Tag Archives: life

I don’t think I’ll ever drink again, but…

28 Mar

10:23 pm

That doesn’t mean that I don’t feel angry, lost, overwhelmed.  Bitter, resentful.  Joyful, too; much joyful.  And content.  Though, I am realizing daily, almost on an hourly basis some days, that I have to cultivate contentment.  I have to make sure I see that there is SO much to be grateful for; that my brain does not have my permission to hijack my mood, my peace, my sense of belonging in this strange sober world that I discovered/created for myself.

I was thinking about my slips here and there over the past 4+ years of continuous sobriety.  I basically got sober in October 2012, drank once the following March (2013), then went over a year until the summer of 2014, when I think I had a beer one day in June, and then a few sips of wine and/or alcohol (maybe an accident, maybe to “test” my waters) at some point that summer; I had a horrendous drunk one night in October 2014, then…didn’t drink again until the following fall, of 2015, when I was away in my new location, working a big-girl job, and pining for “what was.”  I think I drank a couple glasses a couple times, with the final, third attempt in January of 2016.  That was really a dud–sandy and uneventful and sad.  I had two small glasses (I think, something like that, very minor) and was TOTES hungover for the next day.  LOL.

The point is, I haven’t looked back since January 2016.  Not at all.  I’ve realized that I have no interest to try, to test, to wonder.  I think it’s because I did all those things–I tried, I tested, I wondered–and wine didn’t work.  It never worked again.  But, it’s not like I gave up trying, or, believing somehow someday wine would work again.

This time was different:  I think (now that I’m actually taking some time to revisit how I felt in January of 2016 and the fact that I haven’t felt like that since) I just surrendered.  Or, was taken up–like, lifted up.  Like, my higher power–I actually like to think of my higher power as a higher me, a higher self, my best self, some evolved sense of myself as this great and good creature hovering over the pathetic, wimpering “real me” below, living out her day-to day–said, No.  Let it go.  There is no reason.

And, really, I haven’t thought about drinking since then.  The past few months, even, I haven’t considered that drinking would help–and, the past few months have found me feeling quite angry.  Like, all the bad feelings and habitual ego stuff is still right there, very much at the surface, as if I never did any work!  Angry.  So angry.  So angry.  At whom?  It’s like, I don’t recognize myself some days.  Except, I do; I see through the personality bugs and character flaws and negative thought loops to the real me, the me I liked best a few years ago, the one dancing on her self-styled pink cloud/bubble.

I’m not in a bubble anymore, and I admit, I do/can have a lot of negative thoughts and feelings these days.  But, I’m working through them, and realizing that getting sober–close to five years ago–is just the beginning of this strange trip called sobriety.  It doesn’t just keep getting better…without work and self reflection.  However, the desire to drink, in all its entirety, does go away.  No matter how angry or frustrated or trapped I feel these days–and, admittedly, I do a lot–I don’t even consider drinking as a solution.  As something I would even want to do, regardless of its (in)ability to solve my problem or resolve my conflict.

And, holy eff, is that startling to realize.  Like, I don’t think I’ll ever drink again.  And, it’s not like this big revelation that I thought it would be.  It’s more like, a foregone conclusion, one that I’ve been too busy and productive and angry and frustrated and in flux to notice!

Yet, sobriety, and all its work and progress and lessons and maddening ins and outs, continues.  Is it just life?  Um…I don’t know.  I think those who have gotten sober have a newfound perspective on all this life stuff, I really do.  Yes, this is life, and yes, I’m bitching about it here, on my long, but hopefully not lost blog.  But…there’s so much nuance; life is reflected through the prism of sobriety and getting sober, such that we see all these different colors, maybe more colors than people who have never had to deal with all their shit (yet).

Random thoughts on a Tuesday night.  Miss you all, and hope to start catching you up once I remember how to form this whirl of thoughts into words!

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Milestones…and fatigue

15 Jun

11:21 am

Wow, I can’t believe how fast time is flying. Which, I suppose, was my goal: keep my mind dial on “future focus” so that I don’t dwell on The Girlfriend, or, so I don’t give her the time (my life) that she doesn’t deserve. And, now that that’s behind me, the future is here, and I have a lot more important things to think about.

