Relatively Normal…

Since writing my last post the last line I wrote started to reverberate around in my head….’guess what I’m not planning to do tonight? Drink.’ Not planning to drink. Not drink. It banged around in my head and somehow I stuck to the idea of not drinking. I didn’t buy wine. I ran my normal errands and went home. I thought about the wine I didn’t buy. A lot. I thought about the glass I would use and how the ice would melt and pop delightfully in the liquid. I thought about how it would taste and feel as it warmed my insides. I thought about what my evening would look like without it. Would I start climbing the walls in need? Would I get restless and itchy? Would I break down and run to the packie before it closed to pick up a bottle? Part of me was nervous. Part of me was very, very unsure that I would actually pull it off.

The rest of me was open to the idea of not drinking.

And that’s what happened.

I didn’t drink.

I drank seltzer with my dinner. I made myself a cup of tea before bed. I read the new book I had checked out of the library the previous day. I tucked myself in and thanked God or whatever is out there acting as a power higher than myself for the first sober evening I had spent in probably 6 months.

I didn’t sleep well, but I slept some. I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night with a belly that felt like lava and fire ants were dancing the quickstep all over it. With heels on. I didn’t crawl out of bed with limbs that felt like they were full of wet sand. I didn’t wake up feeling hungover and miserable. I woke up feeling relatively normal. Not saved or free or ecstatic. But, that’s doesn’t matter because normal is a pretty decent alternative to the way I’ve been greeting my days for years on end.

I don’t want to talk too much about it and get all pumped up and excited. I don’t want to jinx whatever good sense has begun to step onto the stage in my brain. I just wanted to quietly mention that I didn’t drink on Sunday. Or Monday. Or Tuesday.

 

A Shift

After my monumental realization in therapy (that I really do live in my pain – no matter how much I tell myself I don’t. I fucking do. The dream I had couldn’t have been more clear about that) this past week, something shifted. I feel different. I feel less restricted somehow. My day in day out routine feels less like a chore and more like living. I haven’t felt the heaviness of addiction in a few days. It’s been pleasantly quiet in my head. I also haven’t felt the pure need to drink/eat myself away.

It’s kind of amazing how addiction and dependence on something else really tries to trick you into thinking that your life is a complete mess when it’s really, truly, definitely not. The warped thinking is what fascinates and terrifies me the most. The mindset of addiction is the true killer. Nothing will change as long as your brain is telling you that you need the drink or drug or food or sexual partner or lottery ticket or whatever to survive. As long as your brain is pumping out the untrue slogans of ‘YOU NEED TO DRINK’ or ‘THERE’S NO WAY YOU CAN LIVE WITHOUT BOOZE’ or ‘IT’S TOO HARD; YOU DESERVE A BREAK, TAKE A SIP’ the truth doesn’t stand a chance.

The more I’m examining this problem of mine and reading about it (I just tore through Lit by Mary Karr. Fantastic read), the more I’m learning that my mental state is mostly the culprit. The thoughts I have and messages (most laced with negativity, denial and self-hatred, Awesome) I send to myself are the bulk of what’s been holding me back and keeping me wrapped up in my security blanket of addiction. The past 18 years of my life featured some deep lows, there’s no denying that. My spirit was broken down and splintered and I lost track of who I am many times. That’s all I could focus on. I was hurt and tired and scarred and no one could possibly understand what it was like for me – or so I told myself. I began licking my wounds – it became my favorite pastime. And then, my mind got stuck on repeat and the rest of me didn’t realize that all I had to do was press ‘play’ again to allow forward momentum.

So simple.

I think that weird, humid, jarring dream was a gateway. It was a way to press ‘Play’ again. It was a way to remember that when I am feeling familiar emotions that lead me to feel trapped or low or misunderstood or tragic I don’t have to choose to stay with those feelings. I don’t have to wander around in the dark with them, searching for an answer to why it huuuuuuurts so much. I don’t even have to pick them up. I can simply acknowledge the pain, honor the fact that it happened and that it exists and then, I can walk away. I can leave it be. I can allow myself to be free from the pain. I can. And I have been able to sit with that idea for the past 4 days and let me tell you, I can breathe. I can stand tall. I can smile and feel whole. I can look ahead with a sparkle in my eye. I fucking can.

Holy Fuck. Revelation Personified. I swear to God.

I have found myself defaulting into my pain a few times since having the dream. The familiar lump in my throat rises (as it is right now thinking about my tricksy little Precious), my shoulders rise and tense and I take a sharp breath in, immersed in the toxic thrill of feeling shit that needs to be put down. Immediately. Yesterday. Better yet, it needed to be put down last year.

And you know what, it’s ok that I haven’t figured out a way to leave well enough alone. I’m actually starting to feel deeply at peace with where I have been. You know why? It’s because something shifted. Something clicked. I don’t want to numb myself. I don’t want to miss out on my life because the propaganda that’s on loudspeaker in my head is telling me I can’t or don’t deserve to or that everything is too hard or that I’m too FAT, too broken, too much of a lost cause. I don’t want the best times to fly by me because I was too self-involved and tragically wandering to see it all.

My daily drinking is a first class ticket to missing everything I want to see, experience and feel. I don’t want to end up paying for something I never had any intention of buying in the first place.

I want to find myself again (I’m already on my way).

I want to give myself a hug.

I want to look into whatever version of my eyes that are hurting the most (17 year old Annie, most likely) and tell myself, ‘You’ve always been enough, sweet, sweet girl. Always. All you have to do is believe it.’

And then I want to……….Let it Go and Move Forward.

 

Guess what I’m not planning to do tonight?

Drink.