Tag Archives: trying new things

Five years…and counting

15 Jun

3:37 pm

Five years ago yesterday, I got sober.  And, I started this blog.  And, my, I’ve come damn far from this first post (this is how I started the post):

I woke up today hung over.  And it’s going on oh, about 48 hours or so since I had my “last” drink and I still feel like ass.  My belly is swollen and my liver hurts, which, this morning makes it hard to fit into my interview clothes.  My pants are too tight and my underwire bra is pressed so tightly against my aching liver that it makes me cry.  So now I am crying and I’ve got less than 10 minutes to pull it together and all I can think is, Fuck, I wish to Jesus on the Cross that I hadn’t poured out the last third of that “last” bottle of red that I had stored in the fridge two nights ago when I binge drank.

And, five years later, my life has changed drastically.  I can’t even begin to write about how different my life is–how different *I* am–it’s that different.  And, I’ve written five years of blog posts covering all that awesome progress!  Suffice it to say, I am never hungover, I have paid off my student loan debt, I have gotten engaged, I have become a “successful” freelance journalist; I have gone on trips, volunteered abroad, become a barista.  All that, however, is the cosmetic byproduct of a deep, unwavering peace.

Yes, I feel negative emotions, and get confused about what direction to go in; but beyond and untouched by all that surface stuff is this, well, peace.  The big stuff stays in place.  I can think and plan and act coherently; I continue to work steadfastly toward my goals, even if I can only intuit what they might be in the long-term.  I sometimes focus on the negative (especially lately), but beneath that external chatter is a universe-sized body of water called *possibility*–into which I can deep dive because I am sober.  Only because and precisely because I am sober.  I can even see a life–a world, actually–beyond me, and my past, and my sobriety; and boy, is it endless with possibility.

Exhale, is my mantra these days.

All that being said, I haven’t been blogging much, and I haven’t been feeling that excited by my sobriety these days.  I’ve been re-reading my posts from years ago, and I’m left wondering, where have I gone?  Where has that girl gone?  That getting sober girl who was on freaking FIRE to be getting sober?  I guess it’s simply that we all grow, change, evolve, move on.  And, I can accept that, and I do.  It’s just…  I want some of that fire, and I want to know why it’s no longer infusing me!

Not to say that life isn’t full, and complicated, and grand–because and only because I  got sober, and wrote this blog, and made a new way of living for myself.  Life has become full, almost always a race to the finish.  My partner and I are in a transitional phase, meaning, we want to move but we’re just not sure where–where to go, what will it lead to, how we’ll fare in a new place and a different life.  We’ve been talking about it for years; I think we’re at the point that if we don’t make a change soon, we’re going to implode.  Pull the trigger, I say!

I’m tired of waiting, of wanting another life!  Yet, I also want to know what, exactly, I’m looking for, and why, exactly, this amazing life I’ve created here seems no longer enough.  Maybe I’ve just outgrown it?  Been there, done that.  I mean, it’s possible!  I’ve been living here for five years now.  While I want to continue to write about sobriety–there’s so much to mine–most of the time I just want to forge ahead on my work, and keep getting shit done.  And I do.  I just wonder where all the excitement has gone.

Frankly, I think it might be related to taking the pill.  I have never taken meds, and since I’ve been on these, I just feel…flat.  I feel nothing.  To the point where, I feel no “looking forward to” feeling, no “I can’t wait to do this” feeling.  I don’t dream–like, literally, I have no dreams.  It’s like, I can’t “see” my emotions, I can’t “see” my desire; it’s like, that part of my brain is off.  I can’t see it; it’s dark in there.  It makes it easy, I guess, to live on a day-to-day basis, because I have ZERO emotional ups and downs.  Except, the only feeling I seem to have, that I can touch, taste, smell; is anger.  And, that sucks.

Exhale.  Maybe all this angst is circumstantial:  maybe my corporate job has driven me insane because it feels SO irrelevant to me now, having been a journalist, having done freelance writing.  I wouldn’t mind leaving the corporate work for good, and becoming a barista full-time again, you know?  I can’t, though; after all this time, at 43 years old, I’m finally gaining some ground, financially.  I can’t let this go.

