I think I’m getting better at this sober living malarkey. The longer I live with no alcohol in my life the less frantic I am to try and fix my moods.
When I first took the booze away and started cracking the concrete I’d laid around my emotional self… I was like a crazy emotional harridan, lurching wildly from one emotional state to another..
‘Oh my GAWD I’m SAD!!!!!!!’ I’d wail to myself and then I’d cast around frantically for something to ‘do’ about that sadness. Frantically searching for the magic cure for this terrible sadness.
‘By CRIKEY I’m ANGRY!!!’ I’d growl and stomp around looking for a cure for this anger. This anger that must be tamed, dealt with, fixed somehow.
I’d question around anyone I came in to contact with – especially the people that seemed really calm and together – ‘What do you do when you get sad or angry?’ I was desperate for them to divulge the secret that was going to solve my ‘problem’.
That ‘problem’ being that I was emotionally stunted as a result of having booze as my constant companion my entire adult life.
That ‘problem’ being that I’d never developed any proper emotional management techniques.
That ‘problem’ being that I was needing to become a fully emotional human being.
I’m still searching a lot of the time – behold my last post on naval gazing for goodness sake – but I am also calming down a lot. Loads of great information from very clever people has been seeping in to my brain (people in my real life, book authors and those who record podcasts and TED talks). And time passing alone has also helped, I’ve now lived a lot of sober days (just checked – 1108 sober days!!) and my emotions aren’t strangers anymore. All of these things have combined to calm me down and helped me to realise that sometimes the answer to life’s tricky emotions is to do nothing at all.
Just sit. Just wait. Don’t panic. Don’t reach. Feel it. Allow it. Acknowledge it. Go gently and breath…
When we booze we’re reacting, reaching , sipping, numbing, avoiding. When we first get sober we freak out! Lurch from one emotional state to another! Panic at the first sign of trouble! Of course we do.. we’re not used to living like this. It’s hard. It’s not fun a lot of the time.
But I think the longer we live sober, the more we also just begin to calm down, accept moods, wait for time to pass, breath. Relax.
That’s why it’s so important to hold on. Hold on through the tricky early stages. Hold on and trust that things will start to calm down.
There are many Living Sober members who are facing tricky weekends ahead. Maybe they’ve got social events they’re nervous about doing sober. Maybe their loved ones are going to be away and they’re alone for the weekend – previously the perfect time to booze away privately with no judgement.
Just hold on folks… picture yourself on Monday morning waking up very proud of yourself for getting through with no boozing. It might be uncomfortable, but that’s ok. We all deal with uncomfortable emotions. If you hold on and don’t drink, eventually it will get easier. I promise.
Love, Mrs D xxx
Loved reading all your posts
o my god well put
Cripes I needed to read that x
This is a great post @Mrs-D! It’s funny because it echos something that a very close friend said to me just a few months ago when I was trying to come to terms with some difficult emotional stuff. He said “sometimes clinging on is enough”. You know the sense of relief that I felt was just immense! I was so caught up in trying to figure it all out (rationally), find labels, theories, etc. I was really avoiding the feelings – and I think that is what I’ve done for much of my life. It might be the reason I have used alcohol in the way that I have. My journey towards a sober life, to some extent, is in its early days. But having said that, the progress I’ve made has been pretty significant. My consumption over the past six months has been drastically reduced, with good periods totally alcohol free. I have only drunk once over the past month and recently did about three months AF. Then a bit of moderating (successfully but I don’t think that is the answer for me – I agree with The Sober Revolution on this point). I think I thought of it as an experiment to find out how I’d feel. And it became apparent pretty fast that life is so much better without it. So now I think I’m at the point of wanting to take that big step of making the commitment. I think the actual commitment itself is more scary to me than actually just DOING IT! I think I’m afraid that I’ll fail and that my already low self-esteem will take a big bashing. However I know it’s the right thing to do. I haven’t experienced the mood swings that you describe though so it goes to show how different the journey can be…..I feel calmer. Maybe it will come later. Sorry I’m rambling now. And off topic too probably……
I take hope from this post. My emotions are not tramped down with wine so I am feeling them. I just came from a mindful mediation class where we discussed just watching our emotions and thoughts as they come and go. The teacher explained how we don’t have to “fix” them – just let them be and they do dissolve. Appartently the longer we meditate we will have an expansive mind that will provide a bigger space between when we feel something and having to jump to an action/reaction. All good things to look forward to if I stay away from alcohol and put the effort in to reap the rewards.
