Getting through, over, or past it…sober

17 Jul

3:06 pm

Just checking in. So tired. Sad, happy, confused, relieved. I’ve been entertaining an old classmate/friend/drinking buddy for the past five days–and I’m so. Very. Tired. And sad. I don’t know, maybe just drained.

This was a hurdle, and I guess I did good. I think I’ve hit a new place in my sobriety where the cravings are secondary (practically nonexistent) compared to my desire to move through things sober in order to learn what I know I need to learn.

Like, how to make small talk with someone whom I just can’t reach…the way I want to/the way that makes me feel safe and good and good about myself. Yeesh. I felt like the entire weekend was trying to make contact through bubble film between our two ENTIRELY SEPARATE UNIVERSES. Sometimes I wonder if I’m unique, if this is my own personal dragon to slay–always in my head and worrying what someone is thinking about me, whether they’re having a good time, whether they’re feeling a connection to me or feeling like I’m a cartoon character who projects my thoughts into clouds above my head.

I didn’t react to these feelings of discomfort and disconnection by wanting to drink, though. I know I can’t, I know I shouldn’t, and that’s that. It’s that easy now. Plus, she’s seen me at my worst, and neither of us want to go there again (she didn’t drink the whole time either, so that made it even easier). However, getting me through it was this newfound sense of knowing that it’s these moments, and events, and people that I NEED to “do” and “get through” sober. I can’t drink to avoid the reality that, connecting with other people is hard. It’s a big deal-thing for me, it’s something I’m constantly worrying about: is it me who can’t seem to feel anything but trepidation and lack of familiarity around people I don’t know? I mean, it’s a visceral relief–and always has been–when I can finally be alone again. Do others feel this way? Sigh. I drank a lot over this, and now I can’t. So, I do my best and hopefully, is it good enough.

This was hard to learn about myself, though. Re-learn, I should say. I mean, I really SAW it this weekend with my friend in town. I never would have had to face it and accept it if I had allowed myself the option of going around it by getting drunk.

My friend and I were drinking buddies in graduate school, and we never hung out much outside the bar. I’ve changed a lot, and I don’t want to say that she hasn’t; but what I noticed was how much chaos she was holding onto (for protection?); chaos in the form of bad relationships, a job that doesn’t pay her what she’s worth, a disrespectful roommate, comparing herself constantly to others, passive aggressiveness.

Let’s face it, though: getting sober has not only made me see these things more clearly, but allowed me to see that I deserve better in a friend AND, that I can and will (uncomfortably and clumsily) stand up for myself. Anyway, the point is, I see these things in other, non-sober people, and am somewhat astounded that getting sober has offered me a way out. By no means am I free and pure and enlightened, but at the very least, I NOTICE the chaos and I make attempts at not living in it anymore.

I think it was Day 120 for me yesterday! The cravings have subsided, that’s for sure. I no longer really fantasize about that “glass” of wine because, well, it’s sort of getting pointless/boring to do so. Yes, at times I felt bored, agitated, and exhausted this weekend, but I knew in my gut that THIS was the only way, getting through it all sober. And, I have the feeling that sobriety is going to start resembling this more; the cravings seem small-fry compared to the “real work” that lies ahead. And, the rewards of this supposed “real work” are bound to be much more substantial–a true high–than resisting the cravings. I can feel it.

Onward…

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14 Responses to “Getting through, over, or past it…sober”

  1. Former Escape Artist July 17, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    I think most people in recovery have gone through this “are these people really my friends” stage. I know I, painfully sometimes, realized the people I thought were my friends weren’t or, at the best, were shitty friends.

    We deserve better!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      Yes, totally! I don’t know what is my problem, but I have a hard time saying, I don’t like you. A part of me feels guilty for not liking people, even when they treat me badly. Yes, against my grain, I am saying more and more these days, I deserve better (bitches!). 🙂

      • Former Escape Artist July 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

        Same here! It gets easier when you start caring about yourself more than how the other person views you. I’ve made huge gains in that aspect of my recovery, but still have to remind myself to put myself first.

  2. Mark July 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    I just went through two weeks of this. It was my first time in San Diego (my wife and I go for a few weeks every summer) sober. Seeing friends…seeing familiar spots…experiencing everything all over again sober. Honestly I went in with negativity on my brain. Thoughts of “I can’t do this”, “I don’t want to do this”, and “Why the hell am I doing this” gave way to a sense of accomplishment. My friends never noticed that I wasn’t drinking like there was no tomorrow – I don’t know how…maybe because a lot of them were. I didn’t miss going to the old watering holes. I didn’t miss feeling like hell every morning. I didn’t miss stumbling back to my hotel at night. I didn’t miss anything.

    In fact my wife and I had the best time we’ve ever had there and I actually remember it. The only time that I really struggled – and by struggle I mean ‘felt petulant’ was when we were preparing to go out. I miss that pre-drunk feeling. Knowing that emotionally I was about to be invincible. I’m moving past it though. And someday there is the real expectation that I will be as invincible as a person should reasonably be. I won’t need medication to deal with reality.

    122 days into this soberity experiment I am beginning to forget some of the reasons I didn’t want to do this in the first place. Perhaps that is a good thing? I remain wary though of complacency. Complacency is a slippery slope for me.

