Monday, November 05, 2007

The Burden of Sobriety

I was reading an article in Vanity Fair this weekend regarding a former child star's take of being sober. In a Q&A, Justin Bateman answers a question posed by the reporter:

"Not even a glass of wine?"
"No, not even a little bit. I am just not good at it. Now I run like I am being chased every morning. I don't know what the hell I have become, but it's starting to annoy me. "
http://www.vanityfair.com/fame/features/2007/11/wayne_bateman200711

That last phrase has been ringing in my ears all weekend. "I don't know what the hell I have become, but it's starting to annoy me."

I feel like that often now that the pink cloud of euphoria that comes with early sobriety has lifted.

I constantly question my role in the sober world. I feel like my old life was more reckless, less "heavy" and a bit more carefree. Because, today, my mind rarely gets a break from thinking sober. I live it, write it and breathe all things sober.

And while it is the best thing for me, the best choice I have ever made...it can piss me off on occasion.

Last week, I was at a great event at the Tavern of the Green. Lots of advertising people. Lots of black ties and drinks clinking. In the sea of people drinking red and white wine (they only thing on the tables beside water), I felt as if I were on a different party boat. I watched the bottles being poured. I was very conscious of everyone beginning to loosen up. And I sometimes felt compelled to be even more gregarious or stealth with my diet coke in a wine glass. The funny thing, it's all in my mind. I've created the burden of my own sobriety. People rarely notice what you are drinking or why. It's the ones that become overly intoxicated that make conversation. No one noticed or cared that I didn't drink...but I did, even with years under my belt. And when I got on my train late in the evening, I felt such relief to be done with my bout of fitting in.

And these occasions happen all the time. I have to remind myself that alcohol is not some long lost romance I pine for. That the decisions I have made today will allow me to live a healthy and emotionally gratifying life. Even if that means sacrificing that bit of irresponsibility that could turn a mellow Friday evening into a wild escapade.

There is solace in living life with this burden, it could be worse, it could be the burden of being drunk all the time, which is worse.

But, there are just few times in my week or month, where I have to remind myself that being sober isn't a jail sentence...it's a choice.

And I think I need to take my choices, difficult or not, and learn to laugh the burden off my back every once in a while.

2 comments:

The "Kach 22" said...

I just wanted to say this really hit home with me... Thanks for the article.

8 months clean tomorrow (alcoholic/addict)

Mark

Teresa Finney said...

I loved this, Kim. Thank you. I feel like this ALOT. Those "stares" from other people when I have a bottled water in my hand instead of a wine glass. I'm realizing the same things you are, in that no one is staring, and everyone is too consumed with getting their buzz on to care.
The "laugh the burden off my back" part hit home too, because laughter has been the one thing that the choice of getting sober has brought back into my life. I didn't laugh when I was drinking.
Sooo, in conclusion: you're a badass, I'm jealous that you ate at Tavern, and please don't ever stop writing. xo.