Dealing with negative emotions

22 Apr

2:02 pm

Even today, I get angry.  Depressed.  Sad.  And, I think about drinking.  I do.  I don’t want to, and know that I never will–I’ve been there, done that–but, it’s still there, this DESIRE to soothe.  It’s more like a whine, faint, in the distance, reminding me of the hot mess I was when I first got sober:

But THEY get to get away, to escape, to use their substance of choice–why can’t I?

I was thinking on my run today:  it’s not that I am UNHAPPY–happiness is most certainly a choice.  And, after years of forcing myself to find happiness in the corners of my early sober life; and more years of learning how to cultivate happiness as a choice, 100% of the time–well, I’ve realized that I can be happy without being content.  I am not content, and frankly, I am not sure I ever will be.  At 42 years old, I think I’m just beginning to try things that might actually make me feel contentment, which I suppose might be the opposite of things like accomplished, or having won the prize, of having earned the medal.

It reminds me of where I am right now in my job search:  I have been contracting with the same company for almost two years, but they still haven’t hired me.  Not only that, but I’ve interviewed for more than one full-time job with them, and each time, the interview process has consisted of meeting/being interviewed by 7, 8, 9 people!  I’m wondering, are they simply trying to make me second-guess my abilities?  Cuz, you know, of COURSE, I can do these jobs.  It’s not rocket science.  The drinker in me, though, craves their approval; wants to do it “right;” wants to win!  In reality, for the most part, I so don’t WANT the job.  What I want is them to want me, like me, hire me.  I want to win.  Even if that means that both during the interview process AND while I’m doing a job that I don’t really want to do; I am totally freaking DISCONTENT.

Ahh, life.  Sobriety has allowed me to recognize the nuances to all this “character flaw” stuff, and well, the difference (in my mind, anyway) of being unhappy and being discontent.  And, while I’ve wanted to drink lately trying to figure out just what is going to alleviate this lack of contentment (as a writer, I wonder if I am always going to feel like I haven’t done anything, or need to do something more, or different, or else), the five years of sobriety under my belt–and feeling this way so often back in the early days–has given me the tools to realize that drinking won’t solve anything.  Won’t alleviate anything.  Is not an escape, and is not a reward.  No matter how many people I see drinking to reward or alleviate the stress of transition, or decision-making processes, it still reeks of bullshit.  Drinking is bullshit.  Do I want a thing, somewhere that I can go?  Yes.  Is it up to me to figure out where that so-called place is, that place of acceptance and happiness in the moment, for the moment, and of the moment?  Yes.

We whine, we do.  I do.  Yet, that is allowed.  And then, depending on how practiced you have gotten, you move on.  You place those negative ideas and feelings into the “perspective” box, and you move on.  I feel happy most of the time, and that’s what matters and what I try to continue to focus on.  That and remembering how AWESOME-SAUCE it still is to be here, and not there (hungover on a Saturday afternoon)–being grateful, and cultivating happiness, in spite of this so-called discontentment, which is fleeting, and fickle.

9 Responses to “Dealing with negative emotions”

  1. Joe April 22, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    Excellent post for how I’ve been feeling the last few weeks! I’ve been on a fairly intense job search in a different career field than the one I spent the last 20 some years in and yes, a lot of the jobs I didn’t get I didn’t want in the first place. I don’t fall well, I don’t think a lot of strong headed people do. And we alcoholics tend to be strong headed.

  2. Kat April 22, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

    Thank you as always, for sharing with us! I have been reading since you began and I am STILL not sober. I won’t makes excuses, but I’m not ready. No horror stories, just binge drinking and then I see the connection to depression and hiding from feelings. And I too was thinking about the part where you say “i don’t want the job.” But I’m more that way with men: I don’t necessarily want/need them, BUT I want them to want me! (Cue Cheap Trick song). You also said you are “happy most of the time.” To Me that’s HUGE HUGE! How many people can say that?? Kudos and keep on writing and running. I already do the first, need to start the second. (Again.) But. Old. Knees. (Excuses) Thanks for all, again.

    • ainsobriety April 22, 2017 at 9:56 pm #

      Today would be a great start to sobriety. Maybe those knees would feel better! Lol

    • Drunky Drunk Girl April 23, 2017 at 10:42 am #

      Aww, thanks, Kat! I guess it IS huge to be happy a lot of the time. Maybe now is the time to give sobriety another chance–maybe it’ll help you see more clearly why you’re depressed and/or hiding from feelings? It’s hard, but SO worth it!?

  3. Sober Tony April 22, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

    I’m with you on feeling angry a lot.

    Just today I saw a bar scene in a movie and thought, why can’t I spend all day in the bars like before. Life felt so simple in that memory.

    But you’re right. It’s bullshit.

    It was a trap and it felt was because I was brainwashed. I was turning myself into a zombie for 18 hrs everyday. Missing out on this short life.

    Thanks for the honest blogging. I always enjoy it. Reminds me I’m not the only one.

  4. ainsobriety April 22, 2017 at 9:55 pm #

    It’s interesting…I am content, but not always happy. I find contentment is a choice, but happiness is an emotion that comes and goes.
    I was at a funeral today. I was not happy…I was very sad for the family. But I can say I was reasonably content that I was there to show moral support.

    Either way, drinking doesn’t help either. It takes away.

    Hugs. Take care of yourself.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl April 23, 2017 at 10:44 am #

      It is interesting, and in the end, maybe I don’t even know what happy vs. content means! Maybe you’re right in that I, too, am content but sometimes unhappy (an emotion that comes and goes)? Thanks for being there!

      • ainsobriety April 23, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

        I struggle a lot with my emotional state. I honestly don’t know how I feel. I have a therapist who I had been seeing for alexathymia. It was through this that I have latched on to contentment.
        I had santosha (contentment, one of the yoga Niyamas) tattooed on my wrist.

        It seem like the simplest state to fall back on.

  5. MilesAwayGrrrl April 25, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    How funny, I was (and am) going to post exactly what Anne said. Content, but not always happy.

    But how I value the feeling of contentness (!) more than happiness. I think a lot of being content is accepting that you feel shit, bad things happen, things don’t go your way, but so much is out of your control, and so being able to accept that, and be more fluid in the way you think, and the way you respond to situations. It’s a wave of calm. I can be on the tube, hot, cramped, everyone around me is angry, but I think, am I alright right now? Yeh. I’m okay. And REALLY feeling that. Knowing, it’s cool – I’ll be off the tube at some point, then doing something else – maybe fun, maybe a chore, but I’ll do something fun soon. Just at peace with the present.

    And, a huge one for me, is trying to do things for myself, rather than others. Often, this will inevitably mean doing things and being there for others. But not because ‘I have to’, or it’s the right thing in societies terms. But is it the right thing for me to do? Not using all my energy trying to impress others or gain approval. I feel you can be content whilst also being happy, sad, angry, tired.. but when you are happy, you are happy. And it’s a more elated state and it will pass much quicker. Often ‘happy’ comes about as a result of one thing/trigger. Anyway – just my rambling thoughts super full of ice cream. Oops.

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