Aside from stressing on how I’m going to earn money, though, life has been pretty fantastic–things are unfolding. Moving right along, as a friend recently commented. And, you know, honestly, it’s been so few and far between, the number of times through all of this that I’ve thought, This would be better with a glass of wine. The longer we go in our period of sobriety, it just happens, this letting go of the Myth of Alcohol–we don’t need it.

To summarize the past month or so, many a milestone has come and gone and I’ve just been trying to keep up (on the outside world, let alone on my blog): my brother’s wedding, the “confrontation,” which turned out to be not much of one, with The Girlfriend; our 2-week trip; planning my “voluntouring” vacation (for which I leave this Thursday); my 40th birthday this week (for which I had a surprise party thrown by my brother’s new husband, during their wedding weekend no doubt!); a beach party for my birthday yesterday (for which my boyfriend and I made a bunch of pretty tasty eats); and in between all that, my 450 day-milestone on June 11th and my 2-years-blogging anniversary on June 14th (I started this blog two years ago on June 14th, and have been sober–more or less–ever since).

Throw in a flu last week and, unfortunately, a UTI (ladies, you know the urgency of getting antibiotics started, especially when you have to wait through the weekend for a pharmacy to open up)–well, this girl is feeling like she’s on the inside of a tornado!

Alas, I think that’s how I planned it, y’all. Far, far better to be busy and occupied than to be dwelling, and drinking.

On that note, I have to run. Sorry I’ve been so MIA. I have the feeling that things might get even crazier in the next few weeks, but I will definitely try to keep you up to date with more frequent posts. (Come to think of it, the next one is going to be on unmet needs and a sense of purpose as antidotes to addictive behavior–it’s been on my mind lately.)

My life doesn’t have to center around alcohol anymore

5 Dec

11:17 am

Lots of folks–LOTS–talk about booze-ism as a perpetual disease. What, is it like a flower that comes up every spring that you planted 10 years ago?

The BEST part about this journey, for me, has been seeing my mind heal. Witnessing the change. My actions are different, my reactions are different. WAY different. WAY better. And, maybe even back to normal.

By normal I mean, well, what do I mean? I can see now that I wasn’t “normal” back in let’s say, 2007. I know I’m a better version of myself. However, there was a sanity to my drinking, a certain “normalcy” to it before my several-years’ descent into out-of-control drinking. I’m not saying I could, or would want to, drink again, but…isn’t that the fucking point? You learn from your mistakes; now you can move on. You tried bungee jumping and decided it gave you whiplash and almost killed you. While you could do it again, you’d prefer not to, right? Same with a lot of things in my life: psychologically abusive boyfriends, poor academic choices (the expensive school over the cheaper one), “mom” jeans.

I don’t want to trivialize people’s experiences, but, they are just that.

At this point, I might choose NOT to drink even if I could, it’s that unappealing. (Well, I also know that I couldn’t “take it or leave it”–that I probably wouldn’t want to have “just one.”) I mean, there’s the short-lived buzz, but if the rest is boring or bullshit, why bother? Honestly, I’d rather not get high in order to avoid the low.

And, this is not rocket science. This is not big recovery stuff. This is not ME having a unicorns-shitting-glitter revelation. This is what most people have experienced, whether “addict” or not–some, it only took one try, others, it took a lifetime of tries.

Granted, I think addicts might feel a “higher” high than non-addicts. I don’t believe that my buzz from wine was significantly, qualitatively better than that of the annoying simpleton sitting next to me who had every hair in place, but I do assume that the relief it provided was something she had never–could never–imagine.

Anyway, what I’m saying is, you can stop dwelling on your sobriety long enough to look around to appreciate that alcohol has lost its hold on you. Sometimes, I do have the desire to drink, but it is a reaction, similar to other feelings and thoughts that would not be a good idea to react to. Drinking was a way to solve our problems, but it was a bad one. Now we are solving our problems in GOOD ways. Why? Because we know better. Consider your booze-ism as the school of hard knocks–we really did learn the hard way. But, now we know better, and we do better.

