Monday, 3 March 2014

Round 2, Day 56: Cheering me on, feeling the love!

I'm going to start off with a big whopping Hooray!!! It's been eight weeks since I drank, and that's a whole lot of days making a whole lot of small, good decisions. Hooray me! Go me! Oh yes, folks, that's me, cheering me on in real time!

I'm playing the part of being my own one-person cheering committee for a reason here, and it's not that I have a big ego. (Well I do--but who doesn't? Sometimes I want to defend our much maligned egos, poor fragile things, egos, bouncing around the rough and tumble world like eggs without safe cardboard cartons. But that's a different post.) Nope. It's this: I am starting to get an inkling of how freaking hard on myself I am. I swear, I had no idea. I do all kinds of things that look like I am taking it easy on myself. I eat when I'm hungry. I sleep when I'm tired. If I catch myself looking in the mirror with any sort of critical eye, I say something nice to myself, out loud, to counter the criticism. I have little treats all the time, so much so that the idea of a treat for being sober doesn't work for me because I refuse to link treats to any performance outcome, and anyway I have them all the time. I really thought I had this being kind to self thing nailed. Oh man, was I wrong! Is getting sober all about realizing how wrong you are about everything?

But I have been doing a slightly crazy job plus full-time school, both at a pretty hectic pace, for a few years, and I don't cut myself much slack on either front. Even when things go well, I hardly register the success because, of course, I am supposed to do well. Last summer, having received an A+ mark in a directed studies class, my partner said I didn't seem pleased with the grade (which is bewildering, right?) and I commented that the professor was probably just being kind because he knew I'd worked hard. Last semester, I minimized another A+, figuring the professor just wanted people to do well. I was not just saying these things. I really thought them. On another tack: I weigh 5 pounds more than I did last summer, and I have been fretting about those 5 pounds in a way that no one could call rational. I could list more examples, but I worry anyone reading would lose patience with me. I would. Examples are hard, because they sound petty. They sound like I'm saying, "See me! Almost perfect!" Please trust me, that's not what's going on here.

This past week, I have started to break through this faulty thinking. The other day, I was buckled into deep, sobbing tears over this. (Yes, I know, I cry a lot.) I realized that I still, far too often, think that if only I lose five pounds and get A+ in everything and do everything right and be smart and funny and nice to everyone all the time, then the God of my childhood will reach out and pat me on the head and say, "Good girl," and everyone will love me and then, only then, will everything finally be OK. Like all the money problems and old broken relationships and mean things I've said or other people have said, all the old problems with my mother and my family and the fact that I drank too much for too long, all the social awkwardness and not believing in myself when I was not being awkward, all that and a whole whack of things I don't even want to list here, all those would be washed away, and life would start again, perfect, bathed in the milky new light of early morning.

That may sound pathetic. It is. But even writing it here makes me go all teary-eyed. I just didn't know I still thought that. That's pretty much me as an eight-year-old, right there, still thinking the same way, almost forty years later. It's a shock to see that I'm still living that view of the world.

If anyone I knew talked like this, I would want to give them a giant hug and say it's all going to be OK. (Sober blog warning: quitting drinking really does make you want to hug everyone all the time!) So that's what I'm trying to do here. Just be really, honestly kind to myself. Take in the giant universe hug and see that it's all already OK.

None of this should surprise me. I know this stuff intellectually. You have to be kind to yourself, accept yourself, etc. But you can know it without feeling it. Now something different is going on. I'm slowly starting to feel what it is to accept myself, and that's a different way of knowing altogether.

So that's me today. I quit drinking eight weeks ago, and I'm proud of that. I'm starting to feel the big love that is part of living in the world. Even if it does feel like being lost a lot of the time, we're going in the right direction here.

Thanks for reading. Hooray you! Hooray me! Hooray world! Peace and joy and big hugs for everyone!





17 comments:

  1. It is going to be ok and sending that hug to you(( )) I think that symbol means a hug!!!

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Big hug to you too! xo

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  2. Dear lord, sometimes you really are in my head. Beautifully written.

    "Is getting sober all about realizing how wrong you are about everything?" Lol. Yes. Totally. :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Amy. A writing compliment always sends me over the moon!

      I guess being wrong isn't so bad, since the things I'm learning are way cooler than the things I was do damned sure about. And at least I'm in good company! Take care. xo

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  3. ..... and a GREAT BIG extra cheer, all the way from France!
    Go YOU!
    G x

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  4. ... I found this post of yours really uplifting and, as we're more or less on the same calendar (we'll both be cheering ourselves on for our 2 MONTHS this weekend!), I feel I can relate to the changing perceptions of it all a bit with you, in real time, even though our circumstances are quite different.....

