Hi, I’m Nora

Hi, I’m Nora Charles and I have been sober for 3 days.  That’s the longest I’ve gone without a drink in 2 years.

I don’t think my story is all that unusual.  You probably know someone like me, or maybe you are someone like me.  I wouldn’t go on week long benders and wake up in jail or a stranger’s bed.  I never got a DUI.  I didn’t drink in the morning or hide my drinking.  I didn’t “hit bottom” or “have a moment of clarity” or any of that other stuff the AAers like to talk about.

But I did drink every day, and it was never just one.  I’d spend all day looking forward to that first drink in the evening.  I’d start as soon as I got home from work and I wouldn’t stop until bedtime.  I woke up with some degree of hangover every morning for several years.  It’s amazing what you can get used to.

I was even worse on the weekends.  Nothing was more fun than a nice cocktail hour in the evening.  Sometimes I’d go to bars with friends or out to dinner with my husband, but really?  The most fun thing I could imagine was sitting home with some takeout and as much vodka as I wanted.  Some Saturday afternoons, when I was out doing something that was supposed to be fun, I’d check my watch & think, “hmm, it’s 3pm, only 2 more hours.”  Sometimes I would take down almost a half gallon of vodka in a weekend.  All by myself.

A drink was my answer to everything.  Depressed?  I’ll have a drink, that’ll cheer me up.  Happy?  Good for me, let’s have a drink to celebrate!  Lonely?  A drink will keep me company.  Stressed?  I think I’ll chill out with a drink…..and so on.  That’s how I came up with the name of this blog.  Just like that old adage:  When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.  My hammer was booze.

So one day I started thinking about whether I wanted children and, before anything else, the first thing that occurred to me was that I didn’t think I could stay sober for 9 months to gestate the thing.  That thought lay dormant for a while, but I started thinking about my drinking habits in general.  The thought of sobriety, even for a day or two, terrified me.  I wanted no part of that.  A day without wine was like a day without sunshine as far as I was concerned.  And if you could drive to the corner & pick up a bottle of sunshine on a cloudy day, wouldn’t you?  Especially if the darkness was really, really scary.

It started to become apparent to me that the sauce was controlling my life.  Not in the sense that I was drunk all the time, I wasn’t.  It’s just that the thought of an evening without a drink was so terrifying.  Oddly, that wasn’t the day that I quit.  That was the day that I started feeling guilty about my drinking.  I wouldn’t quit until much, much later.

Anyway, here I am.  My last drink was Sunday evening, May 30, 2010.  My first sober evening in 2 years was Monday, May 31, 2010.  Memorial Day.  I’m not saying I’ll never touch a drop again.  But I don’t ever want to have that love/fear/dependence relationship I once had with booze.  And now that I’ve gone 3 days without a drink, that is starting to seem like a possibility.