Tanned Skin and Picnics

Monday, yay! I freaking love Mondays! Sorry, not sorry – I am an unbearably cheerful morning person and Monday mornings in particular make me happy. If anyone was hoping I’d mention something that I’m happy about and grateful for and NOT finish off with “because I’m sober”, today is not that day. Mornings and Mondays are magnificent BECAUSE I AM SOBER! 860 days today, in fact. I can’t remember how it came up in conversation last night but Hubby asked me how many days now. I knew roughly. I do check my ‘I Am Sober’ app once in a while, it’s nice to see that number and I get emotional every time.

Did you ever think you’d see that number on there?” Hubby asked.

I just laughed, shook my head and shut him up with a kiss.

Will it, and if so, when will sober rewards cease to feel amazing? It’s a serious question to anyone further ahead. It worries me sometimes, you see.

I don’t honestly see how it would be possible that I’d suddenly want to drink again, so that’s not my primary worry – I mean, you hear sometimes of how someone might have been really overjoyed in early recovery and then, sort of, got bored. I have the advantage, however, that my drinking life was boring as hell and it’s sober that I now actually have tonnes of fun – I’m making friends and connections all the time, I’m pursuing a direction I’m passionate about through studying, I go for a run every morning, I have been writing like a demon lately – and that’s just four doors that opened since I stopped destroying myself. So I can’t see how even my devious brain could trick me into thinking slow suicide would be preferable to all this life I now have. But you never know. So whilst it’s my deepest fear that I’d once again lose my life and take another descent into hell, I’m so happy here on the Pink Cloud I find the idea somewhat farfetched. I know it sounds cocky and that’s not what I mean. I guess all I’m saying is I feel quite solid still in my recovery.

Perhaps it’s a fear of letting go of the joy and gratitude of all these simple little things. Like waking up sober. *reward #1* Like this morning. 6.30am, half an hour before the alarm would have gone off. Snuggle with Hubby for a little while, then up to make coffee. *reward #2* Then sit and write for a while whilst waiting for the coffee to brew. *reward #3* And so the days usually go on. Long strings of little beads of reward, one after the other – sobriety is like that. Maybe it’s because my drinking was so bad and it was wrecking my whole existence, but sober almost my every last move is an exercise of oh my God, I lost this and now it’s here again.

I guess what I’m asking is, is when did things stop being amazing and just became stuff you take for granted?

I’m not saying I spend my life now bouncing around in awe at each breath I take or that everything’s perfect. That’s not the case. I have good days, I have bad days and I have days that are meh or in-between. But mostly, whether life is on the up or down, it’s very clear to me that it’s a gift I’m immensely grateful for.

It goes for the number of days too. Obviously, in the beginning, seeing double digits was a huge victory – TEN DAYS, WOOHOO! – and you’re not as acutely aware of how many there now are further down the line. It was 28 months on the 23rd of May and that honestly just slipped me by and I only realised the next day when I happened to check the app.

Part of this little niggly feeling I have when I think about this, I think comes from the sponsor I had for a brief while early on. Any time I expressed feeling great or whatever, she’d take me down a few pegs and tell me it was my “addiction talking” and that I shouldn’t go on like that. She kept telling me I should focus on the shit stuff about my drinking or I’d relapse in a hot second. I get it, and in a way I agree, but I think she failed to realise that the only reason I am – and have been all along – so happy and grateful to be sober is precisely because of the hell I was in. Is freedom really going to taste this sweet if you’ve never been without it?

This is going nowhere. I don’t know what I’m getting at. I feel like I’m looking for problems where there aren’t any. I’m sober and that makes me feel happy and grateful. 7.30am and time to head out for my run shortly. *reward #4* The sun is shining and even though the world is a mad and unsettling place to be right now, it’s still a great one and I do have lots of faith that after all this turbulence it will be a better place for us all.

Oh! I now tan. Shallow, but bear with me. *reward #5* Call me crazy but this is a sobriety reward, honestly. I never used to tan and once I stopped drinking I suddenly do. OK, my pale Scandinavian skin is never going to go the deep brown my kiwi husband’s does in the sun, but I freaking TAN! I go a lovely golden shade and I get freckles again like I used to. Has to be the absence of poison in my system. Drinking blocks lots of nutrients and vitamins and shit. Must be related. I’ve googled this like crazy trying to find evidence to support this but I’ve come up short. I swear though, this is another recovery thing. Makes sense, right? Our skin is our largest organ, so obviously this must be the case. Yep, a golden tan is a sobriety thing. It’s official. I only realised because my bonus sons said it yesterday when we went to see them for a picnic at a responsible 2 metre distance.

Anna, you’re tanned,” Bonus #1 said.

Yeah,” Bonus #2 agreed and nodded.

They’re both quite pale skinned and it was strange to me to a) be told I’m tanned because that never used to be the case, and b) not be the pastiest white person in the group.

Anyway. Apologies for this random load of pointless waffle. I don’t know if I actually had anything to say or where I was going with any of it. Perhaps it’s a sign of gratitude – noting how good life is and not taking it for granted. Perhaps worrying this joy will fade and go away is a sign that it’s very much here and I appreciate it?

I’ll shut up now.

Today I’m not going to drink.

10 thoughts on “Tanned Skin and Picnics

  1. Loved this, too! I can relate–I felt SO grateful for every little effing thing during oh, my first maybe four or five years of sobriety. It doesn’t wane, per se; it just…I think it was around maybe 2018 or 2019, so, six years after getting sober, I started to feel kind of bored, like I was taking for granted the little things. But, not really, because intellectually I am just as grateful for all those things you write about, it’s just, emotionally, I am not as “high” about them. It never goes away, though; if anything the appreciation becomes more serious, deeper; you just get further into real life, and maybe just don’t have as much energy to be emotional about your sobriety as you are thankful that it is what your “serious, big girl day” is built on? It never goes away, so don’t worry about that. And, yeah, if you are this grateful, then every piece of that is going to be incentive for your brain to resist going back to those old patterns of drinking-thinking. Thank you for sharing!!! xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I totally loved this waffle … really upbeat and mad me feel happy. I’ve been feeling really good about not drinking this past week. Just so bloody grateful to be able to appreciate the small stuff. I definitely did not do that as my drunk other self. And YES to tanning. That’s soooooo weird you said it. I’ve always had skin that tans but OMG … it’s reacted much quicker. I’ve hardly been out due to work and having the garden sorted and but I’ve turned a much deeper shade. Maybe it is the lack of booze in my system. Who knows. Just an additional bonus if it is. Xx

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  3. This is such an optimistic ode to sobriety! I loved it. I love that four doors have opened for you since you stopped destroying yourself, and “Long strings of little beads of reward, one after the other”. Sobriety IS like that! You’re the best. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Keep waffling. 🙂 I haven’t had a tan since being sober. I too am pasty white. (Last summer I had the broken ankle and I didn’t go out much.) I look forward to testing it out next summer.
    A lovely way to shut up your other half, with a kiss. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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