Tag Archives: perspective

HALT–Hungry, Angry, Lack of control, Tired

12 Feb

8:09 pm

HALT. Don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. I am hearing that phrase ringing truer and truer the longer I maintain my sobriety. For me, that’d be, Don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lack of control, or Tired.

My biggest triggers are indeed hunger and anger–both make me feel like I might want to drink. However, even bigger ones are feeling like I don’t have control and feeling fatigued (sick, or ill, comes in here, too, and maybe that should be put into “lack of control”). I realized this today, as I was interpreting my life as being super-out of my control. A few tears welled up in my eyes as I checked off all the shit that I simply DO NOT have control over:

work
the energy to attain said paycheck
my constant back pain
my ongoing sleep disturbances/insomnia
my water quality (we have cistern water)
my REACTIONS to all this lack of control
etc. (this would include, for example, my greying hair–haha)

In writing this, I realize now that I do, in fact, have control–or the ability to control–all these things! I just have to consider different options.

Obviously, I don’t have control of the world, of the way things happen. BUT, I realized today that there are some things that I NEED control over, to a certain extent, in order to remain sober, basically. And, that what I CAN do is construct a life that feels safe, in that certain elements are there/controlled for.

When it comes to work, I know I need to keep it challenging, but I’ve learned to take breaks, turn it off when need be (well, learning how not to exhaust myself before it’s too late and I hear wolfie breathing down my neck), and set only attainable goals. Once upon a time, I used to believe that “Make your goals unattainable” was a perfect motto to live by. Now? No. Just, no. Not if you’re someone like me, who goes crazy trying. I mean, of course, we all have to work, and we might not like that; but, I can choose to let’s say, write freelance instead of going into an offices every day and doing marketing copy. I can control for the amount I earn, and the amount of time I put in (unless, of course, I’m a new freelance writer, which I am!). Plus, for me, going into an offices adds a dimension of “pain” that is hard for my younger self–and sacral spine–to imagine.

So, OK, I have control over my choice of work. And a relative degree of control over the amount of incidental pain I have to endure every day. Yet…with that tradeoff comes the uncertainty of the freelance paycheck–will I or won’t I either have enough work or have enough energy to find enough work? That, I’d say, is my number one item in the “I feel like I have no control” column. Right under this is my reaction to this kind of stress, which is negative. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t have control over my reactions, and I react, and I feel angry and frustrated–just like I did when I was drinking, and man, it is the exact same feeling and it makes me want to drink. Of course, I calm myself down better now, and talk myself off the edge fairly efficiently, but, I wish I didn’t let myself get there in the first place.

Sometimes a lack of initiative on my part is really just a lack of stamina. I can’t go as hard as I used to; or, I simply don’t want to. Or, I don’t have wine to fuel me. I get tired faster, and what with being so PAWS-y for so long, I am just now recovering my powers of concentration. The past month this has been waning, and it worries me. Being tired–or sick, I guess–hasn’t helped, and that just makes me angry. Very mature, I know.

So, I don’t know what this post is about except, if you need more control, take it. There are some things that need to be there, and that are OK to hold an iron fist above–especially if the stress of not having that control is going to make you wander aimlessly back to the wine aisle in the grocery store. If you need a break, take it. It’s not worth drinking over. If you get extra hungry, or extra tired, or extra angry–hello, PMS!–sleep on it. Manage it, but let some things slide (it’s OK to binge on ice cream for dinner, says Dr. Drunky Drunk Girl; it’s more than OK to sleep for 10 hours if you have the time). It’s not worth drinking over. If you feel like you have no control, maybe you just don’t have enough control? Getting sober is hard and takes a lot of focus and concentration–you are basically re-wiring your brain–you need some things to be taken care of, and not flying around, willy nilly, you know? Maybe you need to construct a tighter household, so to speak; pull some things off the burners; cut the last 14 items off your to-do list–they probably aren’t that important anyway.

Sometimes still, it’s hard to figure out if I’m tired for real, or if I’m burnt out (I see my energy to pitch stories coming in daily, weekly, and monthly waves), or if I’m just being PAWS-y and need a break because my sober brain isn’t ready yet for the big leagues. It’s hard to figure out how, exactly, to react differently, and to gain more control over my reactions. But, I know if I try to change the course of my reactions, even when it feels like I’ve gone too far in, I can do it.

