The weekend before last I went on a short holiday to a music festival organised by a friend of mine. He had invited me as plus one. We stayed on a campsite, had a lovely time and… there was lots of drinking. Normally I prevent going to happenings like this because I do not appreciate the atmosphere but this included staying in lovely surroundings and the friend is one who will not claim my time or sulk when I go home early.
So I went. First mini holiday for how many years? Don’t even know! 🙂 Being me I waited till the last minute to do my shopping and packing but I lost some precious time at a mall and ended up only having 20 minutes to pack. Well, I have 3 outfits so that is not an issue but I ended up taking 5 bags, equalling 2 suitcase. What?!!! Yes!!! Holiday panick kidnapped my brain and I actually took a kilo of potatoes ‘because they would not be good anymore when coming back’. It was a strange experience. I realised that if I were to stop and think about what I was doing I might get derailed totally and not pack at all. So I let it go. At the expense of my ego; I got laughed at by about 20 people the whole weekend. Aaahrg…. ghegheghe… 🙂
So, booze. The friend I went with is the guy who’s house I cleaned 2 years ago. At that moment in time I spent several hours gathering 19 bags of empty bottles and 7 crates. He did not stop drinking in between but he suffered a decline in income so I was assuming/hoping…. he drinks less. Not so, heavy drinking going on almost every day.
The whole weekend I sort of cherry picked the activities in the group, arriving late and going back early. I actually managed to fall in love with a guy at first sight and then tone that down to just liking him in 2 days. YAY!!!! Yay to the practise I had in that in the last years!!!!!! I did not write a lot about falling in and out of love because shameful (ha, yes, I do seem to edit I guess 😦 ) but somewhere a few months ago I started treating it like an addiction and pulling out the root of the thought/intention/feeling at the moment it happens. That works. And wow! does that give me more energy! I never knew how tiring it is to emotionally/feelingwise hang in the air between me and another. Pfew.
And I danced. 🙂 Yay! I used to love dancing. Untill booze took over and going out, drinking and dancing typically ended up in being harassed. Ooh, there are things I don’t want to realise there. Being drunk does not cause harassment, but not drinking makes it easier to take care of me and (try to) make sure it does not happen. Well, I danced. And, bwahaha, I’m not into music and hardly listen anything so I don’t know a lot of songs but he first number where my feet FINALLY came off the floor was ‘Hit the road Jack’. I had a private laugh at hearing the text to that song. Gheghegheghe…. so many sides to those lyrics as a co-dependent addict (Jack -> Jack Daniels). Ghegheghe….
Ok. So I danced, drank water, got laughed at for drinking water and eating potatoes. Held a tiny but well received speech to about 10 drinking guys. Told them why I don’t drink alcohol (It gets me depressed and suicidal, I drank more that I should, realised what it did to me, quit and never looked back). And then in a group like that, al drinking like there is no tomorrow there are always a few saying: “I never drink alone.”, “I don’t drink during the week.” and all. And then there were those who did not speak. In this group there where actually quite a few. 😦 I can see by the way they handle their beer what the state of their addiction is. 😦 What to say? Nothing. I told my story without shame. I never said I was addicted, but I never denied it either. I said that I was fearful of quitting and that this fear was a message to me. But also that I quit and never looked back. They asked me if I missed it al all. I said no, because I know I will jump of the next building if I drink again so… well… “I don’t miss that.”
“Not at all, really?”
“Well, at some moments, like when I have done something awesome like attaining the certification I worked for so hard, I find that it is difficult to switch back to ‘normal’. At this moment most people would party badly, wash out the stress, wake up the next morning and continue with their lives. I can’t do that anymore because, as I said, it would get me killed.”
“You make it sound like we all drink heavily or ‘drink to forget’?!”
“Yes. Well. In my not so humble opinion; you do. This is how society uses alcohol; to ‘change moods’. Obviously there are variations but once you flip to the other side, the not drinking side, the use of alcohol actually becomes very clear and pretty absurd.”
And then there was silence not uncomfortable because I was not uncomfortable but more because it was a novel idea to them to realise this consciously. And they all sort of know they do. I did not attack but I did not waver either. I let that silence be for what it is and then continued:
“And I can’t do that because to me it is poison, and I would be running for the nearest tall building anyway to jump down. So, no, comfy with my water.”
Somebody joked “Hear! Hear! It is poison!!” but nobody really laughed, they all sort of looked inwardly. I am happy that after 2 1/2 plus years of not drinking I did not get uncomfortable even now but I did cut in to get my last message out:
“After I quit I started reading up on mental issues and alcohol and it works out that alcohol and other drugs are a BIG thing in all kinds of mental states. And almost all who quit see a big improvement in mental health. It is common knowledge in the non-drinking community but nobody in the drinking community knows! Only those who, like me, had to quit find out. It is amazing. It is poison. I find it really important that people know this because I have been more or less depressed all my life and most of it was related to alcohol and NOBODY knows this, only the people who quit.”
