Recovery meets real life, or, Time to get back to work!

19 Jun

8:02 pm

It’s not that I don’t like being on this inner tube, fizzy water in hand, floating down the calm waters of a river with no end in sight, because I do.

For me, recovery has been about stopping what I was doing and just…stalling for a while. Breathing. Doing nothing but focusing on myself, and my recovery. Don’t get me wrong: getting sober WAS work, but I didn’t have the stress of going into an office every day doing a job I felt was meaningless (a large part of why I drank in the first place). I had good reason to not work (and here, I use the term in the sense of “real world” work): I was getting sober. I was healing. I was putting all my energy–for once, for ONCE!–into saving myself instead of the saving the world, as it were.

Until recently. Lately, I’ve been pushing myself to get back into the world of science writing. Truth be told, I’ve been scared SHITLESS of writing on a freelance basis, well, since I graduated from boot cam—err, my master’s program in journalism. I tried, here and there over the past several years, wrote a memoir that I shelved, started and stopped a few other personal writing projects; but, I simply haven’t pitched many story ideas–what if I was ignored or worse, brutally rejected?! YES, I worked in the field, but my standards were high: in order to be a “real” journalist, I needed to be pitching and writing as a contributing editor, a freelance writer; not being assigned stories and story ideas by an editor.

It’s hard to explain this pedantic notion of what it means to “be a writer” in my mind. Whatever it is, I wasn’t it. No way, no how. Even though I WAS, actually, writing quite complex pieces every month for a magazine (and doing it well, I might add). Somewhere along the way, I lost confidence in myself as a writer–in my creativity and in my writing.

That’s been the story of my life, though: a deep-seated lack of self-confidence. Part of it is genetic: I’m an introvert. Journalism isn’t necessarily a good occupation for a lot of us writers who, yes, prefer to be alone all day. However, we grow, we learn, we stretch outside our comfort zones; it gets easier, and it becomes a job that we can do. Part of it is experience: my graduate program was pretty brutal, and I guess I internalized that criticism a little too much. I’m always fearing the worst when it comes to negative feedback and/or criticism. I was–I am–in abject fear of failure. Finally, part of it is being from the Midwest: we don’t brag. Bragging is just not in our blood. We’re nice, we let others go first, we say we’re sorry a little too much. (In fact, I wonder how different my life would have gone if I had been born and raised in New York…)

I KNEW this day would come, and maybe I drew out my recovery–quitting, staying quit, conquering the cravings, dealing with some issues–so that I could put off getting back into the real world of work.

Yet, I’ve made some progress lately on the pitching and writing front. I’ve also started the process of getting back into reviewing and assimilating the science news (which is a hefty amount of information, to be done on a gradual basis).

I think, actually, that the so-called “miracle” is on its way. I’ve noticed my confidence increasing: I’ve suddenly seemed to have arrived at this point of, Hey, I can do this, and I WILL DO THIS. It’s no longer a matter of, I’m not good enough, or, I’m afraid. I need to get back in the game. I’m a (damn) good player, and I’ve been on the sidelines for too long.

Onward! 100 days in one week… Unicorns, CHARGE! 🙂 *glitter ball*

9 Responses to “Recovery meets real life, or, Time to get back to work!”

  1. Just Some Woman June 20, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    “Fear of failure, fear of success”. That’s what my sponsor told me many years ago. I thought it sounded crazy at the time but he’s right…and I still suffer from it. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is a trait that most alcoholics have. For the most part, I try to stay out of my own way. Easier said than done!
    Go for it DDG. I think you’re the type that can do most anything if you put your mind to it!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl June 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      Thank you so much! Yes, yes, fear of failure, fear of success. ARG. What aren’t I afraid of?


  2. Lilly June 20, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    ” in order to be a “real” journalist, I needed to be pitching and writing as a contributing editor, a freelance writer; not being assigned stories and story ideas by an editor.”

    I actually had to read this a couple of times to understand what you meant. And here’s why: As a freelancer I often feel like I’m not a ‘real writer’ compared to journalists who are on staff. Bwahahahahaha. God, we’re all so self-doubting. On which note, I do completely relate to loosing faith in your writing/creativity. I’m still there so my advice on this front is limited…

    But, AWESOME SAUCE on the online story acceptance – that’s fabulous. You can’t take rejection/silence too personally in this game. If I did that I would have given up years ago. Ok, well, yet I still do but you know what I mean 😉 Don’t be so hard on yourself. Pitch! Get it out there, move on, and celebrate every win. I used to trick myself into it by trying to turn it into a game of ‘how many can I get out the door this day/week/month’. Big gold stickers for each pitch and double for acceptance.

