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Yes margit, I remember that well.
I believe basically that you were referring to "learning from the past" and I was thinking about "dwelling in the past". Maybe I'm wrong in this interpretation. If I am please tell me.
I have some of this going on right now. My divorce is now final. I have hurt my former wife terribly with the divorce and I am really having trouble dealing with the guilt. I did not leave her for another woman; there was no other woman at the time. I left her because there were problems in the marriage from my point of view that she didn't want to address. Maybe I should have been more communicative about my disillusion and disappointments but I wasn't. I did let her know about my feelings but perhaps I should have been more adamant about them, at least that's how she feels.
Anyway, in my new relationship, I have conveyed this to J and we have both agreed to always be open to letting our feelings be known. She is very good at it and I am getting better. I attend a men's group twice a month dealing with exactly this; learning to recognize how we feel and to be able to express our feelings properly in a relationship. Most men are terrible at that.
We weren't supposed to have feelings as we were brought up. Just rub some dirt on the cut or scrape and go on playing and for God's sake, don't cry.
So, as you said I am trying to learn from my mistakes in the past as well as the things I did right because as we know, we are all a product of our decisions. That his how we got where we are today.
But I am trying not to dwell on the past and the hurt that those mistakes and decisions might have caused others. If I did it would eat me up.
I don't know if any of this makes any sense or not but was just some of the thoughts I had.
that's great news about the review; i imagine you're much relieved.
i know what you're saying, Elsie, about projecting ahead; and i do it, too. mostly, or almost exclusively, in a negative vein.
was thinking later today about 'repressing', and i don't know enough about this stuff, but think we can't deliberately repress, anyway. maybe supress? (why is spell-check underlining this??)
yeah, this is tough stuff, Rex.i try to really remember that guilt is about having done wrong and quite different from regret or sorrow about someone else being hurt. but these are fine lines, and i don't always know where they are. and then there is the impulse to want to fix, but not everything can be fixed, either.
and the feelings-thing....as you point out, some of that is a learnable skill, and i find it's not "just" men who are "terrible" at it; the other side of that coin (though it's not just two-sided, of course) are the people who think all feelings need to be expressed just the way they are at the moment...yikes! not "properly", as you put it.
the men's group sounds like a really positive place for you, Rex
I had a boyfriend for a while who used to express every feeling as he felt it. Some of his feelings were very hurtful and made me cry. He would then get angry and say that I was trying to stop him expressing his feelings. I had to point out that if he was allowed to express his feelings, then so was I. Needless to say we didn't stay together. Constantly getting everything out on the table is like living with tyranny. And kindness is crucial, to my way of thinking. Not that I always manage it.
i have woken up this morning with anxiety about the remaining tasks on my list, even though I actually had a good day yesterday and completed a few tasks. Plus my review was a relief. What I sometimes forget is that other people also have their issues, and my boss isn't perhaps as discreet about them as she could be. Note to self- only tell her about the drink thing if you have decided you don't mind everyone knowing!! Anyway, a couple of my colleagues are leaving because of other life issues, and relatively speaking, I'm looking like a very safe pair of hands. This is life. Like it or not, we are creatures who gravitate towards having a pecking order. Being someone with a known drink problem is probably not great for ones position in a given pecking order. But anyway, I'm doing something about it, so I don't need to tell everyone.
