sober lifestyle, Uncategorized

Perspective

Getting sober is supposed to be about fully experiencing reality as your authentic self and resisting the sometimes-powerful pull of oblivion. It’s supposed to be about staying with yourself in the moment, and noticing and feeling everything that moment brings, without grabbing for the ripcord on the escape hatch.

This is who you are. This is where you are. This is what’s happening. And you’re OK, as is, without that mood-altering substance or electronic device or compulsive behavior or codependent relationship. …Or that entire “family size” (😂) bag of roasted almonds with sea salt that’s going to tear your digestive system to shreds overnight and also contains 1,543 grams of fat.

Yeah, man, after nine full months without alcohol, I’ve totally fallen into a rebound romance with food, but we’re not here to talk about my expanding ass.

I’m not sure what we’re here to talk about, actually, because I’m having a hard time trying to wrap my head around what’s real right now, in general. I’m plowing through each day like…well, like a farm animal attached to a plow — head down, blinders on, feet mechanically lifting and lowering, mind so numbed by the monotony of duty that where I’ve been and where I’m going blur into the same patch of dirt — and when I occasionally snap out of the wake-eat-work-eat-sleep stupor and look around, everything appears to be completely, surreally insane. Like living in a melatonin-fueled dream.

My daily routine still involves swiping a red marker on the whiteboard in my basement to log another 24 hours of sobriety (with #270, I filled up the entire right side and now have 3 hanging out in the top left), but it’s funny how once novelty wears off and a habit is formed, you can lose all sense of perspective. Am I making progress in recovery? I’m too “in it” to see it. The same can be said for the other end of the spectrum: Am I stuck in a downward spiral of addiction that’s destroying my life? (10 years pass) …Holy @#$&, what have I done?

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sober lifestyle, Uncategorized

Isolation

HELP!! The Coronavirus is making me drink!!

That was the title of a special podcast one of my favorite authors posted earlier this week, not an actual thought from my head. I sit here at 258 days sober, a good little social distancer (as always!) who has only left the house to walk to the park — alone — in the last 7.

My thoughts are actually much less coherent, and one of the many reasons I’m grateful to have a job where I can work from home during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is that work forces me to focus on something concrete for most of the day.

I mean, inside, I still feel like the Tasmanian Devil from “Looney Tunes” all the time, but when I’m working, I’ve got no choice but to keep that maniac caged.

When left to his own devices, he stands at the mirror in the morning, wondering aloud, “What’s the point of any type of self-betterment when we could all just, you know, die tomorrow, cooped up in our homes while the world outside goes mad/falls apart, like an old dystopian “Twilight Zone” episode?” Continue reading “Isolation”

sober lifestyle, Uncategorized

Anxiety

This weekend, I was supposed to go to a local addiction treatment center and share my story with a group of women at a recovery meeting, but you’ll never guess what happened.

Yep. It got corona-ed out.

I was totally prepared, and eager, to go, and maybe this is a great example of how f*cked up I am: Neither pandemics nor public speaking engagements give me the slightest pause, but pretty much everything else on the planet scares me to death.

Heights. Crowds. Needles. Enclosed spaces. Awkward silences. Negative vibrations. Hell, the prospect of being even a minute late for something plants a firm knot in my stomach. I could go on, but I’m afraid you’ll stop reading.

See? It’s bad.

Believe it or not, quitting drinking has amplified my anxiety issues exponentially, to the point where I sometimes feel like…let’s see, how can I describe this with one my trademark dated pop culture references?…

Oh! I’ve got it.

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sober lifestyle, Uncategorized

Redemption

Warm-and-fuzzy feel-good stories were my bread and butter throughout my career as a journalist (RIP, “The Good in Sports,”) which is funny, because in my personal life, I’ve always been partial to dark subject matter.

My entertainment obsessions include Cormac McCarthy novels, Coen Brothers movies (dark comedies are my absolute jam), true crime docudramas, bleak 90s grunge rock (RIP, Layne Staley), and TV series filled with complicated, conflicted protagonists who both battle and indulge their demons. The Tony Sopranos, Walter Whites, Ser Jaime Lannisters of the world…they’re not purely evil people, and yet they’re not above leaving chaos, devastation and bloodshed in their wake. Somehow, they make you root for them, even though they frequently act like assholes and occasionally scare you to death.

Speaking of which, I’m soooo looking forward to the new season of “Fargo,” which apparently premieres on FX next month, because I’m pretty sure my husband will move out if I spark up one more re-watch of “The Sopranos,” “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones.”

Sitting here now, looking at things through the lens of eight months of sobriety, I see some clear commonality in the stories I used to tell and the stories I like to follow: namely, the redemption arc.

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sober lifestyle, Uncategorized

Survival, Part 2

Show of hands: who else was really glad to see February 2020 fade into the rearview mirror?

🙋🏼‍♀️

Even in a leap year, it was still the shortest of all the months, and yet it felt like a never-ending slog through the muck. It felt like every time I try to run in a dream, and instead find myself crawling on the ground, clawing desperately to propel my body forward. (I’m open to all suggestions as to why that exact scenario keeps recurring over and over.)

If you’re watching “The Outsider” on HBO, it felt like that one cop Jack who gets body-snatched by the evil entity and then is continually wracked by random attacks that leave him looking like a walking corpse — and desperately looking for a way out.

So, you get the point. It’s been a painful month. I’m sure that was pretty clear after last week’s post, and without going into too much more graphic detail, suffice to say I got perfect-stormed by IBS, endometriosis and depression, and it sucked.

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sober lifestyle, Uncategorized

Survival

Washington Crossing, PA, between the canal and the river. No better view in Bucks County, IMHO.

The warmth of the sun, the love of my family, and a clear memory of what happened the last time I tried to self-medicate a bad bout of depression with alcohol…those are the reasons I sit here today with 231 days of sobriety — and counting.

Getting out of bed, going to work (on the weekdays) or going out for a walk (thank God for our gorgeous weather this entire weekend), and NOT drinking to feel better, are the extent of my accomplishments since I last checked in here.

Maybe next week I’ll have enough perspective on managing early recovery from addiction and mental health issues at the same time to write my usual tome. I have plenty of thoughts on the subject, just not the clarity or focus to sort them out in writing. Right now I’m too immersed in survival mode (think of it as a poor swimmer in the deep end of the pool, neck straining and feet kicking furiously to keep eyes, nose and mouth above water) to be very articulate.

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