Time…to reconnect

3 Jan

January 3, 2016, 11:52 am

Hi, all.  Welp, it’s been a rough re-entry into the new year.  I flew 15 hours (well, about 9 hours flight time) on the 1st, and wow, that’s ONE way to spend the first day of the year, I suppose.  I’m still, um, getting things moving again (I feel like both body and brain have sort of stopped working).

I have no words for the year, besides, keep going.  I would love to be less hard on myself, and to allow myself to forget (or at least, value less) my “fabulously interesting” thoughts and feelings; I would love to expect less and fret less and feel less freakishly depressed by my lack-of-placeness and my inevitable march toward what I see as “sexy-less” old age–God, I would love to not know.  I would love to not know.

But, my heart aches, and it breathes, and I cannot deny that.  I do know, somehow, all that I should and will.  I can no longer deny that I have been in tears since day one of this new year, barely hanging onto the scaffolding that I believe (maybe erroneously) holds my world together.  That scaffolding is sobriety, and without it, I would not be able to think clearly on any level.  As it is, I have begun to use caffeine again, and while it’s not as bad as wine–and actually helps move the cells up there, like a temporary reassembly; like packed dirt being roused into a cloud of dust–I don’t like it.  It tires me out, and I am (of course, I am) afraid that I won’t be able to write without my coffee crutch.

So, here I am, knowing that last night I did stare once again at the bottles of Pinot on the shelves, sad-eyed and groggy-brained, wondering, what if?  What if it still worked?  What if it still helped?  I got to thinking about this podcast I listened to, about this dude who “just like that” found himself at a bar, drinking five beers.  And, it angered me.  How dare you, you fucking asshole?  Like THIS shit is so easy to do–fall off the wagon, drink JUST BECAUSE.  And it made me think, there are so many of us–many who are women, and many of these women whose stories are not told, buried, yet ignored–who drink BECAUSE IT SAVES US.  Because the mental and emotional pain, the anguish, whatever it is that society deems silly or worthless to reveal and express, becomes unbearable.

There is nothing else that will fix this, is what I was thinking in my car last afternoon, as I looked, shocked, in the rear view mirror to see a very fraught, wrinkled, greying ME staring into the back seat.

There is nothing else that will fix this pain.  I let myself think it, freely.  So that I could wonder, is this true?  Do I believe this to be true?  I know that the answer is NO, to both questions; but…a part of me remains baffled as to what WILL fix it.  And equally baffled as to, what the fuck IS this pain?  Is it in me?  Is it made up of the hundred million things around me, that make up my world, that don’t feel right?  That leave me feeling tired, and empty, that eat away at the fullness of my soul?  Is it without, embodied by ISIS, and Trump, and climate change–things that I have no control over but that make up my reality, reality in general, even so?  I think part of my role, one that I have to fulfill, if even just for my sanity, is figuring this out; it’s tiring, but I’ve found over the past several months that ignoring it is not going to help me (or help my friends, or help the world–if there is a world that needs my help).  I just can’t turn off the radio yet; maybe Tyreese can, but I can’t (haha–a reference to my fave show, “The Waking Dead”).

I chose to not drink last night, not because of my lofty morals, but because I know it doesn’t work.  And I am afraid of hangovers, because they do not go away the same way they did when I was actively downing two bottles of wine a night.  And, well, I know that it would leave me feeling MORE depressed, and that I would not be able to assuage that sadness by getting up and out and going to the gym this day or the next.  I know that being under the control of a hangover, and wasting my day, would serve to catapult me even deeper into helplessness and hopelessness.

I am not helpless, and I am not hopeless.  I think I’m just sad, feeling stateless, and on the brink of having to make a major life decision.  And, I don’t feel empowered by what I’m doing at the moment, and I don’t feel settled where I’m living, and frankly, I feel like I’m aging here and I do not like it.  No, I do not like it.

