Thursday, April 14, 2011

Brilliant Shards

***Submitted by Kristin, who is a regular contributor to Crying Out Now

Since quitting drinking I have been very fortunate.


I have been lucky that I haven't desperately wanted a drink. I feel spoiled just saying that.

But a lot of that is because every time I even see alcohol I can taste my last hangover in the back of my throat. Still makes me want to vomit. It's something of a powerful deterrent for the time being.

Unfortunately, quitting drinking hasn't been as easy as just not having a drink. I'm doing well with that part. But not having an escape from my feelings? Well, I've got feelings busting out all over.

And my husband bears the brunt of it.

The littlest things set me off now. Simple statements pierce my heart. And there's nothing to do but feel these emotions. There's nowhere to hide anymore.

I used to reach for a bottle when I was nervous or frustrated or angry. And it dulled things. I didn't feel so crazy anymore. Because I can be very, very sensitive and dramatic. I hate that about myself. Alcohol stopped me from feeling like I was coming off nuts. If I did come off nuts? Well, hell, I was drunk! Of course I came off nuts!

So, it was a win-win for me.

Except for the fact that I didn't really know if I'd acted crazy or not because I was too drunk to remember. Whatever, we all know about my forgetting. That's not the point here.

The point is, when Ellie called alcohol a numbing agent, I laughed it off a bit. I was sure I didn't use it to get numb so much as I used it to relax.

Wrong.

Because the littlest things cut me so much deeper now, like shards of glass slipping under my skin. When work is hard or my husband is cranky, I don't have alcohol's waiting arms to run into. I have to stand and face the problem. Or wait it out patiently.

Patient has never been my strong suit.

It's not entirely easy. It's harder to face these issues than it is to not have a drink. The issues are what makes me want the glass of booze. The bottom of a bottle is a good place to hide, I guess.

So, it's hard.

But here's the thing: it's a lot easier to wake up and not be hungover. It's a lot easier to remember what last night's fight was about and to address it with a clear head rather than sweeping it under the rug because you don't want anyone to know you don't remember what you said.

So, as hard as it is, it's easier too.

Plus, I'm losing weight since I'm not consuming all that booze.

So, it's win-win in a new way.

Brilliant.

6 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. I am saving this post to share with my teenage daughter who is struggling with addiction.

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  2. This is beautiful, and just what I needed to read today.

    I'm on day three, and I'm struggling. It's so encouraging to read your words and have hope.

    Thank you.

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  3. thank you for writing this... and giving hope to someone already!!!

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  4. Thanks for the glimpse, sounds like we were exactly the same drunk girls. Now the way I deal with my emotion is by slowing down....praying and step work.
    It's never pretty or easy. It's alien and I feel a deep need to RUN. But I don't.
    I don't want to be that drunk Julie again.

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  5. Great post...sort of freaked me out how it "spoke to me" tonight.

    Earlier tonight I wanted to ask my husband a question about something I've been worrying about. But, I felt afraid. I'm 10 months sober and for one of the first times in a long time I had this weird thought -- "Oh, I wish I was drunk so I had the courage to just blurt the question out."

    Ah, you said it well..."the bottom of a bottle is a good place to hide."

    So, instead...I took some deep breaths and decided to keep my mouth shut until I feel calm and strong enough to ask the questions like the big girl I am.

    Thanks!

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  6. I've never had a problem with drinking, but my coping mechanism of choice in my 20's was cutting myself. Same thing, different instrument. Numbs you just the same.

    I remember once going to get help for it (because a boyfriend asked me to, not because I wanted to stop) and the therapist saying something about how some people have a difficult time just sitting with uncomfortable feelings. It was sort of a "duh" moment for me. There were people who *could* sit with uncomfortable feelings? And not run away, cut, or explode?

    Since then I've spent a lot of time working on getting comfortable with discomfort. Mindfulness, yoga, meditation, acceptance. So that now when the sledgehammer comes it is like hitting a mattress instead of a plate glass window.

    A book I highly recommend is the Mindfulness and Acceptance workbook for Anxiety. (Since really, the cutting was a way to try to "fix" the anxiety of being alive and human.) It has helped me more than I can say.

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