Tag Archives: boredom

The power of positive thinking

12 Aug

1:31 pm

I wish I had this power!

Seriously, I have been thinking a lot lately about why some people ruminate and others don’t.  I have spent my entire life thinking a certain way, and it’s not easy to change that.  In fact, it’s not really that easy to see it, to understand it, and to embrace the fact that NO, I don’t have to think this way.  It feels good, and safe, and scratches some itch to keep doing things the same way–and some part of this ruminative thinking is healthy and is what’s helped me process my reality and life–but I guess at some point, you just get miserable and tired enough to TRY SOMETHING ELSE.

I keep a journal, and that’s where I dump all my negative thoughts–but, when I think about those thoughts from an above-myself view, I see that I, me, this person, this alcoholic, doesn’t actually see them as negative.  To me, they’re just thoughts–my thoughts, the ones I always have, the type of thinking I’ve always done.  From the ground, I am this, that; she and he is this, that; I am feeling down and it’s because of this, that; I don’t believe that this is going to work because of this, that.  You get the picture.  If only I could see that most of my conclusions are based on no facts; they are of my brain, inside my head, not informed by any fact or stimulus coming at me from the real, outside world.

It’s not that simple, though, to decipher negative patterns from legitimately angry or sad or even happy or joyful thoughts–these are thoughts that help guide you on your path, and inform your decisions!  It’s not easy to realize when let’s say, PMS, is changing your thought patterns, and for no apparent reason, you just feel irritated, angry, heavy, negative.

What I have been trying in small increments to do is to think above or around the negative thoughts.  To ignore them, to bypass them and like, go to yoga instead.  There is this part of my brain–maybe it’s Wolfie, the alcoholic drinking voice; maybe it’s his cousin–who says, YOU HAVE TO consider these thoughts, you have to legitimize them by taking them seriously; at the very least, you have to acknowledge them.  And, I might be wrong here, and I might be feeling around in the dark, but I’ve come to realize that NO, you don’t have to do any of those things.  You can just move on with your day, trashing thoughts and feelings that are ruminative–you can just keep moving, it’s OK.  Don’t confuse moving forward with running away.  (And, my favorite aunt once said, It’s OK to run away sometimes, too.)

So, yeah, I’ve been in my head lately.  I got a job contract renewal, so that is GREAT news–nine more months of staring at my computer for eight hours a day, in my office, alone.  Getting paid well, though, which is a relief because…I have expenses, and I have dreams that need major coin (I want to buy a house soon, I think).  I am grateful, even though it’s not a “dream job.”  And frankly, I don’t have the time, money, or energy to do a “job I love” (an oxymoron?) for a lot less money but one that is out in the “real world,” with actual other human beings.  (Btw, A LOT of people work remotely these days; it’s a great thing, so why am I even EVER complaining about it!?)  Actually, I’ve been on a quest to find that perfect new job, that perfect new career–which means, I’ve basically turned job searching, trolling the job boards, teasing out job descriptions into a hobby (sad, I know).  And what have I learned?  Well, that most writing, content, or communications-related jobs are just the same job.  Really.  So many jobs, so much of the same thing.  I can see myself doing something along the lines of international development or public health, but that will have to be a future focus.

We are doing “aight” here in our new home, but it’s very likely we’ll move back to where we came from (the tropics–ahh) when our lease is up.  I don’t want to be negative here, because I have major issues, it seems, with meeting and making friends, but:  I have never lived in a place that is so seemingly averse to community engagement.  A major complaint among people here is that there is no sense of “community,” and everyone asks why.  I think I’ve figured it out:  people here don’t want it.  If they did,  they’d work toward it.  Like, it’s a chore for people to say hello, to make small talk here; I have never lived anywhere like it, honestly.  I’m from the Midwest, and um, we talk to each other there.  I lived for many years in San Francisco and then, SoCal; even if they can come across as superficial, Californians are super-duper friendly.  I think New Yorkers are some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met.  And, we moved here from a place where two Cat 5 hurricanes ripped through the landscape; if people hadn’t come together, no one would have eaten, had ice, showered, or been able to read a freaking book for six months!?  I think sometimes I forget that younger people are JUST NOT USED TO COMMUNICATING IN REAL LIFE; I think growing up always online has created people who are oblivious to their surroundings, which, um, include other human beings.  Just my two cents.

