Archive | February, 2013

Who’s up for a boat trip without booze? I am, I am!

4 Feb

10:16 pm

Well, folks, it happened: I made it through an event–said boat trip to a neighboring island with a gang of drinkin’ buddies–with smoking and drinking all around the entire day, did not partake, and felt amazing the entire time! Like, comfortable just being there and not inhaling smoke and not sucking down liquids (other than Diet Coke). Sure, sometimes I felt like the old woman who wears purple, and that sucked a little. Otherwise, I felt great. And grateful.

It wasn’t that hard, for some reason. And, I had a lot of fun! And, from what I could tell (more on this qualifier below), I didn’t feel awkward or weird; in fact, I mostly felt SUPER-grateful to not be hung over. Last year, I went on a boat trip that was nightmarishly hard, mainly because I got belligerent drunk the night before and was SO hung over I wanted to die. That was a year ago, if that gives you any indication of how bad I felt–and therefore, how grateful I was yesterday.

Yes, it was GOOD to be sober, to be clear, to feel none of the sway and sleepy nausea of being drunk in the sun (how do people drink during the day? I never could, actually, without feeling horrible), to know that I wasn’t going to feel any of it the next day. One big, Ahhhhhhhh.

What WAS hard was hearing today at my NSA (network spinal analysis–I got a gift certificate so figured I’d check it out) appointment that my entire spine, from top to bottom, is in fight-or-flight mode. For the most part, that means locked up, and the muscles around the cord, firing constantly (no wonder I have pain and no wonder I’m tired all the time). The way the analyst put it, it’s like walking around with my arms extended the whole day.

I’ve always carried a lot of tension in my back. It’s where I store my emotional “trauma,” as well as how I “hide.” I can’t help some of it–ingrained response of an incurable introvert. For the past oh, 5 months or so, though, it’s been getting noticeably worse. And, its worsening condition seems to coincide precisely with my soberversary. Could it be that the more I’m sober–the more I have to deal with shit instead of escaping from it–the more I’m actually causing my body to tense up and freak out? I think so.

It sucks. It’s made me wonder if drinking wasn’t so bad after all? I mean, we all have past trauma and present anxiety, and it’s HARD to deal with it nonstop. Hard. I don’t get to wipe it away, even for a few hours. And, there is something to a hangover wherein your body just melts, stops resisting. Like, you don’t have the resources to keep your defenses up, so you actually let them down for however long it takes to get over it. There were times when I was CERTAIN that I’d never felt better the next day than after a few shots of tequila and a burger the night before (though, in those days, I hadn’t also drunk two bottles of wine). Seriously.

I wish I could turn it off, but I can’t. And, with the stress of transitions galore, and being sober and having to confront reality every second of every day… Well, I guess I’m going to have to focus on making some of my new coping mechanisms work–meditation, diverting my attention to the bigger picture/positive, etc. That is, until I can see that life isn’t supposed to be all about “getting through” it.

Sigh. What with all this mental and physical, let’s face it, PAIN–sometimes I actually look forward to shedding my physical body. This mortal coil. This pain in my ass that doesn’t seem to know how to BE in this material reality and go with its grain. All my life it’s been this way, fidgeting in my own skin. I’m TIRED of it. I’m OVER it. It doesn’t seem to get easier, it just seems to go in and out, shape-shifting from one form of expression (pain here, addictive behavior there) to another.

Oh, sparkle-toothed unicorn, where art thou?

Anyway, there I go again. Focus on the positive, remember? Coming up on 17 weeks sober this Thursday. 🙂

Top 10 reasons not to drink, or how I stopped worrying and learned to love Weird and Awkward

1 Feb

5:40 pm

I went out last night. Since getting sober, I haven’t actually been “out out,” as in, out to a bar where other people were drinking and I had to fend for my poor, little, 38-year-old self. I mean, I’ve been to dinner parties, brunches, beach outings, and even bars, but it wasn’t to “go out” (we went to see a band last night).

And, well… I felt so insecure! So uncomfortable! So awkward! Dare I say, Weird and Awkward! And, without booze to hold onto, I felt vulnerable. I felt like I was in college again. GAH. NO!?!? And, I was so far up in my own head that at times, it was really hard to fake that I was having fun.