The friends issue may relate to this. I suppose that I do want to express where I'm at with people I know well. Yesterday I made a couple of references to having stopped drinking again on Facebook- one was a conversation with someone I know vaguely who is a friend of a friend, a nice woman, very grounded. We were discussing women and body image, and I said that I feel it is a shame that women (me, and I don't think I'm alone) waste time and talent worrying about body image. I said that having stopped drinking, I am thinking far more about losing weight than I am about the state of my liver. (Fact!) This is pretty bonkers really. She then said that she doesn't let herself get too concerned about body image, and actually finds her relationship with food and alcohol is much more healthy for it. She said she has had a strict abstinence rule from Monday -Thursday inclusive for 13 years, but can drink what she likes at the weekend, and very often she doesn't want another drink by Sunday. I then explained why that doesn't work for me (and my god I've tried numerous times to achieve that kind of control!) She and another person 'liked' my comment, but not a murmur from the friend whose thread it is. She is a big drinker, she was supportive if me when I last managed my three months abstinence, but I would say that our friendship has always involved copious amounts of wine. I do feel there are a number of friendships that become awkward when I'm not drinking. The other reference I made was regarding one of those stupid quizzes- what famous person would you get drunk with. I did it, using my drinking persona's normal tipples as my answers (there were no non-alcoholic choices) and git Emma Watson. (Is she really as famous as I get the impression she is? It somehow doesn't make sense, but such is the ubiquity of the Harry Potter brand) Anyway, I said, 'I got Emma Watson, so it's a good job I'm on the wagon again.' Not a like, not a response, not a word of support. Not that I expected anything really, but I'm imagining both if these friends yawning in despair at the thought of trying to cope with me without a drink in my hand. I know there is a lot if talk at AA about people giving up on the alcoholic who keeps relapsing. To me it feels like the opposite- that people will give up on this formerly fun drinker who keeps getting awkward and trying to stop drinking, and keeps bloody well going on about it,and it's boring, and can't she just decide to either drink or not drink and then shut up about it. I can shut up about it when I'm drinking. When I'm not it is really hard to not refer to it, a bit like when someone us going through a really bad relationship break up and has to talk about it endlessly with friends. All my friends seem to know someone who is REALLY an alcoholic, who by comparison shows me up as just being awkward, a drama queen, someone who is ridiculously hard on myself and has it all desperately out of proportion.
But these are the facts. When I'm drinking, at about three in the afternoon I start looking forward to my wine. If the evening does not involve wine I start to feel a bit sad and disappointed. For instance, rehearsal night, Thursday, and I don't want to go to the pub with everyone because I'm driving and can't have a proper drink. I would rather have wine at home so I haven't got to drive. And it is hard to not have my normal 6 o click tipple before I go to the rehearsal. On a fair number of social occasions (some of them with the FB friends in question) I have drunk so much white wine that I have spent 12 or more hours the next day vomiting. I have on many occasions drunk a whole bottle of wine on my own in the evening. Sometimes I get this drinking head on and my appetite for wine is apparently insatiable. Strangely, on some of these occasions, I don't get sick. Yes, that is very strange and not quite right.
i was talking to my husband last night, and said about having itched like crazy for the first two weeks if abstinence, and that I'd looked it up and it is actually a common withdrawal symptom, anecdotally. My husband said, I don't think you have been particularly physically addicted it is more you r mental health that's the issue. I'm not sure why I so need people to accept what I say. I said to Mary that I was relieved that she also itched, because it proved to me that there really was a physical dependence and I wasn't just imagining it.
Friends. I just feel so nervous about trying to conduct myself without a drink. I can do all the little things that help- taking a nice non alcoholic alternative, making sure I keep my glass filled with it, but it just don't feel that I'll have any conversation other than about not drinking. Yet talking about it can be very counterproductive.
I have to try to stay centred. And I need to find the confidence to simply not go to events that will challenge me too much.
Enough. Time to do some jobs. I'm doing ok.
you ARE going through a real;ly bad break-up of sorts. it's much the same, i found. even though i wantedit, still there are the break-up things.
i had a relationship with alcohol, and that took a while for me to see, to really see.
it was/is one of the incontrovertible differences from "normal" drinkers. of course you can shut up about it when you're drinking. and of course you keep getting awkward when you're not. :)
"I had to point out that if he was allowed to express his feelings, then so was I."
I witheld my feelings through two marriages and two divorces. I am trying not to do it again.
Of course both of you should be free to express your feelings. The reason for my going to my men's relationship group is to learn to do it "properly", not in a hurtful way, but to get things out on the table before I hit the road again.
That group sounds like a good idea. I too have had a long history of not expressing my feelings. Partly because I haven't wanted to feel what I've felt, and I'm pretty sure childhood feelings of abandonment on the one hand, and feeling pressured and hemmed in on the other, have surfaced in certain situations, and I've been pretty sure the feelings have been more to do with me than with my partner/ boyfriend. Yet I've always worried that the feelings will be construed as absolutely personal about them. The boyfriend I refer to had had a difficult childhood, and this was probably his reason for needing to express all that stuff, but it really did feel like I was the cause of the difficult feelings.
i still do it now. I don't know where to begin putting that long standing habit right. I suppose I am ultimately afraid of being alone, and that as I really am no one would want to be with me. But you are right, there is surely a balance to be struck, even if it feels a bit like walking a tight rope.
