Hey there, y’all. I just wanted to check in. It’s been a while. I do miss talking to you all.

I’ve been less active in writing than I’d like the past few weeks, since I recently adopted a new puppy who is basically eating up almost all my free time at the moment. She doesn’t have all her shots yet so she can’t even go outside, which means both of us are cabin-fever-y together for about the next… oh… EIGHT weeks or so (yikes), since she can’t even go outside to walk or play and definitely can’t socialize with other dogs until she is protected from parvo and all the scary doggie diseases.

Well, and on top of that, she also came home from the rescue center with an upper respiratory infection and is on TWO different antibiotics right now to try to clear things up. So things are a bit chaotic and worrisome. Probably more for me than for her. LOL. But yeah. Seriously.

But I’m finding the interesting thing with this new time-crunch and these new pet-parent responsibilities is that the time I do end up devoting to my self-improvement nowadays (I’m doing my best to keep on track with both morning and evening rituals) feels so much more deliberate and so much less like an after-thought or less like something that I am forcing myself to go through the motions of (it feels more like a privilege to be able to do it, rather than a chore… which, though it’s sad to say, I think many types of self-care have kind of felt like to me on many levels for most of my life… like a chore; and it strikes me now… isn’t it strange how we feel like the most important moments of life are the moments that we need to rush through just to get to “real life” sometimes?).

So… in summary… I kinda feel like I had maybe WAY too much free time on my hands prior to this puppy thing, and maybe that free time was doing me more harm than good. Is that a weird thing to say or think? It’s definitely something I’ve been wondering about for the past week or so.

I mean, I’m not totally sure that’s exactly what the issue has been with me. But I do think I tend to thrive under pressure, at least historically, and maybe this experience is starting to allow me to unpack some of that and see the roots of where my Type-A-ish tendencies start to manifest in the first place. My mind seems to need at least 10 different tracks to actively function on and work on at any moment in order to keep it from having enough energy LEFT OVER to start attacking me with worries or cravings or anxiousness or other uncomfortable feelings.

Which has me thinking… isn’t the whole business of high-performance “under pressure” functioning really just another way of numbing out, then?

So, like… what does that say about my progress? Or lack thereof?

I guess maybe just the fact that I’m pondering all this is progress in a sense. But…

At the same time, part of me wonders if I didn’t get a pet as a stop-gap measure to staunch the flow of loneliness in my life… since that feeling of loneliness and the so-closely related feeling of being unloved/unwanted are the two critical, tender heartstrings that, when pulled, tend to make me spiral into really bad places and say and do things that I regret to people that I care about a lot.

And that makes me question my motivations as a pet parent, kind of.

Like… am I a bad person for getting a pet to make me feel less lonely? Am I trying to use her to make me a better version of myself? Am I going to totally fuck the puppy up with my neuroses the way it seems like my own mother did to me?

LOL. Ugh.

Anyway. I guess these are the mental spirals of a childless 40-something woman struggling with trying to kick an addiction.

Yeah, you’re welcome. Welcome to my world.

Oh.

On another note… or maybe a related note…

Something that my recently reopened relationship with my therapist has uncovered, funnily enough, is the fact that I seem to constantly allow myself to get sucked into vortexes of unproductive worrying. Like… wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-staring-at-the-ceiling-from-2am-to-5am-vortexes. But it seems that just the fact that I’m able to recognize these vortexes now (some of the time anyway) for what they are, is progress.

I did feel stronger somehow this morning when I woke up. A little bit.

Well… maybe a lot? It’s tough to say yet, though. I have learned not to count my chickens in this life, when it comes to feelings of confidence.

But, for whatever reason (I’m still not sure why), I did go to the store today and buy a bathing suit and several pairs of shorts that I actually intended to wear like… now. Not in minus 10 or 15 or 20 pounds from now.

Like, with the me I am now, in this body, in this moment. Which is… whoa.

I mean, I guess that doesn’t seem like a lot, maybe, to most folks… but it is HUGE for me. It’s a VERY big deal moment for me. And I’m still not sure what got into me to do it.

I haven’t worn a bathing suit or shorts without feeling just… complete and utter self-loathing and disgust… in probably almost 5 years now. Err… to be real… I actually have not voluntarily worn any of the aforementioned pieces of clothing in much of that time, either. And when I did, I hid beneath huge shirts and towels and just… hid.

Hid myself. Hated myself. Hated my body. I think I kind of felt like my body had betrayed me somehow, by turning into something I didn’t recognize and on some level, something I felt like I couldn’t love… and that nobody would ever love.

That’s hard to say. The truth is HARD to say.

And I’ve heard a million times that saying that you can’t truly love or be loved by others until you love yourself, of course. But I don’t think it ever hit me on a visceral level, that sort of “aha” understanding, you know, until today. Because I might not look the way I want to look right now, but I’m going to stop hiding myself away from the world.

So I know this post somehow ended up way more about body image and all than anything directly alcohol-related, but since this is relationship week at my support group, it’s had me thinking more about one of the most important relationships I will ever have — the one with myself. And that relationship has been so TOTALLY fucked up prior to this, that I can honestly look back at it now and think, “Huh… wow, it’s no wonder I drove myself to drink.” LOL.

So hopefully if I do what I can to heal some of this, it’s another step in the right direction.

Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.

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.