Definitions of self

In spite of this problem (my struggles with addiction), I deeply and profoundly love, respect and accept myself.’

It was suggested to me by my therapist to repeat this mantra to myself out loud. She stressed the importance of saying it out loud. By using my mouth to shape the words and actually hear my voice saying the statement, she hoped that something would click so that maybe, just maybe the meaning will stick in my mind and I will believe it.

I have trouble accepting myself. I think a good portion of my ‘stuckness’ around self-acceptance comes from being adopted. I never felt connected to my family while I was growing up. I always wondered where I came from and who made me. However, my parents didn’t use the word ‘adoption’ and they never asked me how I felt about it. I took their lack of openness as shame. I thought they were embarrassed that they had to adopt me. I followed their lead and never spoke about it either. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t truly theirs and I never learned how to talk about it because we didn’t have a dialogue.

I adopted ‘adoption’ as a form of protection. If I kept myself apart by being ‘adopted’ then the confusion and emptiness I felt about my parents’ assumed shame wouldn’t hurt as much. I would think to myself, ‘no one understands me, it must be because I’m adopted.’ Within that word I was safe. Underneath that label I was able to drift away and not feel anything because I had a built-in excuse. I would think, ‘I’m adopted, you’ll never understand who I am or how I feel.’

But now that I’m an adult, I actually found a dialogue about adoption with my mother (and oh my God was I wrong about her feeling ashamed of me. As far as she is concerned, I have always simply and completely been hers) and with that came the ability and courage to actually find my birth parents. I met them. I spent time with them. I met 2 of my 4 half siblings. I hugged my birth mother and my birth father. I engaged with them. I learned from them and discovered with them. Then I lost them to each other (I’ll get into the belly of that beast at some point down the road, I promise). And now, I don’t have anything left to protect myself with. I don’t have the armor I’ve always worn with some sort of backwards pride because ‘adopted’ doesn’t really apply anymore. Sure, that’s how I started my life, but it will not be how I continue or end it.

Now I’m wondering how I’m going to define myself as I move forward. I’m not the tragically lost ‘adopted’ girl anymore. I’ve grown up. I’ve evolved and I am a woman, standing on my own two feet in spite of all the problems that afflict me. I am stumbling, but I’m still fucking walking forward. I’m still excited for my future. I still feel joy and hope in my heart when I think about what my life will look like when I deeply and profoundly love, respect and accept myself (and when I fully immerse myself in recovery). As of today that love, respect and acceptance is not bone deep. And that’s ok. I’m not perfect, but I do love myself. I just need to allow some more healing around that particular area.

With every passing day it gets easier.

With every post that flows out of me like water it gets more clear that in writing in this candid, revealing fashion, I am doing nothing but loving myself.

I deeply and profoundly love, respect and accept myself.

 

The Lighter Side

My drinking pattern seems to go through phases. Sometimes all I can think about during the day is when I can leave work, walk in the door at home and pour. And once I’ve poured all I can think about is when I get to do it again so I can feel that unaware sensation. So I can feel floaty and fizzy and tipsy. Sometimes I can’t wait to legit get fucked up.

When I’m boozing it up on this side of my spectrum I feel guilty, ashamed and generally asleep while awake. Does this make sense? I feel like I’m walking through my days without a clear sense of actually living them. Sure, I’m alive. I’m breathing. I’m talking. I’m doing all the biological things required of me as a human, but I am not living. It’s a cloudy fog that I walk through when I’ve been drinking heavily for many days in a row. I don’t feel connected to anything but alcohol. I don’t want to engage with anyone or anything except alcohol. This is when I can and do become depressed. I’ve been told I may need medication. I refute this advice every time. The last thing I want is to take something that might make me feel ever more unbalanced than I sometimes already do. Even if said imbalance may only last a couple of weeks, I want nothing to do with it. So, I continue to drink. And drink some more.

