A Sober Hangover.
Testing, testing… Alright, so. Here I am. All in my muddle and mess of figuring out sobriety day by day, or minute by minute, whichever the case may be. … Noticing that I am feeling embarrassed about my posts yesterday and the complete polarization of them – the high highs and the low lows – because I really was all over the place, and because I put it all out Here. I feel embarrassed because I wasn’t perfect, nor was my sobriety perfect (well, it was in the fact that I didn’t drink, but yesterday was a struggle absolutely in my head). I am embarrassed because I let it all hang out there and put my thoughts out to the ethernet gods and goddesses to note and recognize, or just to file away as having been. Silly human. … Hrm. I also have a sliver of proud in yesterday, because I did let it all out, and I didn’t hide. All of those messy emotions just out there, naked, for everyone to see and read. … Am I having a sober hangover? Is that what this is? Feeling discombobulated, a bit embarrassed (as mentioned), a little confused by myself, and relieved that it all got blurted out in one way or another in the moment. … Yeah. Definitely SoberHangover.
Now that that’s over (by ‘that,’ I mean ‘yesterday)…
After I unleashed all of my thoughts and feelings (like the kraken) on all of you innocent souls, I drove to my show, as I said I would. And no one was the wiser, except the hubs. So, thank you for that, oh, great and all-knowing tide of beautiful humanity. Even though I’m feeling a bit the worse for wear today, I am also feeling better, because I sat in those goddamned ugly things (i.e. emotions) and let them be what they were. And now, after a time, they’ve dissipated and become less. And that is good. And comforting to know the emotions will calm down, if I just give them time (How you say in your language… Patience? (Yeah, that may need to be a life-lesson further down the road…. in my 80s, maybe. Probably 90s.))
Bringing yesterday into focus along the continuum of recovery, I am thinking my 5 stages of grief are all muddled and mixed together, so yesterday’s ups and downs, and especially its sadness and anger make a lot of sense … Now. Later. After the fact. (Don’t you just hate that?)
The 5 Stages of Grief
As Seen Through the Eyes of HM
- Denial & Isolation – Spent a lot of time here, and even revisit it now and again in the past several weeks. If I were super-honest with myself, I would say I spent four solid years in denial, with the past two years becoming harder and harder to hold onto the facade, but goddammit if I was going to let go without a fight. And if I were even more honest than super-honest, I would say my entire 20s were spent justifying and permitting myself to continue drinking, even though I was too good at it (i.e. completely smashed almost every night). The past two years, working with my therapist (hi), I thought it was my depression/bipolar, or at least, I hoped it was my depression that was making it hard to control my drinking (smartie-therapist suspected what I will call the Truth). But I admit, now, to how hard I worked at keeping myself at home and alone with my favorite obscurer of everything happy and sad. In these past few months, I was like the end of a movie when the villain (or the good guy, depending on your point of view) is holding onto the edge of a dusty cliff with the tips of his fingernails, scraping at every little pebble and grain of sand, trying to keep hold.
- Anger – This showed up in full-force yesterday. I also go through many Good days with multiple anger flare-ups, usually directed at my unsuspecting children and/or husband. These bursts of anger are my most frustrating aspects of sobriety thus far. I want to be like Glinda and float along in my big pink, tulle gown, in my big pink, glittery bubble, and show one and all what a kind, benevolent, and sweet (perfect) human being I am. … And then Anger shows up and I send people running for the hills. Usually it’s incidental. Things out of my control, or moments of being nice again and again and trying to move towards an end result, but then shit hits the fan, and I lose my cool. They don’t last very long when they’re just bursts, but still. I wish they didn’t happen so regularly. … I would say yesterday’s anger was a different from the daily fare. I was angry about missing alcohol, and angry that I couldn’t be like ‘everyone else,’ and angry because sobriety is hard, and angry because why do I have to go through it like this, and angry because I have to go through it at all, and angry because I know sobriety is the right choice and way for me, and that in and of itself pisses me the fuck off. And I still feel those things today to some extent, but in a much smaller way. A much quieter ‘It’s not fair’ 5-year-old-self mewling and whining and feeling generally sorry for herself. WahWah. Poor baby. I know she will come out every once in awhile, as will the louder, angrier yelly voice, but again. It will pass. Eventually.
- Bargaining – I think before I ever ventured into this sober world, I had jumped well into this stage. I would do anything to be able to curb my drinking habit. I was just like so many others – setting glass limits, or saying I’ll take a day off, or swearing I will only drink on the weekends, or giving myself a start time that would magically get pushed earlier and earlier, or …. anything I could think of to not have to let go of drinking all together. … Frustrating that this voice is still trying to be heard in my abstinence. This is the little whisper that keeps bringing up the devil Moderation. It wiggles its way into my brain on a given day, and then it takes all of my effort to either shut it up, or at the very least, to let it whisper on all day while I get my ire up and work to ignore it or focus on something else. Having taken the option of drinking completely off the table has helped so much, because even when the bargaining voice shows up (the fucker), because I can’t drink, I don’t. Does that makes sense? Yes, of course I want to entertain the idea, but because I am not drinking, and even though the bargaining whispers get louder as a day goes on, I don’t drink because I can’t. I’m not doing that, so I don’t. A little elementary, but it seems to work. … This stage, too, is what really feeds into the other cycle of anger for me – particularly in sobriety. As soon as this one shows up, my pissed-off-self is not too far behind. I wish I could pop this bargaining voice with a dart. I fucking hate it. Grr.
- Depression – This one takes on different shapes and sizes depending on the day. Sometimes I am sad, but beatifically saint-like as I say ‘goodbye’ to alcohol. Sometimes I am just skinned-my-knee-sad that it’s a hard day and uncomfortable. Some days I look into the future (even though I am only supposed to look at today), and I see all of the ‘todays’ to come and miss it, miss alcohol Forever. That feels like a black hole on those days, or okay, I have a short attention span, in those minutes or hours. … Before I committed to sobriety, I was in this stage along with the denial/isolation for a long while. I looked at Forever a lot, and I think it is what held me back from committing sooner to this (awesome) journey. … And again, yesterday I was here, too, because it was intermingled with my anger. I like the beatific-saint-days best – I feel so superior and smug.
- Acceptance – Finally got to this point after years of avoidance, mixed with everything above. One day – 9 June, 2015 – I realized today was the day. I don’t even know why I chose that day, or how it chose me. … I mean, yes, there is the cute math problem that came with it, but really? I didn’t go on a bender the night before, I didn’t embarrass myself the night before, I didn’t wake-up with an incredibly significant headache, but? I was done. And I was ready. After going through these stages over and over for years, it was time. And I am still mostly here than any of the other stages, so that is awesome. I know I must be sober. I am better sober. And as I said before, many times, I am Me sober.
Day 27, mic drop.