Tag Archives: productivity

Another 60 days… (and I feel fine)

18 May

6:05 pm

I’m at 60 days again (well, 61 today), and for some reason, it’s not a big deal. Sure, I put my 60-day AA chip out on display on the top of my desk (alongside my 24-hour and 30-day, all three awaiting the 90-day chip that remains in my desk drawer), but, otherwise it’s become more of a given: I don’t drink.

For one thing, I know I have a lot I want to do in the next few months, both personally and professionally, and drinking will prevent me from doing it. Period. Drinking is the opposite of being productive, and I want to get shit done! After all this time, I know that it’s not what I want, and, I know that it’s counterproductive–and, being productive is the antidote to my cravings, for the most part. Drinking gets in the way of that, both before, during, and long after. As my Facebook friends so effectively illustrated this Saturday morning, I can either be going to the bodega for Advil, coconut water, and a bagel; or, I can be on my way to Estonia (or, whatever other country is on your must-see list).

Secondly, compared to my last time being here (mid-December), I really don’t feel like drinkin’. Really really. That dazed-and-confused feeling, that first-few-sips-and-I’m-already-starting-to-forget-things feeling, that nervous-because-who-knows-what-I-might-do-in-my-blackout-some-dumbass-shit-I’m-sure feeling–yeah, I really don’t want THAT feeling.

I’d rather get on with things. And those things–scientific editorial work, story pitching, trip researching, future job planning–can’t be done while thinking about drinking, drunk, or being hung over.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately grappling with the idea of slipping and/or relapsing. For me, slipping was necessary. I don’t like to be afraid, to wonder, and slipping was my way of dispelling my fear: What would it be like if I drank? Welp, I drank and found out! It was necessary, for me anyway, to finally know–deep down, with no lingering doubts–that being sober is better than drinking, and the very least, drinking does not help me now; most of the time, it makes things worse. One glass is more painful than no glass, mainly because I just want more, and more, and more. I know I won’t want to stop, and I’d rather just skip the whole mess.

I never got a pink cloud, but I do have a moment now and then; and one of the best pink-cloud moments is when you sit back and think, Look at what my Saturday is like NOW, versus what it was like when I was drinking? And, the miracle is not that I quit drinking, or reached 60 days. It’s that THIS is my new normal–I expect to get up at 8 or 9 or 10, do the dishes and make coffee, walk the dogs to the beach with my boyfriend, bathe the dogs when we get home, shower, and then drive to “town” to hit a mini-arts fest and shop at a big box store (yes, I can’t tell you how fun shopping for bulk items is, even now, on a Saturday, when any other day prior to last June would have seen me sick and in bed until 3 pm, barely breathing and trying to piece my soul back together form a night out that I don’t remember). Yes, this is my new normal, and how much glitter can I toss over my unicorn’s shoulder to celebrate such an awesome mental and emotional achievement in healing? And endless supply, friends.

You have to go through it to get through it

30 Dec

9:39 pm

I REALLY wanted to drink last night. REALLY, REALLY, REALLY. Frustration, disappointment in self, ennui, fear of the past and future, sadness… I spent the day on the couch, feeling ill, too, which only contributed to this pent-up bad juju.

A fog of desire, that’s what it was. A fog of desire to drink. To drown it out, drown it away.

I used to drink when I felt the way I felt last night. OH, YES, I did. NO WAY IN HELL was I going to let that pimple come to a head. What I mean is, I would shut down the emerging thoughts before they fully formed, effectively transfiguring them into something other, something nebulous–something drunken. I would drink, then weep, yet, I never understood exactly what I was crying about; I knew I felt bad, but I never let myself think the real thoughts, only the drunken, fake ones.

I really wanted to drink the past two days, actually. I’ve just felt low energy, depressed, frustrated. Numerous points, but always the same theme: I’m not doing enough with my talents, I’m wasting valuable time. What’s it all mean? Why create, produce, leave behind, anyway? I’ve forgotten most of my life (I mean, I don’t specifically remember a lot of the hours I’ve been alive, y’know?), what’s the point of creating new memories? (LOL–SUCH a negative thought!) And, of course, the next thought had to come: In fact, what a SHITE thing to do, to have a kid and subject him/her to what I’m feeling and thinking right now, which HAS to cross most people’s minds now and then, right? RIGHT? And on and on. We rented “Ted,” and that was pretty funny, so the night wasn’t ALL BAD, of course! Yet, the whirring continued until my boyfriend went to bed and I was left on the couch (still), wishing I had bought myself a treadmill for Christmas. Or a sledge hammer!

