Still here, still sober.
Hang in there,
4 months sober
Still here, still sober.
Hang in there,
4 months sober
I am a stodgy bitch when it comes to forgiveness. Seriously, I hold grudges like a drowning person holds a life vest. It’s pretty warped. I am slow to anger but even slower to get the fuck over it. That’s probably why it has been so surprising that so many people have been willing to forgive me. In some cases, they even act like there was nothing to forgive in the first place. Straight-up unconditional love and friendship. I am one lucky gal to have so much of it surging around me.
A particular case of this comes with my most recent big decision in sobriety. Going to grad school. I finished my undergrad a little over two years ago and since then I’ve been completely unsure of when and if I was going to continue my education. Considering that I already have pleeenty of student loan debt and a pretty large devotion to destroying my brain cells, it wasn’t even remotely responsible to consider going back to school (for psychology, no less). But wouldn’t you know it, about a month into sobriety, I woke up, put my feet on the floor, and actually, I shit you not, exlaimed “I have to go to Grad School!”. I might have been half asleep at the time but I still signed up for the GRE and started my application. Asking for recommendations and relapsing have really been my major concern during this period of time. I asked 3 past professors and then didn’t hear back from them for about a month. A few days ago, they all sent in my recommendations. Awe-some. One of these professors witnessed me in true drunk form on a trip to Indonesia years ago. I fucked up big time, yet this man was happy to recommend me for a PHD. Bless him, that is forgiveness. That also is an excellent reminder that even though I still treat my brain and soul like a pinata, people are willing to vouch for my potential for goodness and to show that they see something in me that I was sure I had lost.
I am beyond grateful. I’m also scared shitless, but that’s because I’m starting to realize that I still have so much to lose, which makes me work all the harder to stay sober and nurture my relationships.
I’m all over the place this morning and I have to study, but I’m giddy with gratitude and that’s a fucking awesome way to be.
Hang in there,
98 days sober
“The art of living,” I like this phrase. It elevates the act of survival. It is a good reminder that the fact that my lungs continued filling, my blood continued circulating, and my electrical impulses continued firing all night long is a fucking miracle. Not to mention, I got up and to work on time. Early recovery, so far, has been filled with learning how to be a functional human being again (or really, for the first time). It is the little things that show that I am making progress. I shower several times a week, brush my teeth, occassionally do laundry (not as much as I should, but it’s a start), and I’m starting to eat and sleep more normally. And, if you were interested, my bowels are recovering as well. Yes, I wish I were capable of doing more, having more, and being more, and some days I am. Most of the time though, life is pretty basic because it has to be. Taking away booze didn’t immediately land me with some quality coping mechanisms, so until those come along, I’m walking around a little bit like I’m made of fine china that’s been tentatively pasted back together.
I’m getting a little better at patting myself on the back for little successes, even though I’ve been struggling the past few days. Not necessarily to stay sober but to continue wanting all of the things that recovery is promising. Because if you want the promises, you have to stay alive and some nights I go to bed/wake up still not entirely sure that I’m not 100% trash.
I’m working on it–if only by simply surviving for now. I’ll take it.
Hang in there,
95 days sober
This morning’s meeting was about gratitude. Despite what the many blogs say about gratitude meetings, I really haven’t heard a lot of moaning and groaning in the actual rooms. Maybe we are faking enthusiasm, I know I’ve had to bullshit willingness to even consider gratitude some days. But, I am a generally grateful person. I’m not going to list all that I’m grateful for on here, not today anyway (maybe that could be a Thanksgiving day post). I will mention a couple of things though. One of the awesome, rowdy ladies at the meeting said “I am responsible for that which makes me grateful”. It’s surprising to me what sticks sometimes. It seemed like a pretty basic thing to say, not a whole lot of flash, but I found myself thinking about it after she was done sharing.
It stands to reason that we should nurture the things and circumstances that we are grateful for in our lives, but I often treat them as fairly stationary, extraneous elements of my breathing-eating-shitting-sleeping existence. That isn’t to say that I am not grateful for them, it is more to say that I don’t often believe that they are a part of my life because of something that I am doing. As I type this, it seems kind of bonkers to think that I don’t have a conscious effect upon the positive parts of my life. It is so clearly untrue. The way I treat the people I love, the activities that I choose to pursue, my active participation in life–these are huge parts of my everyday. I let a lot of this go by the wayside when I was using. Most of it really. There was nothing active or nurturing about my relationship with my life and the people and things that are a part of it. I’m grateful as all hell that that is starting to change. Waking up more and more often with the energy to make an honest attempt at not only surviving the day but actually enjoying it is fucking brilliant.
I am responsible for that which I am grateful for. It comes down to me to give the first and last shit about whether my life is worth living. It’s a responsibility I’m ready to take on.
Hang in there.