Why can’t that be enough? For recovery, I mean? I’m not saying I’m going to drink in moderation tomorrow, but I feel…healed, to a large extent. I feel better. I feel…normal, even? Maybe I hit a high bottom (maybe not); it doesn’t matter. The only thing that ever mattered to me was the fact that one, I drank alcoholically, and two, I could heal from this skewed mental state.

These days, about 18 months into sobriety, I don’t walk around constantly examining the horrible things I did, the anniversary of such and such drama. Why? Because everyone’s got a past, this is mine, moving on. These days, I walk around thinking of things worth thinking about, like friends, work, the trees, the ocean, whether or not I’m going to have kids, why that even matters. My life does not center around booze anymore. Most importantly, my life doesn’t HAVE to center around alcohol anymore, whether I’m sober or drinking.

I’m going to say this, and it might not be cool: I feel like there is such a culture of self-indulgence surrounding both drinking and getting sober. (And, for drinking, I might even substitute “using,” in general). In recovery, they hammer in the “it’s not all about you!” thing so hard, but yet…the entire recovery process IS all about you–catering to the addict’s well-being, finding the best medication to reduce the amount of pain the addict is in and the long-term cravings the addict will feel, delving into all the messed up shit that the addict went through in her life that caused her so much pain she had to use. I mean, even I saw the truth of the matter when I was binging on two bottles of wine a night: I did it because I could AFFORD to. I had the money, I had the time, and I had all the safety nets that our society provides. I was willing to spend my emotional energy, and to take physical and psychological risks. I could afford to, one way or the other.

I know there are addicts everywhere, and we share one thing in common: the urge to use to fix a pain. Addicts use as solution, even IF they think they’re just getting high. Why is it that AA works so well? It teaches you how to deal with the perceived pain of living, whether that pain comes in the form of egomania or other people’s bullshit. It seems that everyone, even the folks who say they drank for fun or “just because,” benefits from this program in that it works by giving you tools to both recognize the pain and then, transmute it into SOMETHING ELSE. That something else is life, silver not gold.

Take away the pain, and everyone can heal. Everyone can heal. And, an alcoholic past can be like a bad memory, or a faded photograph–not something you need to hold on to in order to stay sober, in order to not want to drink. I would say, hold on to the present, the desire to seek out productive solutions to this thing called life, not counterproductive ones. It becomes that simple, it really, really does. Everyone can heal. EVERYONE CAN HEAL!

Pause button on thinkin’ about drinkin’

18 Oct

11:00 am

Wow. Who would have thunk it?

Sorry for the silence lately. I’ve just been doing other things, i.e., life, instead of thinkin’ about drinkin’ (and everything that entails). This life and work and self-employment thing is alternately getting easier and kicking my ass!

Stay tuned, however, for regularly scheduled programming!

Day 200 + 2 weeks today! 🙂

A bug in my eye

8 Sep

11:55 pm

So, I realize I haven’t written for a while, and mainly it’s because I’ve been progressing through that “confusion”, aka, Life, I was talking about in my last post. I guess, looking back on the week, there’ve been ups, and downs, but overall, I’ve realized that it’s truly all small stuff, you know? Maybe if I had a full-time job in a big city, I’d see everything that creates stress or concern as “important?” Nah, I don’t think so. Nothing seems that important anymore! Maybe I’m just getting old, approaching that “don’t give a shit” age? No, I don’t think that’s it.

I think it’s getting sober that’s changing me. I’m beginning to see that I can work through things, even if they’re hard. And, I’m beginning to understand that I create the reality I live in. I can make it good, or I can make it bad. I can let it go, or I can hold onto it. Right now, I’m losing the desire to hold on because I see that it’s not a choice I have to make. I can make the other one, and it’s better for me. It’s one thing, for us “users of alcohol as a means to escape,” to understand this concept intellectually; it’s another to practice it and witness how hard it is, to go against our grain and do things differently than we’re used to (like, not arguing pointlessly with someone when we want to, or not getting nervous/anxious when we did before).