I can see so clearly that I do not belong back there, in the tunnel; but, I miss the tunnel.  It’s ridiculous, right?  Only from the end outside of the fucking tunnel can I say, I miss being stuck there.  Because I was younger, and I was naive; and the fretting is part of the addiction.

I think, for me anyway, growing old gracefully is about letting go of the struggles of the past; these struggles are not what makes a life interesting, and sexy, and fun.  These struggles are supposed to end, and you are supposed to move forward, and do new things, and be a new woman.  I cannot go “home” again to being a girl; and, with that, I know that “home” was an illusion that I created.  And, I can only know this because I am, sort of bemusedly smiling as I look, staring back at that girl, clucking my tongue, thinking, My, my, my, you are cute, aren’t you.

I do not like moving from girl to woman.  I can embrace it, and accept it, but I’m not about liking it right now.  And that is truth.

So, I come back to you, friends, my pink cloud having utterly dissipated.

Happy New Year!

(2016, while off to a rocky start, is still ENABLED by sobriety.  Anything and everything that I do this day, this weekend, this year, is going to be made possible by being sober.  Once I get past this…next month, I guess; I think things will start to bloom.  I have been doing a lot of planting, and building; and this year will be no exception.  I think it’s going to be about continuing to build, but also, pulling the cord and making some choices.  About making some ideas and dreams into reality.  About embracing the hard work of making dreams happen.  Maybe that’s why I feel saddened–overwhelmed by the deep joy of living sober, of the work that is here, to be done.)

I don’t care what you did on (your stupid) Halloween!

31 Oct

11:29 pm

(OK, guys.  Here was my post from this weekend, which I took down almost immediately after putting it up.  I’m just going to be blunt: sometimes, I feel like soberites often try to sugarcoat this shit.  It’s rarely revealed, the nitty fucking gritty of this struggle–which is why I started this blog over three years ago.

You know, I still struggle on a daily basis–with the little things, mostly, and not all of them are in any way sobriety-related. That being said, being sober can still suck ass!  I get tired of not going out and having “real” fun.  I still have trouble making friends.  I still do feel like I’m missing out on holidays–yes, of course, I can have fun without wine now, but…there will always be this hole, this self-consciousness, and for me, this seriousness that I can cover up for others, but that I feel on the inside when I go out sober.

Anyway, here you go.  I hope this post helps you if you are feeling cray and battling a craving that is brought on my a mood swing, depression, anxiety, thinking about the past, or in general, just wanting what you haven’t got.)

Today was a bad day.  A really fucking shitty day.  And, even I can see how stupid that makes me seem, or sound.  Of course, I am grateful.  I am healthy, have all my hair and limbs.  I am here, having successfully moved, bought a car, and made it through 11 weeks of ups and downs at work, with the roommate (I am moving soon), with the desert climate (I am not a fan).

The sun is shining.  I was not in the horrible plane crash this morning.  I can run–I did run today–and don’t have to use walking sticks because I have, for instance, MS (I saw a man today with sticks who looked like he could have been in the early stages of MS, and it made me grateful that I can still go jogging).  I think about these things; I’m not trying to be flippant or mean.  Yes, I am grateful, and yes, I know this was just a bad day and it will be better after just going to sleep (please, God, let me zonk out for 12 hours, and not 4).  It’s a strange life, and I feel for all of us.

But, sometimes the reality is:  Life can seem really fucking LAME sober.  There, I said it.

At 3.5 years, I still resist making friends; I still don’t want to dress up for Halloween and go out SOBER; and just once, once, I would love to not be so fucking conscious all the time.

This shit sucks.  This shit sucks.  Being sober SUCKS.

THERE.

But, drinking is NOT an option.  It is not a solution.  So, what is?

Sitting with it for hours, the whole day even, until it passes.  Until I no longer feel like crying.  Until I can see the forest through the trees and reaffirm to myself that NO, I don’t have to live in the suburbs doing a “meaningless” job forever–and I probably won’t.  Until my belly and lungs and head don’t feel pinched and cramped and burning.  Until the “drinking brain” is not stronger than the “thinking brain.”

