Writing here is really helping me. I am grateful for the sense of community and am also finding that planning/figuring out what to write is giving me a focal point (or something) for reflection on how I am feeling and what I am learning or worrying about – even about things I haven’t ended up writing about yet. I am starting to feel a lot clearer and healthier, which is wonderful and will hopefully help with the coming days and weeks as the novelty wears off and I begin to encounter the inevitable social occasions and times of stress (etc etc). I know it is super early days but I am going to let myself off the hook on posting here every day, although I plan to try journaling offline and hopefully keep posting pretty regularly. I’m still sleeping badly and pretty tired by the end of the day but hopefully that will continue to improve and with it my ability to sustain a train of thought and write meaningfully about it! (On rereading there are an awful lot of “hopefully”s in this post. Speaks to my state of mind I guess!)
Wishing you all a very happy sober Friday and a lovely, peaceful weekend.
Just checking in I guess. I was feeling a bit despondent this morning. I had been reading a few bloggers’ archives from their first few weeks of sobriety and… well, I’m a bit jealous. These past couple of weeks have been pretty grueling, emotionally and I’m still not sleeping and emphatically not losing weight. WHERE IS MY GODDESS, DAMMIT? I’ve given myself a pretty firm talking to before sitting down here tonight though and what I (grudgingly!) accept is that it is going to be different for everyone, and that my experience can only be what it is – somewhat of a tautology but I think I know what I mean. Hopefully anyone reading this will more or less understand. My sub-goddesshood notwithstanding, the profound relief I have felt about finally seeing, clearly, what a destructive force alcohol has been in my life has persisted. I am deeply, deeply grateful to be feeling these feelings and doing this work and for even the tiny changes that I am seeing in myself – particularly in the way I am present to my kids and able to react to the inevitable chaos of a household with three little boys – that is, not remotely goddess-like but materially less shouty.
Thanks so much to those of you reading and commenting, and writing about your journeys. I am so grateful, too, not to be doing this alone.
Today has been stressful. I had a small procedure done this morning which turned out to be more uncomfortable than I had anticipated, and I will have to wait a week for the results. Speaking as someone who will only have my hair cut if I can get an appointment for the SAME DAY (impulsive, much?) a week feels like a really long time. I should clarify that my doctor recommended the procedure to rule out anything serious, because she is thorough – not because she thinks there is anything seriously wrong. Still, I left her office uncomfortable and a bit emotional, and a little whisper snaked seductively into my thoughts: “Wine would help. It’s Friday.” Wine would not help, I resolved, but this felt less like a moral victory than a grave disappointment. (“If only I hadn’t started yet, or done all this reading,” is in fact what I thought. “If only I didn’t know.” How’s that for a bit of distorted logic.)
This afternoon my kindergartener had an epic tantrum (overtired) and as he writhed about he kicked me full in my still-tender belly. I reacted badly. I was so angry and upset with him, and then sorry for myself and then sorry for him – he is still just a baby, and life can be HARD – and it was all just a bit much. Less seductive than willfully destructive this time, I thought, “I could just drink and not deal with any of this shit.”
What I have been sitting with since is the uncomfortable truth that EVEN THOUGH I understand that the wine won’t fix anything – will in fact in all likelihood make all sorts of things worse – the promise of a short-term reprieve (in the form of wanton oblivion) is still very tempting. I think there is a jokey aphorism along the lines of, “Why face today what can be put off until tomorrow?” or something like that, and boy does it ever resonate with me. Somewhat related I guess is the germ of acceptance that if I am going to choose NOT to miss my life any more, but to be fully present in it, I am going to have to stick around and find my way through the crappy stuff too. Not earth shatteringly profound, I’ll grant, but it is what I am sitting with on this 12th day (second Friday!) of my new non-drinking life.
I was going to blog about anxiety tonight. Day 9 and I am very tired and anxious. Worrrying over the damage I have done to my body with booze and lack of self care, and that awful “Are my pants on backwards? WHY IS EVERYONE LOOKING AT ME??” sensation. But:
We spent yesterday and today sorting through the boys’ 88 thousand puzzle pieces to see which puzzles are intact and which we have to let go. At first it looked like complete carnage – a jumble of disparate pieces and little hope that a single whole puzzle would be salvaged. Eventually, we had them more or less sorted into separate piles and then began the task of assembling each one, most without the box or picture to guide us. I repeatedly found myself sizing up a pile and thinking or even saying out loud, “Oh, no guys. This doesn’t look like nearly enough pieces.” Amazingly, though, a great many of them were all there, including some that I had long since written off and was just postponing chucking out for one last sort-out.
As well as affirming that quantity surveyance and its ilk are not realistic second-career options for me, I was also really struck by the lesson that the ONLY way to make sense of the chaos was to actually do the work of figuring out where all the pieces belonged and fitting them together. I have read a wealth of sobriety blogs and recovery memoirs and various other articles and things about alcohol dependence and addiction, most of which has been incredibly helpful and illuminating and encouraging, but I realised (and this is not at all uncharacteristic for me!) that I have kind of had a sense of having “read to the end” and being able to somehow think my way past all the grind of getting sober – I know how it goes, and I see what you all went through, so I can just skip those middle bits, right? Right? Of course that’s not how it works at all. I abused my body and lied to myself for YEARS, and it has been nine short days since I decided to remove alcohol from my life entirely. Of COURSE I am tired and anxious, and still chubby and not seeing even a whiff of a pink cloud, although I remain profoundly relieved if not elated at having finally made the decision. Now, I have to do the work. Again (and again and again) I am so deeply grateful to all of you who have gone before and written with such courage and honesty about your journeys. I may not have the boxes to my own puzzles but it helps more than I can begin to express to be able to take guidance and inspiration from your works in progress.