When I first got sober, my head felt like it was in a fog, followed by it feeling like it was mush. And almost right away, I was sleeping thru the night again and wanting to take naps during the day. My Sponsor said that was pretty normal as that is what Recovery is all about.
It wasn’t just not drinking, I was in Recovery mode, my mind and body were healing themselves at their own pace. I had spent my whole life being impatient with things, wanting them yesterday, tapping my foot until things happened. Recovery didn’t happen as quickly as I wanted it to or as I expected it to. I honestly think that as long as I CHOOSE Recovery I will be in it. I do not believe that I will ever be cured. I feel that Recovery is part of my Journey of Life.
Just like when I was drinking, I had friends that were a little out of the norm, I have always loved people in general and in Recovery, I found lots of different people, mostly creatives from all creeds and colors. Meeting new people that were just like me underneath the color of their skin or the first language they spoke has been part of the joys of AA.
One of my friends has 18 years of sobriety. He was from Native American roots and sported a beautiful white ponytail with a smile and a hug for everyone he sees. I have spoken about him in this blog before. He is an open minded soul that is willing to take people at face value and forgives those that disappoint with a shrug and a smile saying, “But Janis, they are alcoholics.” We will then give a giggle or two reminding me that in AA, the goal is to not judge people, we don’t take other people’s inventory, we accept and move on.
At one point he told me about something called “Noise sensitivity.” I had never heard of that before except that I knew my father seemed to have been usually reactive to loud noises. Mostly constant ones, songs we would crank on the radio as kids would often be accompanied by him yelling up the stairs with “TURN THAT SHIT OFF!” Telling my Mom not to run the appliances when he got home from work because he listened to machines, saws, drills, compressors, all day long.
Of course, we just thought he was a jerk (more on that another time), but I have come to learn his noise sensitivity was not something he could help. The anxiety and his ill temper was part of the effect of that noise sensitivity. When I got sober, I became keenly sensitive to all kinds of things. My emotions were raw, I would cry at the drop of a hat and my feelings were just looking for a place to be hurt. The whole thing reminded me of all the reasons I drank. I didn’t want to feel, I didn’t know how.
Turning Down the Music
My friend suggested I try noticing how my mood was then I turned down the tunes or chose different, more calm music. I knew that when driving was dicey in snowstorms, I would turn off the music altogether. The noise outside certainly added to the noise inside – especially early on. Now I am very aware of how noise affects me, I often leave a room when there are lots of beeps or buzzing and certainly if there are people shouting-even if they are watching sports. And it helps me regulate my mood. It seems that when I slow down, stop and check in on exterior noises it keeps things on an even keel for me. Sure I still love to belt out “Me and Bobby Mc Gee,” but I am learning balance. Who knew that this would happen?
Who knew that this would happen?