Yeah, today is my sober 16 monthiversary. 🙂 Trying not to remember the angry posts I wrote last year around this time. Ouch. Glad I did write it though because it shows how much can change over a sober year. By now I am starting to see how the detailed honesty of my post not only help me in the moment but also can help me in the future in seeing where I came from. And yes I know I should be happy about the things which have changed in my character but shit, today hurts. It hurts to look back into the tightness and stress of the holidays at home in my family, by now I have done a lot of crying over that. And writing this post, well now, it hurts to look forward, or well, anywhere.
Don’t know how to proceed other than barching right in with saying that the people around me start saying things like I should ‘not be so self absorbed’, ‘learn to listen before I start speaking’ (bookstore man on me not checking the ‘shopmood’ before starting to speak) and that ‘how can you make this about you?’ a nice but stern reaction from a colleague when I said that if people had an issue like the one they were talking about I would like to hear about it from them straight. Guess becoming less self absorbed and listening before I speak should be on my list. Haha! 😦
Brrrrrrrrr, not looking forward to learning about this because I fear it is not going to go naturally and pain free. Being self absorbed has given me the possibility to focus on every detail of sobriety that has popped up over the last 16 months. I think that has been good. I still can not imagine how I could have had a job and go through those first months. On the other hand, haha, maybe…. I would have been less self-absorbed if I had. 🙂 Well, thinking it goes hand in hand.
These last two days have been eventful so to say. I was invited for Christmas and then got disinvited for reasons I totally understand – and that part is OK. And I am not big on Christmas anyway, still fear the stress in other people which surrounds the holiday season. The other day I read a blog on a parent lashing out at her kids over unmanaged holiday stress and it send me reeling.
Christmas for now just reminds me of all the dysfunction we as a family have put each other through. However, guessing in sobriety things change and I got to feel real sad about missing my mother and feeling deeply through the memories of the dysfunctional family gatherings at which we used to drink our self into oblivion. Happy for me it was not the moaning kind of sadness but the letting go kind of sadness. And I’m happy with my job because I had to work yesterday and I can just literally cry while doing it and nobody even notices me. 😀 Yes it is strange, and yes that is how it is.
So, well, I guess I tumbled in the ‘shit, I don’t have my own family.’ My brother and SIL have their 20 headed family over and I have been invited but this gathering is way too busy for me, too much noise, too much speaking of nothing.
After work I visited my favourite chocolate shop in Amsterdam. Spend an hour’s work of money on chocolate. Life is so strange. I used to spend like 100 Euro’s per Christmas in this shop getting presents for all the caring and cooking woman I would be meeting during the holidays. Spending the same amount now would mean I would not eat for 2 weeks. Well, that is in the past, together with my depressions and suicide thoughts. Guess what I like better? 🙂
Next I visited the bookstore man. We matched moods since he was crying behind the counter when I came in and that mode did not really change during the afternoon and late evening. Both of us cried our eyes out over hurt that came up. Again, not the moaning type but the feeling and realising type of crying. He had had a flue so he had not smoked pot for 5 days. It is my thought that the horrifying youth experiences he worded came up as a result of that. I had a lot of those in the first days, weeks and months of becoming sober. I guess my drinking had the function of keeping the lid on a can of worms. I hope he really quits one of these days, he’s at his wits end but somehow he does not connect the one thing to the other.
A lot has changed from last Christmas to this Christmas. I have found more peace. I have learned to take care of myself better. I like myself better. I think I have learned to deal with stuff better although there are still big holes in my functioning. I think the tiny job I have has brought some instability but more stability. There is a need of developing my socials skills now more too. Aaah, it is difficult to list what has changed and what I am happy about without going into a wish list immediately. Let’s say I have learned a lot about myself, a lot about how addiction works for me. I also think I have gotten an inkling of how to disconnect from addictive behaviour but I’m not totally sure about that. Specifically because I still tend to take ‘the easy road’ and address those things which I feel I can while not addressing the things I feel I can not. Ha, and there I go again, turning it into a wish list.
