A few days with family

So after making the big Not Drinking announcement on Sunday, it wasn’t really mentioned again, not in any significant way. Still, something felt different and I can’t really explain why. I felt a bit antsyWhen I go back to my parents I usually feel like I’m escaping for a bit, like I’m on holiday. They live in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of a farm. The house is surrounded by fields, woods and a lake. There are horses, pigs, sheep and some very free range hens who wander all over the place. You can’t get a decent mobile phone signal. Their internet connection is really slow. Normally I like all of this. But this time I felt a bit too removed from the safe, sober bubble I’ve created in my normal, day-to-day life.

Will this feeling change over time? I hope so.

In other ways, the trip home was a success. Not drinking changed my behaviour and I felt more ‘present’, if that makes sense. I wasn’t obsessing about how much wine I had left in my glass, which meant I could focus more on everyone else. I was more patient with my sister and her idiot boyfriend. I didn’t need to make crafty suggestions like “let’s sit outside before dinner” which actually meant “let’s have a few beers before we eat”.

I didn’t spend hours upstairs in my room drinking on my own. Even typing that sentence makes me feel a bit sad. Who goes home to visit family only to shut themselves away? In recent years I started bringing my own supply of alcohol home with me and at the time it honestly seemed like the logical thing to do: if I had my own supply then it didn’t matter how much I drank with everyone else. I didn’t need to worry if my glass wasn’t refilled at dinner.

Sad isn’t it? That’s not even the worst part. My own, personal supply would nearly always run out. Not having a car and with no shops nearby, this would leave me with no option but to steal some from the wine cupboard. It didn’t matter what it was. I’d pour it into a glass and run upstairs with it, instantly feeling better because I knew it was there if I needed it. What kind of 29-year-old does that? I can’t believe I never got caught.

So… in summary, a tricky few days. I wanted to drink more than I have at any other point during the last 32 days. But I didn’t. At times it felt like it would be easier just to start drinking again. I must keep reminding myself that’s not actually true. It’s just the little voice in my head, the alcoholic devil on my shoulder trying to trip me up.

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11 thoughts on “A few days with family

  1. carrythemessage May 9, 2013 at 5:30 am Reply

    Great stuff…you learned a lot with this experience and you felt a shift perhaps and certainly some clarity – you were more present, you saw that it didn’t get into a “thing” as you thought it might. You also saw past behaviour and thought it odd. This is kind of the insane thinking and actions we do when in the grips of the grape. We hide liqour, we sneak around, we steal…all at our folks home? Really? ha ha…I used to do that stuff and worse, so I was laughing a bit when I read this. We go to any lengths to get what we want, and damn everyone else. That’s alcoholic life. But that vulnerable and not quite right in your skin feeling is pretty much par for course…that is why we drank in the first place – to get out of those feelings. And so it was great that you were able to sit with that and just be. Hard to do, but you did it. Next time won’t be so hard, I hope.

    Great post.


    • soberjournalist May 9, 2013 at 11:23 am Reply

      Thanks Paul. I think it will be easier next time, at least I hope so anyway!

  2. byebyebeer May 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm Reply

    I know these feelings of unease from when I went home a couple of weeks ago. I remember someone pointing out once that while we have changed (in sobriety), the normal dysfunction of family is still the same. Maybe that’s it, but I know what you mean about not feeling like it’s a vacation anymore. When I go home, I don’t escape in the same ways anymore, so it feels uncomfortable but not bad…just different for now.

    And anytime I hear someone else talk about bringing booze from home or sneaking it away, I’m reminded how common our insane behavior was and why I’m so glad to be free of it.

    Great post.

    • soberjournalist May 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm Reply

      Thanks. I think you hit the nail on the head there. We can change but that doesn’t mean our families do too. When I go home sometimes I feel like a teenager again because everything just slips back to how things were! But when I host family at mine I feel more in control and more of an adult, an equal.

  3. carrieonsober May 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm Reply

    It feels like we are going to stick out like a sore thumb at every occasion forever! It’s like, I am totally ok with not drinking anymore and that is hard enough, do I have to feel like an outcast too. I suppose as we get better at it and when we get enough confidence behind us we might parade our sobriety and wear it with confidence. It’s just that right now we are not sure if it suits us and we are still worrying about what everyone else thinks, but we’re working on that!
    You did amazingly well it wasn’t easy but you stuck at it and next time will be easier.


    • soberjournalist May 10, 2013 at 9:40 am Reply

      You’re totally right. Not drinking makes me feel like the odd one out. I’m normally pretty happy doing my own thing, but with this the less people who know the better. For now at least.

  4. […] just spent the last few days at my parents’ house. It was my second sober trip home. Last time, I told them I’d decided to stop drinking as more of a health kick than anything else. This […]

  5. Drunk on Sauv February 21, 2014 at 9:18 pm Reply

    I could not relate to this more. I live 2000 miles from my family so needless to say when we get together – its a booze fest. As everyone in my family is a HUGE drinker – its what we do! When they would fall asleep, I’d open up another bottle and drink myself silly to a movie.. for no good reason at all. My how my next trip home will be different. It’s an entry like this that give me hope – thank you!

    • soberjournalist February 22, 2014 at 10:49 am Reply

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Good luck over the next few days and weeks. I found them the hardest, but if you stick it out it will be worth it!

  6. drypril April 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm Reply

    I did that the last time I was home. After everyone went to bed, I wanted more wine. I came downstairs and couldn’t find any. Then actually went to raid the liquor cabinet and couldn’t find it (my mom is a big fan of rearranging). Most recently I was on a beach trip with my friend, and after she and her boyfriend went to bed, I filled my wine glass and went to hang out in my bedroom. What was the point in that? Why not just go to bed? Definitely not something a normal drinker does.

    I dread my first trip home. My mom makes me crazy, and drinking I thought made me less of a crazy bitch. But your post gives me hope that next time I go home it will be better, and I will be less of a crazy bitch, more patient. We shall see.

    I’m new at this. Day 4 for me.

  7. Anonymous July 9, 2014 at 4:30 am Reply

    Just had this happen to me, but I caved.. I was 3 weeks sober, then went home to visit old friends and family.. but I caved. Back at day 1 again, I thought going home was a good excuse to drink again. I’m on vacation, I’ll go back to not drinking when I am home and it will be no big deal. I spent half my vacation hungover and missed out on some quality time with friends… This is what has led me to your blog. I realized I can’t just have 1 or 2 to avoid the “why’d you quit drinking?” questions. Time to just face it. I am an alcoholic. Typing that or saying that out loud is very hard for me. Seeing that I am not alone helps.. Thanks for this blog!

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