You have to go through it to get through it

30 Dec

9:39 pm

I REALLY wanted to drink last night. REALLY, REALLY, REALLY. Frustration, disappointment in self, ennui, fear of the past and future, sadness… I spent the day on the couch, feeling ill, too, which only contributed to this pent-up bad juju.

A fog of desire, that’s what it was. A fog of desire to drink. To drown it out, drown it away.

I used to drink when I felt the way I felt last night. OH, YES, I did. NO WAY IN HELL was I going to let that pimple come to a head. What I mean is, I would shut down the emerging thoughts before they fully formed, effectively transfiguring them into something other, something nebulous–something drunken. I would drink, then weep, yet, I never understood exactly what I was crying about; I knew I felt bad, but I never let myself think the real thoughts, only the drunken, fake ones.

I really wanted to drink the past two days, actually. I’ve just felt low energy, depressed, frustrated. Numerous points, but always the same theme: I’m not doing enough with my talents, I’m wasting valuable time. What’s it all mean? Why create, produce, leave behind, anyway? I’ve forgotten most of my life (I mean, I don’t specifically remember a lot of the hours I’ve been alive, y’know?), what’s the point of creating new memories? (LOL–SUCH a negative thought!) And, of course, the next thought had to come: In fact, what a SHITE thing to do, to have a kid and subject him/her to what I’m feeling and thinking right now, which HAS to cross most people’s minds now and then, right? RIGHT? And on and on. We rented “Ted,” and that was pretty funny, so the night wasn’t ALL BAD, of course! Yet, the whirring continued until my boyfriend went to bed and I was left on the couch (still), wishing I had bought myself a treadmill for Christmas. Or a sledge hammer!

I’ve always felt pressured to accomplish, achieve, create. It’s become an addiction, I know, perceiving my reality this way and reacting to it, usually negatively. However, being sober–getting sober, the process of, actually–has allowed me to begin to see that NO, I don’t have to keep doing what I’ve always done! I have a choice in how I see the world and how I let it make me feel. I mean, I can choose not only WHAT I think about but also HOW I choose to think about certain things, especially my own ideas of productivity, purpose, and achievement. I get to choose how I relate to my thoughts, my feelings, and my gut reactions.

It’s a process, though, so one step forward, two steps back. Last night, I did the usual: I let my brain go there, and pretty soon, I was clenching my gut, nearly wanting to break my teeth because… I…I…What am I doing? What am I doing with my time? Am I simply not a good writer? Have I become a has-been? And then, the thought of thoughts, the rotten core of the apple:

Have I lost myself in being sober? Which, of course, almost instantaneously morphed into, Sobriety has taken myself away from me!

Evil-doer, DEVIL sobriety.

Today, I’m not sure what to think about this melodramatic conclusion except, it’s sort of true. I am no longer my old self. I no longer have wine to boost my mood, to encourage me to want to do what I thought I wanted to do. Without wine, I don’t do this and I don’t do that, so did I ever really LIKE doing this and that? Was I even good at it?

Moreover, I just feel–feel is the key word; feelings are tricky, remember?–like I’m no longer myself! Sure, I’m a new self, and probably a better one. But, I MISS the old me. The “fun” me. I realized I haven’t danced alone in my room since June! That saddens me. And, I have to say, not drinking has left me feeling more content but less happy. I don’t get to get giddy, to let off steam. Sure, I could do this sober, but…why haven’t I?

So, that thought of “I’ve lost myself in getting sober” was what sent me on a crying jag. No wine, though, to initiate it for no apparent reason…and to instantly turn it off when the wine wears off. You know how that goes: you get drunk, you turn on a song (fuck you, Damien Rice), and you start bawling. It feels good, mainly because you DO have something to bawl about but it’s deep down and you simply don’t want to bring it up, or you CAN’T, or you can’t without the wine; and then, the song ends, you abruptly stop crying, and you refill your glass…likely now laughing. At something equally ethereal and, well, NOT REAL.

Last night, the opposite. Real pain, real tears. A staring-me-in-the-face realization that YES, maybe I will never be the same person, maybe I will no longer be able to identify with that self, which I’ve been living with for a long time. Yes, I am getting older; yes, I might not have children; yes, I might be a has-been, as far as the science writing community in [cold east coast city] goes. Yes, yes, yes. And, it hurts.

