Dearest WordPress friends,
My apologies for such a long absence. It’s not that I forgot about you or think I have this sobriety thing all figured out (oooooooh no…. believe me, I ain’t got nothing figured out !). It’s just that my dissertation chapter that was due on December 16th is STILL NOT FINISHED and I am now trying to have it done by the end of the month.
The only “notable” recovery-related events worth mentioning here are probably :
- my therapist dumped me – just kidding, she “set me free” by officially announcing that I am doing fine and over the depressive episode that happened during my breakup in the Fall. She said that right now writing my dissertation is the number one priority and honestly I was grateful to her, because I really do need the time. The deal is that I go back to see her if and when I feel the need to, and otherwise, keep doing whatever I’m doing.
- I found out that if I want to, after I defend my PhD here in the USA, I can take one last year off of the high-school teaching job which awaits me in France. In other terms: if I want, I can take a gap year and do ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING, ANYWHERE before resuming my “job for life” one year later. It’s my last chance to take the year off (I’ve already taken 5 for the PhD and the maximum is 6 — initially I thought it was 5, hence my surprise). I have until March to decide, but so far it’s a 90% internal yes to the gap year. My PhD stipend ends in May though, so I will have to do some serious money figuring out, but sobriety is helping me think about what I really WANT to do, vs. what I think I should be doing. Taking a year off to travel the world, do some Woofing, go on a longer meditation retreat, try a completely different job outside of academia (and WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE?!) feels like a huge step in figuring that out.
Some of y’all might also be happy to know that I dropped the binge eating as a coping mechanism for dealing with the stress of dissertation writing (these things come and go for me) and have managed to adopt more of a “doing your best and being imperfect is enough” attitude, which has proven way more productive than the “hyper perfectionist anxiety strategy”. 🙂 Duh….
All in all, alcohol has not been on my mind these days, except when it pops up in the form of the occasional, fleeting craving. These feel almost like the cravings you get as an ex-smoker: they appear out of nowhere, and pass just as quickly as they arrived, disappearing back into the void of craving-land (is that where hell is? ^^). I did get a couple of stronger ones, which got the doubt-machine cranking up again (“maybe just one?”), but thankfully their low intensity and short duration were such that it only took a few seconds before I was able to identify “junkie thinking” and let it all go.
WAIT! don’t take my smug sense of peace and confidence too seriously ! Things feel a LOT more fragile when I think of my next upcoming challenge in this AF adventure. In two weeks I am going to Mexico City for the first time (yaaaaay!). I’ll be tagging along with my musician boyfriend, who is going on tour there. This means that I am going to be in Mexican bars, going to Mexican gigs, with cool Mexican musicians every night, and somehow have to explain in my broken Tarzan-like Spanish that I can’t drink and ask whether they have nonalcoholic beer (or mescal^^). I am seriously thinking of just telling everyone that I’m pregnant… at least I know how to say that in Spanish. But then again, perhaps that’s not the best plan when one has only just met one’s partner’s friends and colleagues for the first time and is DEFO 100% not pregnant, not in a million years. Must figure out another plan. Uuuuurgh.
This weekend I also went to a two day long meditation “retreat” organized by an awesome local PhD psychotherapist who mixes western attachment theory with Buddhist philosophy. He’s a really cool guy and had all the qualities that I admire in a Western practitioner: humility, no crazy mumbo jumbo or spiritual materialism, yet very deep insights and great practice advice. The meditation weekend was fuuuuun 🙂 It felt good to reconnect to a more “in depth” practice.
Hopefully I can apply a bit of Buddhist wisdom to my upcoming trip, to the rest of my PhD writing days and to this mysterious gap year that might open up once this grad school thingy is done. Wowowowow !
In any case, hang in there everyone and have a beautiful week !