Wednesday, 7 August 2013

"This whole sober thing is starting to get boring."

It's sunny and hot here again, another beautiful summer day. I have a paper to finish and an exam to study for. But I'm off work for the next few days to finish all that. I have a fridge full of yummy food, sparkling water, and tasty homemade drink concoctions, including rhubarb-lemonade, raspberry cordial, and iced mint-lemongrass tea. My partner is away for a few days for a family celebration that I can't attend because of the above-mentioned paper and exam, but at least I have time to get things done, and he won't have to deal with deadline-cranky me. I'm pleased he could go to the family thing, as it's in a space steeped in history for him, and he needs the break. All good, right?

So how is it that, as I'm getting out of bed, I have a clear, resounding thought, "This whole sober thing is starting to get boring"? Wait. What? Says who? Yes, it will be a little lonely, but I like time alone. I have craploads to do, but it will be done, one way or another, in a few days. I have time later on to nip out to the farmer's market for fresh garlic (oh my god, so much better than the withered stuff you buy in the grocery!) and go for a run (my second run!), so I won't be staring at a screen all day. It's a lot to do, but it sounds like a pretty good plan for a day.

I'm studying psychology, and one of the things that especially interests me is the link between language and the self. The things we say to ourselves come from the world around us, and we become who we are, in part, by the voices that get incorporated into the inner dialogue. And holy, it's noisy in there! I once did a 5-day silent meditation retreat: five days just sitting, paying attention to where the mind goes when it's let off-leash. I hated it. By the end, I was mentally replaying TV ads from the 70's ("you'll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent..."). I had hoped for something more sublime, world peace and shining-light-of-truth-visions maybe, but I am a creature of my times. We all are.

I used to try and just shout down the voices I didn't like, but that doesn't seem to work for me. They just come back loud and strong when I'm tired. Instead, maybe I need to try to hear what the "I'm bored, let's drink" voice is saying. Yes, it's saying drink, and no, I won't do that. I get that much. But what else is going on there? Maybe the answer is just, yes, parts of today will be tough, and a bit dull. Just accept that, and get back to work. Life is not some bright and shining every-moment-is-a-party gig. No? Dang.

OK, back to editing that paper. Then garlic, then a run, then more writing. Later, I can lie around and read a mystery. A bit boring, a bit all right. That's my day.


  1. Oooh I like that language and the self stuff. I do think our inner voice is an incredibly powerful one and know that for me in giving up drink it was all about controlling my inner voice to say the things I wanted it to say 'i can never drink again' and 'I absolutely have to stop drinking' and 'i have no choice but to stop drinking' and 'i can learn how to live without alcohol'.. over and over and over until it started drowning out the voice that said 'a wine sure would be nice' and 'why can't i have a wine everyone has wine' and 'i really deserve a wine'. slowly and slowly and slowly i won.. the voice i wanted to hear is the one i mostly hear now. took some time. do share more of what you are studying that sounds really interesting. hope your day got better xxxx

  2. Thanks for the moral support, Mrs D! I went outdoors and moved around so I feel way way way better. The language and self stuff is interesting, isn't it? I worried I was just banging on there--and I will do more of that soon, I'm sure--but I really am trying to use what I'm learning in school to figure this stuff out, and then using what I'm learning here to clarify my thinking on some of the academic ideas. It seems like the inner voice and identity are so strongly connected, so I have to go from being "someone who loves her wine" to being sober. Part of that is training my inner voice, and to do that I really have relied on you and the other sober bloggers who talk about the changes you have made in your thinking. I see that it's not enough to just not drink. That's part of it, but the mind-work needs doing, too. It's definitely the beginning of a work in progress, and it's way harder when I have lots of other hard things to get done. (Big surprise, that!) Anyway, thanks for adding me to your list, and big big thanks for reading and chiming in!

  3. I really enjoy what you said about that it's not enough to not just drink, and that the mind work needs doing. You really hit the nail on the head there! I feel that some see it the opposite - that once booze exits the picture, it's all rosy. That's far from the truth - it's usually when booze exits the picture it gets *worse*. And that is until we do the work, as you mentioned. Whether it be 12-step recovery, therapy, self-introspective work, lifestyle change, mental or spiritual awakenings, etc. something has to change or nothing changes. And it's great you see that and make that connection - fantastic.

    The whole "boring" thing - well, that's fairly common among us to have that feeling that it's all rather dull after the initial buzz of sobriety. And as you mentioned, sometimes life is not shining every single moment of the day (how boring would that be after a while? lol) but sometimes categorized by down times, tough times and yeah, meh moments. And that's life. Normalized, I suppose. I was happy not getting arrested or thrown out of the house or anything like that I will take the duller moments in stride :)

    Great post!


    1. Thanks, Paul. Yes, it's mind-work, and it's hard, and it has to be done. Thanks so so much for reading and for adding your thoughts. I learn so much from the people who have already gone through all this. Without you all, I wouldn't have made it this far, that's for sure. Take care!

  4. I have started to really like the ordinary days. And the day sounds like one of my perfect days: garlic, run, writing, mystery? Grand.

    My brain has a tough time shutting it up too. I'm addicted to the self talk. :)

    1. Thanks, Amy. You're right. I know. The mind prattles on like a toddler, doesn't it? And yes, it really was mostly a good day. I realized later what I was calling "boring" was really more accurately "terror" about the paper and exam I had to do. I'm just starting to see how much I lump all uncomfortable emotions into one big category. It's very early days for me on having any clue about emotions. But like you, I'm working on all this. Hope you're having a good day!