And, I suppose that’s better than thinkin’ AND drinkin’.
I don’t know about all this constant thinking — ruminating, actually — on drinking. Since I’ve quit, begun this blog, and started going to AA meetings, all I do is think about drinking! Sure, I don’t drink, but I still think about it. In fact, what’s the point of quitting if you have to continually THINK about it?
I’ve been somewhat overwhelmed by my thoughts the past few days, so I feel all a’jumble today. BUT, I wanted to say howdy and try to share a few of those thoughts, at least (warning: long post ahead).
On a positive note, I picked a sponsor today. Well, “picked” might be stretching it. It was sort of a random choice, and now I’m regretting it. I might hit up another woman, whom I feel more of a connection with and who goes to more meetings with me than the other (stranger) woman. I think I just got caught up in the moment this morning; or, I was impatient and wanted to stop sitting on the fence and JUST DO IT. In any case, she gave me some “official” reading material, and if there’s one thing I’m good at — besides overthinking — it’s reading material.
Anyway, based of some of the topics and shares at the past few AA meetings I’ve been to, I’ve been thinking about the following:
1. Bondage to self, or self-centeredness. It was a topic at one of the meetings, like many of these next points. My question remains: Where does self-centeredness end and self-effacement begin? Which is more or less healthy, and for me, a trigger? I am surely selfish and self-centered like the rest, but sometimes (maybe 50% at least), I drank to make myself numb to my doormat qualities, my inability to stand up for what I truly want, and my insecurity (I don’t feel like I deserve that what I truly want). I think some people drink more as the result of one versus the other, and in meetings, it seems that everyone who shares drank because they were selfish bastards. I don’t think my primary motivating factor was to be a selfish bastard, to party, to get high; I think it was to self-medicate.
2. Drinking to get drunk versus drinking to self-medicate. In meetings, it seems that a LOT of folks, especially the older men, drank to drink. To get drunk, to avoid their lives and problems and emotional blocks, whatever. I drank a lot of the time to feel better in my head. Sure, I drank to zone out, but I also drank to feel less static in my brain, to improve my mood, to make me feel like life was spectacular and not existentially ridiculous, to have something to look forward to because at that moment — in those moments — I don’t feel like doing or thinking or being anything. And then I feel bad (see point 1 above) about wasting time, and I feel even worse. But, it’s a particular need to not lubricate, but mend something inside. An existential rip in the seam of life, as it were. Now, I see that maybe I need not only a huge sense of purpose, but antidepressants. Endorphins of the highest order. Cookies and cake and loads of caffeine are not cutting it, I’m sorry.
3. Doing too little versus having an overwhelming sense of purpose and doing too much/what I “should;” unable to relax. Me, the latter, as you can guess. I am task-oriented, so it helps me to not drink if I have an 18-hour day planned. That’s why [cold east coast city] was so good for me. YET…isn’t that worse? Is being a workaholic better or worse for you than being an alcoholic? I’ve reconciled my need to “scratch that itch” with my desire to drink; I am what I am, and if my definition of “fun” and “productive” are unusually severe, then so be it. There is that work-life balance thing, though, which I never quite got, and am not sure I ever will. It’s very difficult for me to relax, to “not be productive.” I’m sure it is for many people, but they don’t consider it a problem. Is it, if it makes you feel uber-good about life?
4. Thinking yourself out of drinking versus giving your will “over” to a “higher power.” CONTRARY to what I assumed after going to all these meetings, everyone (based on today’s meeting) is like me in that they, too, have to think through it in order to convince themselves not to drink when they want to. I found this confusing, relative to what AA says, which is to give it up to “God.” If all y’all are rationalizing your urges away, then where does direct intervention and taking away of obsession by a higher power come in?
(I found it astonishing that quite a few people in AA said their cravings/urges/obsession disappeared almost immediately. You must not be drinkin’ red wine, is all I can think to say.)
5. AA meetings make me want to drink. And, someone said today: The only time I actually think about drinking anymore is when I’m here, at a meeting! Tell it, brotha.
6. “God” is what happens, what occurs, between and among other beings, whether human or animals. It’s not an outside force, per se, but something that comes from within and that is born through relating to and realtionships with other living creatures, including plants. WE are god, individually and collectively. Maybe I’ve just done a step here? 😉
Sometimes I think this whole thing is just overblown. Sure, I did some bad shit, but it’s grapes, people. Just grapes. Then again, I know that a sense of purpose is what saves me, that getting outside my head helps me, that staying in the moment through journaling and working and doing things like running and playing guitar improves my sense of belonging in the world. I know that swimming among massive swells at a local beach makes me feel strangely connected to a deep, abiding “aliveness,” that being a body of water which is large and ancient and powerful beyond what I can imagine — and that makes me feel, ironically, calm and safe and protected from myself, from my small ego.
Sometimes I want to conclude that I am a binge drinker who is depressed/obsessed by existential crises (choices, work versus play, meaning of life, death). Does that mean I need to work the steps and continue to ruminate, lifelong, on a problem? Can’t I simply solve it (don’t drink)? Then again, if I’m truly honest — and feeling good about life, which generally speaking, I have been since June 13th — I can see how those steps can only help me move forward. They can only help, if I’m humble and embrace them without my ego and mindedness getting in the way. And, then again again, DOES IT REALLY MATTER WHAT YOU “ARE” IF BEING SOBER, EVEN IF IT TAKES WORK, MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER AND MAKES YOUR LIFE BETTER? I would have to say, an obvious no.
And, dun dun dun: 21 days as of tomorrow! And, while I’ve thought about drinking a glass of wine, I really haven’t wanted to. Like, I haven’t felt like it. I feel calmer in the face of everything — work, moving, relationship, existential nonsense — that made me feel like drinking before. I feel calmer and more apt to say, Nah, instead of, OMG, YES. I don’t want to gloat, though, so I’ll sign off for now.
Here’s to all my sober buddies in the blogosphere — thanks to you all for being my support group and sounding board.