Thoughts About Getting Back On That Wagon

 

 

 

 

What sobriety would mean for me:

Sobriety would mean facing my self-loathing head-on, tackling a flood of blackness, thick like tar.

Sobriety would mean cutting my losses before the ultimate physical effects become even more apparent than they already are, before my nose becomes a maze of veins, before my face betrays the number of years I have actually lived, before illness and decrepitude take the place of my healthy, wholesome (yet smoking) façade.

Sobriety would mean being obligated to feel and express anger, to be assertive, to ruffle some feathers, at worst to create real, full-blown conflicts with other human beings, to be less amiable, less likable. To be forced to change situations that hurt me.

Sobriety would mean confronting my anxiety, clutching my nails into my own flesh, crying profusely at how disappointed I am with myself, accepting that I am the only one to blame for my failures and that I cannot go back and change anything. Nothing. What’s done is done.

Sobriety might mean that my creative process would run dry, that my words could no longer find an exit out of my head, that I would have nothing left to say, that I might pass from verbal waterfalls to a desert of mutism, locked securely inside myself. Trapped.

Sobriety might mean that I would have to put an end to my thrilling, dangerous sexual exploits, that I might have to reconsider (again) my true feelings about sex and love and what I really need to get out of physical relationships and human relationships in general.

Sobriety might mean attaining a higher level sexually, being 100% present, not watered down, in the fog where I feel safe and can offer myself recklessly because I am not really completely there. Absent. Ghost-fucking might become a thing of the past.

Sobriety might free my time. I might be able to concentrate on essential things if I wasn’t always thinking of My Next Drink. The vast open space might be terrifying to me. I would be afraid of getting lost in the emptiness that I now fill with elaborate plans, scheming, making deals and ultimatums with myself.

I like to think sobriety might bring me peace, but I am not convinced. I am sure that without the calories of all the wine I drink, I would lose at least ten pounds effortlessly. That idea does make me smile. I know that my facial expression would be more engaging I would find the gleam that my eyes are often missing. There would be more available cash in my household if I didn’t drink. I wouldn’t feel afraid of having rather hideous physical manifestations of withdrawal in situations where drinking is impossible.

I would just be afraid of everything else.

 

30 comments

  1. Fatal

    I struggle with staying sober in the lowest moments. I celebrate all of my highest moments with alcohol already, so I don’t struggle either way with that. It’s a dangerous tool that acts as a bosom friend. If you ever need to speak, I’m here to listen and I love you endlessly, sober or drunk.

