A lot has happened in the past week. Prior to marking — literally — my 210th alcohol-free day this morning, when I allowed myself the luxury of sleeping in until 4:30 🙄, I had my one-year job review at the marketing company I joined at the beginning of 2019 as Step One on my “Plan B” post-journalism path. The meeting went well.
By “well,” of course, I mean that I sat in the HR guy’s office and cried, because hearing people tell me I’m doing a good job still affects me at 41 the way it did back in elementary school. Which is to say, deeply.
I might never have had clear goals, personally or professionally, but all I’ve ever wanted in life was to do a good job. Money, status, material things…nope; never gave a shit. I just wanted to feel worthwhile, to feel that my skills were useful to the world, in whatever small way.
(My husband is reading this going, “That’s very nice, but we also need our skills to pay the bills, especially when some people in this lovely house eat so damn much food.” 😬)
Anyway….because I’ve succeeded both in staying sober for seven months and employed for a year, this weekend has been all about celebrating important milestones. And let me tell you, we’ve let it all hang out.
Hubby added a beautiful bouquet of flowers (see above) and a few scented candles to his weekly grocery shopping list. Against this cozy backdrop, we ordered take-out sushi and rented a new(ish) movie On Demand — and both of us actually stayed awake to watch the entire thing! I finally dozed off around 8:30, in the middle of a Google deep-dive into Manson Family history, because Tarantino’s fictitious take on the events of late-1969 L.A. made me realize how little I actually knew about the real story.
If you think Saturday night was wild, consider that my plans for Super Bowl Sunday include sitting here on this couch in my favorite house coat and pajama pants watching the AMC “Breaking Bad” marathon until the game comes on. Unlike the attention I paid to “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” though, I can’t promise I’ll know who hoisted the Lombardi Trophy until I drag my ass out of bed at 4 tomorrow to start another week at a job that now, after that good review, includes more responsibility.
All this partying really tires a girl out. 😰
Honestly, though, there’s not much difference between celebrations circa 2020 and in any other year of my life — except the alcohol. I was always someone who found joy in the little things, felt that every day off was a reason for revelry, and I didn’t need much to have a great time except comfortable clothes, candles, a reclining chair, my old iPod or a favorite TV series on DVR, and the biggest bottle of tequila I could buy.
I’m an unapologetic homebody; have been since the day I was born. And actually, for that reason, I was always very fond of Super Bowl parties. Even if you had to (gasp) leave the house, you only had to transplant your athletically-outfitted, non-made-up self from your own living room into someone’s else’s, and all you had to do there was watch sports and eat and drink.
Three of my favorite things in the world!
I happily got drunk at those parties, just like I happily got drunk every Sunday, or on a Tuesday or Wednesday if I didn’t have to work. Any opportunity to let loose was, to me, an obligation to drink until I passed out…or until my husband and I got in an argument and I (temporarily) lost my appetite for destruction.
My go-to method of celebrating life’s every little moment resulted in a lot of wasted time, not to mention lost sleep. I would regularly jolt up at 2 or 3 a.m. after a drinking binge — a boiler-plate staple of the alcoholic experience — consumed with panic and regret as fuzzy memories of what I had said or done the previous day flashed in sporadic little explosions through my head.
It’s interesting, but the first time I remember one of those episodes happening was after a Super Bowl party. It had to have been at least 10 years ago, when our friends who now live in Maryland with their three daughters lived in Horsham, PA, by themselves. They invited us over. I brought a handle of tequila. After that, I remember nothing — until the moment I sat up in bed, breathing heavily, wondering where I was, and feeling scared to death.
“Holy shit,” I clearly remember thinking, as my surroundings came into focus. “This is a problem.”
More than a decade of that madness before I finally decided the “party” was over. Add up all those days spent doggy-paddling in neck-deep denial, all those wee-hour panic attacks, and it’s no wonder that after seven months of sobriety, my favorite activity after a long week of work is none at all.
These days, there are so many little joyous things to celebrate I can’t even list them all. The highlight reel:
- Sleeping because I’m actually tired, not because my body has shut down;
- Waking up (way too early) feeling peaceful and free, instead of empty and guilty;
- Spending quality time with a happy husband in a lovely, cozy home that smells like cookies (thanks to Yankee Candle) and fresh-cut roses;
- A fridge stocked with healthy groceries;
- A writing job that enables me to pay the, um, robust grocery bill;
- Not having to go to that job for another 18 hours;
- “Breaking Bad” on TV ALL DAY LONG;
- You, taking the time to read this blog;
- No longer believing I need to enhance the happiness these things give me with an intoxicating substance;
- Still believing at 41, as I did in elementary school, that a life well-lived isn’t about money, status or material things;
- Feeling a renewed sense of purpose to take my many blessings and go out and do a good job living.