Something weird happened to me this weekend. I went to St. Petersburg to see Jon Jon and Kallie, and it was the first time I had been there since I went to the “Writer’s in Paradise” conference at Eckerd College 1 1/2 years ago. I was only about six months sober at the conference and I was a pins-and-needles, miserable, insecure, dry drunk who holed up after sessions in my hotel room with a party bag of trans fat and my crippling fear of critique.
I had gotten a hotel far from the conference (not in the recommended hotel where many of the other attendees were socializing and making lifelong contacts), and I couldn’t figure out the street signs and every other storefront was a bar and I was anxious and I hated St Petersburg. The best way to describe my state of mind was “out of sorts”. I ended up leaving the conference early. I didn’t even go to the Dali Museum.
Early Sobriety Sucks
Here’s the weird thing that happened this weekend – I discovered there is nothing wrong with the city of St. Petersburg. It was me.
Now I understand why the experts tell you not to take on too much in early recovery. The counterintuitive act of not drinking is consuming enough. alcoholrehab.com (a great resource by the way – I use their excellent blog all the time) lists the following things as activities to avoid in your first year of alcohol temperance:
* Taking on additional responsibilities at work or apply for a promotion
* Changing job or career
* Going to college
* Getting a divorce or separation
* Having a baby
* Starting a new romance
* Launching a new business venture
* Going on a long trip that will involve being away from recovery resources
* Moving house
* Moving to a new country
And I’ll add one thing more:
* Going to a writer’s conference where you are raked over the coals with constructive excoriation and where the evening get-together’s will invariably involve “pub crawls”. Writers drink, after all…
Take heart, my friends, in the early days of abstinence. It gets better. The fog clears (although it rained like a mother while I was revisiting St. Pete’s) and you can go back to those places that gave you pause and reevaluate with a clear head. And as it turns out, The Tapas Ceviche Restaurant downtown is awesome (and if you’re reading this Jon Jon, I know I was like a dog with a sock, but aren’t you glad we went?)
Today I’m not drinking because I don’t want to have to go through early recovery again…
How come you’re not drinking?