    xoxo

  2. Dawn D

    Wow!!! Thank you for your courage in posting this. Brought a lot of reactions up for me.
    You know I don’t drink. Or not much. For me, sobriety meant not being afraid of losing control, of what I might do that I could regret when I had too many drinks, of losing face. Of problems getting pregnant, or fear of withdrawal while I was pregnant/nursing. And also, because quite early on (I was only 27 when I spent time in a psychiatric hospital) I learnt that alcohol is a strong depressant. Frankly, I didn’t need to be more depressed. And I also feared becoming addicted. Because I was quite sure that if I used alcohol to provide numbness, I might like that numb feeling so much that I would never want to stop being numb. I chose anti-depressants to numb it all. And delusion.
    Now, what you write here: *”Sobriety would mean being obligated to feel and express anger, to be assertive, to ruffle some feathers, at worst to create real, full-blown conflicts with other human beings, to be less amiable, less likable. To be forced to change situations that hurt me.”* Yes, it would stop the numbness and mean you would have to face your feelings. But being assertive doesn’t necessarily mean expressing anger. It is possible to be assertive without being angry. Though, granted, at first it may not be easy 🙂
    *”Sobriety would mean confronting my anxiety, clutching my nails into my own flesh, crying profusely at how disappointed I am with myself, accepting that I am the only one to blame for my failures and that I cannot go back and change anything. Nothing. What’s done is done.”* Yes, it would let your anxiety come out. But it would also give you the strength, the clear vision to see how to stop it. And you may be disappointed with yourself, but there is no reason. As you said, you cannot go back and change anything. But you can learn from it. And change your future actions, hoping to get different results. (I’ll admit though that it is not easy, I’m struggling with it myself, forgiving myself is much harder than forgiving anyone else. Why couldn’t I wake up earlier and save 10 years of my life? Ah, but if I had done, I would not have met some wonderful people that changed my life completely!)
    *”Sobriety might mean that my creative process would run dry, that my words could no longer find an exit out of my head, that I would have nothing left to say, that I might pass from verbal waterfalls to a desert of mutism, locked securely inside myself. Trapped.”* I don’t think it’s true. It would mean that your creative process would take a different route. I became creative only when I actually accepted that I was and needed the outlet. I met a few people along the way who encouraged me. Your words would still find their way out. They may be different words, but it doesn’t mean they would have less value. Or maybe you would turn to different media 🙂
    *”Sobriety might mean that I would have to put an end to my thrilling, dangerous sexual exploits, that I might have to reconsider (again) my true feelings about sex and love and what I really need to get out of physical relationships and human relationships in general.”* Or it may mean that you would be able to savour those exploits, going into them fully conscious, knowing why and what you are looking to get out of them. As you state in your next paragraph…
    *”Sobriety might free my time. […] The vast open space might be terrifying to me.”* But think of all the free time it would give you for sexual exploits and creative outlets!
    *I would just be afraid of everything else* But you would soon learn to not be afraid anymore. Because you could learn to make sense of everything else…
    Well, it’s quite clear what I wish for you. That’s without even mentioning the physical effects. But I also strongly believe that things happen when they happen for a reason. And whatever you decide to do, I know I’ll be happy to read your words, see your pictures and generally enjoy your creativity. And I’ll stand by you, my first supporter 🙂
    All I wish for you is happiness.
    Much love
    Dawn

    • pivoine68

      Wait….I think I have to come back to your comment and the others as well. I’m all teary now and the words are a blurr. For now, thank you SO much. None of my blog friends will ever truly know how much their input means to me. I feel blessed. And so grateful.

      Love,
      Dawn with a Kleenex in hand, lower-lip trembling.

    • pivoine68

      Hi,
      I’m back. 🙂

      As far as psychiatric sejours go, I’ve done two as well. I’m bipolar and oddly, when I have had really bad depressions In the past (without medication) something in my body made me quit drinking right away. It’s odd how the body strives to continue when all we want to do sometimes is lay down and die. When I have been in manic episodes, alcohol knocked me out enough to sleep and stop talking for at least short periods of time. At that point it felt like my friend.

      I have a serious problem expressing anger, standing up for myself…etc. etc. I can defend someone else vehemently but it is huge for me to just slide a, “I didn’t like what you said / how you acted,” into a normal conversation. Saying nothing is incredibly self-destructive to me but the idea of being obligated to say something is terrifying….a no-win situation.

      You are right about our failures. In the whole, I wouldn’t change much of anything that I have missed out on, because I suppose I really have gotten so much more somehow. Not having a career is an issue for me just because it is so unlikely. It has given me ample time to get into all sorts of trouble. 🙂

      I have to go make lunch, which is ok because I’m starving! Lol!
      Thanks for caring and for giving me Kleenex and hugs.

      Much love back,
      Dawn

      • Dawn D

        I’m glad to know that your body was strong enough to show you what was needed at the time. I think we don’t die until we’re ready to, so our bodies are just doing what our minds secretly tell them. “Keep going, you’re stronger than you believe. Yes, things may not look bright at the moment, but better times are just around the corner” (by the way, thanks for being my ‘mind’ back then 😉 ).
        Are you taking anything for the manic-depression?

