In like a lion

I’m still here. Still not drinking. Duh. But no such thing as a duh where that’s concerned, is there? Yesterday I was driving back from an oil change and went past the turn for my old favorite brew pub and had the thought no one would know, which freaked me out a little. Earlier in sobriety, I couldn’t wrap my head around that one — I got sober for myself, so I would know. I think I understand it better now. Maybe I don’t like myself very much right now and self-pity and lack of confidence are terrible triggers. I am never more at risk for shitty decisions than when I am feeling less than. And also jetlagged and hormonal.

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Seattle waterfront

Because onto the good stuff: I went to Seattle last weekend with just my husband. Everyone was right – Seattle is a wonderland. I suffered jet lag something fierce and self-medicated with delicious food and coffee. I did some sightseeing and basically a 360 from the last time I went to the west coast with just my husband (4 years ago) on what was basically one big bender. It felt good to behave like the human being I know I am in my heart. I am not just some silly drunk but a woman who loves setting out in the morning with a vague plan, open to whatever happens along the way. I had a great trip.

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Jet lag medication, so what of it?

The bad: nothing new, yet lately I’ve felt some old sources of pain triggered and felt myself sucked into a smallish vortex of self-pity and despair. But I know the only way out is through. I know this too shall pass. I know feelings aren’t facts. The only reason I don’t want to strangle myself for repeating these platitudes is because I know they are absofuckinglutely true.

I didn’t want to drink in Seattle. It didn’t even cross my mind. The only reason I mentioned the no one would know thought I had yesterday is because I think it needs harsh exposure to light. It takes about 2 seconds for me to remember oh yeah, drinking totally sucked at the end.

One more thing. I found out a close family member gave up drinking about 2 months ago. His drinking used to worry me and he was so hellbent on explaining how he had it under control the last time we talked about it that I’d given up hope he’d ever want to stop. But he did, unprompted by anyone. He’s at the end of the honeymoon phase of new sobriety – you know, the infatuation with that newfound energy and interest you feel for life itself. I remember that time well and the rough patch shortly thereafter, but I also remind myself everyone’s journey is different. I want to be there for him, but I also recognize I can’t fix or save him.

I think what I can do and what I should do is rekindle my own interest in moving forward. I need some new goals to work on so I don’t remain self-piteous and stagnant. This will involve new running and writing goals. Bring on spring, I say.

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17 thoughts on “In like a lion

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  1. i feel like when you write you are reading my mind. im the same way–self pity and insecurity and hormones and jetlag really are triggers for me too. when i just feel out of sorts/something is just not sitting right—and ive been surprised by that thought “no one would know” too and it comes just out of the blue and shocks me. i especially like when you wrote, “But I know the only way out is through.”

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  2. Glad to see your post..so much there to chew on (like those yummy looking donuts…mmmmm…..donuts). What you write is bang on – the idea that early on in our sobriety and having those kinds of thoughts would wig us out is true. Now we see them for what they are – thoughts that pass and have no form or weight to them. They flutter and flit about us with no rhyme nor reason. We witness, observe, and let it pass. So that is wonderful that you have seen that in your journey and are not getting in a place of panic or heightened anxiety over it. I know that very early on for me I used to get those thoughts and I would be shattered. I would be on the phones asking other alcoholics what to do…am I going to *drink*? They would chuckle in recognition and say it would be ok. Pray, talk it over with others, get helping someone else…that will get your mind away. And it did. Still have to do that to floss the ugly bits from my brain. 🙂

    The other thing you wrote almost brought me off my seat to applaud was : “I remember that time well and the rough patch shortly thereafter, but I also remind myself everyone’s journey is different. I want to be there for him, but I also recognize I can’t fix or save him.”. This is SUCH an important thing to recognize and realize. It took me a long time to see this. I *cannot* fix any one. I *cannot* chase others down and pin them down to sobriety. I *cannot* be responsible for anyone’s drunkenness as I can be for their sobriety. We all have our paths. All we can do is be there for them, encourage them, and tell them / show them what we did to recover. That’s about it. But in the doing of that, our sobriety gets a shot in the arm. Even writing our blogs and commenting and the give and take that happens out here is encouragement and support to others. What a great thing here.

    Thank you for wonderful post – as usual. Get those goals down, get active, be free! (I need to take that advice too 🙂 )

    Love and Light,
    Paul

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    1. I’m sure I didn’t convey how much I’m struggling with still wanting to help/save my newly sober family member. So thank you – I needed to be reminded that I can’t.

      Also, those donuts were every bit as good as they look. I did, however, climb back (begrudgingly?) on the no-donut wagon when I got home.

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  3. “the only reason I don’t want to strangle myself for repeating those platitudes is because I know they are absofuckinglutely true”…
    LOVE that! Oh, sayings like that used to make me SO mad, still do,actually. But there is no denying that there is truth there. The one I am most attached to is “feelings are not facts”. I am a master of hiding from my feeling, legitimizing my feelings, building feelings into resentments..you now, DRINKING over my feelings. Now I just try and sit with them, write about them, talk about them..whatever I have to do, because feelings are quite often that little voice saying “no one will know”.
    Glad you had a nice vacation, thanks for this!

