these are the ingredients of the green juice I made specifically because of its name and hoping to be able to do a NYE post along the lines of ‘don’t drink the Kool-Aid’. but that’s not where I’m going after drinking the juice so bear with me! the recipe was from here and this is what I did. it makes enough for 2.
- wash 5 kale leaves, an apple (2 if they are small like mine were), a cucumber, and two sticks of celery.
- peel a lemon (I don’t think I’ve ever peeled a lemon before! how bizarre!)
- cut a 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peel and chop.
- juice all ingredients together.
was it nice??! well, nearly 😉
it was considerably nicer than I thought it was going to be when I assembled the ingredients for the photo above. with bitter kale and even sourer lemon – surely it would need a discreet dollop of honey to help it down? well, surprisingly not. the ginger gave it a kick and there was a strong note of celery which masked the kale. it may be of course that my juicer didn’t extract enough juice from the kale to impart its full bitterness.
what I’m coming to, having thought it through while drinking the greenest bloody drink I have ever drunk, is this – we think sobriety is like kale.
no-one comes to sobriety with gay abandon and excitement. no-one ever said, well I don’t really need to, but I’ll do this for fun. it is not the salted caramel latte of life.
we do it as a last resort. when we have tried and failed to moderate and it is the very last option that we think we have. as the wonderful Holly at Hip Sobriety says, the overwhelming societal expectation which we accept unquestioningly is that we should be able to consume an addictive substance without becoming addicted, and we just keep trying to meet that ridiculous, insane expectation. some of us try for so long that it actually kills us. and before that we try our hardest to extinguish our own souls within us so we are no longer the people we could have been.
this is not a game. this is what we are choosing to make of our only. precious. lives.
I have been thinking a lot about those folks who will be drinking hard tonight on the basis that they will stop drinking on 1 January. whether for a month, or ‘forever’. none of those people think that sobriety will be fun. like I did, they might see it, at best, as the lesser of two evils. a removal of the pain associated with heavy drinking.
and the unpalatable truth of sobriety is that it is not always sweet to the taste. there may be pink clouds in the early days, and those are to be revelled in, rolling about like Marilyn Monroe in a negligee upon a satin bedspread. and I have written many posts here about how wonderful sobriety is, all of which are truer than true. it is a deeply transformative process, with the ability to carve new faces into the rock of our lives. it is like marriage, or parenthood, with its ability to change us into different, larger, more whole-hearted people than we were before. but such growth can be painful, too.
many of the lessons sobriety teaches us are hard ones. the fact that we are no longer deceiving ourselves about alcohol opens our eyes to other unpalatable facts about ourselves, which we can no longer ignore. that can be a deeply uncomfortable process, and when our self-esteem has been so eroded by perhaps years of alcohol dependence that discomfort can be enormously hard to bear.
when I stopped drinking I expected it to be at once more difficult and more easy than it turned out to be. I expected it to be more difficult than it actually is, by assuming that I would feel eternally deprived of the substance. before I stopped drinking, that’s why I thought people had to keep attending AA meetings for life – to keep them away from alcohol. and I expected it to be easier than it actually is, because I didn’t realise what I would see in myself when the alcohol was removed.
Jean at Unpickled wrote a wonderful post about this which she re-posted recently. she says:
‘Quitting drinking is only the beginning, and soon you will start to see many other parts of life improve – things you may be refusing to acknowledge or scared to change. Things you tolerate because you think that’s “just how it is” may not be true at all. Shame you feel can be lifted. You can be free in so many ways. I wish this for you.
I am not perfect, but I am getting better. I enjoy my life so much more now. I am present for it, and I do not constantly feel the need to get numb. By ignoring all the things that hurt and shamed me, I was tolerating the pain they caused – it was like a constant background noise. Now that I am dealing with them, their power is diminished.’
what I’m saying here, perhaps, is that this is a hard battle, whether you are newly sober or have more time under your belt, and it is easy – certainly for me – to become complacent. the golden miasma accorded to alcohol in our own minds can be difficult to shake off.
there are days in which one can aspire to be open, and trusting, and able to learn from one’s mistakes. and then there are others, like New Year’s Eve, when one might be better served by donning the spikiest pair of sober boots available, and kicking Wolfie in the fork.
if you need a slogan to shout as you do so, may I suggest the following?
IT’S JUST A FUCKING DRUG.
don’t fall for any of the clap-trap, today. that mental image of condensation beading on a glass of chilled Prosecco, or of the firelight reflecting in a deep ruby wine, or the anticipation of the first gulp of thirst-quenching beer – all just a drug. you might as well be licking a psychoactive toad.
don’t take the drug. remember how good this is. stay free.
have a wonderful sober New Year and see you in 2016! Prim xx