Is self-love radical?

5 Mar

11:12 pm

We’re finally settling in here, coming up on 6 weeks after our big move.  And, while we’re getting used to the new normal–stores, working electricity, no bugs (and therefore, an almost-vacuum of sound at night), a sense of being definitively bounded by four walls (not the sky as one, the ocean as the other three)–I’m still feeling a bit disoriented.  But, I just plugging away, and doing what needs to be done; sort of the same thing over and over, day in and day out.  That’s how I’m coping with all this change.  Kind of sounds just like getting sober, eh?

This move has been challenging, to say the least.  Who am I here?  Who are we?  And, am I still sober or do I just not drink?  I guess I’m sort of  on autopilot at the moment, and with that, some of my old “character defects”–feeling restless and irritable, desperately not wanting to “miss out”–crop up.  I don’t feel like I can relax, or let go of the reins, and therefore, my dreams, and my sense of humor, and my romanticism are sort of dwindling.

I know it’s all got to come back once we find our way, but I must say, once in a while, out of boredom and restlessness (I feel so boring sometimes, especially if I don’t write or dissolve into a slightly more magical reality), I do wonder if I can drink again?  Like, it’s been so long, can’t I…improve this mood, make me funny, and young, and sexy again?  NOT!  I know it’s just a fleeting thought, but I still have it and others like it once in a while–especially under stress, or while I’m PMSing.

Lately, I’ve been stuck in the past–and, angry about it as well as confused as to how I actually have a past (haha)!   First up, I’ve been ruminating on friends who I feel just don’t get the new me–I know it’s been years since I got up, got sober, and went my own way, but I wonder, WHAT do they think happened to me?  Like, these were good friends, but friends who never bothered to ask me, so, you quit drinking, moved to an island, and…what happened?  Why did you do that?  How did you fare?  What’s your life been like?  Who ARE you now?  And, now that I’ve moved to a totally wacky-choice place (it’s a place I never would’ve imagined I would live)–not ONE of these so-called friends has inquired at all.  Maybe they never cared, or maybe we just fell out of touch as our lives moved on.  Maybe probably I was bad keeping in touch; yet, they KNEW of my drinking problem, and how much emotional trauma I had put myself (and them) through–so, I get tired of making excuses for them.  The street goes both ways, it really does, and after a while, I think you just have to truly, finally let old “friends” go and make new ones.

Second, I finally got ahold of a set of old boxes full of old stuff–like, my life in pictures and scrapbooks, journals, jewelry, and stuffed animals–stuff spanning my childhood through teenage, college, and early 20s years.  And, I went through it today.  And, uh, I felt nothing but sadness, and confusion:  sad that years have passed, we’ve all aged, and yeah, I’m definitely, I guess, “not young” anymore; confused in that, I don’t know what to do with all the memories, all the powerful experiences and people who have shaped who I’ve become, or, more pointedly, who I became up until I quit drinking.  I am angry at that person (my younger self), and all those people and places and things that “happened to me” before I got sober.  Why?  It’s my life, it’s what made me, me!  I guess I’m just at a loss as to what the point of all those experiences are, when, today, I have nothing really to do with those old friends, exes, people who left such a mark on my path; all the experiences and diplomas and takeaways.  Since getting sober, I have practiced so much living in the present, and maybe forgetting about a painful past, that I literally forgot about it; erased a lot of times that have made me, me.  It’s strange:  what’s the point of all the living that we do, when in the end, all it amounts to is a few boxes of fading, illegible memorabilia?

I wish I could have hung onto all that, but I had to let it go in getting sober.  At least so it SEEMS to me now.  And, I think the hardest work in sobriety is after you make the break, the split with your old self and life and you finally do get sober–what do you go back for, reconcile, keep?  How do I love my younger self, when I SO didn’t love her then?

I see my story, how things turned out, what was happening THEN so much clearer now; and the biggest question I have is, why did I hate myself so much?  I was so sweet, clear, beautiful, harmless–at least from the outside.  I was such a pleaser.  Yet, I felt NO ONE loved me, and I definitely hated on myself.  Maybe it’s just common to teenagers, or common to people affected with depression and anxiety, which I had growing up.  I don’t know, but I did kick and scream against my self-hatred for a long time, and it wasn’t until I got sober and started practicing what I now see as an almost-defiant act–self-love–that I have come to realize how DIFFICULT it is to push against that hate, pressure, disapproval, discrimination put on you as a kid or teenager.  The more I come into my own and STRUGGLE to love myself every day, the more I see not only what a DEFIANT act it is to practice self-love, but how RADICAL an act it is.  To consciously love yourself is a radical act of defiance.  And I don’t think I’m the only one who understands this!  I think we all struggle with this determination that no matter what has happened, or happened to you, you must push up and into the sky, and love yourself.

The boxes are too much, so I’m putting them in the closet.  The past will always be there, but right now, I need to live in the present, and somehow begin to again honor and love the girl who got me here.

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11 Responses to “Is self-love radical?”

  1. ainsobriety March 5, 2018 at 11:55 am #

    I understand deeply. I never liked myself before I quit drinking and stopped trying to find approval and acknowledgment from others. Not until I finally became comfortable in my own skin, just as it is.

