I am another month into sobriety and the past month has been difficult and lonely and scary. Let me preface this post by saying that this will probably be the last you’ll hear about my new life of sobriety because we all know that this isn’t why you started reading about my foibles in the first place. In fact, most of what you like to hear (judging by site traffic) revolves around tales about how much I hate clutter and/or women’s magazines, how I prefer to do housework on drugs, good tips for sneaking alcohol into events, Karen’s $20 and other fun lowbrow stuff like that. So after this post I will definitely try to keep it more lowbrow or at the very least, not too serious.
But, today, I’m feeling pretty rubbish. And since I can’t drink about it, I’m going to have to write about it. I could just write this in a private document on my computer, but writing about it here actually forces me to organise my thoughts and examine them, rather than just freeballing all over a Notepad document (because y’all KNOW I’m too gangsta to pay for MS Office). I’m sure at some point in the future, I’ll be embarrassed by this post and subsequently take it down. But for now, I’m feeling raw and shit, so that’s what you will receive. If you can’t deal with that, then stop reading right now and go check out one of my lighter posts instead!
Usually, when people engage in behaviours that they can’t moderate, it’s because they are literally forcing down their emotions – I’ve always known this theoretically, and yet I never actually applied that same logic to my own drinking habits. Why? Because I didn’t see myself as having a problem (until recently). As an aside, where do you even draw that line? Drinking thrice a week? Drinking every night if it’s more than a couple? I honestly don’t know and I think that that line gets drawn at different places for everybody. The main point here is that it’s almost impossible to know why you are doing something destructive unless you can accept that what you are doing is actually destructive. Which is why I never thought about why I drank, I just did it, because it worked for me.
So imagine how jarring it was for me when after quitting drinking, I started feeling out of control emotionally. What was going on? I thought that I was supposed to be making things better by not drinking, and now everything was worse. I found myself crying my eyes out over not being able to understand geological maps – I absolutely couldn’t handle the fact that for the first time in my life, I was unable to understand something academically. The air was vacuumed out of me in a split-second as I began panicking that I had overestimated my intellectual capacity, and realised that there is actually a high chance that I might no longer be smart enough to study science. Like a runaway ferris wheel, my thoughts escalated very quickly into catastrophic situations and I realised that I was not going to be able to drink my way out of this one. So I went home and cried myself to sleep, because what the fuck else can you do.
A couple of weeks later, I was looking at pictures of my Perth friends and fell into full-body-wracking sobs at how lonely I felt without this special group of rad, unique souls that totally understood me and loved me for who I am. I wasn’t able to comprehend how I had just upped and left an entire life behind without really feeling anything (apart from the last two days because I was exhausted from a bender). But I had adopted a “she’ll be right” attitude and just bounced off on a plane, leaving the people I love so dearly without any real accompanying emotion.
It seems strange to me that I was able to make so many swift decisions from a place of emotional barrenness. But that’s pretty much what I have been doing for the last year or two – emotional withdrawal had become my default setting, and alcohol was the software package that I was running. Often, sobriety feels like an obnoxious, relentless Windows 10 upgrade offer – why the fuck would I want this annoying new thing to have to adjust to, when the old operating system suited me so much better?
Wait, I can’t use Windows 10 as an analogy here because that would imply that like sobriety, Windows 10 will eventually be something that I have a positive relationship with. Not happening Windows 10, you irritating jerk.
So now, without being able to drink away any feeling that pesters me with it’s existence, I now have to feel these feelings….. and they are HUGE feelings. Feelings about death and grief, self-esteem, relationship breakdown, loneliness, self-confidence, the intense need to accomplish stuff. All of which are interrelated on some level, I’m sure – but none of which are useful or helpful. I’m not going to start drinking again, logic tells me that this is no longer an option. But I am feeling really exhausted and raw and ready to crawl into a hole and hide. I’m sure this will all pass and get better and I hope it does soon.
Ugh. Next post won’t be so shitty I promise.
Love, Chelle xoxox