I Just Wanted To Drink

The only solution I knew was “to drink,” I hear it in meetings all the time, I drank when I was happy, sad and whenever anything came up that I couldn’t handle. My “go to” was a cold Rolling Rock or later on it could have been a warm one.  And even more later on, beer didn’t smooth over the edges like it used to, so I turned to vodka. Crafting the perfect buzz became an artform.

Sobriety hasn’t been a walk in the park.  Life has happened.  Old timers say, “Life of Life’s Terms.”  I really never knew what it meant until I realized what life really was.  What life really meant.

I have mentioned in this blog that my father died.  I have mentioned that we had a strained relationship, but in the end, I was still “Daddy’s girl.” He was a dying dry drunk and I was a little over a year in the program. When he was dying, I didn’t drink.  Sometimes it was difficult because it really hurt.  I finally realized that it has been feelings that have made me choose drinking as my coping mechanism.

Happy, Sad, Angry, Glad

Sure I laugh, I cry just like everyone else but it was the nuances of feelings that I never “sat” through, never understood what they were or how they felt, truly.  I always acted like I felt them, but I didn’t really know them. When I stopped drinking !P!O!W!  there they were, waiting to be dealt with and when I first stopped drinking they were more intense than ever.  If it wasn’t for meetings, the fellowship, and my sponsor I more than likely would have drank before I figured this out.  It was meditation and the pain of sitting in a room full of people that caused me to SIT there and feel them.  There was lots of crying afterward. I still meditate but hardly ever cry.

Coming Clean and Feeling

My counselor offered up the idea that I am empathetic and often take on other people’s feelings without even knowing it.  I often absorb things just because someone else is feeling it and I can sense it.  I think many alcoholics and addicts are like this, we take on feelings that other people are experiencing and don’t know what to do with them. Not long ago I sucked them all in, got overwhelmed and drank to ease everyone’s pain because I didn’t know what else to do.

Today

Without the anesthesia of alcohol and with the help of my support system, I can see the feelings from afar.  I can acknowledge which feelings are mine and which ones are not.

I can better help others if I don’t choose to drown myself in their feelings or alcohol ~funny how that works.

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I Still Hate Sunday Nights

Sunday nights meant Monday mornings. In the old days, it was about pulling it together to go to work Monday mornings. It was only a few times I didn’t, I managed to function even at the end of my drinking days.

Same Ole Story
Now I am sober and as I have mentioned previously, I have not changed my job situation.  One reason, I am an owner in the company.  When I got sober I took my partners to lunch and apologized, explained that I was getting help.  They were as supportive as they knew how to be but since that conversation about 2 1/2 years ago, lots have changed.  One thing is, ME.

Truth
Being in recovery, I recognize things I never used to notice.  We are business partners and not close friends. We never have been.  We don’t and never have done anything socially.  I honestly don’t think they are capable of having real friends. Neither of them do to this day.  And of course, when I started going to AA and learning more and more about REAL relationships, the more the “notsoreal” relationships faded from my life.  This is the remaining relationship that I am in because I made a commitment that I am trying to live by.

Lies
One partner put his house on the market and has moved his family about 400 miles away.  At the time, we were told that it was a temporary thing, there were some elder care issues. Once the FOR SALE sign goes up it seems less than temporary.  The sign was up before I knew.  The idea was perhaps growing the business.  To this date, a year and a half later the business is not coming in.  He only criticizes this area and repeats statements that he believes we are backward here.  Then the other one has become a Department Head at a local university and is dividing his time significantly – he lives more than an hour away and recently complained that he is working 80 hours a week.  The 80 hours is not for our company.  I have a hard time feeling compassionate when it is his choice to put his commitment with our company on the back burner and we are supposed to move all our schedules around to accommodate these two men, for meetings, calls, etc.

Third Step
I don’t know how many times I have recited the Third Step Prayer in the parking lot before I have gone into my office.  I manage to get through the days but again, here I am on a Sunday night feeling major anxiety.  They treat me like shit, they treat our employees like shit unless they want something.  I have told both of them things are not acceptable but since I “outed” myself as an alcoholic they have distanced themselves even further than before. I am tired to talking to brick walls.

Test
I know my HP won’t give me anything more than I can handle, but it is hard to reach down and believe that it is all going to work out the way it is supposed to.

When I Change the Rules

I have mentioned in this blog before, about the changes that have happened in me that are affecting my life today.  It is because of these changes that are very obvious to me, what I had found acceptable when I was drinking may no longer be. Over the past 2 1/2 years the way my thinking has changed is remarkable.  This first post is from February 2013 and yet my first meeting wasn’t until June 20, 2013 – 4 months later.  And I had known well before February that I was beyond the point of “no return.”