I’ve always felt pressured to accomplish, achieve, create. It’s become an addiction, I know, perceiving my reality this way and reacting to it, usually negatively. However, being sober–getting sober, the process of, actually–has allowed me to begin to see that NO, I don’t have to keep doing what I’ve always done! I have a choice in how I see the world and how I let it make me feel. I mean, I can choose not only WHAT I think about but also HOW I choose to think about certain things, especially my own ideas of productivity, purpose, and achievement. I get to choose how I relate to my thoughts, my feelings, and my gut reactions.

It’s a process, though, so one step forward, two steps back. Last night, I did the usual: I let my brain go there, and pretty soon, I was clenching my gut, nearly wanting to break my teeth because… I…I…What am I doing? What am I doing with my time? Am I simply not a good writer? Have I become a has-been? And then, the thought of thoughts, the rotten core of the apple:

Have I lost myself in being sober? Which, of course, almost instantaneously morphed into, Sobriety has taken myself away from me!

Evil-doer, DEVIL sobriety.

Today, I’m not sure what to think about this melodramatic conclusion except, it’s sort of true. I am no longer my old self. I no longer have wine to boost my mood, to encourage me to want to do what I thought I wanted to do. Without wine, I don’t do this and I don’t do that, so did I ever really LIKE doing this and that? Was I even good at it?

Moreover, I just feel–feel is the key word; feelings are tricky, remember?–like I’m no longer myself! Sure, I’m a new self, and probably a better one. But, I MISS the old me. The “fun” me. I realized I haven’t danced alone in my room since June! That saddens me. And, I have to say, not drinking has left me feeling more content but less happy. I don’t get to get giddy, to let off steam. Sure, I could do this sober, but…why haven’t I?

So, that thought of “I’ve lost myself in getting sober” was what sent me on a crying jag. No wine, though, to initiate it for no apparent reason…and to instantly turn it off when the wine wears off. You know how that goes: you get drunk, you turn on a song (fuck you, Damien Rice), and you start bawling. It feels good, mainly because you DO have something to bawl about but it’s deep down and you simply don’t want to bring it up, or you CAN’T, or you can’t without the wine; and then, the song ends, you abruptly stop crying, and you refill your glass…likely now laughing. At something equally ethereal and, well, NOT REAL.

Last night, the opposite. Real pain, real tears. A staring-me-in-the-face realization that YES, maybe I will never be the same person, maybe I will no longer be able to identify with that self, which I’ve been living with for a long time. Yes, I am getting older; yes, I might not have children; yes, I might be a has-been, as far as the science writing community in [cold east coast city] goes. Yes, yes, yes. And, it hurts.

But you know what? This, too, shall pass. Cry, sit there and sulk in the dark, and then realize, who the FUCK cares anyway aside from little old you? LOL. Like, if John Doe over there doesn’t even KNOW what I’m going through let alone can even identify with it, is it really worth fussing over? Let it go. CHOOSE how you react to your own Never Never Land of thoughts, Drunky Drunk Girl. It’s not real…

A funny thing happened, then, which is pretty simple: I felt better. When I woke up this morning, I felt like I had made some sort of progress. Moved forward, or at least moved beyond a certain point. If I had drunk to drown out my thoughts and feelings, I never would have processed them. I might have had a fake catharsis (cry, hit someone, pass out exhausted), but I would have woken up in the same place–still sad, still semi-baffled and unclear, and worse, HUNG OVAH.

So, the title of my post: you have to go through it to get through it. For me, desiring to drink these days is much less about wanting to get drunk and happy as it is avoiding confronting my “issues.” Which is a good thing to know, really. Simple, but it takes what it takes, right? Oh, AA, I must thank you for your funny little expressions that I’ve sort of come to adore.

(I’ve decided that the Big Book is a bunch of malarkey, but we’ll blog about that another night.)

AND, thank you, Sobersphere, you’ve kept me once again from ruining my streak with one false move–coming up on 90 days in about a week and a half!

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