Not Ready To Wake Up

Wake me up when it’s all over. When I’m wiser and I’m older. All this time I was finding myself and I didn’t know I was lost.

Wake Me Up When It’s All Over – Avicii

For those who are being personally affected by all of the hate, inequality, and injustice, please know that I see you! I can’t share your life experience, yet I will never stop educating myself and share it with those who want to educate themselves too. My heart breaks for you, for your families, and your loved ones. β™‘

The world is in such a terrible state filled with so much anger, hatred, separation, tragedy – it is truly heartbreaking and I think it’s accurate to say the year 2020 can take a long walk off a short pier and go screw itself!

Despite the total dumpster fire that has been this year, I feel more stable and more unwavering in my sobriety than ever. Being sober is a normal part of my everyday life and has been for a long time now. Dare I say, I feel as uninterested in consuming alchohol as I did before I ever had a sip. Now, the difference between then and now is that although I am as equally uninterested now as I was then, I now carry around all the alcohol soaked memories and experiences I’ve collected over time. And this makes things complicated.

For me, during quarantine, it was as if alcohol no longer existed! Josh never drank in the house to begin with so he hasn’t had alcohol at all during these past months since he’s been unable to play. My mom never liked alcohol anyway, and since I got sober, she basically stopped drinking all together. So, the two people I’ve been in personal contact with during these months haven’t had a single so of alcohol in months. They contradicted everyone else I know who were running to the liquor stores every week or posting memes about alcohol on Facebook. My secret wish came true for a few months – Josh wasn’t drinking at all and he was totally fine! And while he hasn’t shared much personally, I’ve noticed in him a lot of the physical changes one can experience when not drinking!

But now, here’s where the complications begin. Bars and restaurants are beginning to open up which means Josh is going to start playing again soon. And while I am so happy that he can get back to the main thing that brings him the most joy, I’m also dreading it. Which makes me feel and probably sound like a horrible person. But the reason I’m dreading it, is because alcohol will be involved.

Josh and I talked briefly about my anxiety around this topic. Yet, I felt I was having trouble with articulating my thoughts. I have never done well explaining why I get upset when Josh drinks yet I don’t care about anyone else. It just bothers me. Last week, I finally was able to have a telehealth appointment with my therapist and she provided me with another lightbulb moment! One that I’m sure we’ve talked about before and one I’ve probably mentioned on this blog before. But it’s one that I needed to hear again. She said it didn’t surprise her at all that Josh’s drinking, no matter how small, upsets me. She said that even the thought of him drinking triggers an uncontrollable recollection of past memories in my head centered around both my and Josh’s drinking. And while there are good memories, it’s the bad memories I subconsciously latch on to which is why I get so upset.

It was then that I realized – When I am not drinking, I know where I stand. When Josh is not drinking I know where he stands. I know where we stand together in our relationship. I am secure and grounded. Everything is carefree, unburdened, and purely joyful. There is absolutely nothing for me to worry about or think about. I am fully relaxed. Add just one drink into the mix, and suddenly I am flooded with doubt, uncertainty, mistrust, suspicion, irritation, worry, anxiety. I enter into a state of emotional chaos because although we had plenty of good memories involving drinking, every fight or moment of broken trust or hurt and pain and all the negative that we’ve ever experienced in our relationship together was a direct cause of drinking. Whether it was his drinking or mine. Even the good drinking experiences we had together are cloudy or particularly remembered, at least on my end, which is kind of a bummer. It’s nice to remember the good moments with clarity because that’s when they can be savored and experienced fully.

So, now I can explain in words why I get so upset at the thought of him drinking, even if it’s only one drink and why there is a low level of irritability that sinks in despite the communication and the compromises. Am I being rational about this? Probably not. Is it fair? Probably not. But it’s how I feel. I can explain what I mean when I say it’s hard to be in a relationship where one still drinks after the other one has stopped.

So, while it’s great to be able to understand the inner workings of my mind more, it doesn’t really help me realistically speaking. I’ve been dreading the thought of bars and restaurants opening back up, because I don’t want Josh to start drinking again and I don’t want things to change. And while that’s not exactly fair, I can’t help that I feel this way. For a little over 3 months, I got to be in a relationship with zero distractions – no fans, no bars, no flipped flopped schedules, no alcohol. I wasn’t dating, [Josh’s stage name I’m not revealing], the musician. I was dating Josh, my awesome, amazing boyfriend. We were able to give each other the best of ourselves. We were able to be vulnerable and open. We talked about our fears, uncertainties, and struggles. We were able to be truly in partnership as a couple without the rest of the world. Josh was able to lean on me and I on him for support and understanding. While we spent quarantine doing much of the same things that we normally do – watching movies, walking/biking, playing games – it was different for me. The quality of our time spent together was different and wonderful. We weren’t spending time day drinking, attending virtual happy hours, or in a foggy buzzed state. We had pure high quality time together.

I’ve been able to experience this fantasy for over 3 months and I’m not ready to let go. I’m not ready to wake up. But, I know I have to wake up sometime and all I can do is be honest and communicate. Compromise and communicate. Stay sober, continue to grow, and continue to communicate. Quarantine has allowed me to discover a peace within myself and the opportunity to be happy by simply being. I need to find a way to take this feeling with me as we venture back into the world. I need to trust that everything will be ok and I need to continue to take things one day at a time. The world is ready to pick back up again and I have no choice but to be ready along with it.

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