But you know what? This, too, shall pass. Cry, sit there and sulk in the dark, and then realize, who the FUCK cares anyway aside from little old you? LOL. Like, if John Doe over there doesn’t even KNOW what I’m going through let alone can even identify with it, is it really worth fussing over? Let it go. CHOOSE how you react to your own Never Never Land of thoughts, Drunky Drunk Girl. It’s not real…

A funny thing happened, then, which is pretty simple: I felt better. When I woke up this morning, I felt like I had made some sort of progress. Moved forward, or at least moved beyond a certain point. If I had drunk to drown out my thoughts and feelings, I never would have processed them. I might have had a fake catharsis (cry, hit someone, pass out exhausted), but I would have woken up in the same place–still sad, still semi-baffled and unclear, and worse, HUNG OVAH.

So, the title of my post: you have to go through it to get through it. For me, desiring to drink these days is much less about wanting to get drunk and happy as it is avoiding confronting my “issues.” Which is a good thing to know, really. Simple, but it takes what it takes, right? Oh, AA, I must thank you for your funny little expressions that I’ve sort of come to adore.

(I’ve decided that the Big Book is a bunch of malarkey, but we’ll blog about that another night.)

AND, thank you, Sobersphere, you’ve kept me once again from ruining my streak with one false move–coming up on 90 days in about a week and a half!

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32 Responses to “You have to go through it to get through it”

  1. Belle (Tired2012) December 31, 2012 at 5:17 am #

    can you see me, nodding at the screen with each phrase. yes, yes, yes. oh that’s me. yes, oh yes.
    today i feel better too (at least, so far) and i think my realization is that i may be more prone to asking questions like “what am i doing?” – more prone than the next person – but i know for sure that these questions don’t get answered by being tipsy. the booze just makes it completely impossible to figure out even one answer to one small question. it just becomes “tomorrow, tomorrow.”
    now, sober, it’s true, some days suck. but at least i’m no longer deflecting. i’m getting through, over, or around, sleeping, or writing. but i’m not avoiding.
    you too. yes, yes, yes …

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

      Yes, yes, yes! I always think I’m the *only* one having these thoughts…even though I KNOW others have to have them! It’s arrogant, but maybe part of human nature. Anyhoo… Yeah, I think we are getting through, over, or around! Me, too, even. At the very least, I can sit through these very uncomfortable thoughts without running out to get a bottle or two of red, so that is progress. Major hugs! xx

  2. thepartydoesntleavethegirl December 31, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    It’s nice to read this and know I’m not alone. Another day sober- good for you. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 31, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

      Thanks! It’s so nice to discover other people’s blogs at 4 am and think the SAME thing–how great that I’m actually not alone in this!

  3. waynemali December 31, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    I so relate to this, I drank to escape my feelings, to stop all those bad dreams about my reality. I feel also a little part of died, but with it went with the sad alcoholic bastard I became, so I can live with that.
    I have found writing through Sobriety I guess we look at and think differently now, I don’t think you stop being a great writer, maybe just need to approach it differently, I’m sure you’ll find a way.
    Congratulations on 90 SoberDays and good luck in the New Year, keep counting.
    Wayne

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

      Thanks, Wayne, for your support! I know, I really want to work on reversing the way I approach things, instead of thinking change and different is bad, think of it as good! Plus, it’s a process, all of this, and maybe now it might now be coming or flowing (the writing, the work, the ideas as to my professional life), but next week, next month, maybe I’ll have gone through this slump for a very good reason! Faith… Happy New Year to you, too. xx

  4. belowhermeans December 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    This post struck me to my core. I can absolutely relate.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

      Really? You have no idea how…glad that makes me. At ease. The worst part about it is, feeling like I’m an alien and that no one can understand this soul-crushing ennui! I *should* get a sponsor, or something, but I still have trouble with that. All in due time, I guess. Thank you so much for reading and posting a comment — means a lot to me!

  5. dr24hours December 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    Congratulations on not drinking and on writing your feelings through. I can tell you that by doing the work, the steps, and moving forward, my desires to drink have been absolutely relived. Occasional flashes that pass in seconds are all I ever have.

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting too!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 31, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

      Huh. I keep hearing it over and over, so there’s got to be something to “the work” part of AA. I go to meetings, I talk to people after the meetings, but in general, AA makes me feel agitated, uncomfortable, and well, unimpressed. I think the Big Book is sort of bullshit, but my issues mostly relate to the powerlessness/victim-mentality aspects, as well as putting your “faith” in a power “outside” yourself. I simply cannot get how anyone but ME can stop me from drinking. The desire to drink comes pretty much whenever I feel bored, or restless, or like I’m not living my purpose; when these are fulfilled, I don’t have any reason to drink, therefore, no desire.

      Anyhoo, great to connect. I’ll swing by again and read more of your posts! Thank you…

      • dr24hours December 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

        I don’t understand how powerlessness relates to a victim mentality. I’m powerless over alcohol, but I’m certainly no victim. And I don’t have any self-pity about being an alcoholic.

