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How Many “Firsts” Can One Woman Have in Recovery?

How Many “Firsts” Can One Woman Have in Recovery?

How Many “Firsts” Can One Woman Have in Recovery?

I am continuously surprised by the “firsts” in my sobriety. After almost four years, you’d think I would have done all the things I did drunk, sober. I know I write about widening the path to recovery all the time, but I am amazed by how wide it really is. How many full-throttle experiences I have had in the past few years that throw me for a loop, in a good way.



For example, last summer I was sober on a boat for the first time. I remember looking at the big, white cooler as if it were a tarantula. Flinch. Yikes!  Don’t open it! What’s IN there? But boating sober, dancing to some old Frank Sinatra tunes, was the best. I did it myyyyy way!


And there was my first sober theatrical experience where I realized I didn’t hate musical theater after all – I just hated musical theater when I was blackout drunk or fighting drunk. And there was the first time I played pool sober (I have to admit – not as fun but less quarters spent…).


Last weekend I was in Jacksonville and I had another sober “first”. My children and I were going on an airboat ride and we had to walk through a boatyard (what is it about boats and booze?). This may seem strange, but I spent a fair amount of time around boatyards when I was a tippler (trippler more like…). I had a boyfriend. He was a tinkerer. We lived in Florida and The Bahamas.


Wait… What? I’m sober on an airboat! That’s a “first”…


Cigareets and Whiskey…

Like the old country song, they’ll drive you crazy – they’ll drive you insane.


As I got out of the car at the boatyard it all came back to me like a, well, like an old  country song. The heat and the screaming fights where my voice must have carried across the water like a harridan. I was, after all, the girlfriend of a guy who was covered in grease, hunkered down in a bilge with a lit cigarette. How classy is that? How appropriate to be drunk at 10:00 AM and angry about paying for a lost cause, money-pit?


And there were good times in boatyards. The times I stumbled into Harbourside Marine, Nassau, to buy something for my boat. You always have to buy stuff for boats. The lilting Bahamian voices, the smell of salt and Coppertone…


Almost crashing into sharp oyster shells! On an airboat! Sober! That’s a “FIRST”!


Rethinking “Firsts”…

I have to stop thinking about these new experiences as “firsts”.  I should stop comparing the life I had before to the life I have now. Because this is a whole, new thing. A path so wide I can’t even imagine all the wonderful experiences I am going to have. My old life and this new life – it’s like comparing chalk and cheese, as my ex-husband used to say. It’s like putting boatyards and booze in the same sentence…


Today I’m not drinking because, think of all the “firsts” I might have! (I might post a sort of ugly photo of myself with my loved ones because we are in a boatyard! That’s a first.)

How come you’re not drinking?


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One Comment

  1. Avatar
    May 25, 2017

    I am still in my first year (9+months) and every season is a first for me. Now it’s summer and the beach is calling with fun little concoctions or at least for normal people that’s what they are called. Just last summer I was going to the beach club where I could drink alcohol during the day and it was perfectly acceptable. Hey, I’m just chillin’ in the sun like everyone else. What no one knew was that for me an alcoholic beverage (or 5) was necessary for me to quit having the shakes and be able to function “normally”.

    Freedom from the bondage of alcohol is a beautiful thing and this summer I really will be just chillin’ like everyone else with a fun little concoction-minus the alcohol.

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