Physical changes of late: I have developed quite some muscle in my whole body and specifically my arms. My skin and muscles are easier to distinguish, sort of sharper defined. Makes me happy. I build up muscle pretty easy because the farmhouse living as a child and the physical labour we got to do made me an extremely strong child. I still don’t lift comfortably above my shoulders because of the shoulder pain but that is slowly getting better. Practising more and I sometimes speak with my shoulder. It says it stays stuck because it does not want to move on. Things are changing too quickly and she (I!) can not catch up, it is putting its ‘heels in the sand’. Guess I need to pay attention to me more. Not sure why I don’t. Self care, I guess I am taking it for granted or only skipping through the big parts because there are so much things to deal with. How do other people do that? I do not have a clue.
My eye bulbs have changed too, due to less screen time they have drawn back into my head. This must have happened over a month time or so after starting to work. It feels good so I guess it is ok.
I have lost an extra 2 kilo’s in the last 2-3 weeks, so down to 76 now, liking that too. I wonder how much I would lose if I were not eating 100 grams of chocolate and about the same amount of dates every day. Yes yes, sugar addiction has kicked in fully. Letting it go for now. I obviously need another entry / to understand something I do not / it does not feel like I can deal with thinking about it now.
On the body: last summer, in a desperate attempt not to jump the bookstore man (haha, that is, if there would be a chance) I reigned myself in by letting my body hair grow. Let self imposed body shame reign in my combustible heart (loins?). Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds funny, but if I learned anything in sobriety it is: Whatever it takes is what it takes. Well, on not shaving armpits and bikini lines, upper and lower legs. I must say: I feel way better about my body with the hair than without it. And I feel healthier; like my body likes the hair better that it likes the shaving of it. Also, the fine ‘nest hairs’ I had on my cheeks are slowly disappearing so it looks like the longer my pubic hair is, the shorter my facial hair. But it might also have something to do with the Ayurveda pills. Not sure.
Might be a funny subject to speak about but with my professional background the phenomena of pubic hair has always interested me; how people think and feel about it, what this says about the position of women in society. The Dutch word for pubic hair is ‘schaamhaar’ which translates in to ‘shame hair’ in English. And as we all know there is a lot of energetic power in shame. :-D. I’ve just been using that not to blow up a friendship I find important. As I said, whatever it takes is what it takes.
Psychological changes going on concern different subjects. Even though my ‘clear head’ is slowly developing in my work I still do not take action concerning my admin and finances at home. I have no clue how much money I have, how much on rent I am behind and what I need to do to fix things. I am growing into a position where I do think and feel that it is OK to ask for help in this. Feeling the physical / energetical reactions in my body while thinking about this, feeling it through if you will is the very informative. A lot of fear there.
Speaking of fear… I’ve had a visit from Kali, Hindu goddess of destruction. I had heard of her but somehow she managed to step into my life while I was just of the brink of falling asleep. It was horrifying. I do not think I have ever been that afraid. Her presence made me feel like my body was dying / transforming. It felt like all the energy that keeps the atoms together was stripped. I want to say ‘stripped from me’ but with the stripping I realised that my body was not me. However, I can’t even describe how horrifying it was and all during this experience I saw the figure of Kali in front of my mind eye. She was blue which was somehow very important (she is also pictured in black) and had many arms, not ‘only’ the 4 – which is how I was able to check on who had visited me. Around her, through her, around me, within me destructive fire was burning and burning and burning. Like on the picture, but also with flames in front of her. It was devouring and destroying, utter destruction and darkness but funny to realise and say it was not personal. It just was.
In the experience I tried to ‘keep myself together’ and realised that I am not my body. Within and without the boundaries of my body there is an awareness which I call ‘I’. I hung on to that, trying to solidify it like I have learned in dealing with addiction and in the detox center dream.
I spoke about it with my therapist and the bookstore man. Can’t remember what the therapist said, yeah, he did give me the name of the visitor. Which is handy. :-). The bookstore man congratulated me, saying that ‘If you had Kali you’ve had the worst of them’ and something like ‘What a beautiful experience to teach you the difference between Self and body.’ Which haha, I guess is another way of looking at it. I did remember too ‘If I get scared now I lose it. You can be scared but you NEED to keep your head together.’ Learning to be brave while laying in my bed. 🙂
There was something on how the Self, still not sure whether to call it Soul or Spirit, is connected to the body. And in how ‘we’ (I!) think that bond is important because otherwise ‘we die’. And yes we do, and severing that bond is horrifying, but it feels like there is also something like ‘awareness’ or ‘Self’ staying, continuing. I have no clue what the next phase would be, for all I know all the Selves get canned and put on a shelf somewhere but… well, food for feel.
