Everything scares me…a little bit

10 Jul

12:57 pm

Well, we all know that I spend a good part of my day inside my head. Does that mean I, myself, am oblivious to this? No! Does that mean that I don’t believe it serves my recovery? Hell’s no! Which is why, I beg of you, to bear with me on this post; I promise, there IS a point.

Everything scares me…a little bit.

Just what I said. I have a friend coming to town this weekend, and instead of being excited (which I am), I’m nervous. She and I have never really hung out, sans booze, in any kind of “domestic” capacity. We never went over to each other’s apartments, we went to the bar! In fact, our entire friendship was based on nights out, mutual commiserating. It scares me a little bit to socialize, in general, but it also scares me to anticipate what I’m dreading might be a lot of awkward moments, pregnant pauses, and maybe even some insistence on “what the fuck happened, your life is WAY different now, WAY better!” Maybe I’m scared of holding my own in the face of my successful recovery–I’m so used to being down, I guess, that it’ll be weird to “show off” my new life. (Maybe success makes me feel uncomfortable?)

I’ve got some decisions to make soon, one of which involves biting the bullet and likely getting back into the full-time workforce, maybe going to school part-time on the side. Which will involve a LOT of people, and places, and things I’ve been avoiding as triggers since I got sober last summer.

Deep breath. I’m sure I’ll rally, and take this as it comes. One of the things that getting sober has allowed me to see about myself is that, I want to drink when I’m confronted with something that scares me. And, quite frankly, everything scares me…a little bit.

I don’t know if it’s FEAR per se; it’s more like doubt (uncertainty): Can I do this sober? Will the stress be too much?

I have to re-learn how to learn new things, I think.

Sobriety is not just about avoiding the “people, places, and things” that made you want to drink; it’s about crafting a new life, and one that includes new people, places, and things–that don’t make you want to drink. And what, pray tell, ARE these things that don’t make me want to drink? Discovering what those are is, in a nutshell, LIFE.

I mean, I used to be (am?) a science reporter, and I think aspects of that career drove me to drink. Yet, I am used to the sense of accomplishment I got from this career, and I am used to knowing how to apply this to my framework of the world. I know, though, that if I am truly committed to a “new” way of life, I have to confront the possibility that this career might be more harmful, painful, and addictive than anything else (it involves a lot of competition, a lot of ego, a lot of outside validation).

On the other hand, do I have it in me to switch careers? Do I really want to? How accurate are my projections of having the money, the time, and the focus, at 39 years old, to earn another degree? I don’t know myself that well right now, is what I’m saying. I know how “old me” would have tripped through these decisions, what framework of the universe I was working with. Now, I’m not sure what I hold most dear, what my universal laws of personal physics are! It’s like, I am learning not just new ways of coping, but new ways of learning how to cope.

Journalism is exhausting, but it’s the ultimate high. Can–and should–I relinquish this for something “less” rewarding? I could, for instance, teach, or do grant writing, or write fiction (yes!). A part of my mind–that part that is the source of some of my avoidance/addictive behavior-cries out, Nooooo, DDG! You can only do this one thing, because this one thing is what you’ve always done!

Ugh. “Alcoholism” is SUCH a mental game; I’m beginning to realize it has nothing to do with wine and everything to do with long-held “life philosophies.” Trying something new is often what caused me to drink–not because I don’t like it or I’m afraid of it, but because I believe that I’m wasting time NOT doing what I “should” be doing, what became “too hard,” what I KNOW I can win at, if “just keep trying.” Life philosophies like this are hard to even articulate let alone begin the process of overhauling.

A simpler–and more positive–way to approach this is: My work might not be healthy for me; a relationship might not be healthy for me–do I have the courage to try (to learn) something new, something different?

I had a friend whose literal life refrain was, It’s a process. And, if I can keep that in mind over the next few weeks and months, I’ll consider myself “successful.”

On a final note, you know what’s crazy? I’ve been so busy thinking about other stuff that I haven’t even checked my day count in at least a week! September 9th will be 25 weeks, so that makes today…114 days! Woot! Rock on, me, and fuck you, wolfie!

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4 Responses to “Everything scares me…a little bit”

  1. Belle July 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    this is so well articulated, it reminds me of the warnings about not making big changes in the first year, but you’re hitting on WHY – cuz we don’t know who we are yet. i wonder also if over time there is a softening of the black-and-white thinking … is science writing always competitive and shitty? aren’t there some people who are science writers who can just do their thing and not join in any reindeer games? i guess what i’m wondering – not knowing anything about this – is if it’s possible to do the same thing, but do it differently. and if you’re safely sober, can you build something new from this foundation rather than wading ‘back’ or ‘into’ something else? i’m curious to know what you think, cuz im about to make a career decision too and have been wondering just these things… how much, in what direction, and why …

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      Belle, you hit the nail on my head! That is exactly the approach I’m taking: trying to do the same thing, but differently. With a less black-and-white approach. Yes, there are a lot of peeps who seem to be having a lot of FUN doing this career, but I’m fairly certain that they all work really hard at the chasing-the-news/pitching game. Do I want to? Only way to find out is to try it.

      It’s like, maybe I can keep doing this for a few months, get a good idea of the practicality of it (can I afford to spend most of my time not actually earning money)? Maybe I can work full-time and pitch and still contribute to the “conversation.” I have some distance now, whereby I HOPE that I’ll be able to tease out what is really my question to myself: am I doing this because it’s rewarding and I like it/enjoy the process of doing this, or am I doing it to prove something to myself. I mean, if I find out that I’m “OK” not proving anything to myself after writing one, or two, or three stories, then GREAT. I can move on.

      I am sort of letting my “gut” guide me right now. I feel this NEED to figure this out…before moving on. I feel the NEED to write now, to figure out what kind of writing I like best. Once I get to a point where I know more about what makes me tick with regard to writing, I’ll be able to pursue more interesting things…

      Am I obsessing? Maybe. So, here’s what I’d advise: if you’re not ready to move forward on a new career, then spend a little more time doing what you’ve been doing. But, approach it with a new goal, a more specific one. And, I’m a big fan of exploring a hobby while you’re doing a part-time job (and since we can do this as freelance people, why not?). Just b/c you’re interested in the history of linguistics doesn’t mean you should go back to grad school for it…

      What do I know? More on email?

  2. changingcoursenow July 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    I love this quote from Barbara Johnson…”Yesterday is just experience but tomorrow is glistening with purpose – and today is the channel leading from one to the other.” Don’t be afraid…look at what you’ve accomplished!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Thank you for this!!! It’s so hard to look at what we’ve accomplished and say, Good job!, sometimes, though, isn’t it?

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