On that note, I am going to exhale, and try to have a GREAT day.  Thanks for listening to my brain on static, and now I am going to turn off the radio for a while.

(Wine?  Yep, I’ve been thinking about it a bit more than usual–more than I have in the past few years–but I won’t drink.  “Boredom” is a symptom of something else, and I know it should not be treated with booze.)

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!)

Fizzling out

11 Jan

7:58 pm

I just wanted to check in and thank everyone, firstly, for all the great comments to last week’s post on PAWS.

And, well, not to write a long post about it, but to say, I’m fizzling. Fizzled. It’s been a long past two weeks, and will be a much longer next few. This freelance writing stuff is the most labor-intensive thing I’ve done, mainly because of two things: 1. the world we live in doesn’t seem to value contextualized written pieces (unless they’re of course, shit like “Fifty Shades of…the Worst Writing in the World”), and 2. I have to juggle so many other balls in the air to keep my income coming in during the down-time/story pitch void (or, shall I say vortex, because often, that’s what it feels like). I spent all day today setting up an exchange between a yoga teacher and myself: I help her run her studio, she lets me take yoga for free. GREAT deal, and I’m pumped. I thought that this could be a paying gig, but it turned out to be better for both of us to just do an exchange. Still, I need to pay my bills, so I guess I’ll be looking at some other stuff in the “random job search” files next week.

I’m good, though. Aside for the sound of some dog barking incessantly from a distant hillside, nothing much is annoying, saddening, or triggering me. I feel relatively “up.” And, I know not to expect the “high high,” or the buzz, or the occasional “escape” into the ether that comes with a glass (bottle or two) of wine, but… Eh. I just feel “eh” a lot these days. I finally got my work mojo back, and it’s getting easy again to socialize and do business with strangers, but, it’s sort of…boring. I thought I’d get a MUCH bigger kick out of Accomplishing My Work Goals (in all caps, because it’s been SO freaking important to me to get to this point, being able to work AND be sober). Like, it became such a big deal to me, and now that I’ve come back and have realized that it’s SO not that big of a deal–everyone works–and that I’ve SO done this before; it feels too easy and not as rewarding as I would have hoped.

I guess I’m still looking for that buzz, whether it comes from an intellectual accomplishment or a glass (bottle or two) of wine. Maybe I’ve simply plateaued; maybe I might be here for a while; maybe I’m tempted to drink when my brain goes quiet because nothing is too bad anymore? I don’t dislike the plateau, and it sure beats the ditch where I was. It’s just…flat. And, I want to scream at myself, Uh, yeah, isn’t it NICE?! I want to yell, Isn’t it fan-fucking-tastic that there are no hills to climb–or cliffs to fall off of?!

Yes, it is nice, I quietly reply to that mean bitch (yes, DDG, you can be one mean bitch, just like your friend, Wolfie-boy). YES, it’s nice to be able to have productive day after day after day, with no unnecessary obstacles–like a pounding hangover or dreadful anxiety about what you might have said or done the night before–in the way. It’s SO nice. It’s SO good. Yet…I feel like I want to shake it up, come back to “myself,” mess up the rug a little.

Then I think, OK, I can mess up the rug a little, sure. But not until AFTER I get this, that, and the other done. And, those things are really important to me, so I can’t break my mental momentum just yet (ever). I can’t think about drinking AND get my shit done anymore. It’s like, I can’t circle back right now, it’s too distracting–and scary. I don’t want to lose time, to lose motivation, to lose the thread of my new life. It might happen if I drink; worse, it might happen even if I give myself the option to drink! I’m still too brain-less, in a way, to be able to live two lives, like I was doing for such a long time–how did I manage? Uh, I didn’t.

And, so it goes. I have come to appreciate the productivity in exchange for not drinking. Mostly, I have come to rely on this sense of focus, this recovered ability to actually make long-term plans and act on them. When you’re drinking, or even thinking about drinking, this seems to be at the least, compromised, and at the most, completely disabled.

Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be a long post! See you tomorrow, when I finally reach 300 days! 🙂

“If I feel this way tomorrow, I’m going to drink”

20 Oct

10:29 am

And, I woke up feeling the same way I felt last night, and the night before, and the night before. Am I glad I wasn’t also hung over? YES. Will I drink tonight? I don’t know.