Until all that happens, I will just sit here–or, drive around, or go running, or just get another coffee (because binging on caffeine won’t precipitate a mood crash, right?).  I will not do anything until it passes.  I will NOT react to the drinking brain, which is SO strong right now, which is almost drowning out the nearly inaudible peeps of my thinking brain.  I will just SIT HERE UNTIL IT PASSES.

Why?  BECAUSE DRINKING IS NOT AN OPTION.  It used to be, when it still worked.  Now?  It will only leave me feeling much worse tomorrow, in a world of actual pain.

(Remember about this time last year?  You drank that one time last October, for similar reasons–treading over a well-worn path, ambling down memory lane…and then, habitually reacting to past lives and emotions you were sure you had extinguished.  And, remember how you felt the next day?  Oh, yes.  Never again, remember?  I have to say, if I only feel like drinking once per year, I’m doing pretty damn awesome, right?  YES.  I recognize that, and that makes me feel strong, but also frustrated:  why is this still happening?  Why is it coming back, like a dormant virus?)

And, it passes.  Might take the whole day, a lot of faking it until I’m making it–tonight, I kind of put on a show for a couple new friends over pizza at a local shop–but that’s what it takes.  I thought that was over, that I didn’t have to fake it because I was totally, 100 percent cool with being sober?  You know what?  It comes and goes, more infrequently the longer you’re sober, thankfully.  But, it still comes and goes.

And, this, too, is getting sober.  This, too, is staying sober.  I mean, I thought by now I’d have my triggers down pat, and my coping mechanisms in place.  And, for the most part I do.  Except when I don’t, and I find myself doing all the following things, that are triggers and that, my friends, I recommend you NOT DO:

not making plans, even though I am tired, for the holiday weekend; reacting instead of pro-acting when it comes to party invites (that entails forcing myself out of my comfort zone but also simply accepting that it takes time to make new friends when you move somewhere new); putting so much emphasis on an arbitrary day that someone said should be “fun” but that really makes a lot of people feel stressed, or lonely, or lame; stalking ex-friends on FB; fucking continuously checking FB and seeing NOTHING but kid pics and smiling faces; driving around instead of just parking and doing something; driving around in the dark, alone (I used to do this a lot when I lived north), LOOKING instead of just BEING.  Lurking.

Lurking.  Like, looking in windows to see who’s inside and what they’re all doing.  Instead of focusing on ME, on what I’m doing.  It’s a version of “keeping up with the Joneses,” and you know what?  It’s not only a trigger, it’s a huge life-wasting distraction.  And, it’s been a while since I felt like I was lurking, but ever since I’ve been here, I’ve noticed myself falling back into my own trap.

Deep breaths.  The night is here, and I am really glad for that.  I’ll probably just go to sleep.  There will be plenty of time tomorrow to regain your patience, your footing, your perspective, DDG.  YOU GOT THIS.  And, thank GOD, I will be able to do that tomorrow because not only will I be well rested, I will be sober.  Sure, I’ll have missed out on something–costumes, watching drunk people fall down, listening to drunk people get into nonsensical fights with their boyfriends and cry on the phone sitting on some random stoop at midnight–but it’s not the end of the world.  What is the biggest bummer, I think, is that I thought I had long since left behind caring about this stuff.

Love to all.  Thanks for reading, curse words and all!

Just checking in…

28 Oct

11:11 pm

I’m still here!  So busy.  It’s got to stop.

While I’m still sober, I miss my “old” sober kite–the one that was me, up high and coaxing my own path through the sky.  Right now, I’m buried in the mud of transition, and while it’s been mostly smooth, it still feels thick.  And foggy a lot of the time.

I’ve been here for about 10 weeks, and my back-to-the-rat race lifestyle is finally catching up with me–too tired to wonder anymore, too busy running to notice that I’m missing the phases of the moon.

