Posts Tagged ‘baffling and powerful’

It turns out that alcohol isn’t the only thing I’m addicted to – unfortunately drama comes in a close second. Of course, back when I was ‘in’ my disease, I didn’t know this, but as I got more time in recovery, I found out that the drama I created around my drinking was just as much a part of the package as the booze itself. As I got sober and the hangovers disappeared, so did the drama and weird as it was, I found myself missing it. I didn’t actually sit down and say, “Shit, you know what? I really miss the drama”, the feeling would be more subtle and one of the most common ways it would manifest, was when I felt bored.

I thought I was bored because I wasn’t having the ‘fun’ I had when I was drinking. Although I conveniently forgot that the good time I was missing was not a night out bar hopping with a group of friends -no my ‘fun’ consisted of me alone in my apartment with a pint of cheap vodka and a pack of smokes. Yet, my disease told me that I was bored because I missed the excitement/peacefulness/frenzy (you name it) that the drinking brought on, but when I think about it, the actual drinking part left me feeling empty and dead inside, what I was ‘missing’ was the thrill of the chase and the drama of the clean up.

When I was actively drinking, I was always trying to fix some situation I found myself in or lie, cheat and manipulate my way back into people’s good graces, whether it was my husband, my family or my employer. Now that the drink was gone, I didn’t have to do these things and I was at a loss. Things were actually going smoothly; I had a good job that I was never late to, sober friends and a great relationship with my son. Yet I found myself feeling ‘bored’. When I talked this through with my sponsor, that’s when she helped me see the connection between my addiction to alcohol and the drama that came with it. I came to understand that I wasn’t used to feeling at ease and calm – if there wasn’t a landlord to avoid or a lie to be told, I felt out of sorts.

If you find yourself feeling this way, just remember that as well as the withdrawal from our drug of choice, we are experiencing withdrawal from the only life we have known – whether it was a fucked up life or not – we are grieving the loss of it. Recognize that you will feel this way, we all do in the beginning, but it will pass and we can get on with our lives – without the drama (well, maybe just a teensy bit of drama, it is the Holiday Season after all).

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 devil-angel2Alcoholism and drug addiction are called cunning, baffling and powerful diseases mainly because they often trick our minds and get us to turn on  ourselves and sabotage our sobriety. The worst part is, it’s often very subtle and  we don’t notice these changes in our behavior or our thinking until it’s too late.  And by too late, I mean we’re already off to the races, we are no longer in  control and our disease is in the driver’s seat.                                 

Here are some of the signs that you might want to watch out for:                                                                                                                                                                           

  • You stop going to recovery meetings.  In early sobriety (at least the first year) it’s a good idea to do 90meetings in 90 days for the first three months and after that, at least 3-4 meetings a week. If you begin to think that you don’t need as many meetings – it’s your disease talking.
  • You start hanging out in bars with your old drinking buddies. If your friends want to meet you in a bar, tell them you’d rather meet in a coffee shop. If they are truly friends, then they will meet you there. If you decide it’s a good idea to meet them in a bar on a Friday night and drink soda while they pound drink after drink, then it’s your disease talking. (For more on this see People, Places and Things).
  • You start thinking that surely non-alcoholic beer or wine can’t hurt? Just think about this for a minute! I’ve often heard of alcoholics going this route before and what usually happens is once the alcohol hits their system, the body immediately craves more and they can’t stop. In fact, they’ll generally consume a 12 pack of near beer in a very short period of time before eventually moving onto the real stuff. There’s trace amounts of alcohol in these beverages, if you think that putting any amount of alcohol in your system is a good idea then it’s your disease talking.
  • You stop working the Twelve-Steps. Maybe you were working a Twelve-Step program of recovery but somehow decided that you don’t have to finish the Steps because it’s too much hard work. In my experience, when I thought I could do it alone and I stopped working on my Fourth Step, I started off feeling relieved that I didn’t have to do that shit anymore. The relief didn’t last long though because I increasingly became restless, irritable and discontent and then somehow I found myself at the liquor store. Do yourself a favor; see it through to the end, some things are worth the hard work and finishing the Steps was key to my long term sobriety and to many people I know.
  • You look for the differences in other alcoholics and addicts, not the similarities. When we think we are different from the addict who was on the streets, the alcoholic housewife who only drank at home or the teenager who hit bottom early in life, then our disease is talking. The circumstances of our decline into alcoholism and addiction may be different from others but the disease isn’t. Our disease will tell us we are different because it wants to keep us away from our peers.
  • You decide you can handle a new relationship as well as getting sober. Your disease wants to get laid so when the new relationship goes south (as they very often do in early sobriety) you’ll get drunk or high. More on dating in early recovery here

Obviously these are just some of the ways we can get off track, if you want to add any, please feel free to make a comment.