Three hundred days, my people.
Spring is springing here (southern Iowa), with frogs squeaking in the pond, the first great blue heron (but just once, maybe only passing through?), first kingfisher, bees out and about on sunny days, rain and fog, redwing blackbirds staking out their reeds.
I’ve been mid-sober-stint twice before in the spring, 2015 and, I believe, 2016. Or 2017? (Wow. Four years ago this dance started for real.) Both times, spring arrived during the first few months of the walk away from alcohol. This time it arrived 9 months in. And you know what? The few-months-in was easier. Especially the first time, all was fresh and, once I’d gotten past the first month or two and the daily cravings had faded, pretty smooth.
This spring I’m in a funk. Struggling with mood stuff, some or most of which may have to do with hormonal wildness. (For another post — women and quitting alcohol and menopause (not quitting menopause, having it). God I hate that word because it makes me feel ancient, but it’s reality and it happened to me (I’m 52 now) and god does it fuck with my moods. Given the increases in alcohol consumption among women in their 30s (I think), 40s, 50s, and assuming some of them decide to quit alcohol, the whole topic of doing that while getting slammed with menopause crap needs to be discussed.) (Sorry to alienate everyone out there who’s young/female or male!))
It can be really hard sometimes. The pressure downward on me, as though depression wants to push me all the way into the muddy ground, with one last stomp on the top of my head at mud level for good measure. Really.
Fortunately, it’s not always that bad. Some days and parts of days are fine. I know that some people have much more inescapable depression, and, just, god.
Messages that I hold on to in an effort to not reach for a beer:
- “we are the luckiest” (Laura McKowen)
- “I’m in awe of us” (Belle)
- how insanely I detest day 19s (me). oh sizzling hell
- the fact that the only place a night of drinking takes me is back to quitting again
- and … knowledge that the fuck-it moments are magic
I very much believe that every sizzling-miserable-fuck-it-all moment is a moment when we’re on the cusp of learning something. An essential, true thing that is head-butting (like your kitty’s forehead) your knee, a thing whose time is now who needs to be given free reign and let run willy-nilly through you. A thing that won’t come again in quite the same shape and you might never find out what it was. Processing is sometimes on the surface in my thinking mind and other times is deep, wordless, inchoate — if I can relax with it, it gives my overactive mind a rest and lets the nonanalytical elbowing and arguing and hugging go on free and unmonitored.
Letting go of resistance of every type, that’s my work of sobriety. Resisting myself, resisting the rain, resisting the water pooling on the floor of my shop-in-process because I can’t figure out how it’s getting in, resisting my skreechingly painful emotions, old terrors buried in my tissues that come flying out at me under unpredictable conditions. I’m learning how to accept the reality of reality. This can be hard as fuck; I can’t express how much I detest emotional pain. I’m brilliant at generating my own, from the inside. Boy, beer was good for turning that off. The most excellent. But the mental muscles and blockages and wounds I accumulated over all those drinking years are scars that hold me away from myself and even, actually, from my dear beloved world.
Yesterday afternoon I was taping the ceiling seams of my workshop and taping the plywood to the vapor barrier at the walls, priming the ceiling, getting ready to throw insulation in the attic, when some tape stuck to itself (it wasn’t sticking well to the plywood and the paint is not going to help (seems like it should, I’m told it won’t), this is super sticky tape, and a whole big long strip of it one whole ladder-repositioning away pulled off the wall and I just lost it. (I know, YOU would have serenely repositioned the ladder, feeling gratitude for having such a fine, 8-foot ladder, and retaped the sticky white tape, grateful to live in an era with this nice perfect (for some applications) technological product, and then moved the ladder back and kept going.) Me, I screamed, cried, sobbed (standing on my very cool 8-foot ladder (I actually have two), why does everything have to be SO HARD??!! Why can’t I just drink contentedly out in my solo shop next to the woods, out there just me and the birds, god damn it. (Fucking tape. Fucking plywood.) Why?!!
This, on day 299. It does get easier, people, but I’m never far from the edge. I really don’t ever feel in danger of actually having a drink, but Wolfie has not left yet.
Like, really, Adrian, you’re going to drink on day 299? The day before the rather amazing 300? And start all over?
Let the body/soul learn whatever it is it needs to learn today. Stay strung up as a fascinating mesh of matter, held by unknown atomic forces, balanced in the magnetic fields of this dense Earth matter for a few short decades, and then poof, gone. Stay here. Alcohol so messes with your brain and vibrations. Stay away, and stay here.
Happy spring, people, wherever you are. Smiles, tears, question marks, wisdom, days and days and days.