Tag Archives: pangs

Am I a lurker in my sober life?

27 Dec

11:34 pm

What a week, eh? Ah, holidays. Ugh. Even with my 280-some days, I had MAJOR pangs, which was quite unexpected! Again, not necessarily pangs to drink, but pangs to avoid what I really didn’t want to feel, or acknowledge, or confront.

So, quickly, let me set the stage. My boyfriend and I went away for a few nights, and all in all, we had a great time. We’d been to where we went before, and so there was a level of familiarity–and nostalgia–to the place. Which played against me this time, as you’ll see. On Christmas Eve, he sprung something on me that I wasn’t comfortable doing–honestly, I’m not sure I would’ve been comfortable doing it drunk, let alone sober. However, while other people do everything sober and don’t think twice; not me, so cue the whirlwind of “should I/shouldn’t I” thoughts!

I was also feeling surprisingly lonely. I mean, lonely for family in the sense of connection, of belonging, of “protocol.” You know, how it’s nice to sit around once in a while with your big, dysfunctional family because, well, it makes you feel like you’re part of something larger than yourself? That there’s SOME sort of order to the Universe? Now, I’ve been “un”-celebrating holidays for a long time, spending many of them alone, or doing random things around the world, literally–it’s not like I’m all that big into Christianity OR family. Why the HELL I found myself wearing shades en route to the airport, having a hard time holding the tears back, I really don’t understand. I think it was the combination of feeling a sense of loss–my old self, my old way of doing things, the old me who could party and be independent–and a sense of finality–how much I’ve gained, how far I’ve come, how much I’ve grown.

It was in this state of mind that my boyfriend sprang “the thing” on me. I sort of moped my way through dinner, feeling inadequate in a way because I couldn’t (wouldn’t) do something just because it would have been easier to do with a “glass” of wine to take the edge off. And then, we went to a salsa club. Neither of us danced, and it was the worst feeling in the world–because I’ve been the one to Not Dance out of feeling awkward and like everyone is staring at me SO MANY TIMES. And, it brings up the worst sort of paranoia in me: that I’m unable to enjoy the way others do, that I’m unable–worse, unwilling–to have fun, to let go, to just be. That I can’t do so many things (that make me feel unsafe and self-conscious) without wine.

And, then, I said, Let’s wander around the bar. And my boyfriend was like, And, do what? If you want to be part of something, go and do it, but stop making not being able to drink an excuse for not having the guts to do it. (I’m paraphrasing.)

Hmm.

Am I, in fact, a lurker in my own life? Have I always been? Duh. YES. I mean, when I was drinking, I was alone and desperate for connection, but I was afraid to go out and get it. I’d watch other people, looking for clues as to how to have a life. How to LIVE a life. Ten years ago, I started to walk around the city I lived in at night, looking into lit-up living rooms, craning my neck to gaze deeper, feeling the chill in the air outside even more strongly because the inside looked so warm. I’d DRIVE the fuck around after midnight, passing clubs and bars that I used to frequent, hoping to find…something I had lost, I guess. I never went into those clubs or bars; I was alone, after all, and way too scared. But, I wanted to know that nothing was going on without me. That I hadn’t really lost anything. Or that, I wasn’t missing out on all that much.

Nothing has really changed, it seems, with me getting sober. For years, I drank and drank and drank, and that gave me the courage–or alternately, the excuse to pass on events–to go to things, bars, events, dates, to initiate conversations, to maintain relationships. I had to drink to do it, I was way too scared to do any of it sober. It wasn’t that I was always drunk, but, toward the end everything and everyone in my life involved wine.

It’s been a struggle, and I’ve been trying to be patient with myself. These days, it’s not that I can’t do it, it’s more that I don’t want to. I gave myself a pass for these past 18 months, but more and more, I’m finding myself craving connection. And I see that my “pass” has become an excuse to lurk, to hide out, to avoid contact, to basically give myself the excuse to not do things, socially and professionally.

And, I can’t come up with one thing other than that horrible four-letter word: fear.

I used to pride myself on being the one who was up for anything, on being fearless, on making shit happen. Maybe that was just another story I told myself, because I’ve always hated dancing in front of strangers, for instance, unless I’m drunk. I’ve had an infinite number of conversations with people in my lifetime, at bars, in cities, in colleges and travels, under blankets and in between sheets; but once I got sober, I didn’t want to anymore. I simply didn’t have it in me anymore. I chalked that up to needing to conserve my energy, to finally focusing on me, to being able to at last say, Fuck it, to the shit that I just didn’t want to do–since that “shit” was making me drink.