Wow Mrs D, I’m on day five, and talking about just holding on is invaluable to me right now. I don’t need 5pm to come. I’m a functioning alcoholic with a lovely husband and an 8 year old daughter that I love so much and has missed out on so much of me emotionally. Because I can drink from 10 am til 10pm if I don’t crash and burn. Hold on, just hold on… Thank you for the gift if that advice xx
That’s so true – when we’re boozing we’re reacting. We never learn to just sit with what’s really happening. We take the drink away n suddenly we have no idea how to deal with most things.
But I like what you said about just holding on, it does pass, the sun shines again.. If we can just hold on.
And we are
Wonderful @Seizetheday .. it’s so counterintuitive for us boozers to not ‘reach’ and ‘react’ because that’s what we’ve conditioned ourselves to do… so that’s a big part of getting sober I reckon.. calming ourselves down to just try and ‘sit’ with things xxx
Ironic maybe that watching all the political news has inspired me to join this blog and see what happens here. Thinking of you Mrs D, must be a hard time for you xx
Well it wasn’t all watching Mr D on the telly, my daughter gave me your book to read a month or two ago, Mr D was just the reminder that I was going to make the connection. I’ve been in and out of sober living for some 20 years now, and in and out of AA for 8 or 9. At one stage I had seven years of sobriety behind me, but that all feels pretty meaningless now with just 13 days sobriety on this roller coaster ride. Today its just a matter of not taking that first drink.
That is ironic! But if seeing Mr D on the tele talking about politics has prompted you to join our lovely site and start examining the role alcohol plays in your life then that’s fantastic….!!!!!! Great to have you here @Donna xxxx
I love this Mrs D 🙂 This week’s mantra. .. Don’t panic! Feel it… allow it… acknowledge it and breathe. Simple. Brilliant. Thank you 🙂
Thanks for the lovely feedback @Alyce .. sometimes it’s easier said than done but that’s the aim…! What is it they say, ‘progress not perfection’ xxxx
Thanks Mrs D for this post. I am worried because it is day 17 for me and I am so incredably calm compared to when I was chugging on wine as soon as I got home from work. The only outbursts I have had have not been alc related rather I find my thinking is clear now and I won’t take shit anymore. Does it mean that I am going to hit the wall further down the track. I am now working on a big issue in my life and that is wanting to loose weight. I know it is because I was raised by a very obese mother and I always told myself I would never be big. I got it into my thick head that if I drank wine I would’nt eat. As you would say that’s bullshit I put on weight. I have decided tomfocus this weekend while hubbie is away to try and eat healthy and hopefully take the focus off not eating. Your wisdom is awesome thanks.
@grannie I am sooooo proud of you.. one day we will have another hug and I will look into your sparkling clear eyes and we will smile together.. you are doing this! Hope the weekend is going ok xxx
Uh! @Mrs-D , have you been hiding behind the curtains in my home these past two weeks? I think maybe you have! You articulated everything I have been going through and you completely “nailed it” as @SueK declared!
I find myself constantly apologizing to my husband for my outburst and my nit-picking moods, He is being very supportive mind you. Just wondering if the apologizing is a sign that I am still unable to accept these emotions and outbursts myself. ?!?!?!?!
Thank you for this post 🙂
Ha ha @amethyst…. no hiding behind curtains I promise! And yeah @AlexP I used to pride myself on being ‘low maintenance…’ In fact I used to comment to Mr D that I was a ‘low maintenance wife with no wild mood swings’.. yeah well now we know that was because I was glug glug glugging myself into a numb & dull equilibrium… so the moods might be more pronounced now but overall I’m so much more ‘present’ and ‘real’ .. and don’t forget the moods in the early days of sobriety ARE much much more pronounced than they become after 1 year or so xxxx
@amethyst oh so I’m not alone with having to apologise for outbursts and nit- picking. God knows where they’ve come from!! I’m generally calmer, quieter and clearer but oh boy, intolerance level has rocketed!
Agree – @MrsD has nailed it.
Nailed it @Mrs-D! The wild emotional swings, frequent freakouts, melt-downs and general WFT-ness all do fade into a manageable calm eventually. Takes time, but so worth hanging in there.
always so happy to see you here @SueK! xxx
Thanks Mrs. D. It is a different kind of pride that you feel this ‘sober pride’, isn’t it? Hard to describe but a wonderful giggly joy when you have come through a tough day or event unscathed and can smile at the self made happiness you feel.
Thanks again for bringing us all together!
@QuietlyDone ‘Sober Pride’ … I like that xxx