I feel like a lot of the time, I’m waiting for my “break.” I never get to escape, turn it off. It’s maddening. No amount of “wholesome” fun, like yoga, running, swimming, socializing sober, even JOB FUCKING SEARCHING ON A SATURDAY NIGHT (welcome to the reality of freelance writing) can fully mask the feeling that all these things are just placeholders for the real deal.

Yet, I have to ask myself, is drinking the real deal? Even as I whine about having no escape, no down time, and thinking that wine will fix this agitation, this irritated hole; I’m not at all sure that it WILL. And, I know from waking up this morning, and feeling an emotional hangover, it would have been SO much worse had I drunk (copious amounts, I’m sure) out of desperation last night and added a physical one on top of it.

So, I move ahead today. With my aching heart and burning, twisted stomach, forcing a smile and doing what needs to be done. Check, check, check. I know eventually it’ll lift, and at some point today, I’ll be doing things more out of “yay” and less out of “have to do this, here, I’ve done it.” I guess.

Strange days, indeed.

The problem with achievement

30 Aug

7:18 pm

I know I should (want to) be posting more often, but with titles like “Sigh” (yes, there’s a draft post in my list titled “Sigh”) I haven’t been able to hit send on any of my drafts, as it were.

Lately, I have to admit, I’m starting to feel like the only one who’s not really having fun at the (sober) party. I’ve also been thinking about drinking again. You know, when I get to 180 days. I’m not jones’ing for a drink, but I can’t help but wonder, Would I feel more like myself again if I inserted that habit back into my life? Would it help to orient me? More importantly, could it help boost my motivation back to some level of normalcy?

I don’t want to say that life sucks right now. For the most part, all is well, and I’m glad for all the things that I get to have by being sober: a clear head, no hangovers, never doing or saying anything destructive. OK, I got it. Good. Thank you.

What isn’t good is my lingering lack of…oomph. I just don’t feel excited about anything. Not the way I used to. The fire feels out, and I don’t know how to re-light it!

It’s hard to explain. It’s not that I don’t have work or hobbies, it’s just that I don’t really *feel* like doing any of them. The way I used to. I don’t feel any sense of achievement after doing almost everything, honestly. Yeah, yeah, it’s done. Can I go back to staring out at the water now? Maybe I don’t have the “huge” sense of accomplishment I once had because I was always hung over, and doing anything with a hangover seems like a Herculean feat. Back then, brushing my teeth felt like I climbed a mountain. And, getting through my work day? Well, I might as well have flown (with my own wings) to the moon. Now, everything I used to do just makes me feel sort of impatient and empty–is this it?

I realize that I used drinking to fill the void of not knowing how to spend my free time. I became reliant on using it when I’d feel that pull I just mentioned, feeling burnt out and “been there-done that.” However, as I was thinking about what to write for today’s post (which included a lot of procrastinating), I realized something: my addiction goes beyond the using of wine. My “core” addiction centers around not knowing how to spend my my time, period, without having something to achieve or accomplish. Which stems from an addiction to achievement.

Whenever I think and believe I haven’t accomplished much, I feel depressed. I feel sad. I feel frustrated. And, I want to drink. Wanted. Want. I want to make those feelings go away, to escape from those thoughts. I can’t just “be.” I need–and that’s the key word–to always be doing something “exciting” or “new.” I need–key word–to always be having something, or acquiring something, and in this scenario, that something is experience. I am, in essence, addicted to getting new things–knowledge, experiences, and maybe sometimes even things, but I’m much less addicted to consuming things as I am experiences. So, I drink to both ease the pain of not getting what I want, what I have come to need; and I drink to get an artificial version of that high.

This is both enlightening and saddening. While it’s good to know that wine is not the be-all, end-all of my addiction, it’s not so good to know that now, I honestly don’t know what’s healthy and what’s not. How much do I don’t do? If I was living my “old” life right now, I’d still be at work. I’d be just as unhappy there, “doing shit,” as I am now, “not doing shit.” And there, my friends, is the essence of the conundrum: there is no solution, at least no fast one, to this so-called problem. I know plenty of people who simply solve this and other existential conundrums with a drink–give it a rest, they’d say. Don’t think too hard on it. Others work harder, have more kids, get involved in others’ lives–you know, live life. My stumbling block is that these thoughts are in my head 98 percent of the time instead of the what I maybe erroneously believe is the “normal” 2 percent.

