(Thanks Jim for the post title idea. I miss you!).
It’s been a while since I posted, and although I don’t have anything revolutionary to say, here I go, with a low-commitment and lazy bullet-point summary of my 6th sober week:
- I have been sober for 42 days now and I’m not thinking about alcohol as often as I used to, partly because it has been out of my daily routine for over a month, and partly because my mind has been busy with other topics (and other addictions – love, misery, cigarettes). But this fact remains true: there REALLY IS MORE TO LIFE THAN BEER!
- I have really been enjoying my weekly “buddhist meditation recovery” meetings – seeing addicts and alcoholics share in a secular/spiritual context is exactly what I needed (and so far feels more useful than my new therapy sessions)
- I went back to therapy, as a self-care commitment for the winter. Not sure of how useful this is for me right now, but when in doubt, chose the healthiest option ! I’m going for my second appointment today.
- My cat Fern is back ! She survived (see previous posts)! She is the cutest, and a true life saver in terms of navigating a recent breakup and providing warmth and physical comfort. I really love that little creature ❤
- I have been single for 2 weeks now. I am slowly learning how to heal my old abandonment wound, and accepting that being alone is not a horrible failure. I am learning how to spend time with myself and feel like life is complete. Like prolonged periods of solitude are not a disease that needs to be cured, or a lack that needs to be compensated for, but can just be a state of affairs that is OK and says nothing about my self-worth.
- My recovery has been “slowed down” by the fact that I ran into my ex twice this week. The second time we hugged and I kept going without talking to him (he was downstairs from my apartment visibly taking a walk when I came out. We laughed and smiled, but didn’t really stop to talk). The first time however, we talked for a good half hour, sitting on the sidewalk like teenagers – long story short: he still loves me and has been nursing a “giant hole in his heart”, he wishes we could be together “without the unhealthy patterns”, or at least still see each other “for emotional support”. Miraculously, instead of caving and saying “ok let’s be [codependent] friends then”, I had the courage to say “Sorry but I can’t be friends right now, and if we are broken up I am no longer available to hold your hand and help you through these difficult times, you need to do that for yourself. If the patterns aren’t going to change overnight, the best thing we can do is take space (and time) for ourselves. No contact is the best thing we can do right now, so you can figure your sh**t out. You have my email address, but only write to me when you actually have something to say, not just to ‘check on me’ or complain that ‘this breakup is hard’ like you did last week“. He said I was right, and that I was “doing better than he was” (my ego enjoyed that part!). At one point he was crying, whereas I was keeping things light and gentle. I even made a few jokes! After we talked, we hugged for a long time and kissed each other on the cheek and said goodbye. Initially I felt better, but a day or two later, it started to feel like I had somehow regressed from being broken up to being on a break, and a small nagging voice started to whisper in the back of my mind that perhaps I had regressed from working on myself to just “waiting” for him. And since then, I feel like I have stopped making progress and am stagnating. I am genuinely confused as to whether I am simply clinging and in denial about my breakup, or if I really am in the middle of an ambiguous situation in which both parties are still in love but the relationship itself has been ended/put on hold. I know this grey zone is a slippery slope that ultimately leads to the same unhealthy patterns as before, where my partner becomes the center of my attention and I end up forgetting about myself and my own needs. URGH!
- The hardest aspect of the week: resisting cigarettes. I haven’t smoked all week despite excruciatingly strong cravings. All day long cravings. Every five minute cravings. Nagging, overwhelming, unbearable and annoying cravings. I feel like my whole life consists in battling, surfing, waiting out or breathing through cravings. I feel exhausted and definitely don’t feel “safe” from the possibility that I might smoke again at any minute. I am battling the permissive thought that smoking is a form of “rebellion” against my ex and a sign of my own independence (we quit together on the same day). I know this is junkie thinking. It’s just so hard to remember when you’re in the middle of it. But I am holding on for dear life, day by day.
- What I must remember: I AM DOING IT/ I DID IT ! Despite the intense feelings of struggling, despite the constant effort, despite the impression that my life has shrunk and become one giant internal struggle, I managed to spend a whole week without acting on my cravings, and without a crutch (I’m not counting two evenings of sad overeating – though I’ll note that being sober really helps to stop what in the past would have turned out to be a full, head-on binge). THIS small victory OUTWEIGHS THE DIFFICULT ASPECTS. Or makes them worth it.
I still feel very fragile, but I am still moving forwards.
That’s all I can say.
Oh, and here’s an important reminder I saw on instagram the other day, from @1000hoursdry . It really resonated with me.
Stay strong !!