Uh huh. Yup. I know, right?
I’ve learned not to take these comments from others to heart, to learn what I can from them, and well, to respect my process. Which has been to slowly but surely–as head and heart dictate–come out when I’m ready. When I’m wanting to. When I’m getting my mojo back, as Paul at Message in a Bottle so aptly described what seems to be happening to me lately.
Yesterday, October 12th, was the anniversary of something really horrible happening after a night out drinking (4 years ago) and something really amazing happening, which was that 1 year ago yesterday, I’ve gone for one whole year sober minus one day. Technically, I’ve got…208 days. Which is cause for celebration, methinks!
While I felt mostly pissed off and cheated and wanting to drink last night (yup, that shit still comes around and usually takes me off guard by how gale force it is!), I went to brunch today. I felt like it. I invited my neighbors, and we had some great conversation. (They were drunk, which made it easier for them to talk to me, I know. It did me some good: drunk people are VERY forthcoming, and they’re “good people to know” when it comes to getting into the somewhat closed circles here.)
Anyhoo, I’ve been feeling like “it” more and more, and that includes talking to people and not feeling exhausted after it’s over. LOL
I was reading a book the other night on happiness, and how to be happier. The author says that cutting out the things that you don’t need to do, or that suck time, is key. When I first got sober, I could only focus on not drinking, and I cut out a lot of things. I cut out my old job. I cut out making new friends. I cut out “frivolous socializing.” I cut out AA–it was too emotionally draining and it served to piss me off more often than not. I cut out a lot of things, I had to. That was my process, and it’s worked for me. I knew I had to figure out how to stop drinking and stay stopped on my own time. I had to learn how to derive the desire and motivation to not drink, and not be able to refer to a list of equations, as it were.
One of the most important things for me in staying sober has been to be honest with myself, not necessarily anyone or everyone else. Just because you’re not venting to the world, and admitting how horrible you feel to your 50 closest friends doesn’t mean you’re not working on it. Just because you put dealing with painful memories or emotions on the back burner doesn’t mean you won’t come back to them, and that they won’t get worked out.
I have to say, I feel a thousand pounds lighter than I did last year on October 12th. My mojo is coming back–I want to work, and I want to be more social again. My bigger-picture thinking skills are coming back; like, I can take in a lot more information and put it into place, without having it affect me, or my feelings, or my memories to the point where the pot gets too stirred and I feel overwhelmed. 95 percent of me is glad; the other 5 percent is like, Fuck you, man. I had to become a navel-gazing hermit for a year to want to want again?
Anyway, like I said, I was in a bad mood last night. But, I woke up this morning and made the choice to not carry it into the next day. I call it selective memory–and not the kind that happens when you black out! I also got some rejections to my story pitches. But, I made the choice to forget about it and move on–there are a hundred reasons as to why, none of which involve me, personally, or my talent, ability, and motivation to do a good story.
Slowly but surely, I’m coming ’round. The things I didn’t want to talk about last year, I’ve confronted. I’ve dealt with past trauma and mended my ways, so to speak. Some of the things I cut out last year, I’m adding back in. Mostly, things are righting themselves. Just the act of stopping drinking fixes a lot of problems that you don’t necessarily want or need to face all at once, head-on, right when you get sober. Some of the most painful of the ruminating is caused by the drinking; some of it, in the case with depression or anxiety, is not. It’s up to you, and your honesty with yourself, to figure it out. And, figure it out you will. Just not all at once.
Looking back, this has been a great year. I wish some things would’ve happened sooner (as in, socializing leads to networking leads to a job leads to a savings account), but they didn’t. Oh, well, that’s been my process. Drive your own drive, as one of my friends likes to say.