What helped me today to curb my emotional reaction (to the stress of the pressures of freelance, of feeling nostalgic for my grad school years as I contemplate my hourly wage at my new job)? Shutting myself in the office for the first hour or so, and then, taking a little walk later morning. And then, remembering that I am a new me, and I am no longer the girl who reacts violently and carries it with her to the end of the day and the end of three wine bottles. I am a new me, and I do things differently. And, this is how I do it now. And then, realizing that right then and there, I am re-learning how to do things, and how to do things better than I used to. I am practicing this and I am turning the tables. It’s weird, and painful, but good.

Sometimes I feel like a child. With navel-gazing powers that rival a superhero’s. Yes, I’m ready for a change of scenery!

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Perspective…and post-hoilday pangs

27 Dec

10:10 pm

Oy. I got ’em. Well, I got pangs, but I don’t got (ouch, sorry, Mom) perspective.

The past few days I’ve felt like a mack truck hit me. I just can’t. Do. Anymore. Taking care of shit. AND, it’s not like I had THAT much to do!? What is wrong with me? All I know is, I’m way too hard on myself AND, drinkin’ won’t fix these (post-)holiday blues…

Anyway, I’m tired. Overwhelmed by…what, exactly? The holidays are kind of bullshit. I mean, stressful, running, spending, expecting, performing, judging…no fucking wonder people go crazy. Someone in my AA circle hanged herself a few days before Christmas. It’s one of those things that just sticks in the back of your mind, rests there like a benign tumor. I had met and talked to her a few times, and she seemed to be, well, on something. Talk about my little first-world problems meaning nothing. Annnnnd, now I’m feeling guilty for having any feelings at all about my life. ARG.

I really wanted to drink today. Feeling somewhat exhausted from the constant telling myself that I really didn’t want to partake in the “fun” at multiple Christmas get-togethers; remaining cheerful even when I felt a little bit like stomping my feet and throwing a tantrum inside; looking on Facebook to see multiple people/friends, OF COURSE, publishing articles, and books, and yada fucking yada. Me? STILL stalling. No pitching, no reporting, no writing. I could do it, I could be competitive. I’m wasting my talents, I often think. Have I simply chosen not to participate, at least for now? Am I just lazy, or still burnt out? Or, maybe I, um, had a mental/nervous breakdown the past three years (since I was fired from my job after a disastrously drunken Christmas party shenanigan–I yelled at my CEO and then missed two days work because I, um, went to jail for disorderly conduct…). In any case, it’s time, isn’t it? Shouldn’t I be busting a move? What is wrong with me?

All these thoughts were circling in my head as I woke this morning. And, I woke from a dream in which I woke up to find that I had gotten shitfaced and texted mean things to like, 20 people while sleeping. Let me repeat: I dreamt that I drank while I was asleep and did a bunch of mean things. So, there is now something called “drunkwalking” in my world, which is made even more meta because I dreamt about it. Jesus.

Today, I tried, but it was hard to really appreciate any of it. The water, the beach with my boyfriend, the sunshine, my new bikini and wrap… So, I decided to come home, take a deep breath, walk the dogs, gaze at the marvelous moonrise through a set of pink clouds, and eat cake. My boyfriend invited me out to the bar where he works, but I just don’t feel like sitting around watching people drink and then trying to have a conversation with someone who won’t remember it and who keeps repeating him/herself anyway…

So, what’s the point of this? Oh, perspective. Wavering at the moment. And I do have pangs, as in “I really want to drink when I hit 90 days”-type pangs, but I’m hoping they’ll pass once I get a handle on my next moves, professionally. This was a problem that nearly floored me when I was drinking, and I would drink and drink and drink over it. Now, I realize that it simply needs to be addressed. I can do it, if I put my mind to it. Drinking will not solve anything, and will only keep me in this place, for longer.

Onward and upward. Or, maybe, let it go and go to bed early. Or, better yet, watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy in preparation for The Hobbit in the theater tomorrow night? YES.

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