sober lifestyle

Turbulence

I interviewed my first freelance client last Friday around lunchtime — after filling out 100+ mind-numbing applications for content/copywriter positions and sitting on hold with unemployment for two months, to no avail, I figured it was time to take matters into my own hands — and after a quick trip to the local tree farm with my husband to snag a Fraser fir, I was sitting down to an early-dinner splurge on Jules Thin Crust pizza, when by sheer force of habit …(deep breath)…I opened the email app on my phone.

Two hours left in the work week, and out of the blue, I had TWO job offers flooding my inbox.

Neither was ideal, but still…🤯

Up until that point, it had been radio silence, with an occasional sprinkle of rejection, nonstop since early October. I was so thrown off by this sudden avalanche of opportunity that before I knew what was happening, I had housed my half of the pizza — and then some — in less than 15 minutes.

Free advice: if you’re an Highly Sensitive Person with anxiety issues and an all-or-nothing personality, never check your phone while eating. 🤢

So now, I sit here on my 29-month sober anniversary, still nursing a wicked IBS flare-up (with Starbucks Holiday Blend coffee 🙄), by the light of a fully decorated Christmas tree (👀⬆️). And as my first semester of graduate school wraps up — this is the last week of class, but I’m basically just waiting for my final grades to post — I’m weighing my options for how to “earn my keep” around this house.

  • Do I want to continue building a freelance business, little by little, and risk having to continually chase after clients and paychecks? 🧐
  • Do I want to take on a contract project that’s basically a “tryout” and could lead to a full-time position with a company where I’ve now interviewed for two different roles over the course of five weeks? 🤨
  • Do I want to return to a company where I worked before — and where I always felt stressed out — because they actually like/value me, want me back, and are willing to be flexible with my hours so I can still focus on schoolwork? 🤷🏼‍♀️
  • Do I want to continue getting spammed with pages upon pages of job postings from LinkedIn and Indeed, that all have hundreds of applicants already, applying to everything that looks remotely tolerable, and reaching out to recruiters, only to get a chorus of crickets in return? 🙅🏼‍♀️
  • Do I want the next two years to fly by so I can start my internship somewhere in the mental health/counseling universe and stop messing with the depressingly impersonal and overwhelmingly unwieldy content marketing job market? 🙋🏼‍♀️

At the very least, I have a few legitimate choices, which is way better than feeling lost, hopeless and out of control.

Getting laid off for the first time in my life turned out to be a huge trigger for my anxiety. I’ve been having a low-grade panic attack for two straight months, complete with sleep disturbances (I could write an entire post about my f*cked-up nightmares), mindless compulsive eating, over-exercising to the point of injury, and, of course, good old IBS, which doesn’t even need an epic pizza binge to go hog wild.

While there’s pretty much nothing in the world that can make me start drinking again, you best believe: Living with psychological and emotional upheaval can be just as big a challenge as living in active alcoholism. It’s no picnic for the addict or for her loved ones…which brings me to what, I hope, will resemble “the point” of this post.

There is NO WAY I would have made it through this quagmire, or any of the many challenges I’ve faced over the past 29 months, with my sobriety OR sanity intact, if I didn’t have the love, support, guidance, patience, positive energy and even-tempered, steady presence of my husband.

Whenever I stop to think how the old “things happen for a reason” maxim really does apply to me, and how losing my job was actually a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to kill it in the classroom (straight A’s so far! 🤞🏻)…I realize: That’s only because I had Hubby working his ass off for both of us in the background.

He’s been a rockstar as a breadwinner and an absolute rock as a human being. He’s been my sounding board — which, if you read this blog, you know is quite a burden to bear — my shoulder to cry on, and my soda-drinking sober buddy, making our home a safe, soothing space where I feel shielded from all the craziness outside.

He’s never pressured me to “perform,” or to earn a certain paycheck. He’s never made me feel like I owed him. Any punishment I’ve suffered over the past three years has been self-inflicted — and that compulsion is something I’ll probably always have to work on.

Our post-alcohol lives have been pretty turbulent— we’ve been through COVID, career transitions, job changes, schedule shifts, grad school, unemployment, 12-step recovery, therapy, success, setbacks, growth and change — but Hubby has been there every step of the way, helping me steer out of the storm. It would’ve been so easy to say “🤬 it” and give in to free fall, but he has refused to let go. That’s just who he is.

So, while I might occasionally eat into his portion of the pizza 😬, I absolutely have to share the credit. I’m proud to say “I’m” 29 months sober, but today is really about both of us.

We will celebrate by signing an offer letter — not yet sure which one — and giving thanks. After all we’ve been through together, we’re so incredibly fortunate to be a unified household…with two incomes. 🙏🏻

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