No labels

23 Nov

10:56 am

Just a quick post to say hi, and to let you know that all is well. Sober, and loving it. So sober that I don’t really even label myself as such anymore. I’ve stopped counting days, mainly because I had a life-affirming slip about a month ago–which helped to clarify, once again, why drinking is no longer for me. At least for right now in my hectic life of trying to earn a living as a freelance writer.

I keep coming back to this freelance thing in this blog, and it’s mainly because a lot of my drinking–avoidance, when it comes right down to it–was related to my sense of creativity and agency. I have found my agency; the next step is truly exploring my creativity (fiction, instead of journalism–which, while one form of creative expression, is more the work of a technician).

I have a busy day ahead (yup, Sunday is a work day like all others): three stories to finish, dogs to walk, Christmas lights to put up, prepping for tomorrow’s work day at the coffee bar (I am working as a quarter-time barista as well–of course, my perfectionism is shining through as I berate myself every time I mess up on my microfoaming technique), and then, getting ready for our Thanksgiving jaunt to a neighboring rock (in the middle of the ocean). I love my life these days, even though it’s taken quite a lot of effort to get here.

I really do love what I’m doing and how I’m living. There is so much less distraction, but yet, my life feels fuller. I grew up on a farm, but I guess 20 years of living in big cities stole my appreciation for nature. These days, I live close to water surrounded by a tropical forest–and I cannot express how nurturing this is. It’s like, all the scents, sounds, activity–it’s food for my soul. I had no idea how incomplete I was, how fractured, by the lack of nature in my life before. I used to feel like it was boring, or not enough stimulation. Now? I see just how much is going on, feel it, hear it, smell it. It’s JUST ENOUGH. It’s exactly enough.

I love hearing the sounds of the birds outside, in the trees off our deck, which hangs less than 100 feet (I guess) from the ocean. I have no idea what I did to deserve this, but I try to express gratitude within every cell of my body every second of every day (unless I’m bitching about freelancing, which is pretty much also every second of every day).

What was I going to say? Oh, labels. YEAH. So…in my writing work, I get to interview a LOT of scientists and clinicians, and sometimes around the topic of addiction and mental health. You know what I see over and over and over again? A HUGE divide between how we, as addicts, have internalized–been taught to view–our addictive behaviors, and how they, as medical professionals, actually view what’s going on. I won’t get TOO much into it here, but: enough with the labels.

You are not bad. You are not an “addict.” You are not “slipping” or “relapsing.” You are not evil. You have a substance use problem. It’s a disorder. And, however you want to define that for yourself, it makes it a lot easier when you necessarily take morality out of it. Of course, there are roots–causes; but these mainly boil down to you trying to cope with trauma, or things you’re afraid of, or lots of other bad shit. You are doing what you should be doing–coping–it’s just not working anymore.

And, there are MANY routes to healing. Many. Many many many. And, unless the epidemiological literature is lying, MOST PEOPLE with substance use problems–and, the fact is, these exist on a spectrum of severity, and no one’s problem should be diminished because it’s not “severe enough”–stop using on their own. They find incentives to stop using, and ways to recover and heal. For good.

Think about it.

And remember: that kid inside, smelling the flowers at 5 or 10 or 21 or now, 40 years old? She is still there; she is still there. THAT is being sober. THAT is you. All the rest is junk, or maybe worth saving, or maybe just layers.

Every sober day counts. Every sober day is a good day. And that means that if you made it through today, it was a good day and you are stepping toward healing. ALL–AND I MEAN ALL–YOU HAVE TO DO RIGHT NOW IS NOT DRINK, OR NOT USE, TODAY. That is it.

Happy Sunday, and I’m off to work!

16 Responses to “No labels”

  1. Running From the Booze November 23, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    HA!!! This is the thing I’ve been trying to figure out how to put to words. šŸ™‚

  2. Just Some Woman November 23, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    Have a happy Thanksgiving in paradise…the one you’re living in and the one you’re creating!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

      Thank you! You, too! (I really appreciate your honesty over the past several posts–I don’t really have time to comment back (sorry about that), but I read every last comment that people post on my blog and usually end up learning way more than I imagined possible.)

  3. mallards4us November 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    I loved this post! Thank you! I’m slowly figuring out the day by day thing. And- I would do anything to live on a farm or be surrounded by nature- it is SO healing in every single way:)

    • Drunky Drunk Girl November 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

      It is! It really is. I think growing up, I knew it and just sort of became it. But then, I rejected it in favor of the urban world. Now, I admit that I’m caught between wanting that stimulation and needing this other thing–maybe I’m just getting older. Who knows, but for now, my ambivalence levels are (for once!) low–I love it here. Have a wonder-full day!

  4. freebreezi November 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

    True all that. Good post.

  5. waking up November 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Thank you for this šŸ™‚

  6. rivieradinah November 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    Thank you for such a lovely, inspiring and powerful post. I’m keeping this one to read over and over again. You know what incredibly dorky song just came into my head, and I almost didn’t write because it’s embarrassing? KEEP ON ROCKIN’ IN THE FREE WORLD! šŸ™‚

  7. Daisy November 23, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    I loved the kid inside bit and the rest of course, but that bit I loved alot.

    Hugs you’re in a good space, that’s something to strive for.

  8. Lilly November 23, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

    Yay! Love this. And I loved the comment about the little girl smelling flowers too because it gave me a sudden flash of myself as a child, and the things I loved, and it is totally true that it is those things that I find myself getting more in touch with again being sober. I like the no labels too. Fuck the labels! xx

  9. CH November 23, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

    Right on DDG!

  10. ainsobriety November 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Wonderful. That life sounds great.
    And you are right. It doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of abuse. It’s never too soon to quit.

  11. soberTrails November 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Just today šŸ™‚

  12. furtheron December 3, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Terrific blog. I remember early sober driving to a meeting, it was a long drive to meet someone I’d been in treatment with. It was through the country. I hugged them then said “Hey. Trees are green”. “Yes” she said looking at me like “are you drunk again pal?”. “No I mean like lots of different greens, there are so many greens”… it was like I’d been blind and could see again. I need to remember and reconnect with that person more frequently – thanks for the memory

  13. ksdays100 December 8, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    I really like this post, I am new to this journey and need all the inspiration I an get!

  14. powerlessandsober December 9, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    I am also very new to all of this. (Four days sober today) So, this was a great read and I am really going to try to take one day at at time.

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