Mom, I’m bored!

2 Aug

8:33 am

Yes, it is 8:30 in the morning, and I’ve already been up for an hour.

Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve felt, I guess, somewhat manic–and for the most part, I’ve totally welcomed it! I don’t need a lot of sleep, but, I’m also more agitated than usual. I credit my volunteer trip as having “re-wired” me, but, is that all that’s going on?

As you can imagine, the mania/extra energy dissipates and by the afternoon, the agitation, brain fog, and general feeling of listlessness and/or hopelessness sets in. I think I just feel let down by the afternoon and evening–what the fuck have I done with my day?, I wonder, in spite of everything I’ve checked off my to-do list. Even though I have been “busting a move” on a lot of projects and items…I still feel, generally speaking, depressed in the afternoons. I think I always have, as long as I can remember being self-conscious enough to actually examine my life. The day is over, I mourn. And, while I know I am often too hard on myself, maybe I could be doing so much more?

Where art thou, dopamine?

I wonder about this “boredom” thing. WHAT IS IT? It’s not that I am bored, like, I-have-nothing-to-do-bored. Sometimes it’s that I have too many options, but they all take work. Usually, it’s a visceral agitation–my gut feels clenched and my head feels foggy. Like, EVERYTHING feels irritating, and even though I know I have to push through my cerebral work, it’s hard. So, I just get ‘er done. Go through the motions. Focus through the pain. It sometimes feels like my brain is broken, this brain fog stuff.

I want to fix it with wine. I have been REALLY wanting to drink since I got back, and I think it’s a combination of my “natural high” from the trip wearing off, and well, my “brain fog” days. Maybe I just have too much to do, too much catching up, and I feel like I want it all done, NOW (you know, without having to actually do it). Maybe I am bored, as in, what I’m doing has become somewhat…staid? I often want to say, Fuck it, and Good enough, to my writing; but, I just can’t do that. I can’t let it be bad. I have more stories and assignments than ever, and, even though my writing would not win any awards, I’m still plugging away. And that’s all I ask for! It’s just that sometimes, I really do have to go through the motions to get stuff written (reporting is fine, it’s the organizing and writing that hurts).

I wonder about boredom. Fear of working. Agitation. If your goal is simply to “get ‘er done,” are you really in the right profession? Some days I have no spark. I tried to quit Diet Coke, but honestly, I simply could not work without it yesterday. I had a horribly annoying morning at the “free clinic,” and then, I came home to have to push out a piece. It was like giving birth. I did it, of course I did it. But, after crashing out on the bed for about an hour, and then wandering around the apartment, feeling agitated and simply UNWILLING to make my brain work; I broke my measly ONE-DAY STREAK of no Diet Coke and downed like, two glasses. It helped. I “got into it” and finished my piece. Thank GOD, is all I could think.

I used caffeine a LOT in my 20s and early 30s, and this reminds me that I used it to actually be able to get hyped up enough to perform at what was then, something new to me: an office job, typically involving some sort of marketing communications-oriented stuff. I was a biology major, hello? I wasn’t used to talking to people during the day.

I used to use wine to fix this “boredom.” I know I can’t anymore. Mainly, it just doesn’t work. I mean, I have tried it while in this state of mind, and it actually makes my head feel worse. Still, the “but it’ll make you feel high, better, actually happy” rings so loudly that I can barely ignore it.

It’s interesting that only now am I seeing the simple fact that I used wine primarily as an antidepressant. Does that make me less of an “alcoholic?” No, probably not. But, it was rare that I truly sought out wine when I was feeling good. What is the point of drinking if you already feel good? I didn’t drink to get drunk; I drank to feel better. It just so happened that I also didn’t know how to make myself feel better on my own, or even more, PREVENT this slide into my depressed/agitated state.

I am learning, though. Simple things like, unless I need it to activate my brain to finish a story, caffeine is not good for me. I crash, and I crash hard. I have been getting up early, and that helps: I hate spending the hours of 10 – 12 checking email and Facebook; if that shit isn’t done by the start of my workday, which hopefully is before 9 these days, then I feel behind. And, that makes me feel scared. And, that makes me want to procrastinate, or avoid, feeling even worse.

I’m all over the place these days, but I can’t worry about that. The important thing right now is that I am getting my work done. Sorry, depression, but I’m going to have to give you a time-out. You sit over there for a while and Mommy will get her work done, mmkay?

The thing about self-employment (in the creative arts?) is that you can’t just show up. Showing up is meaningless. You have to produce. It doesn’t matter if it takes you two hours or ten, you have to deliver. And some days, it doesn’t come. And that is freaky. Scary. And those days, you worry about your income–bills, food, future bills and future food. You worry about your capability–am I a fraud? You feel the knot in your belly and you think, Fuck, just do it. So, you do, and you go through the motions, and you get ‘er done.

Through it all, I keep thinking, where/what is my reward? Sure, I earn money. That’s a big one. Sure, I move forward in my “career,” so that’s good, too. Lately, though, I want more. I want a “real” reward. I want to feel something else. I want a vacation from this sobriety bullshit! I get SO tired of feeling sober, you know?