        My problem is that when I imbibe alcohol in any amount, I lose the ability to regulate how much I consume. And, without doing regular maintenance on my self, I lose the perspective and understanding of my disease that prevents me from taking the first drink.

        I’m not religious, and I don’t buy the deific aspects of the program. What I know is that I had no ability to stop or control my drinking until I surrendered, respecting my limits. And then, with the help of the program, the massive network or recovered drunks in the rooms of AA, that power greater than myself, I was able to cast of the shackles of my addiction by surrendering to it, giving up the fight.

        I am the very opposite of a victim. And the people I know with the sobriety I admire are the opposites of victims. We are survivors, who recognize that we lack a fundamental ability that normal people have: the ability to regulate alcohol consumption. But it’s not a handicap. It’s a liberation.

      • Drunky Drunk Girl December 31, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

        I see what you’re saying, but honestly, I think it’s a thought-roundabout to not acknowledge that you do have a choice in taking the 2nd, and 3rd drinks. Up until I black out, I WANT to keep drinking. It’s not that I can’t stop; I don’t want to stop. That is my truth, at the heart of my addiction, and which is why the program’s victimization mentality — you are a victim of a disease that you have no control over — does not mesh with what is at the core of my belief, based on my own experience. But, if it works for you, then work it! I have to find something else, maybe that uses “language” I can relate to better. Thanks for your thoughtful reply…!

      • dr24hours January 1, 2013 at 12:07 am #

        I think you’ve misunderstood what I said, which is fine, no skin off my teeth. I hope your approach works for you.

        Of course I had a choice. I chose to drink every single drink I ever drank. What I lost was the ability to make good choices. Recognizing my disease does not make me some pathetic victim. That you choose to see me and others in the program that way is telling; it is not how we see ourselves.

        If you think the program is some linguistic trick to absolve us of our responsibility for our drinking, then you have yet to understand the program. And that’s fine too! I certainly didn’t have a grasp on it prior to three months! I applaud you for keeping coming back.

        And of course, it’s certainly not my place to try to convince you that AA works or is the way to go for you. I can only say that if you want what we have, maybe try doing what we did.

  6. mishedup December 31, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    LOVE this….
    love the way you described the progression of your thoughts and feelings, ending with the new day and not being hung-over….you are a wonderful writer!
    Look, it’s all about the feelings…find me one drunk where it’s not and i’ll…well, i don’t know what I’ll do but i don’t need to worry about it. The good enough, the sad, the mad, the happy, the angry, the left-out, the center of attention….
    walking through the feelings like you did, like we all do if we want to stay sober..there is that silly little miracle that I hear about all the time and love to dismiss, and yet know is true.
    LOVE this….

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 31, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

      Thanks so much! Yes, it’s nice to connect with people who drink for the same “reasons.” The hardest part for me, as a writer, is letting go of the thoughts; I cling to my thoughts, worship them. My thoughts are my artistic tools, in a way, so it’s really hard to distinguish between productive thinking and feeling and the opposite, in which case I need to simply ignore them and go to bed! Thanks for commenting…! Happy New Year… xx

  7. kristinag2 January 1, 2013 at 1:51 am #

    How did you begin your sobriety? I am scared of getting sick.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

      Well, I wasn’t that far gone that I had the DTs. I had a few weeks of general “flu-ishness,” but I basically just stopped drinking wine every night. It was harder psychologically, of course, than physically (if at all) for me…

      If you’re afraid of getting sick, I would call AA, find a meeting, and ask the people there where you can go (in-patient) where they can help you, physically, during the first 3 days to several weeks.

      I am sending you virtual strength — you can do this! xxx

      • Drunky Drunk Girl January 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

        Actually, I would bypass AA right now. Call a facility (detox, or in- or out-patient at a hospital), and ask them to tell you what to do. AA comes later, or whatever recovery method you choose.

    • dr24hours January 1, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

      I agree with Drunky Drunk Girl about medical attention. AA is great, but we are not physicians. If you drink like I did, to get very drunk every day, You may need medical attention. Detox can be fatal if you’ve gone far down. Talk to a physician. I needed to go to a facility to dry out safely. Talk to a doctor honestly about your consumption.