    It sounds like you need some support. Have you gone to AA in the past? It might be a good time to go to just touch in with some other sober people who are living life.

    Or SMART, etc.

    You have made a huge change. That’s bound to stir up questions and second thoughts and uncertainty. Give yourself time to settle in.

    Big hug
    Anne

    • Drunky Drunk Girl March 5, 2018 at 2:23 pm #

      Wonderful comment, Anne. And a good reminder to seek support and be patient. Thank you… xx

  2. StephenD March 5, 2018 at 12:56 pm #

    Glad you are doing better than I am.
    To be for me? Why would that be allowed, I ask. So, SO much is taken up with evryone and everything else. Where am I? Where did I go? Besides under the umbrella of drink.
    Bad downs and downs lately.
    Love

    • Drunky Drunk Girl March 5, 2018 at 2:44 pm #

      I am so sorry you are struggling. The umbrella of drink, as you know, just makes it harder to find where you went. Please take care, and reach out–it is a struggle, but you are not alone, and have every right to be for you. That is the struggle, to remember that you are worth putting first, no offense to everyone and everything else. Take it easy, and practice some radical self-love… xx

      • StephenD March 13, 2018 at 12:32 pm #

        Thanks

  3. sophie12hours March 6, 2018 at 5:41 am #

    I second the comment from Anne above – give yourself time to settle. I haven’t (yet!) struggled with reconciling Drunk Me and Sober Me – it’s the same me, but the former missed out on stuff because she was under a thick, wet blanket that was always one of three and anything else (aka LIFE) was fitted in around these: bingeing on course to black-out, the hangover from hell or busy planning the next drunk. Sober Me is the me who is present, feels amazingly strong and alert and bursts out in a happy little giggle that comes from nowhere and just bubbles up in me because being sober feels so fucking awesome!! I do however notice that one particular friend seems a bit thrown by Sober Me. And it’s no coincidence that it’s the friend who drinks like me and I suspect the Sauv was the glue that held us together… ..birds of a feather… If people can’t be bothered with you, or rather if it weirdly bothers them when you are at your best (sober) then they never deserved you anyway. Anyway. Give yourself time, love and space to breathe. Just be. Go where the love is – best piece of advice I’ve had lately, for me it sums it all up. All the best, Sophie xx

  4. Adrian March 6, 2018 at 9:08 am #

    Soul work. You are doing soul work. It’s what we humans do, and you’re digging deep in this life, clearing things out, clarifying the air around you, upping the vibration inside and around you. I think that the “what was it all for and what do I do with it now?” question that you pose so beautifully just gets at the crux of human life on earth. These are days, one after the other. Whatever it is we instinctually feel like they should be adding up to is illusory, and freedom and joy is in settling sweetly into ourselves. Which looks different depending on the day 🙂

  5. MilesAwayGrrrl March 6, 2018 at 11:11 pm #

    Gosh. I got goosebumps reading this. So much of it resonates with me. I’ve definitely let some friendships go – some, surprisingly to me, have actually come back, but not by me chasing and being the people pleaser, as it used to be. Others… well, it is what it is, and I no longer want to spend emotional effort and energy on a one sided relationship.

    When I look through old diaries, and at old ‘things’ I see and feel so similar. I used to love doing this with a bottle (or 3) of wine, and wanting to tell my old self ‘see, it worked out fine.’ Ha!! Now, sometimes I have to stop, as it’s too emotional – and I can get an emotional hangover from it all.

    Self love is so radical. Which is just the dumbest thing ever when we look at ourselves in the bigger picture and how most of us are just trying to get along with life. I can’t say I love myself, but there are things about me I do love (big one is how my body still works! despite how mean and nasty I’ve been to it), and the things I don’t so much – like I would like a smaller stomach, and I get too defensive.. I’m working on – but I don’t hate myself for it, and speak to myself with the venom I once did. That makes me so sad. Why so mean!? xx

  6. Lisa Neumann March 7, 2018 at 11:09 am #

    Short answer, “Yes.”
    We are never too far into recovery to ask for support. At least that has been my experience. I continue to attract mentors who encourage me to dig deeper and find my authentic self within. She’s there. ♥ Lisa

  7. furtheron March 13, 2018 at 4:32 am #

    Wow – a lot going on for you.

    I really get the confusion about the old self. Now when I look back there is some old movie in black and white all a bit out of sync timewise and there’s a guy who I really don’t like in the middle of it being a total arsehole. He looks a bit familiar but that’s it really.

    Every now and then I go back there – the fact my Dad died when I’d just turned 22 and he never saw my wedding, my kids, my homes and what I’d achieved. And so how for 20 years drink filled I continued to try to impress a man who wasn’t there by trying to be someone I was never ever going to be – and doubtless not someone he’d have been proud of as a son any way.

    However the best advice as my sponsor often says to me “Keep it in the day”. You only have now – the past is gone and nothing can change that just accept it, you don’t have to like it but focus on the here and now like you are that I think is valuable. Take care

  8. The Last House March 15, 2018 at 3:43 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post!

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