How I am feeling right now

Overwhelmed. Irritable.  Anti-social.  Unable to concentrate or be productive in my work or at life because all I am doing is thinking about not drinking.  It has been 3 days in a row I have not drank.  I have been at this point countless times before.  I am feeling like, although I want this to be it, it probably won’t be because I have been here so many times before and failed.

Right now I am feeling like time is passing so slow.  I feel restless.  I want 1 week to pass without me having had a drink.  I want 30 days under my belt.  I am feeling fearful that I am not going to be able to fight off the cravings when they come.  That I will give in and drink in order to quiet the relentless calling for alcohol that my mind yells to me.

I am feeling like I am weak, meek.  I feel the opposite of strong.

I am feeling sad that I don’t have a community.  I read sobriety blogs and belong to sobriety Facebook groups, but find many posts, where people tell their sob stories, not be helpful for me.  I have even reached out and tried to be encouraging and/or supportive, but I honestly tire of listening to all the life drama people yap about.  As an addictive community we are always encouraged to reach out for help.  To share our struggles.  Often times, instead of relating, or empathizing, or wanting to help, I disengage.  This most likely comes from me not getting my sobriety needs met. I don’t like that I  have these non-empathetic thoughts.  I think this only adds to my sobriety frustrations.

I am feeling fearful to talk with my husband about my drinking.  We have had conversations about my drinking too many times.  He listens to a point, but then can only reach so far….He has seen me try to stop and fail multiple times.

 

Today, to sum it up, I feel alone.  I know that my best chance of success to overcome my cravings for alcohol is the opposite of alone….to find a community.  I struggle to find that.  It has to be my subconscious lack of openness and/or willingness, as I have put myself in many positions to belong to a sober community group, both on line and in person.    …Now who is the one belly-aching and telling her story of woe???

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Learning about the science of addiction

This journey, quest if you will, for finding my best self (which I know will happen once I am able to break my chain of alcohol addiction), has been ongoing for some time now.

I am grateful I recognize my addiction to alcohol.  I have been working really hard to overcome my addiction for some years now.  I have learned so much along the way.  I have learned lots about the science of addiction.  I’ve learned that my addiction is not something I chose of my own free will or purposely ‘did’ to myself.  This fact gives me some peace, compassion and empathy for my own self and for others who experience addiction illnesses.

From remembrance of my first sips, I have always loved alcohol.  I loved the way it tasted and I love the way it made me feel.  Alcohol numbed me.  Being a person who has been hard wired with anxiety disorders, I found alcohol gave me freedom from the tight and fearful feelings of anxiety that I experienced daily.

On a conscious level I didn’t connect drinking alcohol to helping relieve my anxiety.  In fact, early on in my drinking history I didn’t even realize I had ‘anxiety’.  Feeling chronically anxious was my normal.  I knew no different.  So when alcohol helped this normally tight and fearful sensation stop I found a new feeling… it was peaceful and pleasant.  It felt so good.  Soon I figured out that when I felt bad, stressed, upset, or other negative emotions, alcohol helped to stop those sensations too.  In fact, alcohol helped all sensations I felt, pleasant and unpleasant, feel better for me.  Alcohol, generally speaking, helped me feel more at peace and at ease.

In the beginning, my choosing to drink was benign.  No one warned me of it’s dangers or addictive nature.  I was ignorant to any ill long-term effects it might have on me.  I didn’t feel like I was doing anything harmful to myself.  In fact, I felt like I was helping myself. Yes, there were times early on when I woke up hung over and occasionally shameful…but those times were few and far between, and I didn’t honestly recognize a long-term problem brewing.

Fast forward decades later, the disease of alcohol addiction is a part of who I am now.  I wish someone had talked with me years ago about what was going to happen if I continued to use alcohol to self-medicate.  Now I feel like I don’t choose to drink alcohol…. I am compelled to drink it.  My brain has been chemically altered.  I have gone from seemingly benefiting from alcohol’s numbing effects in the beginning, to now, after years of chronic and steady involuntary increased consumption, enduring many unfavorable effects.  I now feel like I am alcohol’s slave.

This past weekend, like the weekend before, I awoke on Saturday morning extremely hung over, nauseated w/ a terrible headache.  I was the only one in my household (my husband and our 3 young-ish children) drinking the night before.  I was not drinking for pleasure.  I was drinking because I could not say no to the signals my brain was sending me.  It was easier for me to give in and quiet my brain so I could feel peace.  Now instead of alcohol giving me peace, it controls my peace.

Annie Grace’s book, This Naked Mind, does a really nice job of explaining the science of how ingesting an addictive substance actually changes our brain chemistry.  She also shares her story of how she changed her thought process to not crave alcohol and encourages us that we can do the same. She provides scientific research of how, although our addictive brains have been permanently changed, it is possible to lead a non-tormented, prosperous and pleasant alcohol free life if we choose.

And so I am addicted to alcohol. I am addicted, but hopeful.  Hopeful that, although I will always be addicted to alcohol, through determination, perseverance and continuing to learn about addiction I will find what works for me to stop the drinking part of my addiction and be able to live alcohol free with peace, not torment.

Love thy self

Love thy self.  This is what I need to do.  Months have past between my last entry and this one.  My life journeyed on.  Alcohol snuck it’s way back in…slowly and slowly snuck it’s way back in.

How is it that consuming alcohol is something I crave and choose as a part of my life, yet I know it will cause me emotional and physical pain at the same time?  This is an aspect of addiction.

This summer I trained for a Sprint Triathlon.  I trained hard.  I got strong.  I swam, biked and ran that race a little over a month ago, and I felt so good and happy.  I felt good and happy, yes, these were sincere emotions I felt and emotions that my friends and family saw….however, there were other feelings that slowly creeped their way into my body as the summer went on and my training went on.  Those feelings were thinking about alcohol.  Wanting to drink alcohol.  Craving the sensations that alcohol gave me.  I was doing good and healthy things for my mental and physical self, yet I still wanted to drink alcohol knowing it is not good for me, knowing that drinking alcohol will give me immediate relief followed by more long-term physical and emotional heartaches.

I gave into those feelings the last month of my training, and I found myself training for this race hung over some mornings.  Some of those mornings I was hung over I ran exceptionally well, or biked awesomely.  Reassurance that I can have my drink and drink it too.  …but I knew…. I knew that even though I could train while drinking, and feel like I could do no better even if I didn’t drink the night before… I knew I did not want that for myself, yet addiction took hold and once again began to loudly ignite my inner dialogue of torture and torment.

The race has been over for more than one month now, and I am finding myself drinking more and more.  I am sliding down an emotional hole and loosing much of the strength and pride I felt after completing my race.

Why must I stop at the liquor store on my way home from my son’s little league baseball game?  Why must I stop on my way home from work???  What do I need to do to be my best self?

My dear self….you are the only person who drinks in your own home.  Why do you feel the need to drink by yourself surrounded by family who is not drinking???

This is what I need to figure out.  I need to figure out how to love myself enough and care about myself enough to stop the emotional and physical pains that come with my alcohol addiction.