        It was really hard for me to express anger. I mean, like you, I was always the first to get on my high horses to rescue someone else, but I never dared take a stand for myself. And then I learnt how to be assertive. For me, it was a necessity because I had so much pent up anger that I feared I was going to chop the head off my children 😉
        So I learnt how to be assertive before I decided to face my anger. It worked Ok for me. Now I’m getting better at asserting what I need to say without being aggressive… There is hope!! 🙂
        Why do you say it is unlikely to not have a career? I don’t have one. Remember, I gave it up to follow my husband and raise my children! Now I have to reinvent myself. The good thing about it is that you can do whatever you like!! Even become a writer and get published 😉
        We’ll be Ok girl, we’ll be fine in the end! I know it 🙂
        XOOX
        Dawn

      • pivoine68

        You have to admit though, in 2014, it seems unlikely to even be given the option of not working. This always makes me feel like the biggest asshole because I have friends who hate their jobs and would love a life of leisure. ( that is what they think….they’d be drinking a bottle of wine at lunchtime before they even got used to sleeping late.) I never sleep late really.

        I have never been assertive and I have always known people who say, “Dawn, be more assertive!” so I try it with them and they hate it.

        I take lithium. I’ve been taking it for nearly 20 years. It works well for me and I don’t have many yucky side effects. 🙂

      • Dawn D

        This is the kind of option one should choose. When I wasn’t working at a career, I worked as a volunteer. And that led me to a new career. There are all sorts of things that you can do. Working doesn’t mean be employed either. I read somewhere not long ago something that went along those lines (sorry, too tired to look for the exact quote): find what you enjoy doing and do it well. At some point, it’ll become your job. Or another one: What you do when you procrastinate is what you should do for a living… For some it’s painting, for others it’ll be cooking, and there are all sorts of other things one does when procrastinating, each depending on the procrastinator 🙂
        Well, who cares if they don’t like it when you are being more assertive? It’ll make you feel better in the end!!
        Glad the lithium is working well for you 🙂
        xox

      • pivoine68

        I would really love to make money writing, but then again, I don’t know why I need the approval of money / recognition in order to feel that what I do is worthwhile. If it really was, I wouldn’t need to be reassured I guess.

        Being assertive makes me cringe because it always seems to disrupt my existence. I need calm surroundings…but sometimes swallowing everything that happens makes me throw up….or nearly.

        I’m glad that there is lithium! 🙂
        Bises,
        Dawn

    • pivoine68

      I have to come back and read about the dragons on my real computer. I just wanted to say for now, thank you! God, sometimes I am even more choked up reading comments than I am writing, and I am seriously chocked up writing!

      Bises Mrs. Fever!
      Dawn

  3. Sandee

    Oh Dawn I so commiserate with your stream of thought on the subject. Sobriety for me above anything else has meant learning to be fleshed out and present — which is cool but it doesn’t come without pain. It is also freeing not to be so preoccupied with the when where and how of getting my next drink — that takes up soooooo much time. Being sober has helped me to get to know me and not to be afraid of me, it’s also helped me to get to know other people, and people are a great resource.

    • pivoine68

      Hey Sandée,

      Oh shit! Fleshed out and present is really, really big. Maybe as alcoholics we never want to allow ourselves that kind of vulnerability. Yet you are doing it and you seem unscathed from my side of the Atlantic…you have a beautiful, funny literary voice, you get published in magazines. You Rule!!! And you are right, if I could pull my own head out of my (drunken) ass for a while, I’m sure that I would be more receptive to all that other people (oh, there are other people?) have to offer.

      Your comment and everyone else’s have filled my heart. Thank you for being with me on my journey.

      Love
      Dawn

  4. Hyacinth

    I ditto everything everyone else has said and add to it my own fears of feeling what’s truly there at my disposal. But I can honestly say, choosing to care about myself is a reward far greater than any glass of wine. Love you, sweet, dear Dawn. 💛💙💜💚

    • pivoine68

      My Sweet Hy, I have a tear in my eye!

      What is funny about your comment is….you make me realize that the root of my fears is not in the sad things, it is in the hope of everything beautiful that I know exists. I’m so afraid of really loving, really allowing myself happiness. As far as the crap moments go…I can take it, I will always get back up no matter how hard I fall. But the beauty, God, it is too scary for me. Maybe tomorrow?