I’m moving along, though, and toward a goal that inevitably had to be set.  I have thought about drinking more than once, and that sort of sucks.  To me, it’s representative of how happy, fulfilled, inspired I feel–or don’t.  I felt like I owned my life and my happiness 10 weeks ago; now, not so much.  I’m not sure what to do about that.

I really just wanted to post quickly–and at last!–tonight to let you know that I’m here, doing pretty well (the fears I had didn’t materialize, so there’s that!).  More soon, I hope!

Building

8 Aug

12:25 pm

So, I got a full-time job.  After three-and-a-half years.  I should be happy, since this has been in the works for almost a year (yeah, a full year of soul searching, job searching, and networking).  Why do I feel like my sober bubble is about to burst?  Or, like I’m about to jump off my sober cliff–and into what?  Free fall?

Actually, I ventured into the real world of real people and tens of millions of stressful triggers last year, and have continued to branch out in 2014 and 2015.  This year, I’ve decided, is going to be–has been–all about continuing to build off of what I created last year.  I’ve been working nearly non-stop this spring as a barista and freelance journalist, but the writing (no pun intended!) is definitely on the wall:  it’s an unsustainable (and physically exhausting) way to earn a living.  So, I found a full-time gig doing what I was doing (and what, from an outside perspective, drove me to become Drunky Drunk Girl) in the place I was doing it (albeit, much farther south, and therefore, not really in the same place).  And, while I have re-entered the world already, and managed just fine, this is still a huge transition.  I’ve created so much here that is SO different from my old life–and hence, my old drinking self–can I pull it off and continue to build on what I’ve done here, there?  We’ll see, is about all I’ve got.

What no one told me about sobriety is that I would miss the early days of my “sobriety cocoon.”  And that I would sort of live OFF of it, like a spider consuming whatever it’s caught and wrapped up in its silken web.  And that maybe that wasn’t a good idea, to nurse my sobriety cocoon like a bottle, but that’s what I did.  That’s what I did…until it got old, boring, until I saw that I really needed to venture out, to forage again for real sustenance.  It was my pink cloud of endless awesome–a hermetic existence that made it possible for me to exist, almost child-like, in newfound wonder.  It helped that I quit Corporate America, started my own business, and moved somewhere totally exotic.  It helped that I had a sober support network that allowed me to work less and think/ponder/analyze every gory detail of my sober journey.  I needed that.  I really, really needed that.  And, as it turns out, so did many of my readers.

It’s not that I’m no longer grateful to be sober–I am, and more and more every day.  The other morning, someone I worked with showed up to barista with a supreme hangover, complete with the 30 texts sent to the boy she’s currently fixated on, the other 20 calls to him and random friends, and the falling-down, bruises-from-out-of-nowhere drunkenness that lasted until her shift started (with me) at 5:30 am.  Oof, was mostly what I thought.  But also, eh, who cares?  What can I do for her?  And then, probing deeper, a desire on my part to turn away and FORGET that I was there, not too long ago.  A desire so intense to completely just forget, let it go, move on, NOT remember that I was there, not too long ago.

This desire I have to say, Fuck this sobriety bullshit, and move on, is strong right now, has been for a while (hence, the lack of blog posts).  But, another part of me–the one that became a drunk, and the one that had the need to write this blog–can’t help but wonder, is it OK for me to do that?  To let it go?  It’s not that I can’t empathize, it’s been too long; it’s that, I can, and I just don’t want to.

But I have to.  And, I don’t think it has anything to do with wanting to be nice to people or do the right thing–those two things are givens.  It’s that I’m still there.  I’m still there, in a way.