On that note, I’m not drowning and I still have (a little) hope that I’ll start to feel more excited about doing shit soon. I have found that just continuing to set daily goals and complete them helps. Ignoring the bad thoughts and feelings helps. Going for walks, doing yoga, and running or swimming helps. I have to smirk, in an ironic, God damn it, sort of way, when I think about drinking again. Even if I DID start drinking again, I know that it would not at all help me solve this problem. Other things might, like taking a trip, getting a different job, or moving (at least temporarily). But not drinking. I know too much now. DAMN IT.

Two more weeks until my 6-month mark. Woot woot. (insert sarcastic-wink emoticon here)

Slogans and quick fixes, sobriety is not

19 Aug

12:09 pm

No Motivation, The Right to Refuse to Say I’m Sorry, Turning It Off–these are titles of posts I never sent (posted) this weekend. GAH. Obvs, I haven’t been feeling that well.

But you know what? I don’t have to feel great, or feel “more like myself,” (because I feel less like myself than ever before), or be bouncing off the walls. All I have to be is sober! I can spend entire days drinking Coke Zero and weeping and holding on to my sobriety with a death grip–it all means something, and it’s all teaching me something about myself. Which is, drinking most likely simply exacerbated existing mental and emotional (are they different?) problems, not caused them. I hold a lot of rigid ideas about what I “should” and “shouldn’t” be doing, which exacerbates my stuck-ness. The best I’ve ever felt is when I said, Fuck it, and went and volunteered for a few months doing manual labor in a foreign country. All these things relate to work, which for me, relates strongly to both self-validation and creativity, which ultimately relates to mortality. Maybe I think too much and do too little?

On Saturday night, I felt the same way–out of control and volatile, emotionally–sober as I have often felt drunk. The EXACT SAME WAY. And, it scared me. It was eye-opening, too, in that, like I said, I thought that booze caused this in me; I never could have imagined let alone believed that it already existed, in a certain form. Obviously, it wasn’t as severe, but the feelings, the go-to reactions were of someone deeply not at peace. Thankfully, it’s over, and I feel better today. (I even had to “save to draft” a few emails and such because they were SO out-of-control angry.)

I tried to write (fail), I tried to read (fail), I watched “Sex and the City” the movie and “Devil Wears Prada.” I tried to go running and realized that due to PMS, my sciatica flaring was making that impossible. I cried over the fact that I am no longer…of the era, as it were; that I may have expired. My time in cold East Coast city–my ERA there–is over. “Kids” in their late 20s and early 30s now rule the roost. This is a hard fact (misinformed opinion?) to acknowledge. I downloaded some sample books to my Kindle, which made me feel a bit better, put the Coke Zero away, and somewhat successfully pressed some of those written words through the meat processor that was my brain. And then, the curtain came down, and I simply quit and went to bed.

“Quitting and going to bed” is not my style, but maybe, just maybe, it HAS to be from now on. Just like opening myself up to new career paths. A few years ago, the counselor I was seeing told me that I didn’t have to continue the pattern of workaholism in my family, which my dad, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed down to me and my brothers (I see it in all three of us now). That I could change the course of my “destiny.” She saw the pattern, of my drinking being one tool I use to protect myself from the fact that I was simply repeating what my dad had done his whole life: working himself to the bone as a way to scratch an itch, sure, but also and mostly, as a way to please and/or impress his father, and grandfather. Now, I have a choice whether to live out that same sort of life/lifestyle. I have a choice, which I can make. Do I feel ambivalent, and guilty, and afraid? Sure as fuck I do! Can I also choose to feel all these things, not drink, not work (sometimes), and go to bed anyway? Sure as fuck I can!

On that note, I am going to sign off. I’ll get to all those posts soon, although sometimes in this forum I start to feel like the wet blanket. Sobriety isn’t easy, though, and I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I hope everyone is having a great day and believe me, if you want to drink, like really really really want to? Don’t. Don’t give in! You can do this, just like little old hurting me. (If *I* can do this, anyone can!)

And yet…

28 Jun

12:27 am

I still fantasize about drinking. Many days. Not every day, but many.

