Discipline, Drinking & How Janet Jackson Helped Me Get It Together Again: Part II
Note to my readers: this is a little more personal (raw), as Lindsay Lohan would say.
“Three months and I’m still sober,” the one, true American Idol sang on her middle finger-to-Clive Davis 2007 opus, My December.
I still haven’t had a drink yet, y’all. Like, at all.
If you were hoping to #expose me because you’ve seen a glass in my hand at a bar, DJing, at a party, in a VIP nightclub: it’s soda water and lime, every single time. I learned that trick from Miss Kasha Davis on Katya‘s podcast. It looks less conspicuous that way. (Great listen, by the way.)
It’s been four months, actually, since I had a minor Blackout moment, then decided to just outright stop drinking. Then I wrote about that choice a month-ish later, which was dark. Some people also, I think, assumed I was reviewing Janet Jackson‘s Discipline, when in fact the album title was a revelatory plot point in my journey. So if you missed it, and you’re just joining me now…uh, hey.
That said, I got plenty of messages, privately and publicly, from people going through similar things, sharing their stories and/or just encouraging me, which was really amazing. And unexpected. And hugely appreciated.
A few people have also reached out in recent weeks to ask about an update. And to that I say: look at me, baby, how I’m doing.
The non-drinking thing is the most obvious answer to the “What’s got you feeling so good?” question, but it’s really one part of a whole #NewYearNewMe thing which…began in April: from eating way less trash (I’m “eating clean” like My Queen, who…also eats McDonald’s burgers) to hydrating, moisturizing and going to the gym way more. (And if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll already be well aware. I’m sorry/you’re welcome. No, I won’t stop.)
And of course, that all comes down to discipline.
The pros? Uh, a million billion. I’m saving a ton of money and working down my debt (as it turns out, nightly drunken baked zitis really add up), I’m looking and feeling better (“I’m not cocky, I just love myself…bitch“), and I’m starting to feel a weird, possibly-maybe sense of self-confidence. My bad days are still bad (inevitable), but they are not the bad, sad, I’d-rather-just-disappear-entirely days I’d often had over the past two years. I think I’m grinding somewhat harder work-wise as well, and overcoming the Inner Saboteur™ telling me that I’m not a good enough, smart enough writer to do more (moah).
My mindset is a lot less “nothing matters, so fuck it all” and way more “nothing matters, but let’s try and make the best of it for myself while I’m still here” these days, you know? I like that much better for me.
The only con that comes to mind – beyond the intense line of questioning when someone overhears me ordering soda water at the bar – is the nagging feeling of being a bore. But then, that’s something I’ve feared as an introvert masquerading as an extrovert my whole life. So whatever! If I’m boring IRL and only fun online, then that’s the tea! I just don’t want to ruin their fun, that’s all. Get fucking hammered if you want to! If you don’t go home, ugly cry, and leave lengthy voicemail messages on your ex’s machine about wanting to disappear almost every time you drink to excess, then go all the way awf, henny.
I’m good for now, though. And as it turns out, feeling alive and aware in a bar isn’t a bad thing. It’s sort of like someone turned on all of the lights. The guy ignoring me after kissing me who I would have cried about on the dance floor drunk, Robyn style, is actually just drunk and sloppily kissing everyone. The throuple circle-jerking in the corner are not nearly as intimidatingly hot as they seemed while wasted. While I am inherently an embarrassing person and often socially awkward, I’m really appreciating the sensation of feeling every interaction, good and bad, rather than numbing the night away.
Let me just also say: I’m not, nor was I ever, an alcoholic. I haven’t even done a drug beyond weed, as I am – what? – a fucking nerd. And a baby. The choice to cut out alcohol cold turkey was an easy one for me because it was never an addiction. (If anything, that would be sex. More on that at another time…)
There are people who struggle with overcoming substance dependence, and they are incredibly strong. I’m not one of those people. Therefore, I don’t consider myself an actual sober person, since it implies I escaped an out-of-control situation.
If, and/or when, I drink again, I don’t need to explain myself. I’m also not dragging the person I was just a few months ago. Not that much has changed. I know that some friends must be eye-rolling at the dramatics of these life updates. But based on the messages I got the first time around, I suspect people might like to know more – and may even relate, or better yet, feel encouraged enough to get it together a little, too.
I stopped doing something that was leading me down a depressive path. Now I don’t do that thing anymore, and I genuinely feel better.
In fact, one might even say I feel…so much betta.