I run through the tricks and offer myself alternatives. Take a run; if you don’t feel better, you can get that bottle; but if you do, then promise yourself you won’t (I always feel better). You know you’ll feel ten times worse tomorrow with God-knows-what-kind-of-hangover than you do now, so just push through. Embrace the pain and disappointment–what’s next? What about a trip? What about another coffee? (Actually, I’ve been trying to get away from any food-related rewards, but I’ll save that for another post.)

Sometimes I think I need to mess up my life. Like, I don’t ever let go anymore. I don’t go out, mainly because it’s not fun. It’s not fun to go out and be the sober narc; it’s not bad, but it’s not something I would choose to do over spending time alone, getting my shit done. And that’s the thing: who am I now? I used to be so much fun. I used to be a hot mess. I used to be curious, at the very least, to just have a random night out, exploring bars and just wasting time with my friends. I don’t have any friends, to be frank, let alone a group that I can let my hair down with and simply waste time. You know how much I learned by wasting time and being silly with my friends?

And honestly, I’ve been thinking this: is “the unexamined life” really not worth living? Or, is it the messy life that adds texture, not the one that has been examined to the point of sterility? That is how (my) life feels sometimes: overexamined and sterile. I feel like I need to make a mess!

On that note, I think I am going to stop. Sorry if this is a rambling whine-fest (wine-fest?). Happy Saturday to all!

(Btw, July 31st would have been 500 days, had I not drunk that beer six weeks ago–and wow, that was six weeks ago? I really have not even seriously considered drinking again since then, so that’s pretty great. And, my, how fast time passes!)

15 Responses to “Mom, I’m bored!”

  1. justanewme August 2, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Now THIS is a post I can relate to. Thanks for this.

  2. sobercuriosity August 2, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    The fact that you even attempted to quit drinking Diet Coke makes you a stronger person than me. I get antsy when there’s only 5 or 6 left in the fridge. -gotta get to the store- it is very reminiscent of another problem I had;)

    I like the imagery in the words brain fog, it is something that resonates with me. It’s funny that you talk about this fog, and caffeine in the same post… I think they are in direct correlation with one another. I don’t know if after quitting alcohol your body becomes super sensitive to all outside chemicals or what, but since I quit slamming beers like someone was gonna steal em’, I can’t drink Red Bull, 5 hour Energy’s, or more than one cup of coffee. I am super sensitive to the caffeine. In fact it is the cause of MY brain fogs. I am super alert and ready, but it’s like I’m trapped in my head. I can’t seem to allow my thoughts to manifest into an action. That’s when I revert to my default and smoke too many cigarettes, and play on my phone.

    I don’t know that I have any great advice, but you are definitely not alone out there.
    -stupidcaffeine,ruiningmylife- πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for being here, you rock!

  3. changingcoursenow August 2, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    First of all – I would give you the 499 days. Just subtract the one. No need to start from day one again. Just my thought. Secondly, it sounds like you need to go out and make a mess. Something mindless that doesn’t need your brain so much. Grab your fun friends and let them get boozy if they want. Order some ginger ale and lime in a pretty glass and go out dancing! Be proud to be their designated driver! Just don’t hide from life – it’s too short. That’s all I have to say. Be well. Trish

  4. earlysobriety August 2, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    What a great post!! I can relate to everything you are describing here; I struggle with lethargy all day, every day, and I dread my writing constantly. I always used alcohol as a way to break through that feeling and still get my writing done, but without alcohol, I am stuck, trying to figure out how to do it alone. Dopamine, where art thou?? And I love your critique of the “examined life” – it’s a great point. Hang in there, Drunky Drunk Girl!!!

  5. Just Some Woman August 2, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Wow. Some of that really hit me right between the eyes. Maybe it’s just the “nature of the beast” but I’ve had that restlessness most of my life. The last time I used beer to “fix it” I stayed drunk for 2 years. And guess what? I was STILL restless! I think it’s a brain pain issue. We’re just prone to it.

    Are there some days that I convince myself that I suck at my profession? Absolutely. Do I have brain fog? Oh, yes, constantly. I’ve learned to accept it and not dwell on it because it just pisses me off and makes it worse. I can over-think anything and THAT brings on the brain pain.

    Today I will get messy. I will go tubing on a boat with my husband. I will act crazy and wild if I want to and I’ll laugh my ass off. I’ll go to the beach next week and rent a jetski. I’ll go to a Motley Crue/Alice Cooper concert this month and scream my lungs out. Aerosmith in Sept. New Orleans (or somewhere) is on the radar within a few months and whatever else I can think of to make me feel content. At the ripe old age of 52, I’m not going down without a fight.

    Yes, sometimes I NEED A LOT. Sometimes I’m just fine when I just “go with” life.

  6. ainsobriety August 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    I used alcohol a lot to bring myself up. To have the energy and the guts to be wild and crazy. But eventually it stopped bringing me up and actually sucked me deeper into depression. I can’t go back to that pit.

    There are some natural antidepressants out there that might give you a boost. Even some extra vitamin D can do it. Or there is always medication if you continue to feel down and lethargic. It is a dangerous place for a sober person to be. Those self destructive thoughts can be very seductive.

