Tag Archives: self-love

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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Bumping along

12 Apr

5:30 pm

Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA this past week. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and writing, which is when my blogging seems to go by the wayside.

Anyhoo, the past few weeks have been…up and down. I’ve felt like drinking, more for the, Why the hell not? and the, I can’t really do this boring sobriety thing forever, can I? But, the sober habit takes over, and I get all these “god shots,” mainly in the form of alcoholics telling me about their nights out, and me going, Uh huh, that sounds absolutely stupid and not fun. My, how things have changed! 🙂

Really, though, the fact is, when I give myself the option (sometimes I have been lately) of drinking, I wrestle with it for about an hour, and always end up with the same answer: Nah.

Nah, I don’t feel like being bloated. Nah, I don’t feel like going to the store to even buy the stuff–too lazy. Nah, I don’t have the money–too cheap. Nah, it’s not really going to make the people here more interesting–too cynical. Nah, I don’t want to feel blurry-headed during, and like UTTER HELL the next day. Nah, I don’t know how it’s going to affect me now, and I’m too comfortable in my sobriety, wearing my fuzzy sober socks and zoning out to HGTV, that I can’t even be bothered to drink. Nah, it’s just not enough anymore. I don’t know if all this is good, bad, or in between; but I’ve come to embrace it as one more step forward, somehow.

I’ve also had lots of issues coming to the forefront this week, and I can’t not deal. I need to deal, and I know–KNOW–that drinking wine means putting off dealing. I mean, here they are, my core issues, and I am in a right (sober) mind where I simply can no longer NOT think in detail about why and how and what regarding these things.

What’s coming up? Forgiveness and self-love. Or, lack thereof when it comes to both. They’ve been in my pot, boiling, coming up to the surface every so often, showing their faces. Ugly faces, sometimes. How to do both? I guess…I really don’t know. I never learned how.

I’ve been busily bumping along–thankfully, I am busy. However, I’ve also felt near-constant anxiety. Here and there; sometimes big gusts of adrenaline that don’t subside until my interviews are done, or until I’ve once again managed to pitch a story idea or write about a scientific concept/field of study that is seriously mind-numbingly difficult to grasp. (Ugh; first order of business when I get my ducks in a row: finding a way to earn a living that pays my bills AND doesn’t make my brain hurt.)

I’m not one to manifest physical symptoms, but, lately, it’s all I can do to not feel the adrenaline pooling in my belly; a certain restlessness at night (I swear, I haven’t slept more than three or four hours in a row for like, over a year); intermittent brain fog, which, I have to say, sometimes feels like it might break into voices in my head…which obviously would be bad and scares me, so the past two times it’s happened I’ve just gone to sleep, hoping that it will be gone in the morning. And it has been. But…it’s weird.

I am chalking it up to my overreacting to the brother’s girlfriend; some days, I’m fine, ready to tackle the wedding, and don’t really care what she thinks or does when we see each other. Other days, it’s all bad, and I feel sick with nerves, and my preoccupation fills my brain to the point where I can’t work. Those days suck, and I berate myself for letting her get to me, but, honestly, I just don’t know what to do but accept it as a bad day, hope tomorrow is better, and continue to meditate to incense and Tibetan healing bells (yes, I do this).

So, there’s this happening. I have to say, though, this has got to be it, right? Like, if I can make it through learning forgiveness AND self-love…can’t I make it through anything? And, the past few days, I’ve really come to accept that IF someone (ahem, you know who) chooses to hold a grudge, there really is nothing stopping me from not caring, from continuing along my path. I will continue to live, to smile, to laugh, to be happy and free; continue to learn and strive; to be sober, or not, if I choose. In the end, whatever I do, it just doesn’t matter what she does. It doesn’t matter ONE BIT to me what or how she is to me at the wedding. This is good-day thinking, and I simply hope it lasts, and I’m getting somewhere. I’ve realized that she is a small, small person; and these days, I don’t do small people. I don’t have to. As Belle says, Look away.

Love yourself

14 Feb

12:25 pm

You are not sick.
You are not crazy.
You are not “overthinking” it.
You are not obsessive.
You are not mean, or manipulative, or a bitch.
You are not diseased, or disordered.
You are not lazy, or inept, or incapable.

And, most definitely, you are not the label you call yourself.

You are a person, with a miraculous tenacity to fight the urge to drink, or use–which drinking or using is the opposite of loving yourself. One day, you will come to realize that there is this big ocean of calm called self-love, that can combat all the negativity, self-doubt, and external “un-love” factors that present themselves on a daily basis. To those attempting to mess with that ocean? Go ahead and try; it ain’t gonna work on me this time. THAT is self-love (and a little bit of self-righteousness, but hey, we need that now and then).