I’ve also come to see just how–and I don’t want to sound ungrateful, or like I’m thinking of drinking again–“over-concerned/uber-focused” I’ve been with and about my sobriety. I think it’s time to stop dwelling, to put on my big-girl pants and get on with things. Time to let go of the reins, to redirect my focus to like, anything BUT not drinking.

What are some of the small stuff that happened this week? I had a little “sober tantrum” last night, which is one of those seemingly instantaneous woe-is-me shifts-in-focus that just comes out of nowhere. Like, you’re riding along, you got this sober thing so handled, and then, BAM! EVERYTHING SUCKS IN THIS WORLD AND I WANT TO DRINK. Like, at 11:55 pm on your way home after a great day of cleaning, of not working, of seeing a cool play–BAM! It’s all collapsing in on me, I might as well suffocate myself with my own big frontal cortex, everything is bad and it’s because I can’t drink, I can’t drink, I can’t drink. Waaaaaaaah!

I got a bug in my eye on Thursday night, during the two hours of 96 percent humidity between the sheets of rain that fell for three days straight (hello, tropical storm). Like, a literal bug from a swarm that I must’ve run through while jogging. My left eye swelled up, got bloodshot, and teared with actual pus for about 72 hours. I cried a little, and then was like, OMG, you’re so ridiculous, Drunky Drunk Girl, retied my laces, and ran a mile until I had to pack it up because a park ranger yelled at me (Do you see what that sign says? Actually, I couldn’t, because my eye was swelling shut. Anyway, it was 6:30 and the sign said “Park closes at 5.” Um, yes, but why are you closing the gate at 6:30 when the sign says it closes at 5? I think he was too distracted by my grotesque left orb to notice the irony.).

And, yeah, my sciatica has been flaring incessantly, and this time, it’s on the right side. While it’s reduced me to long sessions of floor exercises and utterly bizarre self-massage techniques–I know it’ll eventually subside. It always does.

We cleaned the house and realized that the War Against Fur cannot be won; my tomato plants are towering over five feet; we’re set to take off on Wednesday for a five-day trip to the States.

I don’t know, I just lived, and did, and sometimes I felt like I was just doing it out of “I have to” and other times I realized just how much I have and that I get to choose how I perceive my world, as either a challenge or a chore. I’ve think I’m embracing more that I have to move on with life, and the ups and downs are always going to be a part of it.

Anyway, one more week until I hit 180 days! And, you know what? I’ve already started making a list of reasons NOT to drink. I mean, why fix what’s not broken? Drinking wouldn’t add much, except Bad Things. A part of me wants to drink again, but it’s a small part. The bigger part says, get your story done, and pitch another one, *before* you drink and mess something up. It says, obviously, if you start drinking, you’re not going to be able to write that book (in your mind, that is), or make some other professional choices–it’s either drink or have some sort of modicum of professional success, and I’m not being overly dramatic. I can’t imagine going to work anymore hung over. Why don’t you wait it out, get it all set *before* you drink and mess something up?

The thing is, I’m not sure I won’t “mess shit up” if I drink again–whether that’s one glass or ten, one time or 20. It just seems to be a whole lot easier to keep doing what I’ve been doing, to not throw the possibility of drinking into the mix; to put off making that HUGE choice as to whether or when or why I want to start treating myself like a bag of shit again, you know? 😉

Not wanting kids, or, the one thing you’re not supposed to talk about?

24 Jul

11:34 am

(I wrote this last night, and I’m posting it for illustrative purpose: I’ve discovered that as the day goes on, I just get depressed. Not to say that this piece isn’t accurate in representing how I feel right now, but I’m just saying that maybe it’s darker than it “should” be because I was feeling low. When I was drinking, I used to force myself to stay up, of course, and live through it. 2 and 3 am were my usual bedtimes (with the alarm still set for 7 or 8 am). I almost always also drank wine. Could it be the two were connected? Cue the “not exactly rocket science” horns.)