I don’t know what the next step is, which is a good thing, in a way.  Why?  Because ANY next step is the right next step!  So, I have decided to take a few weeks off and travel to a country I’ve never been, on a volunteer project I’ve never been a part of, alone.  I am hoping it’ll jump-start me–take me out of myself, and my situation; help me to figure out what’s going on.  Or, what the next steps might be.  I leave next week and come back after the holiday in July.

My life is awesome, I have to say; which is why all this internal angst is confusing.  How can I intellectually see how good I have it while also feel so…frustrated?  In any case, I am sober, and that is 99% of my life, and that 99% is simply awesome.  I would not trade the past five years of learning, and even this period of struggle, for anything.  I wouldn’t trade it for the brother who has written me off, the friends I no longer feel connected to, the big city career that I probably won’t (and don’t want to) regain.  I feel so blessed to have made it out alive!  I feel so blessed to have been given the gift of having to work on  myself, of being forced to change and grow and evolve.

Five years…and counting.  I can’t wait to see what the next five will bring.

Going through the motions/new directions

25 Sep

8:27 pm

Yesterday and today, I basically took one big break from my freelance writing stuff to actually look for other work down here. And, I’m mostly OK with that. Yeah, I feel like I’ve given up too soon (and, I haven’t even given up, I’ve just decided to pursue a few new, non-writing-related things–oh, me), but if you don’t have the story ideas, or the editorial connections, or, worse, the ambition to go out and get both; then, you have to accept what is. Which is this, right here.

Don’t get me wrong: I am full, and glad, and relatively content. I have gotten through some things, over some major hurdles, professionally. Yet, if I had more drive, I could have done SO much more by now. I just could have. I haven’t, and it’s a daily struggle for me not to beat myself up, get down, or become anxious about “squandered opportunities,” blah blah blah. It’s a daily game I have to play, massaging my thoughts and redirecting them into a positive direction (look at what you HAVE gotten done, it’s going to take a LOT more work so just keep plugging, baby steps, one thing at a time, etc.).

I will bounce back, it’s just going to take some time. And more patience than I ever thought myself capable of, toward myself. What a novelty, having patience with myself! What a novelty, congratulating her for the little victories, even allowing her a treat after those seemingly-miniscule wins! (Yesterday’s was a big bowl of chocolate-covered pretzels, raisins, and walnuts–something I never allowed myself due to expense and well, fat content. Oh, me.)

So while yesterday was about (painfully) going through the motions, today was about new directions. Somehow I snapped out of my funk, mustered some old enthusiasm, and got out there. I went to a bakery (assistant), a hotel, a restaurant association (server), and a private school (substitute teacher/teaching assistant). We’ll see where I land. It’s different–MUCH different–from what I’m used to (white collar, information-age jobs), but c’est la vie, right? It also just makes me realize how few actual skills I have! Sure, I can surf the interwebs with the best of them and type 60 words per minute–and write about scientific research from the (dis)comfort of my office chair–but…what do I actually KNOW HOW TO DO? It’s a wake-up call, for sure.

I’m ambivalent, to say the least. Or, maybe just indifferent. At this point, I need to start making more money. Not to mention, I need a break from sitting in front of my monitor, spinning my wheels all day.

Today, I felt pretty good. Like, my old, confident self. On my walk tonight (I have cut out all running and any activity that will unnecessarily contract my butt and groin muscles, as part of the sciatica healing process–talk about patience…Grrrrr), I thought, and with some clarity: maybe this whole getting “sober” thing has been a huge mindfuck? I mean, sometimes I really do think that the sheer act of thinking about all this shit, of unnecessarily pathologizing my drinking problem, has caused me a whole lot of counterproductive navel-gazing and personal stalling. I can’t help but think, Enough already. So I drank. So I did stupid shit while drunk. Remind me again why I had to spend the past 16 months thinking about it all? Honestly, a part of me believes that it’s the pathologizing that sets us back. It’s made me feel broken, unable, incapable, weak. It made me doubt myself down to the very fiber of my being. Was that the intention? Did it have to be the case? Was it something that I did to myself, me alone? Or, is it normal when you quit drinking?

In any case, I’m kind of over this recovery shit. Sorry to say, but that’s the way I feel about it right now. Will I drink again? I don’t know. It’s a passing thought. I don’t have the urge, but a part of me continues to wonder: would I get some of that focus and fire and drive and passion back, if I did?

Like I said, just a passing thought–oops, there it goes. Buh-bye.

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