The day after Halloween, a wonderful time filled with discount candy and a reminder that I must be one blessed fucker to have so many addictions to call my own. Before I started drinking (and during my drinking) I “coped” with life through a variety of methods–bingeing, purging, self-mutilation, screwing everything that moved, remaining willfully (but not initially literally) cracked out on lack of sleep, smoking, etc. etc. etc. The dysfunction was there from the beginning. Which I suppose makes it seem like a somewhat reassuring constant. It’s that whole smoke balloon imagery again, I experience mania or even just regular happiness/stability and though it feels great, I feel a lot more comfortable when that balloon loses its oomf after a few days and shrivels up back in my head. I have some pretty set-in-stone identifiers for myself–one being that I’m so used to feeling like my soul is molding that the feeling is a security blanket, one that I both claim to want to grow out of and cling to like a trembling toddler.
That said, I’ve been feeling more frequently okay lately. I know this is because of AA. It kind of blows my mind how much these groups have begun to mean to me over the past few months. I miss going to meetings when I can’t make it. I miss the people I’ve met. The stories. Even meetings that feel like they are dragging on forever and full of trite bull shit leave me feeling inexplicably better. But, I’m also feeling an occasional sense of dread–I know my propensity to start things with a feverish passion and devotion just to abandon them some time later. It’s a little bit like waiting for the other shoe to drop or waiting for that sick bitch in my head to successfully glamorize the shit-show to an extent that I lose my footing.
I can tell that I’m still very unwell. Physically, the signs of recovery are becoming more and more apparent, but mentally/emotionally, I still feel like I’m just a stumble and a trip’s distance from falling off the edge again. I guess I should say “again” with a grain of salt. There is this Hunter S. Thompson quote that I think about often: “The edge, there is no honest way to explain it, because the only ones who really know where it is are the ones that have gone over”. Maybe I haven’t gone completely over at all if I still have that bit of hope that I can be saved. We talk about bottoms quite frequently in the rooms (not quite enough about booties, though). People say that it isn’t quite a prerequisite to the hard-won badge of alcoholism but it kind of is. None of us, no matter what our qualification for utter demoralization is, do anything with much moderation. I came to the realization yesterday that I really don’t crave having a drink after a long day and I don’t really wish that I could drink like a normal person. What I crave is still oblivion. I drank to get drunk–every. time. If I go out again, it will not be with the hard-headed belief that I can moderately drink, it will be with the fiery intent to break apart like a rock hurtling through the atmosphere. That’s what I mean when I say that I don’t think I have another recovery in me if this attempt fails–I picture my life imploding faster and more brutally than ever before. I’m trying really, really fucking hard not to make that sound like an appealing option in my head. That I have to try so hard to convince myself to survive is a reminder that I’m sick.
I’m hanging in there, not checking out today.
89 Days Sober
Something that crosses my mind when I am overthinking the future and my identity in terms of sobriety is whether or not I will be fun when I’m not drinking. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I can have (and have had) fun in sobriety and that I’m still–if not more so–a hopefully lovable, sometimes obnoxious, goofball. I’ve met hilarious people in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and I value their humor all the more because I know and relate to many of the dark, death-defying, and generally fucked-to-bits experiences they have been gracious enough to share with me during my early months of recovery.
I guess my concern lies mostly in my own projections. I remember, suprisingly clearly, how I felt and judged people who didn’t drink. I generally assumed that their choice was based on naivete and/or a holier-than-thou mentality (one that I very much possessed when I eschewed alcohol during high school). I don’t want people to look at me like that. I realize that my distate was bolstered by the constant feeling of defensiveness I felt about my drinking/general life habits and may not be the immediate association that most people make about dry folks. Nonetheless, I’ve lived a hell of a life-or a life of hell in these past few years and in all honesty, I’m kind of proud of it. Proud that I survived and proud that I’m starting to want to continue to do so. I don’t want to say that I’m a non-drinker and have people misread me as a pollyanna or whatever pop-culture, tv minted, motherhood bound, pleasantvillian character is readily available–nor do I want to have to illustrate the shit-and-bodies-in-the-gutters road I previously traveled everytime I turn down a drink.
There is a happy medium, I’m sure. I was smoking on a porch with a fellow AA-er after setting up for our haunted house last weekend and after telling him a snippet of my story, he reacted with surprise, telling me that I looked like a mom, not the addict I was describing. I guess the medium I have to find is how to show myself that I can be healthy and interesting at the same time (without having to open with an anecdote about that-one-time-I-did-crack…).
I think I underestimate people. I probably should be less worried about how they percieve me and more worried about the way I think about others. If AA has shown me anything, it’s that every person is going through and has gone through a good deal of shit. We’ve earned our seats and cups of coffee in those rooms through a ghoulish contest of defects. We are getting healthy and we are sure as hell interesting. I’m grateful for their stories and, because I’m healing, I’m grateful for mine.
Hang in there–Happy Halloween!
88 Days Sober