I am the newest contributor to The New York Times' Proof blog. Here's an excerpt from my first entry, which was also reprinted in the Times' Sunday Week-in-Review (March 1, 2009):
Throughout that entire first year of sobriety, I longed for some shorthand for everything I wanted to say: the confusing pride I felt about my past destructive life, the odd embarrassment I felt over my current redeemed one. Maybe a skull-and-crossbones-like symbol just for us addicts, something with the right mix of menace and solidarity, something I could tattoo on my wrist like a gang member to establish my alcoholic street cred. That way, instead of reassuring new acquaintances that I was fun, I could just silently shake my head when offered a drink, flash my tat and look at my new friend with a kind of weathered mystery. What I had yet to learn was how little people cared about whether I drank or not — and how little I needed to concern myself with what people did think.Read the entire essay here.
In the meantime, I was alarmed by the dissonance between the rock star within screaming to be let out and the insecure woman pledging to be fun. I mean, I hadn’t the faintest idea of how to have fun without drinking. I was still discovering all sorts of terrible new truths, like how parties without drinking were really just a lot of people standing in the same room and like how movies I once found funny were often riddled with stilted language and bad dirty jokes. And how, without my booze-fueled sense of rock-star self, I had no clue as to who I was — or whether or not I was any fun. I had lost my swagger.