Slumps

I think there’s this belief in recovery that we always have to be moving forward, propelled by a combination of serenity and energy and maybe some desperation too. When I don’t have all those elements in right measure, I feel off and not as happy with the routines that have worked for me in the past.

NERD ALERT: Every morning I get up really early (how early? fucking early) to write in my journal and then I feed the cat and go for a run or a walk and take in the wildlife and feel as close to how Snow White feels when birds alight on her arm as anyone could feel, I’m sure. I do all this because my family is still sleeping like normal people and because I’ve lost the ability to sleep in, probably because my brain knows this is the only time I get true peace and quiet. I’m an introvert in a family of extroverts.

The past couple mornings I got up as usual, but I just wasn’t feeling it in the same way as before. I wrote, but I’m pretty sure I repeated myself a lot and was too bored to look in past entries to confirm this. I ran, and it was exhausting and sweaty and therefore good, but I skipped through at least half the songs on my playlist because I am tired of them. In short, I am in a slump and I hate slumps because I never see them coming and I’m not sure how to get out.

I know slumps are normal. Being sober doesn’t preclude me from having them. It’s a little scary to have one in recovery because part of me wonders if this is how relapse begins. If I stop bettering myself in these small ways, will I worsen instead? If I don’t journal, will I bottle up my angst? If I lose interest in running, how will I be able to keep up my oreo habit?  I fear my natural inclination is to revert back to old, self-destructive ways, and I don’t want this to be true and I know I can fight it and I will fight it. Maybe a slump serves to remind me of all I have to lose.

It’s likely I need to try something new for growth. Yesterday I was feeling all anxious and got an emailed post on anxiety from The Act of Returning to Normal. She mentioned running to tire the mind and how that is different from meditation, which helps train our mind to think differently in the first place. I’ve been hearing people talk-up meditation since I got sober and still haven’t looked into it (do you take a class? do you need to sit indian-style? do they still call it indian-style?), but I needed to hear that yesterday.

I got another post in my inbox recently from My Life: Act 2 about how addiction works tirelessly to keep us from feeling the stress and anxiety we’ve already been feeling. Turns out we need to learn to feel our way through and not just around uncomfortable things. Who knew? Not me.

I’ve learned a few things from all of this:

1) I need to sign up for a meditation class once I find out if they have a meditation class.

2) I need to learn to sit with uncomfortable feelings and pain. I am starting to do this, but I need to do it more.

3) Email delivery of blog posts is right up there with viral videos of people falling off treadmills, and both are reasons why the internet is more good than bad.

I get so much out of blogs and blogging and other blog related words. I know we won’t all be doing this forever, but I feel all warm and fuzzy and it’s a good thing, though the fuzzy part doesn’t sound like it would be.

I’m feeling less slumpy than before.

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25 thoughts on “Slumps

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  1. I love all things bloggy too and I’m glad someone else feels all warm and fuzzy about it. I was beginning to feel like that girl who announces that you’re her best friend a little too early and ends up alienating everyone as a result. Not that I know anything about that you understand…not at all…

    Anyway, yes, they have meditation classes but you can do just as well with a CD (do they still have those?) or a DVD on it. If you can find them, Rod Stryker’s Three Meditations to Live By is an excellent and amazing way to get started. I love him. I would marry him but he’s probably gay…that and I’m already married.

    Also, Yoga Zone did a meditation video some years back with Alan Finger, which may be hard to find on DVD, but if you do, it’s well worth any price.

    And finally, the book Meditation For Dummies will help you to understand the process in a non mystical, straight forward kind of way.

    Good luck!

    Sherry

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  2. An entertaining read! Waking up *fucking* early is just brilliant. That hour before the sunriss is when the day is at its most perfect, no doubt.

    It comming into a full moon. There a quite a few out there talking about slumps, feeling bla! I’ll have to see how I feel in twenty eight days? Maybe there’s such a thing as a sober cycle?

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    1. I know there are certain trigger times that newly sober people tend to suffer a bit more. It’s helpful to know all of that is normal and that the discomfort will soon pass.