    I may not be around for your 100 days (I’ll be online while away but who knows how often), so when it gets here know that I’m hosting a GIGANTIC glitterball disco with accompanying unicorn parade for you in my heart.


    • Drunky Drunk Girl June 20, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      Thank you thank you thank you! Yes, it’s crazy how much we self-doubt! Sometimes I really hate this profession. I know what you mean about the staff jobs, but that’s all I’ve had. From what I’ve seen, it’s the freelancers who are really working it, pounding the pavement, and truly putting themselves out there precisely because they have to be original and can’t rely on their staff position to back them up! I admire them. I always wanted to be a roving National Geographic reporter; now, I’d just be happy with a byline here and there in a trade publication. 😦

      Anyhoo, all that aside, thanks for the pep talk…!

      And yes, 100 on Wed. Feels a lot calmer than it did last time. I think I’ve just gotten used drinking not being an option, and…frankly, I can’t deny that it just won’t be that much fun. It just isn’t. And, it’s SO not worth giving up the milestone… I just always tell myself, well, you can always drink tomorrow. Or, next week. Or next month. RELAX. I think it’ll really start to get interesting once I get to whatever it was I had in March–158 days or something? But, celebrations, glitter, unicorns and my Grand Marshall wand–it’s all coming out on Wed.! And, I will be sending a unicorn your way to help you usher in a sober trip! You got this…


  3. carrythemessage June 20, 2013 at 2:34 am #

    I’m with that first comment there – fear of success. I know I still have that. i still deal with that. It’s just as powerful as fear of failure…if not worse, to be honest. It’s something that not many people talk about because it sounds a little outlandish…but it’s very valid. Like mentioned in the great post there, self esteem is something that is tied so much into how we approach the world and see it. We filter the world and our expectations and accomplishments through self-confidence (or lack thereof). But certainly getting back into the workforce does a lot for us in that department.

    When I first got sober, I was unemployed. I was unemployable for years. I did work, but it didn’t last long. And I spent the first few months on recovery only. But there was a time I needed to get back into the game. I needed some balance. I need to feel useful again, and for an alcoholic, that is big for us. We had felt useless for so long. And being in a position of working and being of service…wow, sign me up. it was the perfect tonic for where I was.

    So good luck with all this! I can see that you’re really getting into it. I hope something comes by sooner than later.


    • Drunky Drunk Girl June 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      Thank you, Paul. Oh, yes, I do understand that fear of success. For me, it’s like, fear of having to keep doing good! The pressure and expectation that it wasn’t a fluke, that I can keep repeating whatever it was that I did that was so good. What if I don’t feel like it today? What if I do worse, and then I fall off that pedestal?

      I think this is all in our heads, too, since, who’s putting that pressure on us? We are! And, this fear is pretty common, no matter who you are.

      I do think my fear of failure is way larger than my fear of success, though. LOL.

      Thanks for your comment…love it. xx


  4. Lisa Neumann June 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    “maybe I drew out my recovery–quitting, staying quit, conquering the cravings, dealing with some issues–so that I could put off getting back into the real world of work.”

    Knock me over with a feather. This is so (bleeping) deep. You never cease to amaze me. This is stepping into an extraordinary life. Brava

    • Drunky Drunk Girl June 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

      Thank you, Lisa! I really do see me…dragging my feet, almost like I need to keep doing all the pre-game prep rituals. “OK, but wait! I just have to do this one thing (again) before I start…” I used to use wine for this purpose all the time, so it feels, ironically, very familiar!

      This week, I’ve just been trying to go all the way through with my ideas, and daily goals. Most of them sort of scare me, but I know that that feeling is temporary.

      Many many hugs! Love having you in my corner…

  5. carrieonsober June 20, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    Yay to putting on foot back on the ice and putting yourself out there. Fingers crossed for you. I find it hard to believe you doubt your ability as a writer when I adore your awesome blog writing. Great things are coming at you, as is your 100 days, can’t wait for the celebrations!!

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