The longer I’m sober, the more I realize that I can’t just shove this “sobriety bullshit” into a box under the bed and wipe my hands of it.  It’s there, this “alcoholism” thing, and it’s not going anywhere.  I’m not “once a drunk, always a drunk,” though–like, the long-term effects of physiological dependence elude me to this day (in other words, who the fuck knows?  Wine no longer works for me, but maybe someone else with three years might have a glass and not feel dizzy, confused, and flat?).  What I am is STILL insecure, and STILL grappling with questions that truly have no answers.  I guess I’m learning to live in and with that insecurity, that instability, that uncertainty, that moving-sands, that lack-of-answers.  Those questions of self, of purpose, of existence–they’re still there, and they’re still somehow related to why I drank copious amounts of wine for a decade.

And, the fact remains that everyone has to cope with what this is, which is LIFE.  And these people did not also become drunks. Hmmm…

The difference between early and later sobriety is this:  ya have to live in the drinking world as a sober person, and you have to embrace the fact that it’s NEVER going to go away.  Your past, that is.  And, it shouldn’t.  The fact that you DID do all that shit, and you DID drink the way you drank.  The fact that your alcoholic drinking unfortunately has NOTHING to do with alcohol (would that it did!?).  Really–very, very little.  Sure, it was fun and you got buzzed and you got addicted because it helped you cope, but, in the end, the bigger motivations hovered dead-center around self-esteem, trauma, perfectionism.  We know this.  You know this.  So, forgetting about your drinking is like forgetting about the present-day issues that still linger.  You can’t, if you want to keep growing and keep healing–and frankly, keep helping others who are still stuck in addictive behavior.

The longer I’m sober, the more I see JUST how long healing takes.  Recovery.  I’m still recovering:  lost income, lost relationships, lost confidence.  I’m catching up, and I’m building.  I’m beyond satisfied that I got to spend most of my initial sobriety in a tropical paradise, literally recovering in isolation.  It was what allowed me to have the patience to dissect my process–and the faith to see a labor-intensive start to a freelance writing business through a nasty 18-month bout of PAWS (no motivation, will I ever WANT to work again?).

Have there have been many times these past 12 months where I just wanted to put the sober thing in a box, shove it under the bed, and say, Ugh, I’m done with this?  YES.  To say, let’s MOVE the fuck ON?  YES.  However, the reality is, I drank alcoholically–for reasons that I’m not quite sure I’ll ever truly pin down, define, or exorcise.  And that alcoholic-ness is what lies at the root of simple behavioral reactions that still trip me up in my day-to-day life!

I’ve made SO much headway this year and the last, in forging ahead, getting back into the workforce, and interacting with “normal” people in the real, non-sober world.  Now, the big test awaits:  can I somewhat seamlessly go back to doing what I was doing (albeit with a strong foothold remaining in the world of freelance journalism)?  I’d say yes, but I’ll also say, I’m nervous.  I’m wondering.  What will be?  What will happen?  Am I leaving my greatest creation behind, this “new me” that I’ve spent three years building?  Or, does she come with me now, wherever I go, and whatever I do?  All I can say to myself is, hold onto your heart, which happens to resemble (or even be) journalism.  It saved me once, twice, and will save me again.  It’s part of my sense of purpose and creative agency (and urgency)–the lack of which are my biggest triggers.  These things I know, so I’m hoping that knowing this, and having practiced this for so long now, will carry me through the next six months…

I’ll keep you posted!

(And, it’s good to be back!  Thanks for reading, friends.)

Not a goodbye, just a pause

30 Jun

10:48 am

So, it’s been a while.  And, I’m beginning to realize (duh) that I just don’t write that much anymore here…for reasons that aren’t quite clear to me yet.  Let me try to explain.

Partly, I’m not necessarily sober anymore, I just don’t drink.  All the ruminating about getting and being sober–it doesn’t resonate anymore.  YES, I’m grateful for so many things–most everything, really–that have resulted from me getting sober.  But, I think I may have overdone the “thinking about not drinking” thing.  I blogged about it, I wrote articles about it–I supported myself financially doing these things, and I will probably continue to do so.

I also don’t have the time, and this is a continuing source of frustration.  I literally work all the time these days, and until I can remedy that by getting a job that pays a living wage (well, at least one), I probably won’t be posting that much more than I have been, which isn’t very often.