How am I connected to Indian gods? Not. I have only seen a few of the statues in the bookstore so not sure why she dropped by. Hmmm, should mention something else too, a thing which is connected but not sure how. I was thinking of the bookstore man just a few seconds before she showed up. And obviously there is a message in her appearance just there and then but hahahaha, I can’t read it. My thoughts don’t want to go down the obvious road of ‘well, that is a sign you should give up on being in love with him’. Guess time will tell.
On the bookstore man: he is in love, obviously not with me. It’s really cute to see how he behaves. I sometimes get the feeling he puts it out there between me and him as to make a fence and sometimes it is just genuinely in love. I am happy for him. And sad for me obviously although going through the process I have been going through in unaddicting from ‘love’ addiction makes it very clear that it takes a LOT of work to deal with this. It must be like food addiction, one of the most difficult things to unlearn because a person needs food.
I sat at the table yesterday and well, funny thing is, I’m used to be not in love with him when we are meeting. Maybe that is like not drinking a lot while being with friends? Well, since the last visit this has changed a little and it cost me more effort to leave those thoughts and feelings out of the conversation. At some point I sort of had to stop my heart from running around because I did not want to like ‘go there’ and get into trouble over something I would not be able to uphold anyway so I stopped my heart from jumping up and down and saying things like ‘Tell him! Tell him now!! Why not tell him? Hi!!!!!!’ I got irritated and confused over that and I stopped my heart by, well, I don’t know. It literally faltered and was off beat for several moments, heart palpitations, skipped beats :-(. Might need to go look for a healthier option to deal with love addiction or maybe allow myself somebody who does reply :-(. Aaah, shit. Can anybody tell me?
We were drawing tarot cards all during our conversation that day and they were very informative. At one moment I thought, can you give me some info on the status between him and me and hahahaha, fcuk it I drew Lovers. Pffffff… Thank you, universe. So I threw it on the table and said ‘This one is for you.’ While making it sound like it was for his new love. I’ve started lying to the bsm and I do not like it. Things about honesty had popped up in the conversation yesterday and I told him again that at one point I had decided to not lie to him. We spoke about our personal definition of lying and I told him that since my last visit I had changed. Ghegheghe, at which moment a customer walked in so, well, the conversation never proceeded. Wanting to tell him that I am still not done with my infatuation. I would be very much surprised if he were ever to like me in partner way, and even if he would, I would not know how to behave but I value him as a person and would like to learn to be friends so it is all work in progress. And hmmm, truth be said, there is some calculation in my behaviour too: I need to learn to ‘moderate’ on love, might as well try that on him since I do not think for me challenges come bigger than he does. Or he must be really interested in me and filthy rich instead of flat broke, maybe then. However, I don’t want to lie to him. But I don’t want to be hurt either. And I don’t want to be the child who confesses everything either. Let’s see.
Aah, in the back of my mind: He’ll like me if I lose weight. Pffff. Not true. Guys at my work told me the other day I have a very good figure. Guess that means that I have a very good figure. Can’t believe it though.
Health anxiety: my health anxiety has shifted from whatever it was last to an upcoming treatment at the dentist. Afraid it will turn out in a root canal thing. Don’t want that. Not that my assumption it is linked to anything physical, although I do feel some tooth ache, it is just this continuous feeding of energy to not trust my body, not really daring to live that has found another way to express itself. Oh yeah, and feeling things in my breasts of course. Could be logical with the losing weight, could be all kinds of horrible cancer. Don’t want to know. And I am afraid I my hair is thinning; for safety reasons people with long hair need to wear hairnets to keep the hair away from catching in machinery etc. I have developed this thought that my hair does not like that and is growing thinner.
Aah yeah, that is a change: a year ago I would be all over the place with all kinds of illnesses, real or assumed and now I am starting to doubt my some of these thoughts and feelings. All in all feelings have become more than ever experiences which I look upon as information. The idea that they should be ruling me is something I start to doubt and experience as not true. I am thinking this must be the first days of the concept of acting instead of reacting which I am walking in now. It is a slow progress. I don’t understand how other people do this. Obviously I write in detail about what I experience and a lot of people in the sober blogosphere are gheghe, more polite. I would wish I got to understand this concept of the difference between acting and reacting quicker though. Sometimes, specifically when being open about the funny (boring, tiny) details of my path I feel childish, incomplete, unfinished, reactive and downright stupid. Still I note them down because I think, assume, have noticed (?) that for me being sober is in paying attention to the details.
