I was looking through some old writing today and came across this. I wrote it 885 days ago, when I was 66 days sober. Sixty six days sober was pre- Hip Sobriety School. It was pre-sobriety community. It was pre-so many things that are part of my daily life now.
I often like to sit back and marvel at how much I’ve changed over the past 2+ years but, this is 100% unedited and shows me that I might just be exactly who I’ve always been.
When I want to drink, I like to stop and think about WHY I want to drink.
I’ve noticed that, often, the feeling comes after negative self-talk. “why hasn’t so and so texted me? I must be annoying her. I hope I don’t bug her so much that she doesn’t want to be my friend. Why am I so dumb? I’m such an idiot!” In turn I’ve started to try to consciously counter that negative self-talk. “so and so has her own damn life and it’s not all about you. She is a good friend and appreciates you. Your friends love hanging out with you and talking to you. You make them laugh and you’re a good listener. If you don’t hear from her in a day or so, reach out and let her know you care.” Flipping the dialogue I have in my head has really started helping me out. I’ve been finding that my thoughts have been going to alcohol or self-harm or cigarettes or any other kind of “escape” I can think of when I’m feeling stressed, angry, unsure and unwanted. My negative self-talk only enhances that feeling. Bullying myself into being sober isn’t going to help in the long run. What It will do is sabotage me in my life. If I think I’m stupid and weak and unable to commit to something, isn’t that only going to turn into the truth? If I don’t see how worthy I am, how am I ever going to believe that someone else sees me as worthy? And thus, my journey has begun. My journey to understand why I have the thoughts and feelings that I have. Why I so easily reach for something to remove my feelings from me instead of acknowledging them and addressing them.
Here is a current list of reasons why I have felt the need to drink:
- Stress about finding a new job/lack of options
- Stress about keeping my current job and how hopeless I feel there
- Thinking that my friends are annoyed/angry with me or, don’t want to talk to me anymore
- Being angry/frustrated with myself over feelings I have for someone
- Not knowing what I want to do and feeling pressure to figure it out
- Guilt for not talking to my family very often
- Guilt for not WANTING to talk to my family
What do I do when I feel these things? That is a good question. Currently, what I have been doing is acknowledging the feeling, unpacking it to see where it’s coming from. Is my feeling of my friends being angry with me coming from a logical place? Or am I projecting my fears on to them? Usually I can talk myself back to a rational place. That doesn’t always quell the urge but, it puts it into perspective.
I find that my negative thoughts snowball. When I’m bored at work, the challenge is gone, these things amplify. I need to be able to keep my brain busy in order to keep order. Is this a coping mechanism or, is it just another way to be addicted to something?