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    1. That is a favorite of mine too. And those feelings that are not facts do pass. I am equal parts horrified and relieved at how quickly my mood can change. Thanks for your comment!

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  4. I still have that little voice in my head too. That’s the voice of addiction, I guess, and it reminds me that I still have a problem. That even though I’m not drinking, I am still an alcoholic. One day hopefully, like the guy in that old Time article, my brain will revert and I’ll no longer have thoughts that light my brain up like a Christmas tree. I find that voice applies to other “vices” and “behaviors” too, especially where sugar is concerned. Another reminder to me how mental this disease can be.

    I’m glad you had a good trip! That photo is beautiful!

    I’m happy for your sober family member. Yay! Just role reverse and remember how much we hated anyone trying to save us back in the beginning. Well, I still hate it, lol, but I’m a lot more understanding now. It’s hard to not want to help others, but these are steps that have to be walked individually, we can’t carry anyone.

    Though some days I really wish I could just drag some folks by the hair. 😉

    Hugs!

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    1. Agree it is a helpful reminder that I’m not cured and won’t ever be. But all I have to do is stay on course. Thank you for allowing me to see this troubling thought as something to accept and be grateful for.

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  5. Hormonal makes it almost unfair. I’m in the middle of one of those woe is me patches, too. I think spring is just the thing to fix that.

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    1. Even when I know they’re irrational, they’re still rough. I read somewhere that pms is a common time for women to relapse, and I so get why. I never realized how bad I got it, still trying to figure out if there’s anything I can do vitamin or diet-wise that might help.

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  6. Ahh, damn feelings and damn platitudes! Lol! Great post, I love the way you are able to acknowledge your feelings. That really helps me, to be able to say I am feeling like…. Cause when I was drinking I only had one feeling! Numbness! Sometimes the feelings aren’t so great…ugh, but like a wise man once said, you can’t feel true happiness without being able to feel sadness! 🙂

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  7. Al sent me my beloved copy of Codependent No More and I just got it in the mail the day before yesterday (it was in P-Town and he sent it to me here in D-Town). I just re-read the part tonight about the impossibility of having any sort of control over others. It’s the part on pages 78-79, if you have a copy. Just have to let go and let god/dess. Right?

    On another note, here is something that jumped out at me that I wanted to share. It was about this sentence: ” I am never more at risk for shitty decisions than when I am feeling less than.” Then I read these sentences here: “I think what I can do and what I should do is rekindle my own interest in moving forward. I need some new goals to work on so I don’t remain self-piteous and stagnant.”

    So what I was wondering was, is doing things and setting new goals going to help you with the trigger of feeling “less than” (one of the big guns, sounds like)? If so, how? Or, is there something that you can re-think to help you with the feeling of less than? I guess I am driving at, I wonder if there is a way you can help yourself THINK better rather than DO better. I know for me, I can get caught in the trap of avoiding the opportunity to deal with a core issue by doing (dancing) my way around it, instead of really just sitting in the place of asking myself “Why do I feel ‘less than’?” and working mentally with the answers. Maybe it is a bit of both/and. Perhaps journaling on the topic would help. Getting at more of the inner work that is blocking a sense of progress here. That is doing while thinking, eh?

    Just a thought as I observed what I read.

    Of course, there is just plain H.A.L.T. Address being hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. Get those figured out, and then tackle the rest. Perhaps a nap? 🙂

    xx
    Celeste

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    1. I love your comments, Celeste. You’re always so insightful. Every morning I read from Meditations from the Mat, a book on yoga philosophy. Today’s passage was on Variagya and letting go of old attachments that hold us back. I thought it went very nicely with your comment.

      I am sitting with this bit of discomfort and finding it more interesting than uncomfortable. When I do tackle those new goals, I will be mindful to not let them lead to more feelings of less than. Thanks so much for this!

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  8. I love how we all bounce around from one blog to the next and fall a little more in love with each other—through each other’s words. This is such a great post. I relate to every word you wrote. Isn’t it just wonderful that I get to feel normal with a bunch of strangers on the internet. You all save me, truly from my own thinking. And I “absolutely” love how you managed to create a new word for Webster’s. Yes, bring on spring.

    Yes, get those goals down. Not that you asked, but I thought of a wonderful book that helped me so much: “Loving What Is.” By Byron Katie

    Lots of love, lisa

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  9. Loved this post. It’s only through blogs like this that I realise I am not the only person in the world feeling melancholic, less than, depairing, self pitying. We are always so encouraged to put on the happy face and act our way through our pain, that we never realise that the happy chirpy person we are having coffee with is also putting on one big act and might be pretty close to despair. So strange that a blog like this feels likes it connects me to others in a way that often being with others doesn’t. I also think its both scary and a relief to know how my moods can change. When I am down I hang on to the mantra “this too shall pass”, knowing that even if nothing else is true, this is. Thank you for sharing. xx

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  10. Hey love, how are you? Hope you are doing ok and pushing through this gritty phase. Hope you are treating yourself right royally and indulging in whatever you need (aside from alcohol and sugar goddammit!!) to get through. Sending love xxx

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