Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Turkey Surprise

Well, that came out of nowhere. …. Well, okay, it didn’t, but it sure whacked me over the head, took all my money, and left me on the sidewalk wondering what the hell just happened.

October620131117TurkeySurprise_Large

The ‘it’ I am referring to is the brutal saboteur that is my brain/my addiction/my years of wine-training that came full-force to the table (so to speak) on Thursday at our family’s Thanksgiving celebration. As I said in a post that day, I had started the day a little crabby-pants because of a few factors, but that I had come around and was doing a-okay by the afternoon.

Then, POW! Got to the in-laws for the meal, and I suddenly could not focus or breathe very easily. I walked into the garage and felt a surge of old feelings that have laid dormant for the past several months because there have been no reason for them to come out and play. The cliche of being hit with a ton of bricks would be accurate in describing my feelings at that particular moment. I suddenly wanted a bottle of wine, I wanted a glass in my hand, I wanted to already be tipsy because I could have been drinking all afternoon because it was a holiday-day and that’s what this woman does on holiday-days. I wanted to be giggly and silly and a little naughty because the day was designed for all those things to be Okay.

In the moment I did a few weird things to try and find my ground. I went inside and gave hugs and kisses (that part wasn’t weird), then as people were putting their coats away, etc., I went into the kitchen and got down the wine glasses from the top shelf (I’m tall, remember?) for my parents, my mother-in-law, and one for me. Then, without lifting my head up, I walked out to the garage, opened the mini-fridge and got out a can of fancy iced tea for myself, and in the very next moment, opened the wine cooler and picked up a bottle of wine for my family. By the time I was back to the door going into the house, I had the thought, ‘I am an enabler!’ I got inside, handed my dad the bottle – I practically threw it at him to get it out of my hands, then I walked around to my wine glass, opened my tea, and poured myself a glass. (I haven’t used a wine glass since I quit drinking in June, I don’t think, and I thought the having one would make me feel better. But it didn’t. Like I told the hubs, I was just trying to find a thing that would make me feel better. Now I know for next time, a wine glass isn’t that answer.)

By this time, I felt a little spinny and a little panicky, so I just declared I was going to walk home quick and be right back (we live down the street). So I put my coat and hat on and trudged back home. I took 300 mg of gabapentin to relax me a little (needs must in this case), then I wrote that quick update to all of you in the midst of my spinny head, and then walked back down to the in-laws.

I will say the gabapentin didn’t help as much as I had hoped it would. However, having taken it, I couldn’t do anything More for myself, other than what some of you had recommended – find my own space, breathe, center myself, find some calm. And really? The discomfort I felt was okay. I mean, I was doing weird things trying to navigate my way through it, but even just sitting in the discomfort, which I did when I got back to the party, was okay. It wasn’t great, but it was okay. And I survived it. And I didn’t drink. So that was good.

I found the calm I was looking for more towards the end of the meal. It was a small get-together, and my parents, myself, my mother-in-law, and the hubs were all in the same room together, and we just talked for two hours straight. It was the best part of the day. Hands down. And that’s when I was good. I had made it over the hump of wanting and thinking a drink would make everything better, and wondering why it couldn’t be like it used to be for me, and all that baloney bullshit. We just sat and talked and Laaaaaaughed. And it was Wonderful. And I remember all of it. And I was present, I and enjoyed every second. What a gift!

The next day, the hubs and I brought the babes down for leftovers, and the wine bottle from the party was sitting on a counter in the garage -with wine still in it! It was then, 24 hours later, that I realized what a mess the actual holiday would have been if I had still been drinking. I guarantee we would have gone through 3, and maybe even 4!, bottles of wine, because I would have been pushing the stuff on everyone in order to make myself feel less guilty, and to shift the focus away from myself. I would have been embarrassed, even though I was with my favorite people in the world, because I would have worried they would notice how much I was drinking, which probably would have ‘inspired’ me to drink more because that equation is always the brilliant way to go, and then I would have woken up the next day hungover and pretending that I wasn’t, etc., etc., so on and so forth. … … Wow. Instead, all of my normie family members just had a glass, I drank my fancy ice tea, and we all enjoyed the day.

Things are different now. Different in a GoodGood Way. Thursday was hard and difficult and it sucked the Big One, but I’m here and still sober. Almost six months sober. CrazyPants. And Phew! Even with all of Thursday’s surprise mental hurdles, the day really did show me, without any doubt, that it is necessary I am sober. Mandatory. ‘Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.’

Day 172 and still learning…

 

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26 thoughts on “Turkey Surprise

  1. Wonderful, what a learning experience. You are doing great, very impressive. πŸ™‚ I am happy that you (also) had a Very Good time with your family. Lovely.
    xx, Feeling

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  2. Great job Heya – as you say that was the motherload and if you can gey through that you can get through pretty much anything! πŸ™‚ xx

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  3. riding on empty on said:

    They do just come out of nowhere sometimes. Holidays can be a big trigger, and it sounds like this may have been your first true holiday without wine. Shit like that can send you into orbit where you can’t breathe. Good conversation can take your mind off of the craving. Nice work. Keep on truckin’ as Jerry would say.