I went to the beach this morning, and it was glorious: crisp white sun, shockingly blue sky, clear water reflecting both. These days, I’m pretty damn grateful all the time. Content. Maybe even happy?

Yet… I’m 39, and some days all I can think about is, why did it take so fucking long? I mean, Jesus. Just NOW I’m starting to feel OK about being a human? What the fuck?

And then, because I’m 39 and I think about having a baby constantly (whether I want one, whether I should want one), how on EARTH could I willingly bring another human being into this world knowing what I know about how difficult this life thing is? I mean, from about 14 until present, life’s been pretty difficult. Exhaustingly so, I might add. I mean, are we really supposed to spend the first 40 years learning how to live, and the next 40 learning how to die? Is that it?

I’ve been reading blogs and watching a lot of “addiction TV” lately, and man, no fucking wonder we all drank. Trauma, lots of it. Big, small, sideways, and in between. Some of it unearthed, a lot of it still buried in unconscious thoughts, unexplained feelings, and reactive behavior. And, imagine how it’s going for the rest of the world, who haven’t gotten sober and started looking at things with a magnifying glass? No wonder there are mass shootings.

I know this is heavy for a blog post, but admit it: we feel LUCKY to be alive. Can we really expect things to go opposite for our kids? Life is hard, and confusing, to say the least. Surreal might be a better word. Finding a sense of purpose, a creative outlet, a way to identify and manage your feelings? Hard as shit. Why do we view procreation through rose-colored glasses? It was hard as shit for you; it’s probably going to be hard as shit for your kids.

I, for one, already feel bad for my unborn child entering her teenage years, feeling as dark, depressed, and overwhelmed as I did. I folded in on myself, spending hours–years–writing in my room, dancing alone, binge eating, and having fits of anger in which I’d alternately weep and slap myself. This was just the beginning. I wish I had had the courage to seek help, as it were, but I didn’t. And I blame myself–as a human, of course, I do!–for all of it. Sigh. How could I do this to little Susie, knowingly?

It’s been a huge part of my recovery process, coming to terms with these convictions–I’ve had to think back on my own tumultuous journey and realize that actually, if I’m dead-fucking honest with myself, the joy might not outweigh the pain. I mean, we live and we love and we appreciate both, but, dude, it was a long-ass haul from 16 to 39 years old. Can I truly expect that my child, who has my genes, won’t experience the same difficulties?

At this point in my thought process, if I was still drinking, I’d probably crack open a bottle of red wine. I’m starting to sense that wind tunnel feeling in my belly, like I’m being sucked into a black hole. THERE ARE NO ANSWERS. THERE ARE NO SALVES. These are truths, no matter how difficult to ponder.

I am grateful, and bemused, and astounded by life. I am also selfish, and I admit to not wanting to pass my youth over to a newborn. Evolution and industrialization have allowed this, for our generations; we don’t have to have kids, and we get to ponder the reality of doing so well into our waning years of fertility! Sometimes I think, being sober now and knowing how exhausted I am of always having been the overachiever, the do-gooder, the people-pleaser–I’d rather let “them” have the kids, let “them” raise the children. I’d rather sit this one out, let others take on that work. Is this bad? Am I a bad person? I don’t know, but it’s the truth (right now, anyway), and it keeps coming up A LOT these days. It seems directly tied to my getting sober, this attitude.

I think for people who have bad kidhoods–like, with serious physical or emotional trauma–they either grow up into people who want to have kids so that they can improve upon their own childhoods, or, like me, don’t ever want to have to relive it! Kids remind me of being a kid, and I didn’t like being a kid! I had a lot of trauma being a kid. I had a lot of joy, sure, but all in all, more pain than joy. I just don’t want a re-do, no matter in what form.

Then, of course, there are days when I DO want kids, and, realizing that that ship has probably already sailed? That’s an even harder truth to face.

Maybe I need to “let go and let God” in the sense that, I don’t know everything and maybe this entire rant was simply my ego talking, my personality, my fear–underneath it all, I value life, I want children, and I do believe that the joy and wonder definitely outweighs the pain and hardship?

Hmm…

Where’s my Broadway musical? Hello?

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