I am on the countdown to 2016 and currently at 149 days of sobriety. I am also experiencing my very first week off without alcohol during the winter. You might be thinking to yourself, am I going to be counting every fractal of time against when I drank? I suspect that the answer is yes. At least it is what I see around me and have heard. It isn’t coincidence that us alcoholics tend to have similar experiences in activity and when we recover. I see a lot of ‘firsts’ in my communities whether it be AA, online groups, etc. Those ‘firsts’ are milestones to remind us that we CAN do something we did in the past sober. Case in point. My Christmas Eve EXPERIENCE.
Upon the arrival of Christmas Eve, aside from the absence of the traditional stocking up of wine and beer, I was feeling pretty darn good. I had everything ready to go. The only thing I had to do was get through the evening of visitors and cross fingers that my husband and BIL didn’t bicker. (or anyone else for that matter) What happened next was totally unexpected. Once people arrived and BIL with (2) puppies in tow – those neural pathways that are suppose to be healing started to get itchy. They started to explode and my brain went into another dimension. I could NOT COPE with the feelings and noise and activity. It isn’t the first time I have been amongst people but I turned into an anxious mess and had to either a) clean and cook or b) take walks up to my airy bedroom. This was bad but I kept telling myself, “I don’t care if they think I am weird, look pissy, am antisocial, I need to take care of me.” Now thankfully I was able to converse just fine and it was a fine evening but I could very distinctly remember that if I had been drinking I could have so easily blocked everything out. I would have been able to have drunken conversations with my in-laws and I would have been blah blah blah all the way to bed. This is where the dis-ease takes hold. I see how relapse is an option at these points of anxiety and weakness. Once you begin to feel ‘those’ feelings and do not reach out for help, it can be game over. Needless to say, I also was aiming to go to an ‘alcathon (AA open speaker meetings run 48 hours / holiday times).’ I got too tired and fell asleep. The next day was 200x better and I believe those neural pathways are still healing just fine.
The rest of the days up until today have more or less been me just being present with me. Nothing more and nothing less. I am not pushing myself to do anything this week like take on a new house task, etc…I am doing a lot of self-care and just taking each moment as it is. I also notice I slip into uneasy funks of depression or what I refer to as ‘the blues.’ I know they will pass. One meeting I went to opened my eyes to what someone referred to as “emotional hangover.” As soon as they said that it was like ‘yesssss.’ As good as meetings can be and helpful, I feel drained. I suspect for me that it is living in sobriety and recovery is bringing forth a lot of reflection more so as I DO navigate the memories of drunken experience and relate them to now. I must continue to have faith that a more exuberant and joyful/peaceful person is lurking and coming out someday. Today, spiritually I feel as if I am a bit soul sucked and I keep thinking how much I really hate people. I believe this feeling comes from the emotional and physical drain that people can place on ourselves without our wanting. It isn’t purposeful either. It is being in life and it can bear down for sensitive types like myself. Either way, I am not picking up a drink and it is OK for today.