On my 10th day of sobriety, I came home from work wanting to celebrate. Ordinarily, my celebration would involve cracking open a nice bottle of champagne and that thought genuinely passed through my head, which I couldn’t help but laugh at. It was probably best not to honor my newfound sobriety and hard work by catching a buzz, so I did the next best thing. I have a mild obsession with coffee mugs and I couldn’t think of a better way to reward my 10 days than to order myself a new one. Ordered on day 10, arrived on day 22. It gave me something to look forward to and now gives me something to reflect on when I grab it from the cabinet. This just might become a thing.
So, yes, day 22 officially wrapped up yesterday, and I have to say that this sobriety thing does keep getting better. Over the weekend my husband, E, and I had a night out of town planned for Saturday. We are big music fans and concert-goers and one of my old favorites, Jason Mraz, was playing an acoustic set nearby in Greenville, SC. We had a nice dinner planned beforehand in a cute French bistro across the river from the venue. It was our first dinner out, our first date night since I decided to get sober, and it was strange. Strange, but fantastic at the same time. Ordinarily, we would order up a cocktail or even hit a cocktail bar pre-dinner, but not this time. Even E didn’t drink and although I told him he absolutely could, he proclaimed that he didn’t want a drink and only wanted to support me. I could see that he really meant it. (Have I mentioned that I love this guy?) When we first sat down, I was quickly drawn to the view of the people at the tables around me with their wine bottles perched elegantly between them and filled glasses in their hands. I couldn’t believe how badly I wanted to just have that one glass because it would probably be okay. The thought kept rolling around in my head. Temptation was suddenly strong and I was wringing my hands under the table.
I felt like I was sitting just on the edge of giving in if the waitress only asked, but to my surprise she never did. Not once did she ask if she could bring us a drink and she had plenty of opportunities to do so. Normally, I would think this was a big miss in service, but on this occasion, it almost felt meant to be. We both requested sparkling water and I asked if should would serve mine in a wine glass. Maybe some sober folks don’t even want the feel of that glass in their hands, but it works for me. Once I could feel that stem between my fingers, my urge to drink subsided. In fact, it’s as though it completely disappeared. It reminded me of when former smokers talk about the need to chew on a straw or toothpick to replace the oral fixation of a cigarette. If it works for me, I’ll go with it.
The concert was absolute perfection. We had amazing seats and although I’ve seen Mraz four times now, this was the only time it’s ever just been him and a guitar. As I sat enjoying the show, I had a number of thoughts running through my head. Namely, this was my first sober concert since I was about 16. I was going to remember every moment of the show, what songs he performed, the stories he told, all of it. It’s been typical at concerts to pre-game, have multiple drinks ahead of time, have one in my hand during the show and maybe even wrap it all up with a nightcap afterwards. To say that I could recall the details of all of the concerts I’ve been to would be a big miss. What wasted times I had, literally.
One of the more profound thoughts I had during the show was how when I first saw Mraz, I never would have pictured this particular evening coming for me down the road. That occasion was with my best friend for my 30th birthday, over 13 years ago. I was a few months away from finally pulling the plug on my first marriage, it was a terrible time. I used to drive home from work playing a particular Jason Mraz album nearly every night, worried about what I was going to come home to and dreaming of a different and better life for myself. I never knew what mood my ex would be in and his anger was showing up more and more. As I sat next to E on Saturday night, listening to Mraz belt out some of my favorites, I was overcome with a sense of peace and happiness. I may have been dreaming of a better life all those years ago, but I never imagined it could be this good. I guess I really am a happy camper these days.