I still tell myself (subconsciously) that maybe I’ll be able to drink again some day (soon)–and that is what keeps me sober, honestly. For someone who used wine to self-medicate depression–anxiety, existential and creative angst, deep feelings of self-loathing, boredom–no, the urge has not left. But, it IS easier to deal with when I have a huge to-do list, goals; I ignore the voices that keep poking at me, telling me I can’t, It’s not going to happen, etc. etc. etc., and, well, just get to work. And then, I take breaks, I eat and drink way too much sugar, and before I know it, it’s midnight and I’ve gotten a lot on that to-do list done and it’s time to go to bed. And, I have no wine and even if I did, I know that now would not be a good time to drink it. (Going to bed kills wolfie; you can go to sleep and count on the fact that he will be gone in the morning.) So, I go to bed. And in the morning, I’ll get up, make my decaf iced coffee, walk the dogs, and gear up for another run and another long day of editing work and then, (likely) another night of on-and-off cravings.

I’m not sure they’ll ever go away. A part of me wonders, maybe I just need something bigger to invest myself in, something mightily distracting? Like, volunteering in a foreign place, or, going back to school. Both are in the works, actually. Another part of me then wonders, well, maybe I’m still running, just replacing one escape (wine) with another (being busy, biting off so much that I can’t chew let alone drink wine)?

It’s like, I cannot seem to connect “fun” and “reward” in my brain as strongly to anything as wine. Only wine will do. I know, even to me it sounds absurd. But, that’s how it feels. Even now, a year later. There is no buzz as great, as satisfying, as wine. There is no reward worth having as much as wine. I enjoy things–everything, actually–IN SPITE OF IT NOT BEING WINE. I know, I know, there are plenty of treats that I can now partake in, give myself, now that I’m sober and have the time and extra money. What I really want, though, is to end my days drinking wine; more than that, I want to not want wine; and MORE THAN THAT, I want to be able to enjoy other things as much as or more than I enjoy(ed) wine! I’m tired of this–will I ever truly enjoy life again?

I used wine to self-medicate my depression, my restlessness, my anxieties–yes. More elementally, I used it to medicate my boredom, which, according to a recent article I read, is a pathological state of mind and not simply a passing mood. In this article, they find a link between agitated boredom (where you’re actively looking to not be bored, and not finding anything that will stimulate or excite you) and damage to a small area in the brain located above the eyes. It’s the same area that is involved when your brain makes the faulty connection between wine and reward. Great. I actually AM brain-damaged!

I’ve spent my entire life trying to not be bored. Which is why I wrote; which is why I danced; which is why I excelled at school, and sports, and everything under the sun that I could throw myself into. Which is why I’ve lived in about 30 apartments in six different cities since I graduated from high school! This is, however, not all that remarkable, except in the most literal sense of the word: someone who is not inside my brain might remark, Wow, that is fucked up. To me, it’s just that I need more. I need more. Some of us just need more.

What if I drank again to overcome this pull? I mean, maybe I’ve been obsessing precisely because I’ve been withholding booze. What if I started treating it casually, and in that way, it would become casual? Prohibition was an absolute failure. Tell kids they can’t do something, and they’ll go out of their way to do it! Maybe that’s what going on now, with me? The more I focus on not obsessing over how great wine would be, the more I focus on, well, how great wine would be?

(Don’t worry, I’m not planning on drinking. Just thinking out loud… Though, I did get a lot done, and some pretty fantastic things happened today, so…what the fuck am I whining about?)

101 days and counting.

Some days are better than others

23 Jun

11:16 pm

Some days just drag. I’m not bored, and I have so much to do–and be thankful for–yet, I have a pull in my gut that says, Go get some wine and make this restlessness go away! It feels like a mini-temper tantrum, and it’s related, I suppose, to not getting my way.

My writing didn’t go well today! Waaaaah! I didn’t get a run in, so missed out on my endorphin fix! SUCKS to be me, me, me, me, me!

Like today. Today. Grr. It was hot. Yesterday I ran five miles; today, I could barely peel my overheated self off the mattress before 10. I managed to do stuff–walk the dogs; start on a labor-intensive and highly aggravating personal writing project; watch the supermoon rise over the fucking ocean, for God’s sake!–but it was sort of in spite of that temper tantrum-y feeling. Normal people might just turn on the TV, but all I can do with this feeling is pace. I used to drink wine. NOPE. Now I get to sit with it, and watch it eat me from the inside out! Grr.

This weekend, I’ve been trying to begin compiling some “stories,” as it were, re: my drinking past, and man, oh, man, does it suck the life force out of me. Ugh. Yes, it was bad and I not only had to live through it, but I journaled through it. Now to rehash it again? Sometimes, enough IS enough, right? Well, if you’re a writer, it’s your job to mine the past. And, I just NEED to do this right now–call it 5th step work, call it gaining a bigger picture of how far I’ve come.