Love yourself, and everything else will follow. Love yourself with treats, and flowers, and solitude. Why? Because you can. Because you want to–above all the self-sabotaging, you see that you really want to help yourself by loving yourself. Because that is the “natural order” of things. Look around–do you see birds and plants not loving themselves, not putting their needs first, trying to break themselves down?

You are seeing through the ways in which you didn’t love yourself before–most of them you learned, or they became habit. You never stopped to say, I deserve to be loved. It’s OK, we all do it. We’re human. We have this brain, and it is a complicated little mess of electricity. Beyond this brain, however, is a bigger body–the holy ground. This Body with a capital “b” is the holy ground. This Body is our connection to self, to relationships, to “god,” as it were. And this Body needs care, and calm. This Body doesn’t need to be beaten down, or examined, or “dealt with.” This Body just needs love.

You can be proud of yourself no matter what you “did” or “didn’t do” while drinking or using. You really can. You can be proud of yourself today, for not drinking, or for starting over, or for reaching your 100 days, 300 days, 3,000 years of sobriety. And, if no one else loves you today, love yourself. At the end of the day, that is the ONLY thing that matters. Everything else will follow.

I no longer define myself by my drinking

6 Mar

9:51 pm

And, no one else can, either!

Sorry about not posting as often as I usually do, but, I’ve had a lot going on. Nonetheless, I’m still here, still sober, and still thinking about drinking–but won’t–almost every day. I mean, it’d be nice, I guess, to have a glass of red. Mainly, I wonder if I can; and if I would, if I could. The thoughts are momentary, though; it’s just not something I’m going to give up the past 21 weeks (as of tomorrow) of mental work/anguish to do!

I’m definitely feeling like I’m coming out from under some sort of anxiety/depression fog, which has been enveloping my brain and hovering around it since December. I feel better, more confident, and well, more like myself, in general. Nothing has to be perfect, and, if they don’t want me, it’s their loss, is MUCH easier for me to tell myself these days, an almost automatic internal reaction–how it was, and should be; the baseline; normal. Not that I didn’t have doubts and self-confidence issues before, but the older I got the better able I was to channel the Fierce. Since I quit drinkin’, I’ve just felt…really unsure. Annoyingly, frustratingly so. More and more, decisions are coming without a lot of back and forth. I can count on myself again, and that takes away a lot of anxiety (which, I guess, I didn’t even know was coming from within).

Drinking was a phase in my life, I see now. I’m now most definitely not in that phase; I’ve grown out of it. Grown up, in a sense. Getting shitfaced messes everything up, and that’s the best it does; I really don’t have the time or desire to mess things up anymore. Drinking to excess has personal and professional consequences; I wouldn’t subject myself to them–and wouldn’t let others take advantage of me while drunk–if I had an OUNCE of self-love. I see that now.

I’m not sure if drinking will be a part of my future, but using wine the way I did–and abusing others and letting myself be abused by others–will DEFINITELY not be. It really is that simple.

I am no longer defining myself by my drinking. And, regardless of what box you fit into (someone I hurt, someone I “lost” along the way to getting sober), I am no longer allowing you to define me by my drinking. (“You” is not, well, y’all, but…well, you know what I mean!) What a liberating revelation! Am I still bitter that some people haven’t forgiven or forgotten, despite my “amends” and apologies? Hell’s, yes! Am I trying to let that–and them–go? You bet. There are SO many people in this world to get to know–that I get the chance to know–to share myself with, to love. And to be loved by. Why would I waste time and effort on those who are still defining me–and our relationship–by my nonexistent drinking? I wouldn’t. And that’s much easier to accept now than it was even a month ago.

I’m looking forward–finally–to most everything. Finally, it’s not an effort to get excited about a trip, a job application, a road race. I can almost look forward to dinners out sans wine–well, let’s not go THAT far. I don’t know if that’s part of the warped-by-wine leaving me, but I think it is. Why? Because it feels effortless, familiar–I remember all the stuff I USED to do that got me excited, wine or no wine. Somewhere along the way, none of it alone could make me feel excited anymore; the only thing I looked forward to, that truly motivated me, was wine. Getting buzzed. Doubly disappointing was that the by-product became mass confusion and destruction.

Anyway, things are rolling along: I’m *this* close to registering for a half-marathon somewhere; I’m heading to Miami this weekend for a solo “big city” adventure; and well, other stuff that’s too personal or boring to share here. Slowly, but surely, things are coming together. I just have to remember to take it easy on myself when I need to, breathe, and ENJOY the silence–wolfie (the voice of craving, that growls, Drink drink drink drink!) has finally shut up, and is cowering in his dog bed over in the far corner. Yes, I gave him a *dog* bed to rub in his now SO-not-alpha status.

147 days tomorrow, which means 33 days until my 6-month goal! Unicorns, set…and GO!!!

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