My Side of The Street

When I first got sober, I kept hearing this expression, “I need to keep my side of the street clean,”  “It’s not my business what you think of me.”  What this meant to me, was to work on myself.  Learn to do the right thing without regard for what others are doing.  Keep my head down and focus on my recovery and be aware that others in and out of recovery have their own goals and their own way of doing things but they don’t have to be mine.

Relationships

There is an oldtimer in our area that talks often about how bad alcoholics can be with relationships.  Some of us abuse others and some of us take the abuse over and over again the cycle is hard to change.  We have problems understanding healthy relationships-how to have them or how to be in them.  When I first heard this, I wasn’t happy about it, I thought he was over dramatizing his own situation.  I thought I had tried hard to be a good friend, a good partner and good relative. But as I have grown in recovery, I realize the very reason I was unhappy with what he was saying, was really my own poor choices and behaviors in relationships that caused my discontent.  Still does cause my discontent.

Doing the Footwork and Calling on My Higher Power

I have been slowly surrounding myself with people in the program, people that are positive and with people that are creative like myself.  But there still is a significant portion of my life that is like a cancerous sore that needs to be dealt with and I am trying NOT to do what I have done in the past, stomp my feet and storm out the door.  So I hand it over and it is really hard.  Really hard.  This cancer that I am talking about shows me daily what I am not willing to be anymore.  I am not willing to take people for granted, I am not willing to be ungrateful, I am not willing to be dishonest.

I was all those things before I started this journey and today I choose to be aware and choose differently.  But Higher Power if you are out there, I hope you are listening/reading.

 

 

Loving the CrossFIRE

I often go to a meeting on Sunday night at 5:00pm in the next town.   Last night, I was thinking I wasn’t going to go, then my Sponsor texted me and asked if I wanted to ride with her to that meeting.  (She hardly ever goes to that meeting.)  I took that as a sign, when my Sponsor asks me to go to a meeting with her, I go.

Quiet Ride

This particular meeting is about 25 minutes from my house.  I usually drive alone and I have time to listen to Public Radio on the way and again on the way home. Riding with my sponsor meant, she drove and we talked the whole way.  She shared with me a situation she was dealing with and I could feel the anxiety she was feeling. The meeting was a good one but as we talked on the way home, she was getting pretty wound up – I could see she was applying her “situation” anxiety to some of her existing feelings of some of the folks at the meeting.

By the time I got out of her car, I was jumping out of my skin.  She apologized for getting so jazzed and thanked me for being her sounding board.  Once I got into the house, a football game was wrapping up and our favorite team was bringing it down to the wire, behind by a field goal.  WHAM!  I felt that when I walked into the house.

Agitation

For the rest of the evening, I was agitated.  What I should have done was take a bath or something else relaxing, I just couldn’t.  Instead, my OWN anxiety started churning about work on Monday and our Staff Meeting Monday afternoon.  I tried to meditate before bed and I did sit, but my mind was still racing.  There is a lot of things up in the air with my job and Sunday nights and Monday mornings have managed to become anxiety machines in their own right.  Taking on my Sponsor’s battles (which she never asked me to do), was a bad idea. The funny thing is, I made all these choices, I did all of it, knowing it was going on and I just chose to let it keep on going.  I mean this is stuff that makes me drink and I need to look at this seriously.  So here I am spilling my guts to you guys, understanding now – it’s Monday.  Thanks for listening.

Chaos Meter

Chaos.  Oh, how I love thee!  Or at least I USED to love thee!  My therapist told me one time, to watch when I had space in my schedule.  To recognize it as SPACE and not to overbook myself.  I said to her, “OVERBOOK” is my middle name!  Just “being” is hard for me.  I stack up things to do, (mostly places to be), when I see an empty spot and assign unreal deadlines.

Or at the very least unnecessary ones.  The only person that is making a big deal out of this is ME!

I have managed to ditch most of my chaotic relationships since most of those were people I drank with. Back in the day, I would refer to them as to my “lunch dates.”  When I stopped drinking that sprint to the pub for lunch seemed unnecessary for me and uncomfortable for them. Almost as if there was a fear that my sobriety was contagious or something.  Sure I still see some of them, but it isn’t the same.  I AM NOT THE SAME.

Culling the Flock

Little by little the dynamics of my relationships changed.  It is no mistake that my new relationships are FUEL for me and the NEW person I am.  (Even tho I am not exactly sure who that is…)  Little by little I see myself being unavailable to the drama in others lives.  Just like I am able to smell alcohol on someone from 50 yards now, I see drama.

Butterfly

And like a butterfly, I am changing.  Some parts are not pretty at all.  Some parts are just sad.  I have a more than a decade old relationship with someone that needs to come to an end and I am sad about it.  What I was willing to accept from them and they from me just doesn’t work anymore.  I changed, They haven’t.

