That’s pretty much all I have to say!
Things are still drama-free (in my head), and life (and death) are still presenting themselves at face value, with no hidden meanings and/or tricks up their sleeves. Which is nice. For once in a long time, I feel…a monotony to this sense of peace and calm about being alive and being human. Kind of like I used to feel. Secure in my choices, personal and professional.
Which makes me think, maybe booze DID have a serious effect on my state of mind? Duh. It made me depressed, and what a strange feeling to come out of that, look back, and notice it. It’s subtle, but at the same time, it’s everything. It’s hard to articulate, and it makes me think of my dad, who is struggling with a serious bout of depression — going on 5 years or something. I wish he’d take meds again. Oh, well, not mine to worry about.
Many a thing I’ve been learning in AA, just from listening and identifying:
1. I don’t have to believe — internalize — other people’s anger and/or accusations. I don’t even have to acknowledge them besides letting them go in one ear and out the other. I know me, and I know what I’ve done wrong. I’ve tried making amends with certain crazy-bitch “sister-in-law”-type people, and well, I don’t need to worry anymore about it. Does it/she still piss me off when I think about it? Yup. Do I need to hold onto that? No.
2. AA meetings are place to vent! To purge, as it were. I think I’m beginning to understand the group therapy aspect to it: if you vent your anger, frustrations, difficulties with drinking, remorse, etc. to others who care and identify, you don’t need to bottle it up; which inevitably will lead to drinking, exploding on someone in a drunken tirade, or any other self-destructive behavior. Here’s a spot-on excerpt from a post at October O Nine, with credit to Running On Sober for featuring it in reference to purging at meetings, holidays, and staying sober during them:
We now celebrate everyday and we purge our fears, anger and sadness daily to our sober sisters and live happy, joyous and free. Most Earth People don’t; they swallow their anger, bury their fears and suppress their sadness, telling themselves that soon it will be the holiday, they will have their food, family and drinks around them for the day and everything will be alright in the world. But today’s expectations are tomorrow’s resentments and they will be into the drinks and that anger, fear and sadness will start to bubble to the surface and whoever is present is going to bear the brunt.
3. I can’t overreact to, control, or fix other people’s problems. I don’t have to care. The last part I wonder about, but I’m feeling like, no, it is NOT my responsibility to care. I WANT to care, most of the time, and I do. I’ve made an effort to be more in touch with my family, to call more, to simply make myself available. However, I don’t have to care if they don’t respond or reciprocate.
4. Meditate. It doesn’t matter if you sit and don’t think, or sit and think; just try. I don’t even like trying to “not think” anymore; I just like to Sit and Be, thoughtlessness be damned. Try anything that takes you out of your head. For me, that’s physical activity; or, working (researching and writing).
5. I think there are a LOT of people in AA who have serious difficulty conceptualizing “God” and “how to meditate,” just like me! After almost 20 meetings in a row (I will miss one tonight; too bad), I’ve realized: there is no one way. There is no one way to understand it. Maybe I’m totally close-minded for NOT believing that a benevolent god oversees our daily activities, but that matters less to me now. I do believe in something — cosmic consciousness is as close to it as I can explain. That is acceptable, as far as I can tell, by AA! What a relief! The thought that everyone in the room simply accepts “God” as a being or some sort of benevolent force — a Biblical God — is now a bit absurd to me. Of course everyone in the room has struggled like I have. It is a process, a seeking, an increasing understanding — present tense, not past. And, totally changing all the time, for everyone.
My boyfriend and I are heading to Puerto Rico today for the holiday. After last year’s major fiascos (Thanksgiving at my brother’s, being sober and feeling VERY self-conscious about it — they asked me not to drink, yet they drank throughout the entire four or five days I was there; Christmas Eve in [cold west coast sity] — another shameful story for another post; New Year’s at my older brother’s, getting shitfaced, blacking out, and screaming bloody murder at my brother and his girlfriend, who is still hating me for it), I SWORE I was NOT doing holidays with the family this year. It’s my gift to myself. And, you know what? I deserve it. I don’t need to put myself through it again.
So…there ya have it! 😉
As for drinking? Eh, I don’t really feel like it, and it’s a consistent lack of desire. WHEW. I never EVER thought I’d feel a reprieve, and here it is. I don’t know if I don’t want to (75%) or I’ve convinced myself that the effects of drinking are shite (25%), but it’s enough to keep me away. I have noticed that the time lapse between romanticizing a drink and thinking about the nonsense that will ensue if I choose to have it has definitely decreased. I don’t have to endure the craving for long, if I apply my mental trick of “avoidance therapy” (my version of shock therapy, I guess). I really hope/pray (ha!) that it’s a mental trick that I can consistently rely on going forward. I also have begun to mentally associate feeling drunk with feeling hung over; my mind is putting a negative spin even on the “high” of the first drink or two. I never believed that my thought patterns could change like this; maybe a re-wiring is happening, but it doesn’t seem to be a conscious effort on my part. AWESOME, big old brain! You ain’t so bad after all. 😉
Coming up on 6 weeks sober this Thursday! Woot woot!