Today is 35 days of sobriety; I thought I would sit down with my dong quai tea and kraut and write some notes on what I have learned, resisted, discovered, enjoyed and disliked.
I've enjoyed not drinking.
I've also disliked not drinking.
So, thats a start.
35 days ago I decided to give up booze for a while to have an honest look at what my relationship was to it -- truth be told however, I have decided many times -- hundreds of times in fact -- to give up booze for some time and it has never stuck. Sometimes it would last a week or maybe even two if I was on a good streak but it was always a struggle and an uphill battle. This time has been really different and I can't really tell you why; perhaps it has something to do with my blog post in october -- that was the hardest post I have ever written. That in itself is interesting to me -- after all of what I have shared and written from the death of my father to the journal entries in the midst of abuse, that entry in october was the hardest -- and it was.
I wrote it one morning after I bootcamp -- as usual, I had no idea what I was sitting down to write about -- I was shocked when I saw what needed to come out of my soul via the words I typed into my blog. I sat in Phil & Sebestaion that morning shaking and almost in tears totally unsure if I wanted to share this secret with the world -- fuck, I had barley digested it myself. I messaged my good friend that morning and asked her to read the post and confirm with me that I was not out of my mind. She assured me that it was brave and something that needed to be said.
I clicked "publish", ran to my car and cried until I had no more tears.
It felt good to be real. There is nothing to be ashamed about when looking at our shadow -- in fact, there is a vault of wisdom to be obtained by bravely looking into our darkest corners. I preach it every day -- this was a dark corner that I needed to face and stop denying. I had simply had too many mornings wondering what the fuck I did or said the night before, it had become too regular that I would black out and not remember -- even after only two glasses of wine. I always thought a person with a drinking problem was defined as such becasue their lives were in shambles or they drank alone in the morning... that was never me, so I ignored the signs that I needed to slow down. Funny enough, in the latter part of drinking -- my life was starting to shamble a wee bit and I had I continued on that path I don't think the outcome would have been favourable. I was loosing tolerance for wine -- first it was the red and the dreadful and very problematic hangovers of shakes and throwing up the next day -- I pinned that to the sulfites in the red wine and quit drinking red. But then I started exhibiting symptoms over the white wine -- blacking out and not bing able to stop once I had started. There were plenty of occasions of having some casual wines with my husband or girlfriends that everything was perfectly smooth -- but when they were not smooth they were a fucking disaster -- usually of which someone would have to fill in the blanks for me.
Something has swept over me the past while that has caused me a great desire to truly embark on the journey of slowing down and finding contentment in boring. As I am getting older I am finding that I more and more sensitive to food and substance and people and energies. If I am not careful and diligent with my self care rituals I find myself quickly spiral into depression, insomnia, irritability and anxiety. Boring has been my antidote and I am finding great peace in this place.
Honestly I thought that 35 days of no drinking would mean clear thinking, empowered thoughts and inspired living. Nope; that is not how this has panned out. Taking the wine out has made way for some clarity for me to acknowledge what a crutch wine has really been -- how damaging it has been for me and how much I relied on it to numb out and escape. Wine is such a dysfunctionally socially acceptable way to numb out -- I was in the thick of that for years. I don't think I knew it, or at least I was certianly not ready to admit it. I have also had a glorious amount of clarity as to what an asshole I can be -- not only when I have wine, but also when I am stone cold sober; I just have a real asshole bone in me. All my sharp edges have shown up -- they all came at once. My walls, my insecurities, my defenses, my worries and fears and anxieties. Fuck, this is the perfect time for a wine. The insomnia is back and I feel on one hand like I have completely lost control and on the other hand it's like I have fallen into such peace and surrender at giving up the idea of control. I feel it all these days -- two appearingly opposite emotions will surface simultaneously.
And there I am -- sober in the middle witnessing it all -- feeling it all -- experiencing it all.
Here is what I am learning:
- Boring and sober equate to an unreal connection with self and that is an unbelievable feeling. It is not bliss and it does not change the reality of the world we live in nor does it make anything feel happier, more positive, rose coloured or easier -- the only difference is how I show up and how I interact with the world around me. I have had fleeting moments of experiencing non-attachment; being in this world but not attached to the outcome. It's an amazing feeling to be a part of my life but not totally sucked into the story lines and dramas -- it's like I have a true understanding as of lately that I am ok no matter what happens; the connection with self is so strong right now.
- Wine was a way bigger problem than I was ready to admit. I don't know what my relationship will look like with wine in the future -- perhaps I will be able to have some or perhaps I will always be a non-drinker; for right now I am still very content in exploring what surfaces in this new space that is raw and uncomfortable and messy and so needed.
- I feel very tender and insecure and vulnerable in the world right now. I feel like I have dropped all of my armour and I have started the process of looking at some of the shit that is stuck in the corners of my psyche -- some of the words I have said to humans or ways I have mistreated myself; my only way of keeping my head up these days is a daily dose of serenity and humility. I don't know it all. I have fucked up. I have said all the wrong things and pushed the good people away and held tightly to the bars of self-protection in the forms of shutting down and emotionally running away. It's all out on the table right now, I have literally nothing hiding in my pockets and sometimes it feels like I am in front of a bunch of judges who hold the key to my fate and I am waiting and waiting waiting to hear the verdict. It makes me feel small and scared and wildly insecure; my heart feels like it beats on the outside of my body, exposed to the harsh elements of the world. But I am learning to radically stay put, to avoid scratching the itch or running away -- I know right now, this is the place I need to be.
- Radical Stillness. Wow. This is what I am currently most proud of. Boring is hard for me. Sober is hard for me. Even Keel is hard -- drama is so much easier. When shit hit the fan in october and all I wanted to do was hide, drink, quit or run away I chose with all of my mite to sit radically still and face my life; this was the first time I have done this with such grace. I didn't cancel the book editing like I wanted too; I didn't drink wine like I wanted too; I didn't stay in bed under my covers for days upon days like I wanted too; I didn't do anything but focus on the very next task at hand -- the out breath and then the in. I stayed fully connected to my heart and completley connected to my pain and fear and anxiety and I rode the wave moment by moment. I stayed awake at the wheel.
Life is hard and although there are moments of bliss and love and joy and all things exuberant there will always remain the flip side of the same coin. The path of self knowing is not easy -- it's a pain in the ass at times -- many times -- its challenging and difficult and scary and dark and curvy and prickly and unknown. Waking up and connecting to the moments with intention doesn't mean its going to feel good and pleasurable and kind -- although it can be that -- waking up means that we cultivate an unwavering connection with self; a connection so grande that abandoning self ceases to ever be an option again. Waking up means that we can handle anything and everything that life throws at us for we are attached to no outcome. We become a witness to our lives which is a bizarre and powerful experience.
I'm learning alot these tender days. I am learning to take life one moment -- one breath at a time. I am learning the value of surrender on a deeper level than ever before. I am learning the absolute need to tend to the garden of that which is important to us for without tending shit dies -- this means tending to the relationships with others and with self. I am showing up with my all one day at a time and thats the very best I can do.