it is one of those mornings when I'm glad to get everyone out of the house. I can breathe now. I spent yesterday with my mum and my sister. My mum is losing her memory big style, but is resistant to help we are offering and outside help set up for her to support her in her own home for as long as possible. She just doesn't remember things we have said or explained, so is upset and put out by things she isn't expecting. I feel a bit more in harmony with my sister since I stopped drinking, but she is a terrible bossy boots, and every anecdote she tells is designed to illustrate how much she knows about life, and how little other people know. Between the two of them , yesterday was knackering. Plus hubby had been phoned twice in the night the night before (doctor on call) and I had struggled to get back to sleep. On the plus side, I went to my rehearsal last night (I'm playing a nun in the Sound if Music) and I was worried that I hadn't had time to firm up my knowledge of some of the lyrics. But a shadow had been cast by something a lot more problematic- we have lost our Mother Abbess because she is an aspiring professional performer and has been offered a job that she can't really refuse. This isn't good, but yet again illustrates my tendency to think that my rubbishness is the cause of all the problems in the world, which is actually an inverted form of narcissism, when you think about it. At the same time I was harbouring thoughts of putting myself forward to be Mother Abbess (in total contradiction of my inability to schedule in a little bit of score work) which is the flip side of that narcissism! I have a pretty good voice, and I could do the acting...but, my voice is not strong enough in the soprano range for Climb Every Mountain, and I personally am not strong enough right now to go from 0-60 on a role in just over four weeks. But I have resolved to do my best to fulfil my obligations as Sister Sophia to the best of my abilities.
There are learning experiences all around me. Who was it who said (or wrote) 'When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear.' ?
Have a great Friday Peeps.
Talking of learning, a big penny has just dropped for me. I engage in two kinds of drinking- the drip drip drip of evening wine drinking (well, more like slosh slosh slosh), plus party/weekend drinking with other people. Having abstained from alcohol for over three weeks, the urge to engage in that first kind of drinking is nearly gone. It's manageable,although after a particularly bad or particularly good day it is a little harder to manage, and I know there will be other triggers, there are bound to be. But it is the second kind of drinking that is now more of a threat. We are invited for a dinner party tomorrow. I actually feel/believe/think I'm going to be ok, because it is early days, I'm feeling strong, and the friends are not the ones that trigger me the most. But this is exactly the kind of event that could make my resolve crumple, as it did at my own 50th Birthday last year, which I stocked up with nice non-alcoholic drinks, intending to not drink, and lasted approximately half an hour before I caved in. Someone at AA said to me, you have more than likely already got rid of the physical compulsion to drink, and what you are left with is the mental obsession. I suddenly see that. In an ideal world I would enjoy a few drinks at parties, and not drink the rest of the time (apart from celebratory meals, which are also parties.) But the world is not ideal, or at least my relationship with alcohol isn't. And party drinking unfortunately will re-trigger the physical compulsion that leads me to drink wine every evening. It is probably obvious to all of you, indeed I knew this already on some level, but I have suddenly properly understood that in order to get rid of my urge to drink daily, I have to sacrifice my party drinking, which, for the most part, has been something I have really enjoyed (apart from the hangovers, of course) SO OBVIOUS. Maybe it is pleasing to me, because i now realise that I have a proper explanation as to why I can't drink at parties, for those friends who want or need to understand why. Plus a clear explanation to hang on to myself.
Stopping drinking is, I think, all about learning, learning what's really going on, what you feel, what you need to do. Sounds like you are really making progress on that front. Realizing that I really like the buzz of drinking, but also realizing that I wouldn't stop there, was a crucial step. And as you say, not just knowing it, I kind of always knew it, but having it really sink in so I could just sit there and think about it and be aware of it. Having that sink in made it a lot easier to get to the point where I would think I'm just not going to do that.
When I go to a party I make sure I get something nonalcoholic in my hand as soon as I get there, so I won't be tempted to pick something up and no one will feel like giving me something. Actually, I don't do this so much any more, but I did for quite a while. It made going to parties much less threatening.
"Plus a clear explanation to hang on to myself" - yes, that's exactly what you need.
"but it really did feel like I was the cause of the difficult feelings."
It's easy for us to feel that way, Elsie, but often it really doesn't have anything to do with us. It's sometimes hard to get by that part, though. I have the same problem. I can't fix everything, even though I try.
We're having the same problems with my mom but I guess it just comes with this time in our lives.
The Sound of Music sounds like a great outlet for you to be involved with a sober activity.
"I was worried that I hadn't had time to firm up my knowledge of some of the lyrics."
You worry too much. :-) I'm sure you'll be great!
I hope you have a wonderful, quiet day.