4 Drunken Fantasies That Have Come True
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4 Drunken Fantasies That Have Come True


“Cash and prizes” is a phrase you’ll sometimes hear in meetings. It’s a phrase that’s usually said in warning—as in don’t expect to be rewarded in some kind of material way for putting down the drugs or drink. And, yes, I agree that sobriety can’t be contingent on outcomes. That said, my life’s gotten a whole lot better since I quit.

In fact, miracles have happened. Things I never thought would come to be. In sobriety— just today in fact—four of my wildest, drunken fantasies have totally come true.

1. I Paid My Fucking Rent

Yep. That happened. Just a minute ago. I did it online. I have Internet in my apartment, which I figured out how to make happen all on my own (I didn’t have to call an ex-boyfriend to help me). Seven years sober, I can balance a budget—I know what I earn, I pay all my bills and there’s even money left over, until my next paycheck, for things like food. Imagine!

When I was still drinking, I didn’t pay my bills, even when I had money. Sometimes I’d forget there was a pile of mail sitting there or I’d go out of the country with a stranger I met online and come home to past due notices or I just wouldn’t pay because Fuck Con Ed. Yes, there was a part of me that dreamt of some day being responsible, but. Finishing that sentence would have been too bothersome. I had other things to do.

2. I’m a Fucking Writer

It’s 2:30 pm. At the present moment, I’m sitting on my couch. Two assignments down, one to go, and I’m nearly done. And I get paid for this. This is how I paid my rent. For real. This and teaching. The sun is streaming through my window, I’m sipping tea, and this is my fucking job. Seriously, someone pinch me. Being a freelance writer means choosing my own assignments on subjects that interest me, and finishing stuff in my own time. Teaching writing to others means passing on knowledge, and helping people to achieve their publishing goals and have their voices heard. Sure, I wrote before I got sober—but the idea of being a “real” writer was mere whim. I had no confidence in myself or my “work” (not that there was much of that). If I were still drinking I’d probably be laid out with the TV on, wondering why I didn’t have a book deal. Instead, I’m my own boss, getting paid to do what I’m good at. I have a sense of purpose. I love what I do.

3. I’m about to Go to the Gym

This is something I was always fantasizing about doing towards the end of my drinking that somehow never got done. Why is it that I could never drag my ass to the gym? Was it the crushing hangovers, debilitating headaches and nausea that would linger until at least 4 pm (right around the time that it was time to start drinking)? Or the fact that my “hangover cure” diet consisted of bagels and egg sandwiches, extra large iced coffees and M&M cookies the size of my face (not exactly “fuel”)? Maybe it was the fact that I hated my body—how, just before I quit drinking, it had become something like a public bathroom, a place where people came and went, and who knows what was up with that rash? Sure, I wanted to be healthy but when you’re as unhealthy as I was, what’s running on a treadmill going to do?

In sobriety, I got back into healthy habits from earlier in my life. My eating improved, and I returned to working out regularly. Even better, exercise became less of a punishment, and more like something that I wanted to do. In about 45 minutes I’m taking a kickboxing class, not because I’m fat and lazy and I hate myself and want to die, but because movement feels good. I like feeling alive.

4. I like Hanging out with Me

Big plans for tonight. After the gym, I’ll probably take a bath. I might listen to a podcast. There’s some homemade soup in the fridge. Or maybe I’ll make something special. Hmmm. Now I’ve really got me thinking, what am I craving? Maybe I’ll order in! Prior to recovery, no matter how much I wished that I could’ve—no matter how worn down I felt—for some reason, I could never spend a night in. Although a sort of fantasy, I could never convince myself to stop. Tonight, it’s just me, I’ve had a busy week— working, hanging out with friends. Last night I stayed over my boyfriend’s. Tonight, I’m staying in—and I’m all right with that. More than all right, I’m looking forward to it. The best prize of sobriety? Liking me.

For the first time in my life, most days, I wake up feeling grateful. Before recovery, I didn’t know this feeling was possible. Before recovery, it wasn’t.

Photo courtesy of SewellGardner

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About Author

Melissa Petro is a freelance writer and writing instructor living in New York City. She has written for NY Magazine, The Guardian, Salon, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Jezebel, xoJane, The Fix and elsewhere. She is the founder of Becoming Writers, a community organization that provides free and low cost memoir-writing workshops to new writers of all backgrounds and experiences.