LifeRing Recovery: a self-help alternative for recovery from alcoholism and other chemical dependency. Group support for abstinence from alcohol and “drugs” by empowering the sober self within you. Completely secular: no prayers, Higher Powers or Steps.
Woke up this morning shaking with fear from a nightmare about my father. He has been in a coma and hospitalised for eight months on a distant Hawaiian island for eight months.
I blogged about this and feel calmer but I have been thinking that living sober entails needing to 'feel' much more pain and emotional distress than meandering around drunk and numbed out. Sometimes I have the capacity to hold that pain but sometimes it still feels as if I have not yet found anything to replace the alcohol as an anaesthetic. I don't as yet know how to 'hold' or contain distress.
I love being able to feel everything more intensely and subtly. But the painful realities make me flinch.
I suppose I will get used to it or develop better coping skills as the years go by. Very late and belated learning curve...
"I suppose I will get used to it or develop better coping skills as the years go by"
Yes you will, and then you'll really believe the saying that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
Last April, in the course of a week, my wife left me and my dad died. I've never felt raw pain like that before but, even as I felt it, I KNEW it wouldn't crush me and that I now had the tools to deal with both situations.
Most importantly, I was 200% certain that booze wouldn't improve the situation at all.
Hope everyone is having a really enjoyable weekend. It is ferociously hot here and just want to sleep or immerse myself in cold water for much of the day. (I know how strange that sounds for those in a colder hemisphere!) But in the evenings I've been enthralled by the sight of a huge Gemini moon hanging over the back garden. I go outside and just bask in the moonlight.
When I was drinking I had a problem with time. I intended to do so much and never got around to it. Most of what I managed to do was done despite feeling ill and panic-stricken. As a daily drinker, that drinking took up much of my time. For an hour or so I would be energised and exhilarated and then I would be blurry and melancholy and pissed off and too drunk to do anything at all. And the next day I would be waiting to feel well enough to start drinking again.
Now it is such a pleasure to simply be available for whatever comes up and able to respond to opportunities. Friends call and ask me to join them on a picnic,and I am not lying with an ice pack on my forehead or disguising my drunkeness on the phone. I can plan out the day and that is how the day will go. I spend an hour or two in the garden before the heat gets unbearable. I pick up the book I was reading last thing at night and remember what was going on when I put it down! I invite friends around for a brunch, I go swimming in the river above the village, I take armfuls of flowers around to the old age home. Everything flows -- and it still feels like a miracle.
your mention of basking in moonlight made me get this Swampy Cree poem off my bulletin board:
All the warm nights
sleep in moonlight
keep letting it
go into you
all your life
you will shine outward
in old age
the moon will think
Thanks Margit -- I feel very like a crone in the witchy sense and do most of my planting by phases of the moon.
That must have been a lot to deal with all at once -- bereavement, the loss of a father and then your wife leaving.
I still have inner bouts of huge rage and bitterness about my the ending of my first sober relationship. It is out-of-proportion and I just let the furies storm through me and then wait for common sense to return.
Awful as it is to admit, I think one delusory and infuriating factor was that I was being such a good girl staying sober I didn't deserve to have anything bad happen to me. When I was drinking I could take the lion's share for what went wrong. But here I was being sober and thoughtful and mature and it still wasn't enough.
I know that is not how it works but the feelings of humiliation and unfairness go back a long way. Sobriety is also an unlearning process.
I'm having one of those awful anxious tetchy days. Hanging around online because I can't read or get down to serious writing.
It sometimes puzzles me that I never think of drinking anymore even when I feel this much discomfort. But that seems to belong to another kind of life. Perhaps I pushed that as far as it could go and now there is just another way of living opening up in me.
Made and delivered 25 homemade pizzas to a home for severely disabled children in the village. Bargain basement mozzarella but homemade tomato sauce and fresh basil. Red, yellow and green are pleasing colours. Some of the kids were so excited they turned the pizzas upside down on their heads. Giving without expectations around grtitude is very good for the soul!
I've sincerely enjoyed your posts.
"One of those awful anxious, tetchy days", that in the past we would simply pour the alcohol into.
And now you make 25 pizzas, and have a flourishing garden, and more interesting writing projects, and time w/ lovely friends, and...
So nice that these days, it's one of those tetchy days, rather than many of those tetchy days.
You wrote: "It sometimes puzzles me that I never think of drinking anymore even when I feel this much discomfort. But that seems to belong to another kind of life. Perhaps I pushed that as far as it could go and now there is just another way of living opening up in me."
I could relate to what you wrote about not thinking of drinking anymore, even when I feel discomfort. And how drinking over things seems to belong to another way of life.
I remember when I first felt that way, and how surprised I was by my reaction. It felt like a turning point for me.
I think with continued sobriety, being sober eventually just becomes a good habit. Then, it is much easier.
Good going, MaryLouise!
Gal ... (a non-drinker, continuously since 2-19-01)