“Really???” (No disbelieve of me, just trying to get used to a novel idea)
“Yeah…. Really…. So please, if you know people who have issues with life, or get derailed otherwise: spread the word.”
And then the waiter came and many ordered another beer. 🙂 Ghegheghe… I do think I planted some seeds though.
Obviously my ‘depression’ was not only beer-based. And I must watch out that I do not override the realisation that I was (am? I still don’t know what word to use) addicted to alcohol with this depression tale. Things happened in life which I did not process. But also I did not process them because I drank them away. So yeah, I guess a lot of my shit came through beer. Then again: somewhere in my life I ‘chose’ to wash away and to not deal. Even though this was induced (?) by overwhelm and fear, I still did that and for me that is something I need to change. Preferably before I die because I don’t want to do this again in a possible next life ;-).
Friend and I slept in a tent. I would wake up during the night and open the doors to let the alcohol stench out. Ew. But yeah, no trouble with booze during the holiday. And then I went home, let my guard down again and moved right into old behaviour thinking: “I’ll get a beer when I get home.” Wot?!!!!! That is a LONG LONG time ago. 🙂 2 Years 10 months something. It was a good reminder how sobriety needs maintenance and how, even if we think to be on track and in control, the addict is doing push-ups in the mind.
Having learned that I went to the home of the same friend this Friday to clean his house. He has been in financial difficulty with setting up a new business and this is not catching on yet. He works 6 days a week 10-12 hours a day and when he gets home he is too tired to clean. And there is more to it because he obviously drinks his stress away. 2 Years ago he already said he thought he was addicted but he does not take action on that. It was visible in the house. His house is way larger than mine and there was hardly any place to walk. Boxes, litter, laundry, bottles everywhere. I steeled myself against the ‘vibe of addiction’ in the house, worked my way through all the wine and beer bottles. Bagged them and even took them to the glass point in order to get them out of the house. I thought I would help him with that which he finds most difficult.
Actually, he said ‘the bags from the last time you where here, are still in the side room.’ That was partially true. Most of them were new bags, new bottles. Sad to hear somebody try to work his way out of this 😦 I did not comment on it however, no need, he is still in denial but I’m thinking his eyes can only be opened by relieve, not by pressure. I took several fully stuffed Ikea bags, a backpack and mounted them on the bike and travelled to the glass collection point. I really took care not to get ‘involved’ in the drinking vibes, I sealed myself shut – or so I thought.
Aah, this is what went wrong: I was proud of myself, getting cocky actually that I could deal with this ‘so easily’ and becoming arrogant because I thought I was ‘such a good friend’. Ghegheghe… well, pride comes before the fall. That evening we went out to an open air concert and the first thing I thought at arrival was “Yay! Beer!!!!”
No, did not drink. And no, that was not difficult but wow, that thought and also the thought in the back of my mind which I was never aware of in early days: “Let’s get sloshed!” And it ruled out all the wishes for contact. People have ‘always’ been an excuse to drink. I never drank socially, I drank to wash away my feelings, my life, my existence on this planet. 😦
By the way: this same friend made a beautiful website for me for free some years ago. So if we were to work things out I guess I still ow him 2-3 days of cleaning. I’m thinking I will take this up shortly. To really get things done at his place so he can start over.
So, what did I learn? I learned that constant vigilance is important. I learned that I am happy that I am sober for over 2 years because I think, I can only imagine that these drunken intentions can take somebody by surprise. I also learned that being cocky about sobriety IMMEDIATELY backfires at me. I learned that I want to tell my story to people but do not dare to say ‘I was addicted and that got me depressed’. I realise that with my ‘I was depressed so I had to stop drinking.’ I do not speak untruth, but it is not enough truth to keep me sober. Lying, drink think and drinking go hand in hand in my life. Which is why this blog is good so I can let it all out. Which, again, is why I do not edit because editing leads to wanting things to look better than they are.
I also met another addict, a young succesful artist who told me to ‘live a little and ‘let go’, not be so ‘uptight’. It hurt, because I know he’s right. I have not been living, I have been surviving and locking myself in. I needed that in order to stay on the right track but now I need to learn to relax again too. And I also knows, this time around I need to do that the right way because I also know: this is where it starts, the shaming myself because I am not hip enough, I am fat, I am a tight ass, I am old, I am no fun. That is where the need to be ‘part of the group’, the peer pressure comes in. I have difficulty there.
Let’s see how that works out. I don’t want to be 47 something and feel peer pressured into drinking. 😀 It is funny to feel how peer pressure works though: this selective, conditional inclusion ‘do as we say or you will not be part of us.’ I was happy that I could be honest with me, realising that he is right but also realising that I need to care and can not afford to be so careless(ly addicted) as he is. Something here is not quite right yet. I still feel stupid, fat, grey and dull. Hmmm. 😦 Maybe that is because I am, at least fat and grey, and if I want things to change I will have to. ‘Funny’ thing is that I ate myself a belly ache ever since so I guess it hit me more than I realised. Arrogance and despise of self go hand in hand in the life of people with an addictive personality.
