incline, knowing quitting is coming. Closer. Closer. And then you hit the peak, and drop. All drinking stops. Plunge. It’s scary, thrilling (because you are NOT in a comfortable zone, no matter how boring sobriety may seem to everyone else), and then you hit the bottom and ride steady for a minute, before you approach your first loop. Emotions turn upside down, nothing is right, and you’re dangling, hanging on by a strap. Maybe it’s the first drinking social event you’ve attended sober. Maybe it’s Sunday dinner. Nothing is keeping you from falling except one little man-made chest bar that you hope to goodness is locked. This chest bar, is your will to fight the gravitational pull that is wine (or name your poison). The inclines, hills, loops – they keep going for a bit. Screaming kids after a long day of work, a stopped up toilet, an exceedingly large cable bill, a family riff, a celebration. The emotions up and down. Back and forth. Smooth, bumpy. But sober. Suddenly, the ride slows, pulls in, chest bars unlock, and out you go. Back to real life.
I’m starting to understand this “pink cloud” notion. That is, you ride high for awhile on your sobriety, and then you suddenly fall hard, emotionally, after the energy and adrenaline from the high of “The Big Change” goes away – after the roller coaster pulls in, and you jump out. What it boils down to is this: (speaking on behalf of myself, and possibly of all functionalrecoveringperfectionistexdrinkers everywhere) we set our expectations so high, that life is going to be SO MUCH BETTER without alcohol. Our problems will suddenly become clear, and solutions will go hand in hand with our mind’s new found clarity. Then, after some time to adjust, we realize real shit is still real shit. Work is still hard, marriage is still work (but hopefully in a good and rewarding way), staying at home with children is still lonely, children are still lovely and exhausting, parents are still aging – whatever the circumstance may be. Everything is the same, except now we don’t drink. And we start to get more emotional, because emotions are much more tangible now that we don’t block them out with the wine. And we fear we’re becoming boring, and are failing at the super-duper-crazy-ridiculous-immediate life changes we conjured up in our busy little delusional brains, because the earth around us has not shifted to our unrealistic high expectations.
Me to self: Get a freaking grip functionalrecoveringperfectionistexdrinker! Lower your standards already. Life is still Life. It’s just a little more raw now. Thank God. Feel it and embrace it and LIVE IT, because this is IT.
And then you realize, you’re in line again, and you’re up next to hop on, lower your chest bar, and get ready for another ride, into the next phase of your newly sober everyday life. Same crazy ride – but you’re more familiar now – so your expectations are adjusted, and you are a little wiser.