A new normal

I didn’t mean to let so much time go by without typing here. Things are so busy. Work is firing up (two new clients that I’m very happy about), my partner and I are building a house (someone else is building it, that is), I’m blogging about the house, and I have work travel, personal travel, my other house that I at least need to keep from being engulfed by weeds (I live in two places about 7 hours apart). Ahhh. It’s all great stuff, and I need to simply be thankful for all of it. But I often feel overwhelmed.

But, I’m back. And I have some adventures to describe. Continue reading

Home alone

I love the moments that reflect so clearly how different my life is now. I get to see how my life has turned on its head, how I’m so much more peaceful now.

(Though I do have this nagging addict bitch inside me who thinks the best thing possible right now would be to start having beer sessions again. But anyway.)

My partner is gone for several days and I’m home alone. For the past few years, I’ve lived here with him part time and lived in my old, beloved city the rest of the time. It used to be half and half, and now I’m more here.  I think that the back and forth lifestyle had its benefits with regard to my drinking — I drank there, alone, and didn’t here, or at least not very much. (When I would leave here for “home,” I couldn’t go even one night without a trip to the liquor store.) It was good for me to have Continue reading

4 months without alcohol: 4 ways of staying put

I had my last beers on Christmas eve, more than four months ago. The new year came in, the winter persisted one, two months and part of a third month, and then spring broke through. I’m being driven further into my own mind and body not having that alcohol escape anymore. The tensions that I reacted to by drinking now lie out in the open. Some of the triggers weren’t even tensions, they could simply be the fact of the day drifting around to 3 p.m. and a bar and grill nearby.

In March I wrote about my selection of ways to repel from discomfort, and today I’m thinking about ways I’m learning to move toward discomfort. Continue reading

Excuses

A major way that the blogosphere helped me as I was inching my way toward quitting alcohol was in people’s descriptions of their excuses. I started seeing my excuses popping up all over the place. I would have thought I was a little original. But you guys helped me see through the flimsy rationales I was using to stay stuck.

I started this blog out of a concern about relapse, and I’ll list some of my excuses here in case I need to read it in some future moment of distress/temptation. In no particular order…

  • I don’t drink that much compared to other people. Comparisons are a) meaningless, and b) carefully designed by my inner addict to make me look good.
  • No one is questioning my drinking. When you take scrupulous care to hide the extent of your drinking, you can’t exactly blame your friends for not questioning the extent of your drinking. Continue reading

Discomfort #5: Contentment

Over these last four months without alcohol, I’ve seen more and more clearly my drive to block my own joy. I go round and round, splashing cold water on my joy and delight and contentment wherever they pop up. It sounds crazy to say that joy is threatening, but it is. Why in the world?

Deepak Chopra advocates healing addiction through finding one’s bliss, but in my opinion he misses a major element of addiction, at least for some of us: we have intense internal reflexes against bliss, euphoria, pleasure, contentment. I have a reflex that reacts very strongly against my own naturally occurring joy. It sniffs out contentment or pleasure 500 miles away, and it acts lightning fast to destroy it. (This discomfort with comfort joins my other known four. Still counting.)

Eventually, drinking alcohol became my preferred method of self-sabotage. The alcohol was screwing more and more with my physiology and nervous system. As I reached my mid-40s, I still was only circling my work, my calling, vocation, whatever you want to call it. I was wasting time, and the time wasn’t going to come back. Continue reading

Contentment as selfish: Myth-busting

A while ago I was puzzling over the oddness of having contentment be a form of discomfort. As with a lot of things, this dynamic has roots both in the twisted human psychology and plain old daily life.

I have strong attractions to specific things, and I imagine that was true of me as a kid. I’m drawn to things I like and love and savor, and the flip side, I reject – sometimes vehemently – things that offend my sensibilities. I love simple, interesting, quirky, beautiful, odd things. I like shapes. I get bored by boring things and I despise ugly things and places. I know, doesn’t everyone? Probably, but I managed to suppress my rejection of these things, I think because it didn’t seem permissible. You accepted what you got, and you didn’t have any power to change things — this went for kids but also for adults (as far as I can tell).

My mom was of the opinion (again, as far as I can tell) that one must not be attached to the things one wants. Continue reading

Fridays

It’s Friday. They happen! So damn often.

In the first several weeks after I quit alcohol, Fridays were hard. In my starts and stops before this quitting thing got some momentum, Fridays were such a weak spot. Done with the week, time to let loose. Everyone else seemed headed for “happy” hour. I should get to go for my beer, too.

It was dismayingly easy for the little addict in my head to find the logical reason why we should partake. We deserved it. Everyone else was doing it, and look, it didn’t cause problems for them. (She has something of an evidence-assessment problem.) Just letting down once a week isn’t damaging. God, you’re such a black-and-white thinker.

She was relentless and clever, and she usually won. Continue reading

Feel funky, buy self beautiful new cup to match

I can feel I’m in something of a different space these days. Feeling different tugs and a different sort of stability. The tugs are… odd.

My partner and I spent two hours with a couples therapist on Friday, something we’d been looking forward to for quite a while. Our “2%” of tangling and pushing eachother’s buttons has been plaguing us for, well, years. The therapist came highly recommended Continue reading

Day 104: Distance to contentment

I meant to post on day 100 and then things got busy. This is a milestone for me. I am feeling buoyed by the three digits!

A voice asked yesterday, are you contented? A funny question, because I’m so aware of my dissatisfaction. Always, it seems, something is lacking. I am concerned. I’m frustrated or worried. I feel I’m behind. Things take too much time and I’m impatient.

As I looked inside, though, there was also no real reason not to say “yes” to the contentment question. But it lingers Continue reading