90 Days Alcohol Free: Like a Poo-Stained Windshield

One of the biggest things that prevented me from quitting drinking sooner than I did was this big, scary feeling of having to face myself head-on once I got sober. Any time I tried to sit with myself while sober, I became immediately uncomfortable and restless. Alcohol had become such a constant and such a comfort in my world, it made me feel like I somehow had an obligation to uphold my identity as a drinker. Because who else was I, if not a craft beer lover and a cocktail sipper?

I didn’t know how to answer that question – at least not with any sort of self-assurance – and so I kept putting off quitting because I didn’t think there could be an answer that fit. I worked on trying to convince myself that there were ways to moderate and cut back without having to abandon the drinker identity I’d created for myself. I just couldn’t comprehend not being a drinker.

I mean, really, I was quite proud of my ability to stand in a room of dudes and show off my level of craft beer knowledge. I schooled ’em in home brewing. I liked showing off my knowledge of hop varieties. People would ask me what they should try when we went out. My boyfriend trusted me to make recommendations at the liquor store. I loved being seen as a competent woman in an arena that, for some reason, had been commandeered by men for the last several years. It was cool.

I was cool. No, seriously, I was. Trust me on this one.

It seems pretty sad as I write it now, but it’s true: drinking was one of the biggest sources of my identity for a long time. Sure, I was a copywriter and I liked to lift weights. But drinking was what I did to socialize, it was what I did when I was alone, and it was what I planned many of my evenings and weekends around when I didn’t have anything else to do. Going to happy hours was one of the ways my boyfriend and I really bonded early on. Letting go of that world was, for a long time, really fucking terrifying.

That question – who am I? – is unfortunately hard to answer sometimes. Even after 3 months of booze-free reflection and writing, I am still sussing out the details of who it is, exactly, that lies beneath all the layers of crap that have been piled on over the years.

All the booze, the cigarettes, and the illicit drugs done at the pressure of my ex-husband.

All the shitty relationships and bad breakups and feelings of guilt that followed.

All of the career uncertainty and financial instability because of job losses and relocation.

And all of the relocation. All of the moving, packing, unpacking, throwing away. All of the hopes and dreams unpacked into every new living room, then quickly re-packed again, a mere 6-9 months later.

These things – all of these things – are like big splatters of bird poo on the windshield of my life, the kind that are only made worse by attempts at using the windshield wipers to wipe them away. The more you try, the more smeary and gross those poo splatters become, until eventually, you’re sticking your head out the window just to see the road in front of you.

Okay, fine, you think. I’ll go to the car wash.

Now, it’s time to run my life through the fancy wash. You know the one, where the guy stands in the bay and hands you a little wet wipe to clean the inside of your car, while he sprays down the outside. The kind where you sit and watch as your entire vehicle is encased in a rainbow of beautiful cleaning power, followed by a nice rinse and some wax to top it all off. By the time you’re done, it’s hard to even remember that the poo was even there.

And you drive out of the wash and think wow, I can see things so much more clearly. I can see where I’m going. I don’t ever want it to get that bad again.

It’s time to clear it all away, all that poo that has accumulated over the years. That means lots of suds, scrubbing, shining and blasts of powerful air driers – with a little bit of detail work done on the inside too. Maybe then I’ll finally have some idea of where I’m going, and how to get there, without having to stick my head out the window to see around errant poo splatters.

Day 90. 


11 thoughts on “90 Days Alcohol Free: Like a Poo-Stained Windshield

  1. tarnishedsoul says:

    You had me at “Because who else was I, if not a craft beer lover…”

    It’s a hard reality to take a look at yourself and consider the things that made you the way you are. But, you’ve made it to 90 and now you need to get through this day.

    Thank you for this post, it helps me consider the things I need to face, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. iamsuperbabe says:

    Woohoo 90!! Well done you! I get it. The trouble with quitting drinking is you realise your life (in my case for sure) revolved around it. So now what?! Agh. New hobbies 😂😂 loving your blog. X


  3. shouldering says:

    Congratulations on 90 days. You’re doing it. Good luck figuring out your future, the possibilities are literally endless.


  4. vaskeswitchyways says:

    I hate facing myself head-on too in sobriety. The uncomfortability of seeing myself in the mirror and not knowing who the hell I am or what the hell to do without my drugs and alcohol is scary, but it does pass. Good luck and congrats on 90!

    Liked by 1 person

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