Good Girl Addict vs. Grad School

So. I just sent an e-mail to my bosses to let them know that I have decided to apply to an MSW program. I told them without hesitation that I want to be a therapist and that I am planning on a part-time online program beginning in May. Even as I type this and really think about going through with what I told my bosses I am planning, I can hear the mean-spirited Addict voice in my head telling me that I won’t actually see it through or that something will fall through and I will have to postpone this dream again. I have a lot of self-doubt. I have a lot of pent up fear and guilt around going after a Master’s degree. A lot.

I sabotaged my chances of earning an MSW right out of undergrad back in 2002 because well, I just didn’t give a fuck about pursuing a degree in anything. I didn’t care. And when I didn’t get accepted into the master’s program that immediately followed the Bachelor’s program at Syracuse (I was probably the only one of my fellow classmates who applied and didn’t get in) I was surprisingly devastated. When I read my rejection letter I literally crumpled to the ground and started sobbing. The stone cold reality of the letter hit me fucking hard even though I knew I wasn’t going to get in. The effort I put into my application to grad school and everything that preceded it was far below what I am capable of. I was simply going through the motions of completing my college education to prove to my parents that I was ok. I wasn’t trying to build a future for myself because I didn’t care about my future and I wasn’t ok. The only things I cared about back then were not being present, partying, being young, and being irresponsible – after all, that’s what my brother did and an unconscious part of me thought if I carried on some his behavior I was keeping him alive (this would be why I got my tongue pierced Freshman year). So, not getting into that graduate program proved how irresponsible and just like my big brother I could be. It is one of my biggest regrets.

I couldn’t face that particular regret for all these long years because of all the pain I had to sift through. Can you imagine someone who hated herself as much as I used to trying to give advice and help other people mend the broken parts of themselves? I wouldn’t have been able to do any good back then. I would have burned out or worse after a few years. It just wasn’t the right time for me – most of me believes that, but the tricksy and false Addict part of me wants to berate those past decisions and failures again all in a thinly veiled attempt to coax me into drinking to numb. But that’s not going to happen. I’ve learned my hard lesson and I want a clear head as I move forward and on through my life.

I tap into my strength and wisdom to channel the energy I need to take the next step and the next. I take a lot of deep breaths to help the nervousness abate. I’m a capable, courageous, and powerful woman. I cannot let the regrets of my past dictate the trajectory my future. I will not let the Addict part of me which has so addled and deadened me for years take control again. That part of me deflected a lot of hurts that I just couldn’t handle. I used to live for the times when I could numb. But nowadays I live for more. The time for aversion is at an end. Now is the time for how I mindfully choose to live my life to begin.

I’ve pieced myself back together, guys….I really have. I want this degree for me and no one else. I want to learn again for me. I want to help others for me. I want to feel good about me for me. And I do. I do. I do.

I’m sitting here at work, still not believing I finally let my bosses know that I won’t be working for them for as long as they (and I) thought I might and I can’t quite put my finger on how I’m feeling….floored, elated, terrified, excited, certain, free.

I’m scared as fuck….but I’m going to do it anyway.

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?