Thursday, October 11, 2007

Physical Angst

This week, I was making stew (the fall is definitely approaching in NY) and I was pouring in a can of Guiness to be cooked off after nine hours. I realized that if I took one sip, no one would ever know the difference. I stood there for a moment, justifying all the reasons for one ridiculous sip of beer. And it hit me, all over again. It didn't matter that I have been sober for almost six years, it still felt like day one of not drinking. It was an occurence that is so infrequent, it took me by surprise.

Of course I never took the sip, but I was reminded of how close one must keep sobriety within their reach.

So, I pulled out this article I had written a few years ago to remind myself of how often the past comes into the present looking for a quick fix:

October 2002

Though not drinking for me has been relatively easy in the last eight months (I eventually cut out most of the activities that were conducive to my drunken behavior), I had a very scary episode a few weeks ago. In the middle of the night, I woke panicked from a dream. I got up, went into my kitchen and had this incredible urge to drink. So incredible, I shook. I opened the refrigerator out of sheer alcoholic habit. I paced. I ran through every life event in a matter of three minutes or so. I was angry, hopeless, sad, and enraged all at the same time. It was horrible. It was so real and present in me.

So, I stood there. And decided that I was just going to let it all go through me. Almost like going through a tunnel, seeing all of these people and places go whizzing by. And man, did it hurt. But I felt it all. I refused to just try and forget about it.If you were to visualize this whole incident....it would have started in my head, gone through my heart, and out my toes. It was emotionally draining in one sense and refreshing in another. And the moment passed.

So, I used this the other day (to speak of your foreboding emptiness). I was driving down the road with the leaves changing colours on either side of the road. I was listening to Les Miserables on the stereo and I had this overwhelming sadness. I missed my ex husband. I missed being irresponsible. I was mourning everything. I felt so so sad (of course, the music didn't help). So damn melancholy. I decided instead of changing the music to some happy yappy station, I would let myself feel all of this again. Feel it right through to my heart. And again, it hurt. Pain is remarkable in that aspect. But,in doing so, I was so much happier that I was capable of feeling deep emotion. That I had worked so hard over the last months to be able to be in touch with these emotions---sad, angry whatever. And I cried....and the tears came out like crazy. Cried so hard that I had to pull over with my Les Miserables blaring the most sappy song and just weep.And then?

It was over. It passed. And I found my resilience to the situation enlightening. I had released so much....and that is something that I had never been able to do in the fourteen years I had been drinking. So, to sum up....the feelings of sadness, the need for alcohol haven't gone away. They are still present in some capacity. The tools that you have within yourself just get more refined and stronger to deal with these situations. You become more aware of your emotions and strengths...and pull them out when needed. And that, I suppose, has been my on-going method.

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