I've been through the muck of the yuckiest of feelings this week. What started as neck deep in Compare and Despair led to Letting People Down and I'm pretty sure the first domino toppled over the next. These were both things that would have previously made me bottles of wine thirsty. And since ripping off my skin or running into traffic didn't seem like viable options either, I had to get creative.
We can all be guilty of occasionally spending too much time lurking in someone else's space. If I spend too much time there, pretty soon I'm thinking of all the ways I could do it better. Before I got sober, this would all build up to overwhelm at even the prospect of starting anything and my solution was always, open a bottle. Mull over it some more. Stew in it. But never do it.
Now, the cure for me is to start something, anything. Activity is the antiserum. It forces my eyes back into my own lane. I just can't live there for very long because it really makes me feel so gross and so low.
Letting people down pierces my serenity just as hard. Even though I know intellectually that I can't control how other people feel or react, I think that capping my own emotions around it will take an eon of work. There's been some progress though. It used to feel like shame, the shamiest of shame. When I was drinking and disappointed someone, it was almost always directly correlated to my alcohol consumption. I either couldn't follow through with something or the follow-through was impaired because I was impaired. The aftermath was always, I feel like shit = I am shit, and forever the twain shall meet. This always induced the heaviest drinking and life is inconspicuously reduced to one cyclical diagram.
Now when I disappoint someone, it's usually because I've said no to someone or something. Or that I've been my own advocate. I no longer feel like I'm a shitty person but I still feel like shit for a bit, and that's on me. I don't walk around with an impenetrable warrior shield (damn, where is my warrior shield?). I'm sensitive and I mostly embrace that. This week when I experienced it, for the first time I noticed where I felt it in my body. And get this, it felt like my forearms were about to sweat, profusely. But guess what happened next? The feeling went away. Yep, it left. I didn't stew in it, watching it circle the drain as I made up a new word for LOSER with every gulp. Nope, it just went away. And I got to smile and say, I'm sorry. I got to make it right, like a grown-up would do. So this is how you adult?
I said it last week and perhaps it was a little foreshadowing, but when the shitstorms rain down on you, sobriety is your umbrella. No matter how confident you are in the driver's seat, the road will have some unexpected potholes. It's just part of the road. And let's be honest, the urgent need to escape the feeling is still there. Lying down to get lost in a book sometimes feels like an indulgence I'm not ready for in the middle of the day. I sometimes need to step away and do something entirely different while I wait for the lesson, because there is always a lesson.
I've found it helpful to have one really long, like no-end-in-sight long, like no-sense-of-urgency long, like absolutely-no-guilt-dampening-it long project that I work on a bit here and there. It's always there, I can pick up where I left off, I can get lost in it for hours or I can give it a little attention when I can. I have a research project going like that for a novel I dream of writing, someday. It will be based on a historical event but I'm taking my time with it, swimming around in some Ancestry, spending time in the library like I'm back in college.
And what about Ancestry. Hours or minutes, it's a fun activity.
Eating a healthy bowl of humility soup, surely the more awful it tastes going down, the better for you in the end. I think a big lesson for me is to rely on my intuition, which for me is my Higher Power. My other lesson is to know my limits and then know them better. Stay resilient, if something doesn't work, try something else. Perhaps old energy and old ways of doing things are always being cleared for new energy and new ways of doing things. That is an exciting thought. I heard this the other day from someone, maybe Tony Robbins? Who am I? But anyway, he said something like, 'Replace expectations with appreciation'. Stay curious, because there is always a lesson.