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  4. They way you describe it, it sounds very similar to a panic attack, poor HM1 but you conquered it as is your usual style. God forbid if it ever happens again, you’re armed and ready.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Whoa, rough day! So proud of you:)

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  6. Whoops, itchy trigger finger. I think leaving for a bit was a good move and in the future if that’s what it takes then do it.

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  7. What’s gabapentin?

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  8. So true. Well, and I am actually grateful to have Thanksgiving as a test-run of sorts before Christmas. The food and the people are very similar, but as a ‘celebration’ (i.e. ‘drinking’) kind of a day, I think Christmas blurs over 2, or even 3 days, depending on the vacation time. Thanksgiving was a good practice round – and a little shorter! *smile*

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks, Betty. It did end up being a good idea. And I was back so quickly, it didn’t really affect the day, I don’t think.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Anne, I believe it was prescribed to me as primarily an anti-anxiety med – to be used to relax my brain and, originally, to get through the witching hour so that I wouldn’t drink. I barely used it at all over the summer. However, once the school year hit, I’m finding it more helpful – particularly in immediate anxiety triggers like Thanksgiving was. As my psych says, ‘It helps to take the ‘edge’ off,’ and that’s what I use it for. When I checked in with her on Wednesday, I said I want to get away from gabapentin at the end of my first year of sober-selfdom. In the meantime, I am finding that having something as a backup plan is helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Have you looked at GABA as in GABA aminobutyric acid?
    You can buy it at the grocery store and it works amazingly well for situational anxiety.

    I have bad anxiety and when I have episodes I use it and it works wonders.

    Some brands are called calm.

    It’s worth trying. I love it.

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  12. Thank you, Anne! I will definitely check it out.

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  13. Anxiety is such a horrible thing. Sometimes I wonder how I lasted so long living. In a constant state of panic and paranoia.

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  14. Very insightful! Amazing how much we can learn when we are sober and can remember it. My first stent of sobriety was riddled with drinking seltzer water etc from a wine glass..I just couldn’t let go of not being able to be a normie..frankly I think normal drinkers are rare anyway. Holidays are triggers for us all…and you just had a very positive learning experience…way to go!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Robert Crisp on said:

    Well done, madame. I have to admit, my breath caught when I was reading and got to the part where you took down the wine glasses…in part, because I was worried, and in part because I was right there with you, seeing the whole thing. We’re all connected, anyway, and even more because of our addiction.

    I think this was a wonderful (though not fun) opportunity for you to see the merits of not drinking and, more importantly, that you can sit with and move through difficult feelings. You “felt your feelings,” as they say. I often remind myself that pain is not punishment and pleasure is not reward. Emotions are super-charged thoughts and they don’t define us, not even the good ones.

    Still learning is the absolute, wonderful truth about being in recovery. To borrow a Biblical metaphor, the scales are falling from my eyes, and I learn something new every day I wake up sober.

    Great post. Thanks for catching us up. Have a wonderful Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You did so amazingly well, to remove yourself by popping home was such a great idea, if I hadn’t already known you’d survived sober (after yesterday’s message) I’d have been worried too where you recounted about the wine glasses πŸ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I agree, if it wasn’t for the 6 months sober part, I wouldn’t have made it. I was ready to cave in to the overwhelm. But we both made it. Lori

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  18. Thank you so much, Pamela.* And isn’t funny when we ‘hold onto’ things/crutches/habits/addictions, and we don’t even realize it, ala the wine glass? Humans are incredible.

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  19. Thank you, Robert. I love the scales metaphor – beautiful thought! You have a grand Sunday yourself.* I’m sipping my coffee and getting ready to get up and go. I’m thinking doughnuts are in our future…

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  20. Thank you.* It was helpful – I’m lucky we live so close! But it will also remind me for next time just to have the meds with me in the first place. *smile* Silly Monster.

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  21. So awesome, Lori. And do you know? I almost wrote that exact same thing in my blog. I am so grateful for the time I have built under me. It is a gift to have some Time in my favor going into the holiday haze. It will (and already has) help(ed) me stay on track. Phew! Congratulations to you as well.* We did it! *smile*

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Robert Crisp on said:

    Mmmm…doughnuts….

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Untipsyteacher on said:

    Dear HM,
    I am so glad you made it through to the other side, the good sober side!!
    I take gabapentin, too!
    I take it at night to help make my mood more even.
    I suffered for years with panic attacks and anxiety, and it is so much better now.
    Thank goodness.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Wendy, I am so glad you’ve found a better balance. I think gabapentin is a huge help in balancing the stresses that occur without warning. Go, Team MN! *smile* And thanks for the cheers, too. It was tricky, but here we are on the other side. Phew!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. How great that you got through that day, that you just dealt with all of your difficult feelings without drinking. You did so many great things. Awesome. Now the next time you go through something similar (like at Christmas, or a birthday, or a random party…) you’ll have some experience to draw on. Sober muscles. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dinah, it means so much to hear from you right now. Thank you.* I’ve been thinking about you and your family a lot this past week, and thinking and sending you comforting and healing thoughts. It is so good to hear ‘your voice’ today.* -HM.

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