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  3. they are normal we all get them – they are however scarily also possibly the start of a relapse – I’ve certainly observed them anyway. But you are self-aware about it that is the most important thing. I bought a mediation book and DVD as I was going to do it at home, too self-conscious to go to class! Watched it once with the family here (mistake) and they just took the Michael as ever so that went back on the shelf where I can see it still is now… 🙂

    Gratitude lists are good whenever but esp in slumps for me they remind me that actually it is rather good – half full, not half empty and all that 😉

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    1. Did a gratitude list this morning and it was fun and easy and will probably be the topic of my next post. I’m late to the party but still grateful for the inspiration 😉

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  4. I get Tara’s blog in my email too. She was one that I read quietly for months before I dared comment and before I even dreamed of blogging myself. I zoned in on the running to tire the mind too. Makes sense. Some runs I unplug (no music or electronics) and run long and slow and try to follow and watch each thought float by, as if each thought were a leaf floating down the river, and I do consider them meditative in nature. Most runs though are zone outs; I blast the music, zone out, and try to run away from all the crap in my head, so that later, the crap in my head doesn’t matter. I never thought about it being “tired mind” versus “wise mind.”

    I actually feel like I’m coming *out* of a slump. I was moody and tired and blah for a while the past couple of weeks. I’m not sure what brings them on either. I agree that being *aware* of being in one and recognizing the normalcy is healthy and positive. Not every day (or week) is going to rock, some days will just be blah or “okay.” And that’s totally okay. That’s just life. And maybe moon cycles, Mercury Risings or hormones, ha.

    Glad you’re feeling less slumpy… Totally agree about the warm fuzzies. I really *heart* the Internet, most days.

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  5. This week has been awkward as ass and ‘slump’ describes it perfectly. I think it is something in the cosmos. There is no other way to explain why so many of us, simultaneously, feel the same way.

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  6. i agree. with everyone. about everything. i felt decidedly less slumpy yesterday and today seems fine so far (9:15 am). one thing i know works for me is to clean. even just one drawer or one tiny shelf. something about moving things around seems to literally disrupt bad energy. i’m sure there’s some feng shui junk in there, but hey it works for me! i agree with warm fuzzies, too, this is a particularly good time to be blogging, yes? seems like it 🙂 lots of support and ideas and genius. thankful.

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    1. Agree that organizing or being productive helps take me out of my own head and makes me feel better about myself. It’s all these small, positive things that improve mood and they are relatively easy to do too.

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  7. I hate slumps and I always feel compelled to do something to make them end. I like the thought of sitting with the slumpy feeling and not trying to change it. But I probably won’t. I know myself too well! I’ll try though.

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  8. I was reading “One Breath at a Time” last night, and thinking that I keep *reading* about meditating and its benefits, but I never do it! I think today will be a good day to see how I do. 🙂

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  9. I really loved this post. I wanted to copy and paste so much of it and comment, but that would be ridiculous so I pulled out my favorite parts: “…how addiction works tirelessly to keep us from feeling the stress and anxiety we’ve already been feeling. Turns out we need to learn to feel our way through and not just around uncomfortable things. Who knew? Not me.” Well, I didn’t know it either and I still can’t wrap my brain around it a lot of the time. I loved how you wrote about fears of not moving in a positive and linear direction at all times. “If I stop bettering myself in these small ways, will I worsen instead? If I don’t journal, will I bottle up my angst? If I lose interest in running, how will I be able to keep up my oreo habit? I fear my natural inclination is to revert back to old, self-destructive ways…” This is so much like how I think. I also worry that if I allow myself to feel stress, I’m going flood my body with stress hormones and get sick and die. I worry so much about that that I’m probably flooding my body with stress hormones! I’m insane!

    Anyway, this is a great message and after reading your post and all the comments, I see that I’m not the only one in the world who wasn’t having the “time of my life” in late spring/early summer. It seems like a lot of us alkies/addicts seem to have a witching season during this time of the year. I’m glad writing it out made you start to feel a little better. Here’s to the end of slumps and hoping August brings more serenity to us all!

    XO

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