    Thanks for sharing this today.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 22, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply! Thank YOU for this comment–it’s great to hear that your trip went so well.

      And, no, there really is nothing to miss about drinking socially. There is nothing good about it. I look forward to being able to better deal with my triggers 100%, which include boredom, but that is nothing compared to dealing with those triggers of people, places, and things we USED to know.

      Thank you, and keep rocking on. You’re coming up on 180 days pretty soon! 🙂

  3. Lilly July 17, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    I completely relate to the visceral relief of being alone again. I feel this a lot. And I think drinking was a way to escape further inside myself. And yet, not, I guess, because it was a way around the shitty feelings inside myself.

    I think reevaluating friendships once sober, particularly past drinking buddies, is definitely par for the course. Already I have distanced myself from a couple of former drinking buddies because, funnily, they just don’t seem as interested in hanging out now that I’m not drinking. Or they persist in inviting me out for ‘drinks’ even though they know I’m not drinking. Or they make snide remarks. But I digress… Thankfully other friends are far more sensitive and they’re the ones I’m putting my time/energy into. We DO deserve better. Hells yeah. And it’s too big a deal to put up with anyone who isn’t cool and supportive about how we’ve changed.

    “And, the rewards of this supposed “real work” are bound to be much more substantial–a true high–than resisting the cravings. I can feel it.”

    I LOVE THIS! This inspires me 🙂

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 22, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      Thank YOU for this, Lilly! (Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond…) I think the hard part for me is that, this person is not just a drinking buddy, but we’ve had a LOT of drinking experiences together. So, I guess maybe she is? I’m not sure what is harder: getting rid of the obvious bad apples (the peeps who you know are bad for you), or the ones who you think were your friends but who really weren’t?

      Getting sober has helped me to see some of my ingrained relationship “issues:” Where other people would take one look at say, Fuck you, you’re bad for me, and walk away, I make up all these reasons and live in denial about why I should like them or keep them in my life. Arg!

      Anyway, I am really looking forward to the next big splash–getting past this hurdle of self-examination and getting back out there, fully formed into something newer and more badass.

      HUGS to you. Hope all is well…xxx

      • Lilly July 22, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

        Well, I think the litmus test is really just ‘can you be friends and enjoy each other’s company still now that you’re not drinking’? Although with this particular friend it sounds like the issue is more that now that you’re sober you’re seeing the dysfunction that was always there and that maybe was more appealing in the midst of your own boozing chaos.

        I can totally relate to that too. I have a similar ‘friendship’ that has now utterly disintegrated and i can see now it was really always quite dysfunctional and totally formed by our mutual alcoholism. But the drunk me probably thrived on that chaos a bit or maybe just didn’t care when she was such a good drinking buddy.

        Other people you realise you just simply don’t have that much in common and what tied you together was drinking.

        This is all actually good news for us both really. I mean, getting more clear-eyed about relationships… how can that be bad?

        No worries re any delay responding ever. I know you’re busy. It’s always lovely to hear from you whenever I do. 🙂

        I am well. Today is… drumroll… officially my new sober record! 81 days.

        Sober car barreling through! Toot toot!

        xx

  4. soberjessie July 17, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    There is someone in my life who I am considering firing. She is someone I used to party with and with whom i have absolutely nothing in common. The drama that she holds onto is exhausting to deal with. I really get the jist of your post and can relate for sure. Big hugs to you. And big props for 120 days!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 22, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Haha. Firing. I LOVE that. I think I’m going to fire a few peeps myself! And yes, holding onto the drama–that is exactly what I meant, and what exhausts me now, too.

      Thank you! Hugs right back. 🙂

  5. Clare July 18, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    Following up on relationships with old drinking friends is like getting in a pool wearing every item of clothing you own. Hug.

  6. Rebecca A. Watson July 24, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    I can totally relate to that feeling of wanting to be alone again. Maybe it’s just that we’re dealing with life sober now and that can be exhausting or maybe we’re just more introverted than we thought.

    I always considered myself an extrovert because that’s what people said about me, but the more time I spent not partying, the more I realized I was drinking to feel comfortable being around so many people I didn’t know. And doing that sober was now draining for me. There is nothing wrong with spending time alone if it is rejuvenating and helpful to your spirit.

    Breaking up is hard to do, and I think it’s harder to do with a friend than a significant other because we have very few models for it. There aren’t movies and books centered around that. What you said about the film between you, of two bubbles made complete sense to me. I guess it’s time to spend more time around the folks that “get” us and don’t make us feel even more alienated than we sometimes are. Thanks for the post!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 31, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Right on! Thanks for your comment–love your blog, btw!

      I don’t feel bad (most of the time) about spending a lot of time alone. I work for myself, and I’m a writer–hello? I’d be doing this whole stare-at-my-monitor thing regardless of where, when, or how. I like my work, and I like it because I don’t have to interact with a lot of people.

      I think we try to shoehorn ourselves into being things, once we get sober, against our best wishes for ourselves. I don’t need an “over” amount of community; others might.

      As for breaking up with friends, you’re so right! There ARE no models on how to do this. I guess I’m just going to ease off with this person…it’s obvs we don’t have much in common anymore. That is OK, and something we both have to embrace. I look forward, too, to not having to fake it anymore!

      Thanks for writing…

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