Tag Archives: what is

Don’t give up before your motivation returns

5 Nov

2:46 pm

So, in getting sober, I’ve realized that there are things about myself that I know. Things that simply make me “me,” that are neither things that I have to accept nor things that I have to change. They are things that just ARE, and these things are OK.

Like, I’ve always been an overachiever. Some of this behavior was maladaptive, but to a certain degree, I was just born this way. I THRIVE off stress, off getting things done. A LOT of people do, I’m not saying I’m special. In fact, I’ve been wondering about this ever since I got sober. Why have I been struggling so much this past year? Well, I’ve been lacking in motivation because I don’t have wine anymore, that’s true, but I’ve also been going against my grain. Why do I need to go, go, go? Why do I like big cities, with all their ambitious people and innovative ideas and commotion and conflict? I don’t know! I just DO. That’s me.

The past few days have been awesome–large to-do lists, lots of information and sources to research, too much to do, all of it competing for my time. I got off on working in environments like this–for years I worked in the startup industry, and when I went back to corporate America, I can look back now and say that’s when I became depressed. When I went back to graduate school and was once again stretched to my limit, I was on top of the world again! Too bad I didn’t know how to manage my stress and my expectations–my “workaholism,” I suppose I could call it.

It’s always been a fine line for me, but in re-reading my journal from this year last night, I can say this much: I was my most enthusiastic after returning from a weekend visit back to NYC; and, I have never been more vexed, in general, than this past year struggling with too little to do and no motivation to do it.

No motivation was a daily thing in my journal, from about March until, well, now. It’s seriously been a theme in my getting sober. It was a constant struggle, and I blogged about it quite a bit. Now? I feel like there’s been some movement, something’s changed. My brain is healing, for real. Chemicals and circuits are getting back in shape. And, I can honestly say that it’s been like a missile landing in my lap, this return of my motivation levels. What a relief.

My focus, my desire to work, and my ability to manage my time–it’s all back, so it seems. I can “parse” information even better than I remember I could. For example, I seem to have learned how to say “Fuck it” to my perfectionist tendency to get lost in the details when reporting, and instead, focus on the bigger picture, the gist of it. What I need to know is who to contact; what I don’t need to know is their field of expertise (that’s why I’m interviewing them), OR–and this is key–whether or not they’re going to think I’m stupid or ill-prepared. That’s none of my business, what they think of me. (And, they simply don’t think of me, is the point. When I was drinking, I was always so concerned with what others were supposedly thinking about me. Ugh.)

It really does seem that it’s happened only within the past several weeks, maybe a month or two at most–along with motivation, I find myself focusing less on the “what if’s” and trying to perfect the outcome, and more on the “why not?” and “just do it.”

I almost gave up. I was so frustrated that I was going to be “brain-dead” forever. It’s been almost 17 months since I started getting sober, so, seeing my focus and motivation needing that long to come back is DEFINITELY a deterrent to me starting to drink again (even in moderation, whatever that means).

These past few weeks, I feel new. Renewed. A version 3.0 of myself. (I was going to say 2.0, but I think at 39, I’ve already had at least one major upgrade, right?)

The point of this post is, don’t give up! It will come. As Carol said on “Walking Dead” on Sunday’s episode (because you never know where you’re going to find sober inspiration!):

How do you not feel afraid? You just fight it and fight it and fight it and then one day, you’re not afraid anymore. We all change.

Nostalgia, not cravings

1 Nov

11:12 pm

I wanted to drink last night. Why? I have this thing that says, I can’t go out and not drink. I can’t hang sober. And, most importantly, I can’t get my “sexy cop” or “sexy nurse” or “sexy unicorn” on WITHOUT WINE. I just can’t do it yet.

I felt sad last night, too. I felt sad that I wasn’t in the big city I used to live in, that I wasn’t dressing up like I used to, that I wasn’t going out to marvel at the bazillion costumes on the streets; that I was here, at home, not able to care, unwilling to even try to pull a costume together.

It wasn’t Wolfie, though, because I didn’t actually want to drink. (OK, maybe I did, but it wasn’t a huge craving.) I just wanted what I used to have, which always happened to include wine! The number of things that I no longer do that coincide with me no longer drinking–well, that’s the rub. I changed a LOT in getting sober, including my job, my location, my friends, and my relationship status. And, in getting sober itself, well, you guys know, you change everything within all those sub-categories! So, sometimes I can’t quite parse out what, exactly, I feel and need to focus on from the mess of thoughts.

No, it wasn’t Wolfie-boy. It was nostalgia. For what I had, and for what I now don’t have.

So, I spent the night feeling sad, and then pouted, and then just went to bed. But, you know what? I got a pumpkin today. And, I wasn’t hung over. And, it’s been a hugely productive past few weeks as a freelance writer. I feel like my renewed focus and enthusiasm to work has been building–and, the past week or so, it just sort of popped! For instance, it seems that all of the sudden, I am pitching, not caring what editors think about me (they don’t), have started having days when the story ideas just keep coming (or, rather, I’ve stopped killing them before they have the chance to bloom in my head).

In fact, Belle was right on about something changing around 8 to 10 months–it happened to me, too. Somewhere around 9 months, things just changed.

I guess I sort of stopped automatically linking wine with relief. Stopped wanting it whenever my energy flagged, or my mood swung, or an editor rejected me, or someone was following me too close in my car, or the sun went behind the clouds. I mean, I still do have thoughts of wine–especially when I am feeling nostalgic and I want what “was” and not what “is”–but I don’t really feel the pull anymore to drink when shit hits the fan. As I wrote on Lilly’s blog the other day, it’s almost like “drinking is not fun” has become a fact, one that is simply impossible to deny. Drinking is not fun–fact. I have other options, like going to bed, or sitting there with a grimace, or watching tv and sighing, or petting the dogs, or going for a 15-minute run and then coming back to my desk and NOT GIVING UP. This idea that drinking is the answer, this emotional pull–it’s gone. And I never thought it would happen, honestly. I thought I would have to battle this pull forever, however niggling. I still do have cravings, but the urge to drink as reaction seems to have disappeared. Bigger fish to fry, Wolfie-fuckhead. SEE YA!

On that note, I am going to go and carve my pumpkin now. Maybe I should give it a wolf’s face? Happy All Saints’ Day, friends!

Violet Tempest

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