  8. Joann January 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Oh, wow….what an inspirational blog! I can sooooo relate to you. I look forward to following your blog, and you’re invited to have a look at mine. I hope you find mine as helpful as I am finding yours.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 3, 2013 at 2:43 am #

      Thank you! I will definitely check out your blog…look forward to it! Thanks for stoppin’ by…

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 3, 2013 at 2:49 am #

      Yes, love your blog! The comments are a bit hard to make, though…

  9. Mrs D January 2, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Great post and interesting discussion. I so relate, you are definately not alone. All we have to do is not drink and all of this stuff comes out in clumps and waves and we get ups and we get downs and we get smooth patches and we get bumpy patches and we get low patches, then we get flat ones or calm ones or peaceful oneset strong and happy and positive ones! It’s a roller coaster sobriety but I’d far rather be on this ride than the boozy one I used to be on. You are doing so great, so very very great. Thanks for sharing and well done for being so strong and determined/. Happy New Year! xxxxx

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 3, 2013 at 2:53 am #

      Thank you, Mrs. D! Well said, too. I hope that post-90 days, the ups and downs will start to be a little less extreme? Anyway, yup, I like where I am right now, and almost everything I’ve accomplished this year is due to trying and finally somehow managing to get (a little) sober… Happy New Year to you, too!

  10. Al K Hall January 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    What i’m getting out of this post is your ability to “see your thoughts rather than just feel them” as i heard it put once in AA. It’s a huge step in sobriety and it seems you’re taking it with grace and style.

    As for your personal evolution, it’s easier to see what we’re leaving behind than where we’re headed, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t on the right track!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 3, 2013 at 2:56 am #

      Wow, so well said, especially the second part — not easy to see where we’re going but doesn’t mean we’re not on the right track! I sometimes (well, often) get the feeling (oh, there’s that damn word again) that I am moving forward with blinders on.

      Love your comments, Al! Thanks again for your positivity, means so much. xx

  11. Lisa Neumann January 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    Loved all of this …. related to all of this. Powerful stuff. It blows my mind how you are able to capture and present your thoughts. I love reading your posts. I know I show up late sometimes and comment. Sometimes I wonder if you are still feeling a certain way(still) because a few days have gone by. It always passes. Can I tell you something? On Christmas day at about 4 pm my kids were having the “christmas blues” (aka x-mas is over and all we have to look forward to is dinner) They were grumpy (mean too) I wanted a glass of wine so much. All I wanted to do was get away from it all. Alas, I am an alcoholic. I don’t have one drink. I had to learn what to do with the feelings and you are learning too. I wish they went away for good, but for me that has not been the case. Now today, today I love sobriety and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I’m glad I met you. You made sober 2012 better for me. Lisa

    • Drunky Drunk Girl January 3, 2013 at 3:41 am #

      Hi, Lisa,
      Thanks for reading — helps to know that my writing is not perceived as crazed rambling!

      Oh, yes, I felt sad after our Christmas Eve dinner (well, suddenly irritable–really wanted to drink that night) and sad after our Christmas brunch (empty, adrift). Glad I didn’t drink, though, and you’re right, I definitely am learning things to DO to deal with these feelings. Identifying them helps me, especially now that I’m sober (when I was drinking, identifying them made me feel ever more overwhelmed).

      Thanks so much for your support. I can’t wait to see what the new year has in store for us sober-ites! Lots of love…
      -DDG

  12. sherryd32148 February 2, 2013 at 12:53 am #

    Just found your blog from someone else’s blog roll (isn’t that how we all connect) and I’m reading from the back forward and loving your journey.

    This post especially resonated with me because I distinctly remember standing in my bedroom, arms crossed around my waist, sobbing and saying to my husband, “I don’t even know who I am sober! What if I’m one of them underneath (referring to the rest of my family)…I just don’t know!”

    Then I cried and, like you, miraculously felt better.

    Un-fucking-believable.

    Great blog.

    Sherry

    • Drunky Drunk Girl February 3, 2013 at 6:39 am #

      Hi, Sherry,
      YES, isn’t it? It’s those powerful moments, that you actually live through without booze, that make you feel like you broke through a little bit, are now on the other side of “it.” I hope you’re in the mood for a lot of long-winded whining (some of my old posts are quite tedious, when I actually go back and re-read them!)… 😉
      -DDG

  13. belindac76 July 8, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    I completely relate to this. In such a way that it shocked me. I have been trying to quit drinking on and off for 5 years, longest stretch 8 months and 4 months here and there. What you wrote above is why I continue to drink. I am an overachiever (why?) and I torture myself daily on what I am not doing (as opposed to what I am) and drinking helps me block those feelings out. Thanks for putting my feelings in such sharp relief that I could recognize myself.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 9, 2013 at 4:15 am #

      Wonderful! YES, it’s just so…deep and ingrained and hard to explain to people–even oneself. I mean, it’s not like I’ve talked that much about this, but it’s ruled my life, and it’s great to finally have someone else say, Oh, I actually know what you’re talking about. Thank YOU. (and, look forward to checking out your blog)

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