In the first few days of recovery, it’s clear how great a toll drinking takes on your body. I’m not experiencing “withdrawal”, per se, (no shakes or any seriously debilitating symptoms), but I’m exhausted. My last drink was on Thursday night, and I slept 12 hours Friday night, had to take a nap Saturday afternoon (which I never do), and then slept another 12 hours last night. I was mostly useless on Saturday – feeling generally worn-down and lethargic – though I did manage to accomplish a fair bit today. I’ve no doubt I’ll be to bed early tonight, as I have to be up for work tomorrow and can’t indulge my body’s desire to sleep in until 9 or 10.
That said, it’s overall a good kind of tired. I can tell it’s my body’s attempt to get on with the business of repairing the damage I’ve done… sleep feels restorative, not desperate. It’s certainly a world away from the hungover brand of tired, where I’m woozy, shaky, and anxious. Sober sleep might be the most underrated and immediate benefit of recovery.
I have happy hours to attend Thursday and Friday this week, which I’m sure most people would consider an obvious red flag, but I’m not presently worried (if I do, at any point, become concerned that it could compromise my sobriety I’ll certainly make my excuses and bow out). Most of the reason why I don’t think it’ll be a problem is that I’ve had plenty of sober outings with my colleagues and friends, even when I had no designs to give up drinking. It was never a big deal to volunteer as designated driver, or make a brief appearance and leave early. Social drinking isn’t really my downfall, anyway… I was more of a solitary alcoholic. I never looked especially forward to getting drunk with friends, but I would count the minutes until I could plunk down on my couch after work (or on the weekend) with a bottle-plus of wine at the ready. It was a boredom-killer, a hobby, an “off-switch”.
So, in that respect, I’m much more concerned about the week off from work I have coming up than the 2 happy hours that precede it. I’ll have to come up with an arsenal of things to keep me occupied, and indulge in loads of sleep. I think that if I can make it through that week, it should be the biggest hurdle I have to face in the immediate future. I do feel a little tightness and anxiety when I think about giving up cool glasses of sauvignon blanc in the sunshine, but then I play it forward and see an entire week’s vacation wasted in a cycle of drunken idleness and crippling hangovers. And even the “cool glasses of sauvignon blanc in the sunshine” is just an idealized fantasy that my brain’s conjuring up to make drinking seem appealing… the reality would be tumblers of boxed wine in front of the television or laptop.
Anyway, I’ve loaded up my sober toolbox for the week with peach-pear La Croix, salted-caramel dark chocolates, bedtimes before dark, and a free pass to divert any alcohol cravings with junk food (I’m sensing a lot of cheeseburgers in the coming days). Priority number one is to keep this momentum, and be constantly mindful of all the reasons I have to stay sober.