Over and Over

For some reason, I got it in my head that I was only allowed to write here if I was staying sober. I guess that’s because it started out as my sobriety journal. But this is supposed to be a journal for me, for my thoughts, for my progression. I wish it wasn’t so easy for me to forget that and always wonder what other people will think when they read it.

I had a rough day today, another Day One. I started out this morning angry as all hell and posted about it here. Deleted it 20 minutes later. It’s still in the RSS so I can go back and see it, but I didn’t want certain people to stumble across it and get hurt. Besides, I know that my anger, and the chemicals still floating in my brain, blind me and I would feel differently later. And I was right. I am not raging at my friends tonight. As a matter of fact, the universe sent me a reminder why I shouldn’t be, right around lunchtime, and I had to laugh.

But I was no better off today than I was back in March, the day after I had my nervous breakdown. My mind and my emotions were all over the place. They still are, by the looks of this rambling I’m doing. I just want this time to be “it.” I can’t live like this any more. With distorted thinking, distorted perceptions, not trusting my own judgment, feeling crazy and sad and angry and lost.

I am no longer going to question my alcoholism. I will no longer try to control it simply because I have a spiritual belief that we create our lives, that we are in control. This is different. Alcoholism is different.

I will no longer allow Steve to enable me. I get the meaning of that word from my childhood now more than ever. He didn’t mean to, and believe me, I need to remind myself of that lest I resent him for a false reason. I am just a very powerful force and my words are very convincing. So I need to stay brutally honest with him because in doing so I think he has finally started to understand what this really means. And I will allow him to help me, to help hold me up when I need it. Because sometimes I really, really need it. I don’t mean to “fix” me but just be… a leaning post. I walk in tense solitude too often and forget I have a safe and loving person to hold me if I need him to.

I will also no longer worry about whether or not some of my friends think I am weak or think I am being silly or overly dramatic about my drinking (and no, these are not friends who drink). I don’t know if some of them are, but it seems that way in my head, and that’s all that matters because it affects my judgment. But I can’t let those thoughts do that to me. I need to trust that I know what is right and wrong in my life and alcohol is so very wrong.

Save for the 9 weeks I stayed sober from March to May, I’ve been drunk nearly every night for 6 years straight. On a typical night of drinking, I would have 5 shots of vodka and a beer. Enough to feel pretty trashed. I would wake up every day exhausted and in emotional pain, dragging myself to work, wondering why I did it again.

Sometimes, usually on Fridays, it was more. The aftermath of those nights were the Saturdays I would wake up at 8:00 a.m., wondering for a moment how I got in bed, if I had eaten, who I had called on the phone and talked to death. The thoughts in my head running the gamut from “I’m stupid” to “Never again” to “I hate myself.” Over and over and over. For years on end. I have destroyed my self-esteem and my own inner peace that I worked so hard for back in 2005, 2006. It absolutely kills me that I let that slip away from me. That I let music slip away, and reading, and so many other things I used to love.

I cannot moderate, I cannot bargain with myself. It doesn’t work. I have to be starkly honest with myself, whether sober for a day or 10,000 days that, for me, it doesn’t work.

My friend Rebecca once said to me “I love you, with or without the alcohol. But I think you deserve the life without it.” And I know she’s right. Deep inside, I still believe this. I don’t hate myself. I am still the optimistic, spiritual, joyous, thoughtful young person I always was. I am strong. I am a wonderful woman. And I do deserve better.

So why have I kept drinking? That’s the long-running mystery of it, I guess. The nature of the addiction beast. Knowing that when I am sober, I am happy and patient and kind, not only with others, but with myself… that when I am sober, I don’t feel so crazy, my head is quiet, my thoughts are rational… that my optimism is present in full force… yet still drinking every night anyway? Well, as my friend Jen said this morning, addiction doesn’t like logic. Word.

Just putting all this down for tonight as another good honest start. I am mentally shaky tonight, but I know tomorrow will be better and brighter and clearer. And the day after that and so forth. I will simply take each day as it comes.

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14 thoughts on “Over and Over

  1. I know it sounds cliche, but I'm gonna say it anyway. You never have to feel like you feel today, ever again.

    I read your post earlier. I'm just going to say that some things will never change and that is their stuff — not yours. You worry about you and making yourself whole.

    I hope you find it in yourself to get to an AA meeting and dive into recovery. Things don't have to be this way — the way they are today.

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  2. This post took my breath away.

    What I hear in your words is Surrender, and it's beautiful.

    There is such a gift in putting down the sword, throwing your hands up and saying “I give up”. It's not because you are weak, but because you are incredibly strong.

    I tried over and over to control my drinking, waking up every morning having those conversations in my head. I thought I was strong, I thought having insight into myself and strong spirituality would do the trick.

