As I lamented this morning about my struggles with Sundays, not only general emotional well being, but sobriety as well, I got support and feedback that sent me down a rabbit hole of thoughts. First and foremost, my sobriety is still young. 128 days young. I keep forgetting this. I’ve always been self aware and introspective, even before sobriety so I have a tendency to be a few steps ahead of any revelations before they hit. So it stands to reason that I would rush this, too. I’m in a stage where I’m still understanding the healing process, fighting constant triggers and learning who I will be as a sober person. Some days it sucks. It’s frustrating to be here. I’ve always been fighting something internally and it can be tiring. Now that I have to do it clear-headed, it can be enlightening and revelatory, but it can also be tiring and anxiety-inducing.
Another friend mentioned that right around the point I’m at, she fell off the proverbial pink cloud of elated feelings and suddenly found herself in a quagmire of feelings she thought were gone. The pink cloud is dangerous at times because it’s essentially a natural high after letting go of the other highs we clung to. It can be misleading if you embrace it too heartily and identify it as the new state of being. The comparison I made was that of raising an infant or a toddler. As a child is growing and developing you can get in a routine as their sleep levels out and becomes consistent or their meltdowns reduce, at least in comparison to previous behavior. Suddenly one week you realize you’re getting up more often with them, they can barely keep it together and you’re losing your mind. Usually related to growth spurts or teething or other child things, it’s disruptive and confusing. To all of you. While I understand the oddity of comparing substance abuse to children, bear with me. Both are phases of growth. New steps in development. Essentially, when you enter sobriety, you are starting over again in a sense. Your emotional state is sometimes in a stage comparable to infancy. Because you have to learn how to operate without your crutch or having any idea how to manage it. Teeth make the child uncomfortable and feelings unsuppressed make us uncomfortable.
Another friend asked me what was making Sunday my go-to difficult day, and I ran through the laundry list. My anxiety about the week ahead has been something I’ve had since I was young. Worried about succeeding, fretting about things going wrong. How interactions would go and what would come of them. Failure of self is a repetitive chant in the back of my mind, no matter how self aware or confident I am the majority of the time. I used to be able to avoid thinking about what the week ahead might bring with drinking. It’s that simple. What I can’t think about, I can’t obsess about and nothing quiets the mind like a vice. In addition, loneliness has been haunting me considerably lately and I’m fighting through it, knowing it’s likely representative of something deeper. Whether it’s the approval of others or just needing that human aspect. (Not to mention that subtle little whisper of brokenness I haven’t fully fixed that tells me no one wants the sober girl. I’m too much a mess. Too raw, too sarcastic, too exposed. I share too much, I feel too much and my matter of fact nature can be unappealing.) All of this I also used to keep hidden behind an oblivion I found in bottles. I feel abnormal for having to avoid doing so. I feel as though I’ll always be the outcast for being in this position. Addiction isn’t a light topic and alcohol wasn’t always my only vice. But it was my primary absolution from my feelings. I spent more of yesterday fighting my urge to drink than not. I went shopping to avoid it. To the detriment of my wallet, but sometimes I have to pick my battles. As a friend said, it’s better than the alternative. I gazed at the beer cooler at the gas station today and thought maybe just one would be safe. The lies we tell ourselves to find peace are often the boldest. As others have told me, the mere fact that I’m having these internal debates and justifications are the exact reason I have to stay sober and I have to just feel. I haven’t hit nearly as many of the growth spurts I’m going to experience as I think I have. I have a lot of work still ahead, despite the diligence I’ve put towards reclaiming my life so the future can be enriching.
I’m even questioning sharing this. Assuming most are tired of me constantly talking about my feelings or my sobriety or who I am. But I’m forcing no one to read it, and every once in a while the words I share inspire, at least so I’ve been told. I’m genuinely tired at this time of fighting the good fight. Flying high one day on how much more whole I feel, while crashing down on these days where I question every moment that led to this. Where I find myself in the same states of being on the same days, again and again. Breaking some cycles and feeding others. I can get cliche and state that no one ever said life would be easy, nor did they say it would this hard, but I’m not black and white and there are too many grays and adjectives in between.
All I can do is not let these days set me back, but instead build upon what I’m creating. Rearranging the pieces of the puzzle that I had just shoved into place without seeing if they fit. I have to assume that eventually more days will be easier than not. My dedication to staying with the moments instead of running will provide me the ability to head them off at the pass. That these growth spurts and challenges have a purpose. If I lose sight of these hopes, I’m no longer trying. And that’s just not something I can settle with. My pursuit of happiness is widespread in hopes that as I find mine, I inspire, and also lead by example for my children. Reminding myself of all of these ideals is how I stay on the other side of the dark today and in the future. My growth is my goal, and it’s how I’ll get where I’m headed.