The other side of my spectrum is when I stop the evening binges for a short time and come back to myself a little. Last night I drank one glass of wine. I did not get floaty or fizzy or tipsy. I was too tired to even try to get there. Instead I told myself, ‘you are going to enjoy this one glass and then be all done.’ And it actually worked. For last night.

Having only one glass allowed me to get some actual, real sleep. I woke up feeling my gratitude and life force returning. I woke up feeling optimistic for the day to start. I woke up feeling less like a piece of shit. I didn’t hear the anxious, hectoring Voice of Guilt in my head telling me I’m wasting my 30s and I’ll never lose weight if I can’t get out of bed in the morning to fit a workout in because I spend my evenings drinking myself into not being able to get out of bed bright and early to do something good just for me. I didn’t hear any of that. My head was blissfully…….clear.

I swear, it’s been ages since I’ve felt like this. I’ve been forcing myself to stay on the more destructive side of my spectrum of drinking. Forcing myself to feel that delicious buzz night after night. Telling myself that if I don’t I won’t be able to sleep and all my real emotions will come up and out of me and I won’t be able to handle it and I’ll realize how alone I really am and I will just plain fucking implode. But if I drink too much for weeks in a row, my sleep will be disturbed no matter what. I am depriving myself of sleep when I drink. And I know it. But still I drink. And around and around it goes. I’m an unwilling rider on the carousel of my addiction.

At least I feel good today.

At least I got solid rest last night.

At least for today I feel like myself. I feel peaceful. Unencumbered. Close to something good.

I want to hold onto this feeling and keep it with me when the next round of drinking wants to force its’ way down my throat. I want to hold onto the peace. I want to remember the clarity. I want to remember the depression and resentments evaporating like sweat on skin when a cool breeze tentatively floats by. Without those two vicious distractions I feel capable of anything.

How long can I hold onto the good?

 

Her First Time

Oh God.

I made a decision to start a blog without really thinking about what it would actually feel like to write about myself honestly and allow *everyone* to read my words. I’m shaking in these boots of mine a little. Be gentle with me….won’t you?

Here goes:

I am an addict. This is my attempt to stay accountable, responsible, conscious and one day, become sober. I am a truth seeker, a truth speaker…but I’ve been lying to myself for too long. I am an addict. I have been hiding it for too long. I need help. Maybe, just maybe, in writing this blog and talking about what is slowly taking control of my life I will be able to dig deep and let go.

Most people are addicted to something – booze, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, social networking, gossip, food, etc. A lot of people are unaware of their vices, I certainly was. Addiction is quiet, stealthy. It builds and waits. Waits and builds. It likes to *pounce*. When it pounced on me, the paralysis was total. And terrifying. I thought I had my shit together, I really did.

Growing up, I was always the good girl. Good grades. Good friends. Good after school activities. Good plans for my future (Syracuse University baby!) I did everything right, it never occurred to me to be anything but a ‘good girl’. That was the first half of my life. Everything was mostly ok until the summer before my senior year of high school. My brother died. And the Good Girl part of me was lost. His death gave birth to The Addict in me.

The second half of my life feels like a whirlwind of grief, bad relationships, booze, overeating, random sex, cancer, more loss, more grief and chaos. All the tough life experiences that have simply happened to me have dragged me down so much that I am now a daily drinker. I don’t even think about it anymore, I just come home from work and pour. Desperate to disconnect.

My addiction is threefold – food, men, alcohol. The focus of my addictive behavior ebbs and flows. Sometimes all I want is to drink myself gone. Others I want to eat an entire bag of potato chips and then some cake. Maybe an entire cake. And others still, I want to get laid and I don’t give a fuck who it is. But the foundation remains the same, I continue to need to be numb. I need to fill myself because inside I feel empty, broken and viscerally scared.

I think I’m almost to the point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m almost ready to make a significant change. Almost. Will I drink tonight? Probably. Will I feel quite as guilty about it as I have in the past few months? Maybe not. I’m finally talking about it. My white knuckle grip on my ‘secret’ has loosened.

Thank you for reading.

More to come.