I feel like I’m not entitled to have fun, if I really dig deep. Well, maybe “entitled” is not the right word. I don’t deserve it? I can’t afford it? I spent all my “fun” money. Actually, I took out so many fun loans, it looks like I might be in fun money debt in perpetuity.

The good news? The temper tantrum goes away–maximum it lasts is a day; and if it doesn’t, there’s always that boring book to put me into a sleepy trance so I can blow this joint by becoming unconscious the natural way! And, you know what? My idea of “fun” is different these days, which helps me to accept passing the time more calmly, sans wine. I like just sitting, thinking. Staring, even. Nights spent staring at the moon, or the stars; while, yes, still leave me feeling bored, are what I need. And, I know this.

So, to my envy (I see you, wolfie, it’s YOU, I KNOW it’s you), I say: You can have your evenings out and your brunches. I’ll take my long walks alone with the (what’s now become a pack; more than two) dogs. I’ll take my afternoons reading or writing (trying to write). Lunch on my own. Silence all day, except for that sweet tune in my head–it’s in surround sound, and it’s nice.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a really boring book to get to… 😉

Bored with sobriety

15 Jun

6:02 pm

I’ve got 90 days coming up tomorrow, and honestly, ehhhhhhh. (I care, but not that much; and, hopefully I’ll be in a better mood, and better able to exist in the certain type of denial that sobriety takes; to enjoy, congratulate, relish. We’ll see.)

Right now, sobriety feels endless. Boring. I have a bunch to do, but don’t want to do any of it. It’ll be there tomorrow, unfortunately, just like my sobriety. Sure, there are few cravings; however, no number of chunks of time or chips from meetings will change that it seems to be an endless stream of…boring. I mean, it’s the same thing, day in and night out. I’ve gotten USED to feeling good, albeit, I’ve never been this chunky around my waist. Somehow, all that wine kept me thin.

I’m bored with sobriety, and I can’t deny it! Would drinking spice things up? I guess I could try to go out and socialize sober, but I really don’t have it in me. In an all-caps kind of way. I miss the escape; I want it. I NEED it.

So, it’s another Saturday night, and I’m on. On all the time. And it’s tiring. All the “Oh, this feels GREAT to be walking home sober”‘s never quite make up for the energy expended just getting through the situation, making myself believe–whispering it over and over and over again in my ear–that it’s better this way and I don’t need to drink and if I did, shit would go down… It’s mentally exhausting because I know it’s not true. Drinking WOULD make it better, at least temporarily. Drinking WOULD give me something to anticipate after a long list of things to do, most of which involve cerebral pursuits; as it stands, it’s all willpower, passing my days reading and writing and then–nothing to take the edge off. There is still more thinking, or not thinking; I’m still aware of it all. And, it never adds up. There is still a hole in the sky called the sun, the passing of time, my own sense of base purposelessness as a human being. Of course, I do have purpose, but I guess I don’t have faith that it’ll carry me through to…what? The other side? An arrival, a final Ahh, now this is IT, it ALL makes sense?

And, I can’t pretend that NEVER going out, and hitting the sack after SNL (I NEVER watched SNL on a Saturday night; the last time I watched SNL was in high school, when I didn’t drink!) isn’t simply getting old! Haha. I mean, I know it’s my fault, but this is how my sobriety has panned out–I can’t imagine it’s that much different for others. Anyway, old. Boring old. Old boring. And, worse is that there’s something much bigger (worse?) about it, I can’t seem to articulate: perhaps it’s the sense that after all the thinking and probing and clearing out, this IS all there is. This is it. Is it?

In fact, it beats me down thinking that I have to be this way–on and present–for the rest of my life. I give up to being on and present! Yet napping and working and reading and EVERYTHING else I do to get through the days is, I know, just a cover. All the tiny gifts and pep talks are just…workarounds. Something deeper–and sad to the point of being neutral, like a huge ocean that is both wonderful and jarringly impersonal–lurks; I cannot deny this.

So, here I sit, wondering what to do with my night. Options galore, but none really matter, at the very end of the day, now do they? I know they don’t, but I have to keep telling myself that they do. I know I want to drink, but I have to keep telling myself that I don’t.

One day at a time (echo echo echo)…

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