Guilty As Charged

I did the Steps, I try every day to LIVE the Steps.  I am NOT perfect.  But because I have done this, I work out with myself and my Higher Power every day.  He guides me through my daily life and my decisions.  Things that were how I did things then, things that were acceptable, now are no longer the case.  I no longer want to mistreat people or mistreat myself.  I now know the difference.

I think that is what in the Serenity Prayer is called WISDOM.

How Do I Believe in ME?

Being an alcoholic is about all I know that I am these days.  And I am grateful to know that because it gives me choices today that I did not have 2 1/2 years ago.  While that being said, I find a lot of ME missing. I mean WHO AM I?

Reinvention

Once I stopped drinking, reinvention was more like reconstruction.  The way my disease worked was not so much lashing out or fighting, (though in the end, it was starting to progress to that), it was years of beating on myself.  Pulling myself apart piece by piece.

Failed Marriage

It certainly takes “two to tango. ” And “Yes” I have made amends to my ex-husband.  Since alcoholism is such a puzzle to me, I am not sure when my thinking took that “Left turn” or in Maine where I am from a “HAHD LEFT” would be more like it, but whenever that was, things took on a new meaning and a whole new life of their own.  My husband and I split when I was 38.  To this day, I am not sure exactly why our marriage failed. What I do know is the failure of my marriage accelerated my drinking.  For the next 10 years, drinking was all I could do to ease the aches within my heart and head.  And of course, once the drinking ended, my troubles were still there, only worse.

Now a life without the Booze makes me look at everything in a different way.  And that is not always a good thing. Going to meetings helps me a lot.  But still I have no self-confidence.  If you had ever met me you may not believe that.  On the outside, people tell me they cannot understand why I lack confidence in myself. I seem so “put together.” Meanwhile on the inside, I am just a scared child- full, full, full of fear.

Truth

My alcoholism is not something I have ever wanted as “dinner conversation.”  It is likely that most people have no idea that I am an alcoholic.  I was so lucky my “end of drinking”  didn’t come as a driving incident – DUI or a hospital stay, there was no public display for anyone to see.  People have noticed changes about me – I am calmer, more focused.

I am feeling more comfortable in my skin these days, albeit about 60 pounds more than I would like it to be.  I can commit to something, show up and be part of something.  I just wish I knew what that something is supposed to be.

Showing Up

The first time I had really heard this expression “Show Up,” it was my yoga teacher that said it.  We would arrive at the yoga studio and as everyone was finding their mat and sitting down to practice, she would say in a calm voice, “Just find your seat and when you settle in, ‘show up’ for your practice.

I started doing yoga about 12 weeks into my recovery journey.  A friend from the program suggested it and then in one way or another pushed me into it.  I had always said, “Oh yeah, I have always wanted to take some yoga…” never really meaning it.  I mean when I drink and spout off anything like that sounds like I actually CARE about doing something actually healthy.  I am glad my friend called up the studio after he said, “I’ll go too, I could use a class myself.”

There we were driving to yoga in the same car, it all happened so seamlessly, it obviously was inspired by some divine universal energy, Higher Power, whatever – but I can honestly say that taking that yoga class was a turning point for me.

What Yoga Taught Me

Yoga taught me how to STOP.  I learned how to stop because my yoga teacher would put little notes on her bulletin board that were simple instructions that every week I could say, “Sure, I could try that.”  Sometimes I would remember and sometimes I wouldn’t but at least I knew to try.  I realize part of this “thawing out” was due just to the mere temperament of my yoga teacher, I believe she was put into my life when I was ready to listen.  And in her quiet way she helped me learn that I had lots of spinning going on in my head. The slow ease of yoga gave me something else to concentrate on while I was able to learn how to slow down the spinning. Once the spinning slowed, then I could actually see the things that were spinning.

Seeing the Spin

My mind, just like a washing machine- as my head (clothes) spun, it was a blur of color and articles, it is impossible to see what is spinning while I am in the SPIN cycle.  Seeing that I was spinning was a revelation. And once I figured that out, it made a big difference.

Spinning For Years

As I have mentioned in this blog, the spin started slowly years ago.  As my life and my drinking progressed, the spin accelerated.  I lost sight of the individual things that were there and drinking helped me numb the confusion the spinning caused.  Then I didn’t feel the need to figure things out.

Stopping the Spin

For me, “SHOWING UP ” is merely the process of slowing down the spin and showing up to what is there to see for what it is and not what my mind has spun it up to be.  Once I have things separated out a little, I have a better sense of reality.  When I am at yoga or at a meeting, it is that magic of feeling safe, catching my breath so I can figure out what is real and what is just the “SPIN.”