BUT, I learned something about myself. I’ve known it for a long time–my whole life. Sometimes–like when I was learning calculus–you just need to see it from a different angle to actually GET IT. I got it last night: I create entire realities in my head when it comes to what others are thinking of and about me, and one, probably none of it is true, and two, who gives a shit if it is?

I have to imagine that we all feel insecure sometimes, introverts moreso than extroverts. A mere sampling of my thought “process” during these times:

I wonder if they think I’m boring/I bet they do, I bet they think I’m boring/OH, GOD, why am I being so awkward, what with all these pauses and looking away/I have to look away, but now, oh, fuck, now I bet they think I’m being rude or disinterested when really/you’re standing too close to me and I really don’t know what to say and for some reason, I feel like I’m 18 again and not 38/it hurts I want out it hurts I want out/I want to curl up in a ball and roll on OUT OF HERE

Yup. That’s me. ME. That’s what’s going on inside MY HEAD. However, being sober and having to simply deal with it, I had the opportunity last night to observe these thoughts–not only look at these thoughts, but look at them from a different perspective, namely, not my own.

I glanced at the person I was talking to and told myself, Y’know, he’s probably faking it, too, has no idea what to say, might even be feeling more awkward and shy than I am! I had a quick conversation with a former, let’s just say, drinking buddy in front of the restroom; he got sober last year and we chatted very briefly about how he’s drinking again (and having no luck moderating) and how I’m not. “I feel really good where I’m at right now,” I said, breezily (it’s not like I’m falling apart on the outside, just in one corner of my brain). He was noticeably impressed, and congratulated me. Someone else did, too, when I told him that I had 16 weeks. What I’m saying is, other people are not just NOT thinking I’m weird and awkward in my sobriety, but they’re happy for me, even maybe envious! People are rooting for me. And what am I doing? Creating an entire universe in my head that does not exist, based upon my own self-conscious insecurities.

Almost more importantly, I realized that 85 percent of the peeps in the room were in their own, drunken worlds. Who’s going to even remember me, let alone remember that I was sober?

Hence, my sparkling (the glitter rained down, too, I swear) revelation: I don’t need to drink. In fact, I prefer to be sober. IN SPITE OF HOW AWKWARD I felt, and even in spite of the pangs. The pangs were just my body saying, I want to get the fuck out of here because *I feel uncomfortable.* Somehow, my higher brain pulled through and was like, You need to do this to learn/grow, and honey, you know you really don’t want to drink, right? I wanted to use wine to momentarily allow me to feel protected from my raging thoughts. How sadly ironic, seeing how the point of going out and socializing is to be with others, right?

YET, I didn’t drink. Why?

1. I would be sick the next day. (Do I even have to go into 2-10? Who wants to feel sick the next day?)
2. I would get fuck all done the next day, and then I would hate on myself.
3. I would have a horrible hangover, complete with anxiety/panic, depression/suicidal ideation, and general existential angst. (Shit’s not 19 anymore, peeps! It happens.)
4. I would have stupid conversations that I don’t remember, instead of attempts–give yourself a high five for trying–at meaningful ones that I do!
5. I would act like a fucking idiot, dancing and singing and swaying and in general, being WAY too out there. I’ve been out there; I want to coil myself back in. I’m MINE, not yours.
6. I would say shit I don’t mean, or might regret.
7. I would spend too much money.
8. I would consume too many calories. (Hey, y’all, that belly weight is tough to shed; I’m tired of one step forward, two steps back!)
9. I would fuck up my training body and schedule. (I’m finally getting my running legs (and core strength) back, and I’m on a workout schedule now.)
10. I won’t find out what happens AFTER 16 weeks.

I’d say that number 10 is playing a huge role in keeping me from giving in to my pangs. My “fuck it” moments seem to last not moments, but days–I have time to ruminate over the consequences, and they ultimately end up pointing my face toward the door that says, “Don’t Even THINK About Knocking.” More and more, I see how far I’ve come and I think, Well, if you stop now, you’ll probably NEVER get to 17 weeks, or 6 months, or a year. Could things be monumentally different than they were at day 1, than they are now? Maybe… I’ll just have to keep going to find out.

Wake up!

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