Finally, I’m pretty sure I’ve been outed–not by my own doing, but by some sleuthing on someone’s part–and it makes me feel hesitant.  I don’t want to overshare, in general, anymore, but I especially don’t want to do it such that it goes out to my professional network!  One day, when I find the courage to write a book about all this shit–which I have a nebulous idea of what it could be, and which would obviously require me to “come out”–maybe.  But for right now, I just don’t want to blog when I sense it’s being read by people who know me, but whom I don’t know.

On that note, I miss writing on here every day, and may very well scrap this entire post and come back tomorrow.

All this is to say, expect a pause.  But, I’m not really going anywhere (I still read these blogs every day).

And, am I sober?  Of course.  Does it help me get up at 4:30 am for my coffee shop job?  It sure does.  Do I envy drinkers who lurk around in groups, feeling like they aren’t good enough and compensating by having others validate them?  Not at all–I finally feel like I have nothing to prove, and I don’t miss the days when I did.  Hangovers?  Never.  I’ve tried to forget about them, and when I can’t, I use the memories to prevent me from drinking again.

Not that I live in fear of “relapsing,” which is more of a state of mind than being.  If red wine actually worked on my brain the way it used to, then yes, a relapse might be a tangible possibility.  But, it just does not work anymore.  I credit sobriety and my slips to helping me to see that, embrace it, accept it, and move forward knowing that I can’t drink, literally.

I’m not afraid of relapsing because I no longer view alcohol solely as a source of “fun” or “being social” but mainly as something I “use” to fill a hole.  I think this is key knowledge for my recovery’s continued success:  the way I use wine will probably always be different from the way someone else does.  Or doesn’t (some people just drink with no strings attached).  That’s the one thing that hasn’t changed, in fact, and I’ve seen it in my slips–I only want to drink when I’m feeling desperate to change my reality (bad thoughts and feelings). It’s a deeply embedded thing inside me, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to “rewire” my brain completely.

Anyway, these days, I’m working hard to fill that need for purpose and grace and transcendence with other, much more fulfilling activities.  I know that drinking doesn’t work–I’ve tried forcing it for a long time.  Letting go of what doesn’t work seems to be what growing up is about.  Getting sober is growing up, at last.  Finding what does work–this is what life’s longer journey is made for.

And, on that note, I’ll sign off for now.  Not a goodbye, just a (probably brief) pause…

That “hole in the middle of my stomach” feeling

23 Apr

2:06 pm

Hey, guys.  It’s been so long, and in a nutshell, I’ve been working.  Trying to earn a living.  I have been both freelancing and working part-time as a barista, and I hosted a friend and then my mom two weeks back to back this month.  It’s been tiring.  Today was a shitty day at work, and I can’t help but blame myself (of course):  I’m too quiet, I’m too thoughtful, I don’t smile enough, I work too slow, I make stupid mistakes.  Le sigh.  I’m usually able to bounce back emotionally–as in, I don’t let the thoughts make feelings make ruminations and a bad day–but for some reason, I just feel tired of it all today.

My mom is getting older.  What happened to her 50s and 60s, I ask?  I feel like I missed the transition, and only now do I see that I can’t go back.  I can’t get her younger self back, and I can’t get my younger self back, and I can’t get all that time back that I spent pushing her away.  I think a lot of people must feel this way, but I didn’t know that it would be a literal feeling, one resembling grief, I suppose.

Anyway, my mom will be 69 this year. She has developed what seems to be some profound anxiety and insomnia, and she has some physical ailments that just keep filling in the lines as the years go on.  While all this is troubling in that I can’t quite seem to relate to her, what is most troubling is that I have a continued lack of ability to communicate with her about my drinking past.  I sort of try, but mainly I just feel awkward telling her the gory details (and, with her anxiety in mind, I shy away from giving her anything else to worry about or ruminate on–that’s the way I see it, I’m sure she has a different perception). Of course, she witnessed it. However, aside from her, there was only one other family member who confronted me.  I’m still baffled by that.