    I realized, one day, that it's bigger than me. I have been able to get myself through every other challenge in my life, and I thought I could get myself through the drinking, too.

    I was wrong. And I'm so grateful for the insight that I can't do this alone – it's insanity to try.

    Moderation will never, ever work for me, because alcohol takes my reality and turns it on its ear, works its way into my mind and my body and I'm no longer a strong, confident, loving person – it makes me afraid, it makes me hate myself, it makes me feel alone no matter how many people I'm around.

    I thought living without alcohol would be the end – the end of the funny, spirited me. The end of nights out laughing with friends, the end of good times.

    I was so very, very wrong. Living without alcohol has set me free. The price of that freedom is to surrender, over and over, to the plan that is in place for me – the one I don't control, the one I don't alter with booze.

    If you're anything like me, when you start to feel better mentally, spiritually and physically, the voice will start calling to you again – maybe I'm okay now? Maybe it was just because I was X or Y or Z that it was bad back then. Maybe I can drink moderately now?

    Without the honesty, the support network, I put in place when I was ready to surrender – left to my own resources – I wouldn't have been able to stay sober after my mind cleared and I felt better.

    Reaching out, being honest, letting other people who love you know the truth and letting them be there for you will keep you strong.

    Good for you. Keep talking, keep up your beautiful self-honesty and self-care. You're totally worth it. I think you're amazing.

    You helped me so much today. Thank you.

    -Ellie

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  3. Yay, you are writing again! And more than that, you are starting anew. Everyone keeps saying not to think about forever. I know I can't. So don't. It's just what you do today.

    Thanks so much for all of the comments on my blog, they really helped. I've commented back to you on those posts. I'm looking forward to reading more, so please keep writing!

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  4. Thank you for your posts. I check in here every so often and I'm grateful that you're writing honestly, whether or not you're sober. I so admire you your strength to be fighting this fight. I am not there yet, but I know it's coming. I think by reading this stuff I am preparing myself. I am eternally grateful for this whole online network of women writing about their drinking.

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  5. What a wonderful post. There's a lot of clarity right there, a lot of realization and strength and determination, and it's wonderful to see.

    xoxox

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  6. So happy to read this one. Very much so. I'm just going to say watch those negative thought patterns. They will suck you in. I've never quit anything on the first try. Remember to be gentle and loving with yourself. You are with everyone else – why not yourself? This is a hard thing you're doing. Don't beat yourself up in the process of learning.

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  7. BRB Queen – It doesn't sound cliche and I appreciate your comments. Thanks. šŸ™‚

    Diane! Thank you for your support and for coming by and reading. That means a lot to me. ā™„

    Ellie – You hit the nail on the head. Surrender. I felt that last night in a way I never have before. I think I finally understand that control is not an option, that this is different.

    I had no idea how much you related to me nor I to you until I read your comments here. I've been saying to many women I've read “yes, I get that, I relate” but I must admit that your words hit home the hardest. I think our experience must have been very similar. And that gives me a lot of hope.

    Thank you so, so much.

    NT – It's funny, I don't think about forever. I never did any time I “quit.” I'm not sure why I haven't been able to stay stopped. That's the great mystery though, like I said. And I will keep writing!

    Anonymous – You're welcome and thank you as well. I know what you mean about preparing yourself. And I hope you are too.

    Mel – Much appreciated. Don't disappear on me. I'm so glad you haven't so far. xo right back.

    Jess – I guess it's good this isn't my first try then. šŸ˜‰ If you're talking serious efforts (i.e., not the typical alcoholic “quit for a day or two hey I'm not so bad off drink on the third day thing”), this is my third attempt. Third time's the charm?

    I know what you mean, I know from all our talks, why you say all that about the negative thoughts and such. About being kind. I am simply hoping that what happened back in March, April happens again. That once I am sober a couple of months, about 80% of that garbage just… vanishes… from my thinking. That's what I was positing to Jen yesterday – if I know that all that mental poison disappears with sobriety, then why oh why do I keep drinking? Ugh. Addiction.

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  8. I'm totally with Ellie. She took the words right out of my mouth.

    I think the reason I was able to surrender when I did was because I told Dave everrrrrrrything. It sucked and I was shaking and crying and shamed but when it was over, I was lighter than I'd been in years. It's a big deal, the full-on honesty. The full-on surrender. I hear it here, too.

    xo

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  9. God, Ellie nailed it. So much truth in one comment. Save that one for later — you'll need it. Hell, *I* need it!

    Every Day One is a win, not a loss, M. Every time you resolve anew to get sober, you win. Keep looking ahead, not back. You might end up with a drawer full of white chips, but sooner or later it will stick.

    You can do this. I have no doubt. I continue to admire your strength and honesty.

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