Back from vacation. Wonderful visit with big sis and the Captain enjoying the beauty and power of creation. Wild ocean and wind. Rain. Beaches and sunshine. Great company and home cooking. I felt great. Alive, present and energized. No temptations, no cravings, and no desire. Not even on the ferry both going and coming.
So what’s up?
Got back Tuesday night and have been tired, slightly depressed and down and more than a little moody. I often feel depressed after a visit with my brothers and sisters because we don’t see each other very often. When our visit ends, it’s funktime for me thinking how long it will be before I see them again. Oh no, don’t dwell on the wonderful visit- go right to the downer.
I also get a good dose of melancholia as we enter fall. Don’t pay attention to the beautiful foliage. Or the cooler temps (which I love). The great sleeping and exercise weather. Forget about it. The future looms tall and menacing. Winter.
I’ve always looked at that half empty glass and could never enjoy it. Not if it wasn’t full. And for 25 days now the glass has been empty.
This is what I found on what happens to the emotions:
As most would expect, mixed in with the highs are periods of emotional lows. These effects aren’t as physically urgent as the ones experienced in the first stages of withdrawal, but they can take a big toll on your newly sober psyche:
- Anxiety & depression
- Decreased energy & metabolism
- Feelings of aggression or hostility
- Declined sexual interest or function
- Sleep disruption & nightmares
Excerpt from: What Happens When You Stop
I imagine my brain is going through major chemical adjustments so to remain kind and gentle with these emotions is my goal- a necessary side effect of learning to live with that empty glass.
I am leaving for a few days. Going to a sober safe vacation place. With beautiful beaches and huge bluffs overlooking the ocean. Family too. It’s been awhile…way too long.
It’s also where I found sobriety the first time. Full circle.
All devices will be left behind so I will journal while I’m gone and post when I return on Wednesday.
Why did I keep going back? Especially in the last 4 to 5 years. I’ve had many times in recent years when I felt clearer- not this clear, stronger- not this strong. I would usually drink my wine 3-4 days out of the week so by the 3rd or 4th day without, I would be feeling pretty good. And I’d wonder…’maybe I’ll go without tonight. This feels pretty good.’ But Friday night happened. Not out. At work after we closed the shop. And then home…. Alone. With my wine.
And the next morning, not hungover in the classic sense- I don’t get headaches or throwup- I have an iron stomach, and I always made it to work, but this lethargy. This weight- psychic sludge. And again I’d wonder why? Why do I continue to choose this when I know how good it can be.
It would always be a couple, few days to when the heaviness lifted. Any positive habits like exercise and morning prayer were interrupted. Unsustainable. Forget about creating new ones. Didn’t feel like seeing anyone. Thought they would see right through me to the dirt. Shameful dirt. And what about you God! How many times have I asked? pleaded? begged?
Have you forgot me?
As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.…Proverbs 26:11
Whenever I drank, this line of scripture would roll around my brain for days after.
I was that dog.
But God has a way of turning garbage into gold. And He doesn’t forget or abandon. He said so. He promised. God doesn’t lie. And I am proof because I am living in a miracle right now. All this time He was watching. Waiting. Showing me. Preparing me. Until the very moment He knew I was ready to receive and to choose Him.
Because He created me for more.
Up at the crack of dawn and home from work late. Just showing up tonight. Not saying much. Going to scrounge around the pantry. Need something easy for dinner. Then goodnight.
Today was good. I am really appreciating being sharp and clear. I feel a good tired. Not that dragged out feeling and my energy is sustained throughout the day for the most part. Did get a little witchy at a couple of points today but didn’t show it. Kept it under cover and as soon as I felt it I worked to correct it.
I’ve been here before. Why did I go back?
So many times.
God is faithful
I know this to be true because He has answered most of my prayers. At least the prayers that would serve my highest good. At times He has taken the slow road in answering some of them, but then, I guess He knows best. He knows when I’m ready to receive. As for the other prayers?
There’s this country western song I remember from the ’80’s and I don’t remember anything about the song but the line: ‘Sometimes God’s greatest gifts are the prayers that go unanswered.’ I’m real glad He didn’t answer those prayers.
‘He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve them.’ Matthew 8:15
I was given a reprieve from the desire to drink. A gift of healing. Whether it remains so will depend on what I do with it.
One of the basic tenets of A.A. is that the recovering alcoholic get involved and give of himself to help another alcoholic. This is a vital part of the recovery process. For one: it keeps the misery of alcoholism fresh in the mind. I have a fantastic ‘forgetter’. Secondly: Addiction of any sort feeds selfishness and a turning inward. And that in turn breeds more addiction. Getting over and out of oneself needs to happen for full recovery…
Any Blessings I have received are meant to be passed along. They aren’t bestowed so that I can rise up and continue on my merry self-serving way. They are meant to bring me back into the land of the living. Back or for the first time.
I’ve had an excellent start on learning what it means to serve through my faith and church community. And I’ve found that the willingness to die to myself is a daily process. Most times a struggle. Perseverance.
This is the piece that had always been missing.
His timing is perfect.
Radiant. That’s what he said.
So apparently it shows. After just 2 weeks. That was my former boss who commented on how I looked when I ran into him Sunday. wow.
I’m finally feeling a rhythm to all this. Got some great rest over the weekend. Finally. The weekend was actually the perfect balance of rest, work and pleasure.
Had a great visit with a 94-year-old friend. 94…I can’t even imagine. This woman has been there for me in some of the worst times. But she’s also been there in some of best. She’s in a nursing home now and I have had the privilege of witnessing her struggle with the inevitable; watched how she kept surrendering parts of herself to the process of aging. Over and over. How at times she’s been stubborn and unyielding and how at other times she’s surrendered with such grace and dignity.
Of the things we can not change. Of the things over which we have no control. The Serenity prayer.
I pray for this.
I was thinking of Christmas today. A little earlier than is usual for me. Not the gathering of family and friends, not visions of fabulous gifts, not beautiful Christmas trees or the comfort of a fire in the hearth or cookies. None of these things truly represent Christmas for me as I don’t have many friends in the area in which I live and most of my family lives scattered about the country. Gifting, either buying or receiving, hasn’t been especially important to me in the material sense. I don’t put up a tree and I don’t have a fireplace. And I certainly don’t bake. Or haven’t in a very long time.
I wasn’t even thinking about the true meaning of Christmas for those of us who believe.
No. I was thinking of wine. And all the fancy, delicious and expensive wine I was going to miss out on at our employee Christmas dinner. ‘But your Sober Challenge will be over! You could probably have a glass. HA! Never happen. Never has. Anxiety sets in. Good! you should be anxious with those thoughts floatin’ around your head.’
Let’s see what else I’ll miss.
I get to miss acting like a jackass…I get to miss the dullness of spirit and the lethargy of having too much….I get to miss spending lots of money because those of us who like to drink spend record amounts for alcohol around the holidays….I won’t miss the extra tons of calories….give me a minute and I assure you I’ll come up with more.
The conjuring up of these thoughts which came faster than I knew what to do with didn’t give me an urge or desire. Blessed. Thank you Lord.
But I know the time will come. And I’ll need to be ready.