I keep telling myself that when the time is right, I’ll get back to doing what I used to do–all of which was WAY easier because I was fueled by “liquid courage.” Won’t I? Or, do I need to push myself?

Have I been hiding myself away from life? I think the answer is yes. It’s a very difficult truth to embrace, but…I think it’s time to cut the cord, dive in, jump off.

It sucked balls to have to confront, on Christmas Eve no less, some of the things that have been fucking STARING me in the face before, during, and now, after getting sober. That while I needed to stash myself away for a while and avoid the “real world” of socializing–meeting people, making friends, forming authentic relationships–I need something else now. Something like friends. Girlfriends. Warmth through conversation. A sense of belonging, even community, with others. What irks me the most is that I know this has always been a sore point with me, and I’ve always been afraid of it. It’s why I drank, to avoid having to do what makes me feel uncomfortable–fearful, basically. To put myself out there, for me, is to confront and embrace human interaction.

I’m glad I didn’t drink on Christmas Eve; even now, I see that it would’ve made things easier, and probably more fun. However, in exchange, I got to confront myself and get a little bit closer to my truth, to the real story, as it were.

On that note, I’ve got a cold, so it’s off to bed (at least it’s a “legitimate” excuse to stay home!).

18 weeks and 4 months should NOT be equal, right?

15 Feb

3:37 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but with draft posts titled “Feeling like crap,” “Pangs heard around the world,” and “Where am I?,” I figured I would let whatever this is pass, continue to solider on, and spare you my annoying diatribe(s).

I’m still sober, going on a day after 18 weeks today. But, the other day when I looked at the calendar and it read February 12th, I thought, Wait, I’m ONLY at 4 months? So, how can I also be at 18 weeks, which would be 4 months…PLUS 2 weeks. Um, hello? That PLUS 2 weeks is kind of huge. Le sigh.

I’ve really wanted to drink the past several weeks, but I haven’t. I feel quite practiced at saying no through most of my pangs, cravings, and “thought ditches”…until PMS rears its ugly head. The past week has been bad–sometimes I wonder if it isn’t something in my new environment that is messing up my hormones. I literally felt hung over the other morning, as if I was coming down WAY TOO FAST off a “good” drug–crashing. However, it wasn’t a drug, it was my own internal chemical fluctuations which were off schedule and which, instead of letting me down easy, came to a screeching halt a week early. Hmm. I know it sounds a bit melodramatic, but when I was drinking, I really hit the wine hard when I was PMSing; and, I know it’s difficult to believe, more often than not I never connected the two until after the fact. Duh. Every month it became, Oh, shit, no WONDER I felt so horrible, drank so much, and could SO not even deal with the booze (I always blacked out hard when I was PMSing). Now, I’m hyper-aware of the fluctuations because I can feel every single one of them.

It’s not that life has been bad, at all; I’m grateful that work and dinners and walks, days and nights and everything, well, has been passing smoothly. Sure, there are moments (nightly, lately) when I find myself saying to myself, Do I really need to stay sober, like Sober Sober, anymore? Aren’t I healed? Hasn’t this 24-7 sobriety shit gone on long enough?! I need a BREAK! Just one glass…

I had major pangs last night, which sort of took me off guard. I felt a little bit like crying inside when I looked at the menu and realized that once again–even at a nice restaurant on a nice Valentine’s Day date with my nice manz–I can’t have wine. Not even one glass. And to make it worse? I end up ordering yet another Diet Coke, which I have to say, did not go so well with the pasta. The good news is that I did muster the sense to realize that I wouldn’t really enjoy the wine because I’d be thinking of the next glass, and the next, and the next. It’d be more of an annoyance than…whatever I’m imagining it’s going to be.

What’s the point? The point is, I’ve learned that even IF I want to drink, NO GOOD CAN COME if I do it when I really want to. Because, when I really want to is always when I’m feeling really bad. My strategy is to wait: until tomorrow, until the next project, until the race, until this or that or the other. And, if I wait–even a night–most likely I’m going to feel both happier and less desperate the next day, at which point, even if I drank it’d much likely be a better outcome than if I drank when I was in that desperate state of mind.

Anyway, it’s Friday! And I haven’t even started my work. Wah wah. Catch y’all later!

Wake up!

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