First things first. Tomorrow marks 12 weeks of being Alcohol Free, 3 months sober; now officially the longest I have been without a drink since I was about 17. So it’s a significant event for me. How do I feel? Proud, surprised, curious and appreciative of all the benefits particularly this; being awake on a Saturday morning without a fuzzy head, full of energy ready to take on the day. And yet…. There’s always a but with me I know. Being honest with myself I feel the tiniest bit bored!
On the face of it, everything’s fine. Moved a year ago, got the house sorted, started a little therapy business, that’s doing well, enjoying my activities such as table tennis league, volunteering, packing my days with useful, noble activities and intent and I am deeply appreciative of what I have but I do miss a bit of stimulation, of things being unexpected and out of the ordinary, of excitement.
Writing this I feel a bit childish and immature, excitement at your age Jim, get a grip I want to respond but it’s what I feel and I would always say to clients, recognise and acknowledge your feelings, so I need to do the same for myself. I think this is clearly linked to the removal of alcohol from my life. Alcohol often made life seem exciting. When I went drinking with friends say at the end of term when I was a teacher we would all drink far too much and something always happened. One person might blurt out something that had been unsaid for years, someone would make a pass at someone else, there might be an impromptu song and no one quite knew where the night would take us, who we might meet, where we would go or how we would get home.
In reality, drunken nights out are just that, there’s no real excitement or change just the sensation of it and then a terrible hangover lasting days fed by greasy food and sweet pastries. I’m glad I’m out of that but at least there was a suggestion of something different when drinking and that is something that is a little bit missing now. Life is more measured and predictable but I miss the craziness and looseness one gets when drinking. Seeking those states is why I ended up drinking too much, I became a stimulation junkie ironically using a substance that is a depressant.
Not sure where this reflection is taking me. I think what I’m trying to say is in order to get some of the buzz and fizz back I need to find alternative ways to get some excitement and unpredictability back in my life. Knowing my past, that slightly worries me, I know where the search for stimulation can take me. Sitting in my garden being mindful of nature is great but it’s not going to provide that missing “je ne sais quoi”. Maybe I need to start rock climbing or buy a motorbike, take a year out and do some travelling? Oh god, am I having my second post mid life crisis? It needs some thought. I know playing music gives me a buzz and I no longer do any drama which I really enjoyed so there are avenues to explore. Either way after 12 weeks I need to find real stimulation after having escaped the illusory excitement of alcohol. All part of this journey I suppose.
Have a good, sober weekend folks but do something a little bit crazy.