What’s also news to me:  THEIR view of me, as the drunk, as the person who was trashing her body, as someone who couldn’t necessarily be relied upon, as the one making poor choices–this view is not going to go away JUST BECAUSE I AM NOW (three years!) SOBER.  And, for some reason, I guess I thought it would.  I thought it would sort of disappear, like my drinking habit.  Granted, there has been no, “Hey, look at me, I’m sober now!” on my part.  There also hasn’t been, “Hey, I’m sorry for all that shit that you might have been bothered by or that might have pissed you off or alienated you, but that you never said to my face” either.  From an outsider’s perspective, and that includes MOST of my close friends and family, I got sober very quietly. Except, I wrote about it and talked about it and reported on it–with everyone BUT my immediate family. This seems to be the pattern, and I don’t know why: it’s really hard for me to share my life and feelings with my family! It’s been this way forever, and I guess it comforts me to know that many people find a tribe or “family” outside their genetic one, the one they were born into.

My family is fractured, but not in the sense that I don’t have a relationship with both my mom and dad.  I’m just not sure they’ve ever been easy, or even good, relationships.  And that bothers me.  It’s always been a struggle to relate, to navigate, to extract.  I don’t know.  Maybe if I felt more comfortable, then my perspective would be different.  But, it’s always been hard and I have the feeling it always will be–no matter how far along I think I’ve come in my sobriety. The problem has become, I’m sober for three years now–err, I have very little desire to rehash all the crap I went through.  All the blog stuff I wrote about, all the craving bullshit, all the psychic back and forth.  It’s done, it’s over, I’ve shrunk my brain to the point where I feel “normal” again.  Or, at least focused on the present, the real, the emotions that need to be felt and dealt with in order to conduct a life.  I don’t want to talk about it now with my parents.  That leaves a HUGE gap–what to fill it with, then?

I’m tired, as you can tell.  Nothing inspirational today.  I was up at 4:30 to make my shift, which was a rough one because of a bad coworker.  What I should be doing it job searching, but frankly, all I want to do is nap.  I feel like I have a hole in the middle of my stomach.  BUT… I’m sober, so sober that I don’t even think about being sober!  My boss came in hung over and had to take a nap mid-morning (on the floor of a neighboring shop).  Most of the regulars at my coffee bar participate in this place’s “drink hard, drink-and-work harder” culture, so…I also saw quite a few peeps with pained expressions on their faces.  NO desire.  It’s cast me as a goody-goody at work, the quiet one; but I’ll take that ANY day over being hung over and not remembering what I did the night before.

Onward.  All in due time.  Grateful.  Breathe.  Joyful entitlement.  These are my daily affirmations, and they keep me on the track that I have come to cherish, and which I get to share with all of you!

Just working

2 Mar

10:49 am

Hi, all! I know I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sorry for being MIA on here. I just can’t seem to “find” the time to blog, and maybe, just maybe, I don’t enjoy ruminating about drinking and the desire or lack thereof. It’s just not a part of my life anymore.

What IS a big part of my life is working; or rather, making ends meet as a writer. Holy cow, is it stressful. I thought by now, three years in, it’d be different, but it isn’t: I still spend most days either worried, slightly anxious, or at least thinking about “how am I going to make money this month?” Granted, I have some magazines that I write for regularly now, which I’m proud to say, but frankly, it’s only as good as the ability and desire and gumption to keep up and pitch story ideas. (And the fact of the magazine’s existence: they come and go.) Everything I write comes from my own head, or the research I do, and lately, I’ve been like, Uh. I can only work so fast, and the pay is so little that even IF I work my little butt off (which I have been doing for the past about seven months, ever since I got back from my volunteer writing trip), it still doesn’t fully cover my bills. Forget about dinners out, vacations, and new running shoes. (Now that I write that, it doesn’t seem like this can be defined as a “success,” this freelance thing; le sigh.)

