I feel like I’ve had a radical shift in thinking and perspective over the past 24 hours, a shift that feels so “big” to me that I’ve actually been hesitant to write about it for fear of somehow jinxing myself.
I think it’s like, everything about this journey has felt so hard and like such a struggle for so long that I’m afraid to believe a change is really happening. Like I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment or something. It’s weird to be in a place where I feel good, but I’m afraid to let myself feel good. If that makes any sense at all.
But today didn’t feel like a struggle. Which is a minor (okay, not minor… MAJOR) miracle to me.
I was really struggling with the “be kind to yourself” concept before, not because I didn’t want to be kind to myself, but because there was a part of me that I knew deep-down was still equating “kindness” with giving myself alcohol. So I was afraid to fully embrace that message because it felt like giving myself a pass for still drinking.
Here’s the thing, though. I’ve listened to Annie Grace’s “This Naked Mind” book twice now in the past several months, and it’s awesome, and I loved the message sent and I knew it should be able to reach me… but up ’til now, it was not seeming to get through to me, for whatever reason.
Well, at least that’s how it felt to me, because I was still drinking. Which was frustrating.
I mean, intellectually I knew and accepted beyond a shadow of a doubt that alcohol was NOT being kind to me or to my body or to my relationships, but it was like… that cognitive disconnect was still there, stubbornly refusing to allow me (I think on more of an emotional/fear/survival level) to successfully re-categorize alcohol as a poison, something bad for me, something that makes me feel awful.
Mentally, alcohol still felt cozy and comfy to me, even though what it brought to my life was anything but cozy and comfy.
But I’ve been doing the work, checking in with my support group every day, meditating, all that sh*t.
I really don’t think I would be able to be doing all of this without the group’s support. And — in a way that feels truly miraculous to me — I think this work I’ve been doing and the support of this community I’m a part of is actually starting to enable me to create the mental shift I’ve been seeking for so long.
Which is not just kind of a miracle, but actually still hard for me to let myself fully believe.
I mean, I know we’re surrounded with pro-alcohol messages just throughout the course of going about our daily lives, so in the past, I tried bombarding my psyche with anti-alcohol messages through audiobooks and hypnosis soundtracks and watching a million scary alcohol documentaries. But that never seemed to create the same kind of shift that I’ve felt over this past 24 hours.
I actually spent the past 5 nights crying my eyes out before finally falling asleep. But the crying was not crying in a bad way. Not in that morose, needy, please-love-me-and-pay-attention-to-me mode that alcohol always used to throw me into, that way that used to have me texting or calling or doing things with guys that I really didn’t want to do.
This crying felt like a release. Like letting go of something. And I guess I had a lot of letting go to do, because it took 5 days. It felt kind of like grieving the end of a relationship… like in that way that you grieve when you realize finally that the person is so bad for you in so many ways, and you’re just done.
I had a really, really bad relationship in my 20s with someone who took horrible advantage of me, who truly put me through hell in a lot of ways. I think I have more traumatic memories surrounding that relationship than any other relationship in my life thus far.
We started dating when I was 19. And he was a sh*t to me from the very beginning. But I was so hooked on him. And I kept coming back to him, no matter what he did, no matter the pain or loss or tragedy I went through because of him.
It was like a part of me just completely dissociated the concept of him as a person from these acts that caused me such trauma, so that I could still be with him. It was like, when I grieved those painful events, he wasn’t even in the memories. It was like in order to be with him, I let myself forget that he had caused that pain.
Anyway, one day in my late 20s, something inside me just shifted. I’m still not sure what caused that shift. But I finally told him that I didn’t want to see him or hear from him anymore ever. Not because I hated him or regretted anything about the past, because it taught me so much and made me a lot stronger person. But simply because being around him didn’t do good things for me. And I wished him the best, and it was over. It was really over.
And I think I’m starting to see alcohol in the same light as that old relationship. Which is a really good thing.
For context on this post, and links to related journal entries from this particular piece of my life's journey, see My Sobriety Journey, Journaled.