6 months

A few days ago I hit 6 months without alcohol, first time ever (since alcohol became such a thorough crutch 10-12 years ago). Whoooeeey!!

I like this.

It’s still not that easy. I mean, the not drinking is not particularly difficult these days, practically speaking. But in my own head/heart, things aren’t settled. Not too surprising, that.

One concept that has become particularly large in the past 6 months is the idea of self-soothing. It’s a beautiful, complicated concept with infinite applications. Not only was I not taught as a kid what it is or how to do it (we were more of a repress-all-negative-feelings kind of family), I have deep reflexes that steel themselves against it. That ride alone is worth the price of admission on this sober journey. Hearing the voices, feeling the tensing in my body in response to the suggestion that tenderness, softness, warmth, slowness, care, love are what the distressed parts of me need, not alcohol.

It’s a subtle difference between thinking about alcohol as numbing vs. alcohol as soothing. Maybe numbing can be itself the goal sometimes, but for me it tended to be the soothing angle that was actually in play, and seeing it that way provides a path to explore. If I don’t want to numb with alcohol, I can quit drinking it and … there I am unnumb, therefore feeling entirely raw or exposed and … then what? Not clear. But if I realize that I’m inept when it comes to soothing myself when I feel angry, scared, alone, vulnerable, overwhelmed, an instant path opens toward an alternative response. How better to soothe? I still get to soothe! How to actually soothe, rather than soothe for 17 minutes (zero to 1.65 beers) followed by crackling my brain for three more hours followed by 7 shitty hours of dehydrated sleep followed by a half(orless)-enjoyed/-productive day. That’s a high high price for 17 minutes of soothing. Especially since the soothe-to-shit ratio gets lower and lower as the days and years drag on.

Here’s a picture of replacement soothing:

IMG_20181127_094701884[1]

Soft socks. That every time I look at them I see Curious George, and that makes me smile.

Are any of your sober self-soothing strategies visualizable?  Send me a photograph and I’ll make a little collection here in the next post — adriansbees@gmail.com.

Here’s another, from a previous post. Less warm, more cold! Summer soothing at its finest.

iced coffee

Happy Wednesday!

Adrian

11 thoughts on “6 months

  1. Wow! Powerful post, thank you! Inspired to be more thoughtful about “soothing”…have been feeling the pull to drink recently (although it’s pretty well passed)…it’s those 17 minutes you describe that I miss…and thankfully I recognize and agree with your assessment of what happens after those 17 minutes (and 1.65 beers – IPA ALL THE WAY! LOL!). So thank you, Trail Buddy, for today’s “Ah-Ha Moment”…when the longing arrives I shall focus on a kind and beneficial way to soothe, maybe you’ll even see a picture! Thank you! 😋👏🏼

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    • Thanks, IATW Trail Buddy! I’m glad your current pull to drink is passing. It’s part of the deal, but so nice when it’s not loud…. I’d love to hear more about the new soothing techniques you uncover or discover.

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  2. Congratulations. 6 months is a nice milestone.
    Soft socks and delicious drinks are 2 of my favourites.
    I’ve also taken to bubble gum recently. Lol

    Keep going. It’s only gets better!
    Anne

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  3. Congratulations on your 6 months! That is awesome! 🙂 I am so happy for you!
    Funny indeed that you chose the socks; the first sign of me realising I am not taking care of myself is when I have cold feet – toes turning blue cold…. If I feel bad I somehow don’t put on socks. 🙂 I am happy you do :-).
    xx, Feeling

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    • Yes! Right? What is that? I’ve only recently become aware of my gravitation toward heat. I looked up alcohol in ayurvedic terms, thinking it was cold, but it’s actually sort of both. (I experience it as cold.) Glad you’re surrounded by these heat-emanating things in the northland!

      Liked by 1 person

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