Hence, I’ve learned how to barista (which I’m also proud of) and am now employed by at least one coffee shop, maybe two (I’m heading over there today to train).

So, that’s what’s up here. Just working, and working, and working–and wondering, does it have to be this hard?

The answer, obviously, is no. But, saying no is different than doing no; doing no takes ramping up for a job search and a move, which we are, but slowly. Since freelancing feels like a continual job search, it’s become hard for me to stomach a literal one. I’ve begun again, though, and am targeting, oh, I don’t know, a few months down the road. (This year is going by SO fast, isn’t it? I can’t believe it’s March already!?)

Otherwise, all is well. Still running, still truly enjoying the warm breezes and glorious amounts of sun (I swear, sun has become my new alcohol–except it’s a good medicine that actually works). Dogs are great, and my boyfriend and I are still going strong. I have all this because, and only because, I am sober.

I still seem to have friends who either chose not to get it, choose not to get it, or somehow dislike the fact that I’ve gotten sober, picked myself up, and am rocking the freelance thing. Including my brother. The brother-his girlfriend situation has died down to the point that neither he nor I make the effort to relate. I’ve just given up, and for the better; I can’t be in a relationship like that. For me, continuing to try to have a relationship with someone who very much still seems pissed at me, or lies about being pissed, or just acts in a passive-aggressive manner by not calling me–eh, I’ve been there, done that, and the longer I’m sober, the longer I don’t want to try with people like that. There are so many people, and when you get sober, you get to see them for who they really are–and that’s a GOOD thing.

Socializing is still a bit strange as a sober person, mainly because I’ve found myself to be, well, guarded. I don’t know how much to give, and I tend to hold back. And, frankly, I want to. I want to remain guarded. Something about not really having the desire to get involved with other people’s drama? It’s still too tiring and too distracting for me right now, and so while I’ll engage with people and socialize once in a while, it gets really hard for me when they start to complain or gossip. I’m not sure, I used to love to complain and gossip, but now it just seems like…a huge waste of space! Like head space, heart space, sober space. I’m working on it, and I’m definitely getting out more and feeling more and more like my “old self” these days–not so overly sensitive and “I’m sober! I’m sober!” I think it might be that I haven’t found “my people” where I’m living, and while my boyfriend would argue that it’s for my lack of trying, the past seven months have proved to me one thing: there IS a certain type of person who moves to a place like this. So, yeah, that part is not a piece of cake yet. All in due time.

My slip last October totally re-solidified my desire to stay sober: drinking literally does not work on my brain anymore. Next? It’s become as simple as that. I’ve wanted to drink a few times the past six or seven months, and I’ve sipped white wine once or twice, but each time, I immediately felt dehydrated, confused, and well, was terrified of being hung over the next day. Call it what you will, but for me, this has been an essential ingredient in re-training my brain toward not simply sobriety, but healthy coping skills.

I’m learning to much more quickly let go–literally, stop thinking, or stop acknowledging negative thinking loops–of thoughts that don’t serve me. Are these thoughts moving me forward? No? Stop thinking them. I don’t have time right now to let negative thoughts slow me down, is all. I just can’t afford it, literally.

And, I’m working on embracing the ups and downs of my emotional life. I used to run, terrified, from sadness, or boredom, or existential crises. Now? I am realizing that it’s OK to feel sad, bored, or terribly bored (ennui?). It’s OK, I don’t have to NEVER feel these things. I think I spent a lot of years always trying to live the best life, and “party on” through all the muck, but really, the muck is there, and it’s probably there for a reason…? I don’t know, maybe I just need precision medicine, like, antidepressants or something external to re-balance my neurochemistry. It’s an ongoing conversation with self, and one that I’ll probably write about in the future.

So, on that note, I gotta run! Love to all, and I promise, more posts to come more frequently!

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