It is the tiny things that build up to big things. For me it is easier to sit down and write about the tiny difficult stuff than it is to have to deal with emotions running out of control when passing a bar or being at a party. So, again, whatever it takes is what it takes and yes shit I am tired of being pushed forward in this process on the one hand and having to work and run to catch up with all the things that I have not ‘under control’ or figured out yet. Guess that comes with wanting to do it ‘all’ on my own. I do speak with one friend (hi!), the BSM and with my SIL about addiction and how I deal with it but those are not people who either went as deep in alcohol or, as the BSM, he thinks he can moderate, tomorrow. 4 Months ago I planned to visit AA and never thought of it again. Hmmm… guess I am starting to be in need of sober friends.
I don’t want things to go like they do. I guess the information there is to make me realise that I can not do without other people and that the alcohol has made me think I could. Now this hard shell around me is becoming more flexible and I feel I go through an adjustment period where I need to change, need to notice that I need to be more social, more active in the field of socialising, meeting up. And with saying that there are a lot of buts popping up in my head: I need my energy to work. I cannot energetically deal with more than 2 social appointments in a week. I cannot this and I cannot that.
I believe it is time that I start really working on my progress. Not Netflixing and chocolating. And yes, I do not have a clue how to change that without forcing myself and that lashing back at me. Let’s see what I think I can do? Hmmm. Nothing much. I can do the laundry today. Much in need of that, don’t want to sleep in the same bedding anymore. I think I can cook today. I can finish this post and spell check it. Maybe I can put my books in the book cabinet. Dunno how to deal today, guess I lost my structure and need to find it back. Very happy that I have a job because that brings structure.
About work, I assemble stuff, pack stuff and clean. I have responsibility for one specific product at which I feel I need to excell. Trying to excell teaches me a lot about me. It used to be so that I would feel my heart racing / blood pressure rise 20 points when the boss would walk in the room. That is now only 10 points. 😀 I used to fear that she would get at me for not doing it right but I guess she is starting to realise that I do well and that I am human. And that makes it possible for me to realise that she is human too. The other day I let out a growl about something which frustrated me. Aaah, yeah, being able to do that is a VERY NICE perk of non-office jobs :-D. But the boss just walked into view from around the corner so she asked ‘What’s up with you? Are you ok?’ I was astonished so I blurted out ‘I’m frustrated!’
‘Dunno, just very tired.’
‘Hmmm, that does not sound like your usual self, are you ok?’
‘I guess I am? Just very tired, things not going as I like them.’
‘Ok, well, there’s only an hour left, so hang in there and let’s see what tomorrow brings.’
I mean that does not really sound like a bitch boss from hell does it? Learning, learning, learning. 🙂 I am happy I did at least one step out of this defensive she-against-me mode. Looking back it is amazing how scared I was and how I was unable to grasp all the processes that were going on around me. Not that I tried, I had difficulty enough doing the simple job which I do. Understanding the machines, understanding assembly, understanding the packaging. Again, it takes time to realise it takes time. 🙂
Now I am settled in a little and the things that go on around me do not stir me as much I am practising letting my body do the work and relaxing within. There is a thing, I noticed that my body’s capacity for doing things is much bigger once I trust it and let it do its work without me interfering with fears and doubts. So now I try to not interfere / disconnect and that works very funny. Where assembling 12 pieces an hour was the top I thought anybody could do I did 14 an hour the other day with my special ‘disconnect and let go technique’ – and the right music. It was cool. It was like my sing yourself free course: let go of the fear and let the music out.
I wonder if and how I can extend this. In this line of thinking I tried to play the recorder again the other day. I have not played anything from paper since 36 years. At looking up some music on YouTube (your best friend) I found that I could play Christmas songs without sheets, just by hearing it and copying. The ability of the body to do stuff is marvellous; I am really starting to enjoy that. (The cat was NOT amused though :-D) I used to take it all, everything, from health to, well even the ability to walk, see, touch, for granted, destroyed it on a daily base. And now it is coming back and well, I enjoy it. 🙂
One graphic thought on sobriety I would like to share:
I am happy that I quit.
3 Things: talk with the bookstore man yesterday. That I actually went there instead of not. Being able to switch of my ‘need’ for him. Maybe I should do that more, might make life easier, get over my Florence Nightingale complex.
Wishing you a nice sober weekend.