    I don't have any gods involved at this end, childhood or otherwise, but I thought I'd offer you the nearest I could get to a blessing....

    It goes something like this....

    "May all your doughnuts..... " :o)

    G x

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    1. Thanks for the big cheer, Gray! (And for making sure I forever avoid doughnuts!) I'm super glad you found this uplifting, as I worried I was going to sound like a sad sack in parts. I think there is a kind of pattern to the ups and down after stating on this sober business, so it's interesting you and I are on a similar kind of trajectory. I am trying to really observe what I'm feeling--something that doesn't come easily to me, but I'm learning. Hooray for almost 2 months! Go us! xo

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  5. We are so alike in the perfectionism aspect. And on another note, I always say, sometimes there is a brick wall between what you know and how you behave. Here's to watching that wall crumble for you. (())

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    1. Thanks for your kind comment, S. Sorry to hear you have the perfectionism curse, too. I hope you've read Brene Brown's book on the subject. She has an earlier one on shame that's great, too. I'm learning a lot from her.

      And I love the brick wall analogy! It's so true, isn't it? The most maddening thing is knowing what I want to do, and then doing something else. Let's all keep chipping away at those walls. (Now I'm gonna have the Pink Floyd album of my childhood in m mind all day. At least that's progress.)

      Take care, and thanks so much for reading. Big ((hug)) to you too! xo

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  6. Hi Thirsty, not sure why but I've been having trouble commenting on your blog... my comments just disappear when I push 'publish'. But here's to another try... You're so brave to write about this! And wow, wow, wow... talk about parallel processes. I so know about your inner 8-year-old (mine is 9!). I've been spending a lot of time getting in touch with her lately. I think she represents the point in childhood when I started withdrawing, curling in on myself, and slipping into survive mode rather than thrive mode. We can get locked in there, and can stay locked in those beliefs about ourselves for decades.I really do think though that with awareness and intention, we can re-parent ourselves, re-teach ourselves how to grow strong and confident and thrive. That's what sobriety has been about for me. Rediscovering the shut-down, survival-mode me, and beginning to get into thrive mode. Yay US.

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    1. Hi Sure. Sorry about comment woes. Blogger seems to do that sometimes, though I thought I had fixed the problem. Let me know if it happens again, please.

      On to the real conversation: I find it amazing that you have a similar process! I had no idea anyone would even relate to any of this until recently. Thanks for calling me brave. For me, I just know that if I don't go for scorching honesty with myself, I just won't remember any of the tough parts. I agree about reparenting, and that's what I've been thinking about, too. (Amy at Sober-bia was writing about that a while ago, and she really got me thinking.) Survival mode is fine if there's a real crisis, but I do want to learn how to live the full range of life, not just oscillate between numb and high panic. I'm glad to hear that "thrive mode" is where you are these days. I'll look forward to getting there! Yay us indeed! Take care. xo

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    2. Oh jeepers I keep typing Sure instead of Sue! I really can edit if only I would reread before hitting publish. sorry about that! xo

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    3. Hi again Thirsty, I quite like the Sure typo! I wouldn't say I've made it to thrive mode yet, but at least it's become part of my expanded emotional landscape. I do love the whole idea of a personal re-parenting project. It's rich with possibilities, and I think it has huge potential for healing. I agree, survival mode is fine in a crisis, but it's an incredibly stressful mode to live in full time. Time to relax into the rest of life's experiences. X

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  7. Oh my god this is such a powerful wonderful post you just got me teary. You are so brave and wonderful to be diving right into that deep uncomfortable stuff.. but ThirstyStill you are going there! You are doing it! You wallow around in those depths and cry and feel uncomfortable (I know I do when I'm down there) and write to us and talk to your loved ones and eventually you'll climb out. Different, better, stronger, more real. This is amazing. I've said it before and I'll say it again.. I really really really really thank you for sharing your journey with us. Go well my friend xxxx

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    1. Thanks, Mrs D! Such a lovely supportive comment from you! I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate the support, and I'm so glad you're here reading. Big hug to you. xo

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  8. Hi there. I relate to this so much, especially the perfectionism. For me, I think forcing myself to excel at school, at work, etc. was a way for me to ignore my drinking for a long time. Like, look at all my accomplishments! Surely everything is okay! And it was not okay - was far from okay.

    That perfectionism hasn't left me since I quit drinking (though it's early yet), but I'm hoping eventually I'll ease off and give myself a bit of a break.

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    1. Hi Hilda. Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to comment. I think lots of us are working on the perfection problem. For me, it's such a relief to know I'm not alone in it. I'm starting to ease up on it, and it sure does feel better. I hope you're doing well. xo

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