  7. Vodka Goggles August 3, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    I hadn’t thought about the fact that you, as a writer, have to produce not just show up. I’m a graphic artist and if I don’t design, I don’t make money. We don’t get to show up at the office and garner a pay check. So much stress.

  8. thesoberboss August 3, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

    I’m feeling a lot like you in the sense that it’s just easier to stay home alone where it is safe from annoying people and shallow/drunk conversation. And the fun…oh the drama filled, not what it’s cracked up to be fun. It wasn’t really that fun and getting sloshy was so last year πŸ˜‰ You are an inspiration to me. Keep on keepin on! It’s the whole “life is different sober, not necessarily better” thing.

  9. Frank August 4, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    Found your site by Googling “sobriety is boring”. Yep. Clearly I’m sober and bored and wishing for a cold IPA make things more interesting. Although, like you, I’ve realized that won’t work. I’d likely just feel bloated and tired.

    Yeah, sobriety is boring. But given how many times I’ve woken up with a pounding headache only to have to drag myself to work, maybe boring is good–or at least okay.

    There are a million reasons to drink: stress, boredom, stress, boredom; well, maybe not a million. But there is only one good reason not to drink: drinking effs everything up. Everything. Your base brain tries to trick you to believe that’s not the case, but your higher mind knows the truth. So tell your base brain to STFU. And keep plugging along.

    (Easier said than done as I am already starting the battle with *my* base brain about having an IPA at happy hour or lunch sometime this week.)

    Love your writing. Looking forward to reading older posts.

  10. jewel August 4, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Wow, I stumbled across your blog today!! I made a decision June 21st to quit drinking. I did not drink growing up, I did not drink in my 20’s , I did not drink in my 30’s….I started drinking 2 1/2 years ago. I did it mainly to feel good…much like you I did not drink when I felt good. This meant I was usually at home and either stressed or bored…how can a mom of 6 be bored??
    I work from my home and spend my days corresponding with clients as well as laundry, cleaning, cooking and always caring for my family. The drinking not only helped me be more creative and gave me energy to get my “chores” done for the day, but I was pretty happy about it all!!
    I struggle with not grabbing the bottle of wine and having a drink before dinner…just to get a buzz….just to deal with everything a little bit better!! What I didn’t realize is that I became addicted to alcohol and quickly started using it daily!! Of course as my resistance built up I needed to drink more, and began hiding bottles!! My withdrawal was scary and I am mad at myself for being so ignorant to the effects of alcohol and how horrible withdrawal is!!
    Anyhow…..Thank you for your bluntness, for helping me to see that many days it is out of boredom that I took those first drinks. I want to embrace my life…there have been a couple days I have decided to drink since June 21 and what I realize is that I never woke up the next morning thinking I am so glad I drank last night!
    I am excited to begin following your blog!!

  11. yetanotherbusylady August 4, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    God, you just totally described my life – thank you so much for writing this! I’ve been sober for about a year, but I’m also self-employed, and for the first six months of sobriety I was so busy working that I think I replaced drinking with a crazy adrenaline high. Now I’ve hired more staff so I can focus on moving forward on my big projects and have some down time – but instead I just want to read novels and sleep a lot. It’s so difficult to work through that “I don’t want to work” feeling – I have no idea how you freelancers do it every day. I work through all the little things that have to get done every day, but the big things that will really move me forward – those are the big things that I can’t find the motivation to work on. I’m not sure how you work through it, really, but it’s great to hear that others are going through the same feeling.

    • Blondie August 20, 2014 at 6:12 am #

      I know exactly how you feel. I’m very early in my sobriety (day 5…..again!) and all i want to do is read and sleep. Im using every excuse in the book to avoid social situations. Not only do i want to avoid temptation but i really prefer to hide at home in my pajamas these days. It feels safe. I know i cant do this forever but i figure i need to do whatever it takes to survive these first 30 days or 6 wks sober and still employed. Good luck to you (and me!)

  12. Hobbylager August 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    oh man…the caffeine.
    in the early days, I swear I live by it. I’m pretty sure I drank the contents of a full pot of coffee throughout the day. PLUS a rockstar energy drink. PLUS a few diet cokes thrown into the mix.

    And I can definitely relate to this post.
    I wouldn’t call my life “overexamined” but definitely sterile. Avoid the booze…do you work…take a shower. don’t change anything up or you might slip!

    i love the sober community here at wordpress. When I started this blog I didn’t know there was one, but i’m so glad I could find a lovely niche to fill πŸ˜‰

  13. merrimj1122 August 20, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    I tried for years and years to quiet diet coke… Finally did it (at the same time as my wine?! Unreal) i always looked for the wine at boredom times, now its getting through each day. I am so very new to the sobriety world here just making the rounds. Thanks for this!

  14. merrimj1122 August 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Oh, i still think you should celebrate 500 days! I know i have been finding out in this sobriety world that just touching, one sip, it seems to “break the record” but being sober is being sensible and solemn and self controlled and not drunk… So I say celebrate your 500 days! Its so hard! Why move back when you’re still moving forward!

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