I have this theory about life; all issues we have return, possibly in disguise, until we (i!) deal. Unless we balance things healthily they start off big, we learn, they come back in a tinier version, we learn, they come back in another, event tinier version, we learn and this continues till we are done and have cleared up our intentions and/or moved our inner alignment to a place where addicting is not the solution anymore. I started off with quitting alcohol, only to find out that I moved onto food, sugar and Netflixing. To realise that me falling in love over and over again with the wrong guy is another addiction. I think me and work ‘never being able to stay’, ‘always starting, never finishing’ is another one and it will return until I deal. I am thinking this is what is happening to me at this moment: things are coming full circle but in smaller issues.
It is important to quit alcohol or other drugs because specifically these drugs have extra mind altering qualities which make it impossible to learn. Spiritually unsound.
The former post I wrote I am done with sugar and addiction. Being done takes more than just a mindset. It takes knowledge, maintenance and planned changed behaviour. I did neither of these so during my short vacation I rolled back into this ‘aaah, one ice cream does not do any harm’ and from there on I went down hill to worst than where I have ever been; several days with 2 bars of chocolate and an ice cream. They say: change whatever kills you first. (Lydia? 🙂 ), this will eventually. Possibly not of the sugar but because I am sedating myself with it. I feel I ‘have done enough’ but I’m not there yet. I still live in addiction land even though I am way more aware of it. It gets SO IRRITATING! BLEGH! And I am so caught up in myself that I do not see a way out. Well, future will tell. We have this saying: the sideshore will turn the ship – meaning as much as ‘there comes a moment that one has to change direction otherwise the boat will crash’. This is one of the rules of nature.
I am happy that I quit though, in the way that I know I would not be aware(ish) of what I do now and how this affects me. Hey! I broke the ‘fall in love’ circle in 2 days now! How cool is that, and so peaceful. 🙂 Now see if I can shorten this time to realising what happens at the moment that it happens when I meet the next ‘victim’ of my ‘affection’. That would be nice so I don’t have to work so hard after the fact. 🙂
I am happy I quit alcohol because I don’t feel nasty in the mornings like my friend does / did. And I can plan my day according to what I want, not to what my hangover or depression dictate. And if not for anything else: I don’t want to have to do it all over again. I am aware that with sobriety it is not (always) the time that you put in it, it is also ‘what you put in the time’ but it helps the body to un-addict if it is longer and that is restful. Even though I know that spiritually I have not un-addicted. Yet – or maybe I never will. Dunno. I think because I had it relatively easy with not drinking (please be sure that I mean; not drinking was relatively easy for me, finding my way back into life is way more difficult), but maybe, maybe, because it was relatively easy I underestimate the rest of the work. Or maybe I am not confronted with it so much because apart from blogging and reading I don’t do AA or other sober group things which are sobriety related. Not sure.
The only thing I have to do is to not drink now and be happy about that. Happy is something I cannot call up now. Relieve I can. I am looking forward to celebrating my next month sober. This is strange. I hardly ever do, there is something dangerous in looking forward; I stretch myself thin towards a date and that makes it difficult to support myself during that time. It feels like I am looking for an excuse to splurge. Hmmm. Not good. Let’s see how this is going to work out. 😀
A woman who loves herself would… have a nap. Again: put on socks.
I wrote the above a few days ago. Again I went without added sugar for 3 days. Feeling great only to go back to the “Ooh, if this is so easy I might as well start tomorrow again. I am sure I can stop at half a bar of chocolate.” Nope. 😀
Work is boring currently, said the stress junk. The audit has been 2 months now and I need to settle into the normal maintenance of the system. Boooooooring said the addict within. I am really having difficulty there. But my bond with the people on the floor is getting better, I’m thinking this company needs a group feel and a team spirit in order to improve so I’m trying to bring some laughter and ‘see’ people – so they do not feel like a number. Boss is on holiday. That is boring. One of my favorite colleagues is having doubts about her job and I felt she is thinking of leaving. We spoke, she is, I would like her to stay, she is funny. I would also like her to find herself in the job. I notice that I am continuously worried about the flock. Trying to keep it together.
I need to eat. I have a ‘100% vegetable food’ for dinner diet. It is good. 🙂 Apart from the 100% cheese snack I do before 😉
I am EFFING HAPPY THAT I QUIT! Today is the first day of the rest of my life and I am happy that I am not drinking. I am happy that I am discovering something that has to do with choice. I am happy that I am discovering something about self-care. Last weekend I cleaned for 2 days at the friend’s house. Came home and found that I was pretty sad about it and it needed to settle, did not want to go to work like that so I took the Monday off. GOOD. 🙂 Not drinking is about creating possibilities instead of destroying them. I’m not ‘there’ yet, the addict within is still very present, but I learn about him every day and that is good.
Wishing you a nice evening/day! 🙂 The free online summit Recovery 2.0 has started!