Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Seven Year Itch

I've hit a crossroad in the last year that likens itself to the seven year itch, as referred in marriage and a Monroe film. It is during this time in a marriage, after seven years, that being unfaithful may become into thought. I can assume (I say mostly assume because my own marriage didn't come close to seven years) that there just comes a time in any committed relationship that you question just about every aspect. And seven years seems like the perfect amount of time. You've gotten to know someone, you know habits and behaviors. Your goals may change and your lives may no longer run parallel. Life just becomes complacent.

My seven year itch, in sobriety, has come in full force over the last year. To be unfaithful to my sobriety is tantalizing...sexy and romantic. I picture myself in Bordeaux having a nice glass with a piece of bread and cheese. I feel cold alcohol on a hot summer day. I've become bored with my every day routine of being sober. I fantasize about my torrid affair while sitting there ignoring my sober self. I've started looking for reasons to stray and dip my toes in the other side. Ignore the blog, the work I do, the book...stop thinking...start living in la la land with my aspirations to be inebriated at any given point. The itch has gotten deep.

Truth is, that itch is a remarkably dangerous place to scratch. The love affair with alcohol would soon turn bitter. The romance? Gone in hours. Bordeaux? Not happening that way. I would leave my sober self, never able to return again. That moment that I took one drink would erase the last seven and a half years of painstaking work. And I would never be there again.

My solution...because I've decided to focus this blog more on the solutions than the problems. Decided to write more about life as it has become instead of what it was. I am present, focused and allowing life to come in.

And I've slapped on some anti-itch stuff...my blog, my work, my passion for this life...iI should be good for another seven years.

15 comments:

Mishakii Binesik said...

Glad to read you're not beating yourself up over the itch and recognize it for what it is. It's been awhile since I've read your blog. Good work!

Madeleine said...

I gave in to the itch once... I laughed when I read about the way we fantasize about it, because it was certainly the same way with me. It wasn't glamorous at all, but that sure was the way I envisioned it! I feel like I have to say though, just for the relapsers out there, that a relapso does NOT erase years of sobriety. That work you did still counts for something, you still learned all that, you just gotta get sober again to reclaim it. I had to say this because when people that have relapsed think they've thrown years of sobriety in the garbage by relapsing it usually leads to a drink not a meeting.

jemiho said...

I like your style! Please keep weaving your individual magic. I can see another side of life through you.

Syd said...

Great analogy. I felt the 7 year itch in my marriage. It was just as you wrote--a state of complacency. But eventually we got through that only to have alcoholism slap us both into a state of resentment and fear. We are now still working on that in recovery.

Angela said...

You are so wise. Definitely don't scratch that itch!!!

BB said...

Nice post. I'm envious. I am on day 4 of sobriety. I am looking forward to day 7, let alone year 7!

I've added your blog to my blogroll. Looking foward to reading more.

KimberlyDi said...

This is also frustrating though probably just reality. I'm already bored with it and I'm only on day 5.

It filled a huge void. I'm proud of being dry but what to do with that huge void?

I'm free. I'm proud that I stopped by myself. And I'm bored and the kids are annoying. :)

You're on my list now.

particles said...

You hit the spot on the itch. The timing of this article came at a right time for me. I have the one year itch, complacency has kicked in, my productive level: suffered. Thank you for your well written insight. My focus is now detouring towards a better path. Scratching the itch only worsens the condition, I must paint instead.

West Texas Insomniac said...

I'm still an infant in my sobriety. I quit for health reasons unrelated to alcohol. The other day while grocery shopping, I bought a bottle of wine. I thought I'd "try" having a glass or two at night or with dinner. No harm, no foul, right? I'm feeling better now! What could it hurt?

Well, I'm also a Christian. Not an over-the-top, Born-Again pain in the butt. But I lean strongly on my Faith. So when I got home, I opened the rear door and the bag with the wine in it tumbled to the concrete...I must've gasped a little as this red liquid ran down the driveway. I closed my eyes, laughed a little, then looked to the Heavens and said aloud, "Ok, I get it". I didn't rush back to the store for another bottle. The moment had passed and I saw "the sign".

Thanks for continuing to blog. You are an inspiration. Can't wait for the book. Tim

James Buchanan Barnes said...

I know that it is easy to get wrapped up in various mental trappings. Romanticizing alcohol is a fairly common thread through most alcoholics. I'm happy to hear you've acquired seven years sober. That is undeniably impressive.

Through affordable alcohol rehab some of us have been given a life of sobriety. Best wishes to you in your future endeavors.

Anonymous said...

Cunning, baffling, powerful.

AnyEdge said...

Excellent. I'm nowhere seven years, but I'm always impressed by the way you people leading me blaze the trail.

natalie said...

I had an "itch" after nearly 3 years clean. Scratched the hell out of it & now I'm starting over in so many areas. Don't do it. I had that romantic craving, as you put it. But it never was enough, once I started back. In fact, it was even worse. Thanks for sharing your feelings, though. I'm so new sober again that it's hard sometimes, but I'm using the program & also trying to read as much as I can to help with the cravings.

Kenney said...

Great description...I find that every year about anniversary time I get crazy in one way or another...Romanticized & fine wine...Alone at home with 2 or 3 bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 is where I would be...I know cause that is where I came from...I have talked with many Old Timers & they tell me that there are times when the Itch comes up & that is what AA is really all about...Anyone can quit drinking...It's learning to live sober that is the problem...Nice blog I enjoy it...Check my sobriety blog out sometime...Kenney

tkr said...

Wow - just trying to put my itch behind. I'm glad it's over like I like its some sort of rt. of passage. I'm not diss in' ole timers, but hearing 39 yrs, and 25 yrs ad 48 yrs. is not inspiring. Week of my 48th belly button bday and 3 days, and not bender- days .... Just there's that "who gives a shit feeling", pretty much like I remember it. Perrier is my drink of choice again and it tastes better than it ever did, a better that any one f the first beers of past few days. More research has shown me who I've become and who I was!