      Love to you My Hy, and thank you!
      Dawn

      • Greta

        This, right here, is me. I went off the antidepressants, thank god, I hated being so numb. It isn’t the way to live. You are gift you know, but that doesn’t come without the responsibility of sharing that gift in full. You do through your writing, we love you for it. I guess I’m afraid of you changing too, change is scary, and I like you with a little wine. I’m a bad influence….

      • pivoine68

        It would be a drag if we really did have the Sex Blogger Convention one day and I had to drink Diet Coke! If Dirty was there and I had to drink Shirley Temples!!! No!!!

        Thank you for your compliment. You have that gift too!

        Bises,
        Dawn

  5. Jayne

    I am late to this party. I had to stop for some tequila and wine. You know my story and all I want to tell you is that what you think you believe may not be the way it is. I have had to face things I don’t want to for similar reasons and yes, they’re a fucking pain in my ass but, they aren’t as bad as I imagine and I relieve myself of the “knowledge” of what is goinf to happen or rather what some solution looks like. You have the direction you want to go in and heading there is up to you BUT you can take it one sip at a time my friend.
    •Sobriety would mean being obligated to feel and express anger – that doesn’t mean you have to bite someone’s head off, start small, chew on their leg or bark at them if they’ve done something wrong. They have to learn.
    •Sobriety would mean confronting my anxiety – when you keep facing anxiety, you do get some kind of bizarre serenity. It’s like that kidnapping syndrome where you come to understand your captor. They lose the power of fear over you. It takes repetition.
    •Sobriety might mean that my creative process would run dry – not necessarily. your mind might take a break to switch gears but another subject will begin stirring your gears again. You aren’t getting a lobotomy! Your brain couldn’t stop without a lobotomy Dawn.
    •Sobriety might mean that I would have to put an end to my thrilling, dangerous sexual exploits – It might BUT, I don’t think you could know that right now.
    •Sobriety might mean attaining a higher level sexually, being 100% present – hey hey hey – now you’re going crazy. Yes, you might even want to be present 100% but sometimes, maybe not. Only YOU know what you need and you don’t have to know everything right now. You can wait and let the answers come to you. They always will.
    •Sobriety might free my time. I might be able to concentrate on essential things if I wasn’t always thinking of My Next Drink. The vast open space might be terrifying to me. — Let me tell you that I know one of the most vibrant and real persons you could ever meet. Yes, right now she may drink to wile away her time but she loves life and she’s a little afraid of making a change. So are most people! I believe that this vivacious and loving woman has stores of things that she’s been packing away in her mind and when she has the time, she will share some of her most beautiful things ONLY with you. She’s protecting her self by handing you a full glass until she knows that she is safe to share her most precious things. She’ll wait and wait until you are ready to really listen. When you make time for her, she will keep you entertained for years. I’m sure of it even if you aren’t.

    •I like to think sobriety might bring me peace, but I am not convinced. – Fucking give up on peace right now or redefine the word at least! Peace is knowing things fall apart when you least expect it but it’s ok. Peace is knowing that you are forever making mistakes and you’ll just have to move on to the next one, hoping it won’t be as bad as the previous. Peace is knowing that you can’t take anything back or change the past but you have power over the next thing you do and the next decision you make. Stack enough of them together and you make progress. Maybe you knock them all down but you have to start again, right?
    •I would just be afraid of everything else. – no you won’t – not EVERYTHING else, just some things some of the time. That’s just how life is and it’s hard and it’s painful but it’s beautiful and you are special and unique to this very moment in time. You know you can’t realistically argue anything I’ve said. I know you. I’m sure you have has several quips of wit in response to many things. I guess my point is that the “ideal” of what you may think of sobriety as is really not as evil and dark as your imagination is making it to be. We both work overtime in the imagination and feeling departments. We’re overachievers there. I love you, J

    • pivoine68

      We sure are overachievers! I have so many things to say to you that I don’t know where to start and I’m cooking like crazy because I have company tomorrow….I am so grateful for your presence in my life, in this world, in this universe. I wish that you were coming tomorrow!

      Thank you my friend.
      Love,
      Dawn

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