I often hear sober people (especially early sober people) describe themselves as feeling “flat”. Like the air has gone out of their souls and they are just left to lie around…flat.
I so get that! In the beginning I felt the same way…like I’d never have fun again. I mean really people…how does anyone have fun without drinking? I really and truly did not think it was possible. In fact, I used to look at people at parties who weren’t drinking and feel sorry for them because they couldn’t be having has much fun as I was having.
Damn but I was an ass.
Of course I was wrong. Duh. But it took awhile to learn how to have fun. Hell, I had to figure out what fun and happiness and joy and peace really felt like. It took awhile for me to be able to distinguish between real fun and the fake kind that comes from drinking a bottle or three of wine every night. I used to get so excited when I knew I had wine at home or that I was going to buy some or that we were going to a party or out to dinner. I was excited because I was going to have FUN!
Hindsight being what it is, I know now that it wasn’t fun. Not at all. It was the addiction whispering in my ear and telling me it was fun. In reality it was sad. Very, very sad.
It took me a long time to see that though.
It took me even longer to feel it.
Because in order to figure out what real fun was, I had to understand what was not fun. And to figure out what was not fun I had to understand what drinking had done and would continue to do to me if I ever started up again. I had to come to realize that sitting alone in a room night after night drinking to the exclusion of everyone, including my family is not fun. It’s addiction. Big difference.
Once I finally got that through my thick skull, I began to notice things that I had forgotten about. Things like…
- What a really, really good belly laugh feels like.
- What it feels like to have a child hug me, spontaneously, because I’ve spent the last 30 minutes rolling around on the floor with them. Or coloring with them. Or just being with them.
- What it feels like to hear my son tell me that he loves me because it’s 11:30 pm and I’m still awake and coherently listening to his hopes, dreams, fears, etc.
- What it feels like to swap family stories with my daughter and know that I’ll remember it the next day.
- What it feels like to look into my husband’s eyes and see only pride…not concern or irritation.
- What it feels like to dance without having to be held up or worrying I’m going to fall off my 4 inch heels.
- What it feels like to go for a drive on a fall day and not worry about when we’re going to stop and get a drink or when we’re going home so I can drink.
- What it feels like to hang with the little ones at grown up parties. They know how to have fun.
- What it feels like to walk the dogs in the morning with the entire day ahead of me because I didn’t sleep until noon (and still feel like shit).
- What it feels like to share dinner with my colleagues and really listen and share with them because I’m not looking for the waiter to refill my glass or trying to figure out if it’s socially acceptable to have a third glass of wine.
And the more I figured out what real fun was, the clearer I could see what addiction was.
It’s not fun.
It sucks ass.
And it tried to kill me. Dead is the ultimate in feeling flat.
Sober is just feeling.