Why I'm Hungover Today (Even Though I Haven't Had a Drink in 1 Year, 5 Months, and 2 Days)
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I haven't had a sip of alcohol to my lips since September 26, 2009, which a handy little website told me this morning is precisely 1 year, 5 months, and 2 days ago. And yet I woke up this morning feeling horribly hungover. I AM hungover, emotionally. Here's why:
Yesterday we celebrated two of our friends and their civil union with a few of their close friends and family members. The union was a lovely affair, and we had a pleasant early dinner in their honor in their beautiful home. And it allllll went down hill from there. Neither Dan nor I drink (if you've known me long enough, you'll remember I used to, and like a champ), but everyone else (who didn't leave by 7:00) did. Not only does too much alcohol make for some awkward coordination (a brother fell into a curio cabinet and against several walls, leaving some lovely blue jean stains for the guests of honor to clean up today), but it also makes people feel a bit more free to say whatever comes to their minds--about themselves, about others--and about, say, you and your weight.
Like, "Wow, Melissa, you've lost a lot of weight. I almost didn't recognize you!" And "How much weight have you lost?" Or "You must be really proud of yourself." Innocuous, harmless. But how about, "How much weight has Dan lost? He looks way too skinny. You should make him stop." Or "You look great, but you should stop right there. Don't lose anything else or you'll be skinny." Or "How much do you weigh right now? No, how much? Come on, tell me! How much do you weigh right now?" Or "You were really fat then, but that was just who you were! But NOW, now you're like PRESENT, NOTICEABLE, like BAM." Or "What did you do to get to here? Do you just really run THAT much?" Or "I'm not sure you guys are eating enough." Or "No, seriously, what's the big deal? How much do you weigh?" Or "I'd guess you're about 110 pounds. Noooo, that's not right." Or "Alright, if you won't tell me what you weigh NOW, tell me what you weighed before?"
I was semi prepared for some of these comments and took them in stride. But others I wasn't. As a result, I answered questions I didn't want to answer, and I felt unprepared to address things that people said. I realize I need to be better prepared to address what others say and ask (whether they're sober OR drinking, because in my experience it doesn't take alcohol for people to think they're entitled to ask what you may think are very personal questions!) about my body. And by "address" I don't mean provide them with the information they're looking for, but kindly deflect or steer away from what are often over-the-line comments or questions.
I also need to--still, just like I did when I was in the process of losing weight--set a plan for my eating. I'm very active and can presently eat a lot more than I once did with no effect, but this doesn't mean I should--or want to--eat junk. While I'm present, somehow eating cake and pasta and white rice seems like a good idea. But within minutes--and especially the next day--my body feels terrible, lethargic, slow, trashed up. Had I made the decision to stay more in tune with myself, I'd have made choices that honored my body and my life. Had I not chosen to stay in a situation that I experienced as stressful, exhausting, and toxic, this would not have been a consideration.
Which reminds me that I also need to be prepared to leave when it's time for me to leave. Last night Dan offered to bring over some entertainment--our professional-level karaoke system (which takes time and effort to cart over, put together, and dismantle--Dan does sound stuff for a living). At 8:00 he set this up, and at 12:00 last night he began dismantling it. It was... a late night. I'd woken up at 6:00 in the morning for a run and a clinic related to my tri training program that morning and had NO business being up that late--AND at about 8:30 PM, when I was ready to go home, I knew it. Incidentally, the night degenerated about an hour and a half before we left with the "happy" couple not speaking to each other because of the drunken comments of one's brother, and the other's alcohol-infused, emotionally amplified reaction and confusion.
A night like last night leaves me feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. About 18 months ago, this would merely have been a typical Saturday night (well, except that I wouldn't have gotten up for a 4-mile run the morning before). Dan apporpriately told me this morning that last night was like trying on a pair of size 40 jeans and going, "Wait, why did I expect these might fit?" I know what he means. I experienced a huge gap between the life I lived and the life I lead. I could not be more pleased with the latter. With gratitude, I continue to leave the former behind.
So today it's time to detox--emotionally and physically--and rest, recharge, and recoup. Off to a good start: grateful for another lesson, insight, and reminder, about why it's always worth staying the course.