Emotional Overwhelm

It’s been a trying couple of weeks.  Stressful stuff has been happening at work and then I had, what I described to Belle as, an unexploded bomb go off in my extended family personal life.  The universe has been testing my resolve to stay off the sauce!!

In my drinking life these two situations would have been managed by booze and more of  it.  This would have triggered an escalation in my drinking in an attempt to blot them out by getting blotto and numbing myself out of the conscious emotions.  Before as I wasn’t very good at dealing with any kind of overwhelm I would inevitably react emotionally without thinking it through and potentially make the situations worse.

So in the absence of booze I’ve had to manage it differently. This has involved sitting in the bath and sobbing and a trip to see my counsellor.  I appreciate that the counsellor bit isn’t an option for everyone, but I am lucky enough to have been seeing this person since late 2010.  She is a god-send and my go to person when I need to offload and talk things through.  These coping strategies have enabled me to pause and sit with the emotions for a full week without acting on them and most importantly not pick up a drink.  It has been really hard.

In the absence of a counsellor I would have phoned the Samaritans.  I know how good these people are because I used to volunteer for them.  I’ve volunteered at a town branch, a city branch, at festivals and I ran the London Marathon for them.  If you need to talk to someone about a problem, who will listen without judgement and let you get stuff off your chest without offering advice these folks are superb.  You don’t need to be a UK resident as you can email as well as call.

As their website says:

Talk to us any time you like, in your own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to you.

You don’t have to be suicidal.

Telephone: 08457 909090

Email: jo@samaritans.org

Sometimes you need to talk to someone, not about your drinking, but the stuff that makes you want to drink and the Samaritans provide a safe space for this if you need it.

Alternatively, if you live in the UK and feel you have excess spare time now that you aren’t busy drinking then maybe you would like to reach out and help someone else in need?  The Samaritans are always looking for volunteers and personally I really loved and valued the experience.

My emotional overwhelm is now less emotional and less overwhelming and the urge to drink has passed.  I learned a new sober skill for the next time things don’t go according to plan and that’s life when you don’t drink.  You pick yourself up, dust yourself down and move on – no booze, no drama 😉

16 thoughts on “Emotional Overwhelm

  1. Sorry you have had so much trauma over the last couple of weeks but so happy that you’ve come out the other side. It’s good that you have strong options for times in need and good people to turn to. Well done, for setting up your own network. You’ve got yourself through it and will be a stronger, more resilient person for it. You’re really make this work. x

  2. Yes I’m sorry too.. that doesn’t sound nice at all. You know I’ve had some pretty major shit go down in my extended family since I’ve been blogging and I never ever mention it (because it’s other peoples stories) although it impacts majorly on my emotional state – and has involved me as well.. anyway.. point is I think we all have big shit happen and it’s how we navigate our way through it that makes us who we are. Congrats on staying the fabulous sober person that you are. And I love that recommendation to call Samaritans. How wonderful this world sometimes is. I’ve just found out that the Alcohol Drug Helpline in New Zealand offers a callback service.. they’ll call you back EVERY DAY to ask how you are doing in your attempts to get off the sauce. How awesome is that??!! Anyway.. sending love xxx

    1. It’s tricky isn’t it Mrs D, walking the fine line of what you talk about here and what you don’t when it comes to other people’s stuff. I would like to think that I am not sharing what isn’t mine to share as the post focus is, as you say, on how it impacted on me. The Alcohol Drug Helpline callback service sounds fantastic. Pity we don’t have one of those here! 🙂 xx

  3. sounds like a tough time. emotional overwhelm is a scary place. sometimes the bath is the safest place to be. I think that this getting sober lark progresses from being about the drink, through being about not drinking, to be, as you say, about dealing with the stuff that once we would have drunk over. Those are all great tactics so well done. And thank you too for putting in the link to the Samaritans. I have never even thought of that as an option and now it is in my ‘break glass in case of fire’ tool kit! And that urge to drink – I do remember Paul saying, “Of course we think of drink when we have a problem – we’re alcoholics!” I found that funny and bizarrely reassuring 🙂 lots of love and hope the dust clears soon from that UXB xxx

    1. Thanks Primrose. The Samaritans are amazing and I can’t recommend them highly enough and I know they have been a life-line for people as I’ve taken the calls from people saying that they wanted to say ‘thank you’. I love that Paul saying – as you say so funny and so true! As for the UXB I’ve decided to do nothing and see how that works xx

  4. No advice to offer, but I think I can understand a bit of how you feel. Issues within the family can be so hard to deal with. Unlike many other situations, you can’t just walk away from family, they’ll always be around – it’s what makes families so great, it’s what makes them so impossible. Well done for choosing not to take that other escape path – the drink. I’m sure whatever happens, you’ll handle it better without a drink than with one. (Late night booze-fueled emails and phone calls always a disaster!) Good luck with the UXB 😉 Sending love and hugs. xxx

  5. I feel both proud of your actions and impressed by them. This has gotta be some sort of major landmark event- learning to wade through unpleasant emotions rather than try to take the alcohol detour around them. I am lucky to have you as a role model!! and congratulations!!

  6. Sorry you have had a rough time lately. Family stuff is so hard and can really push all of those emotional buttons. Good for you for taking care of yourself through it. xx

  7. It is the old emotions that tend to trip us up. The worst one for me is anger, but at 7 months AF I feel a lot less angry about a lot of things that used to provoke an extreme volcanic reaction. Hope you are managing to navigate your way through the family upset. It is amazing how at this point in life we are learning a whole new way of dealing with , life, other people, stress. As you say it gives us new skills and new ways to cope. I love that we are never too old to learn x

  8. Yes – I get that. Pause, sit with the emotions and then react.
    This is what I did last week with a situation out of my control.
    I cant control it, but I can react with a considered and careful response.
    I didn’t drink which would have let the emotions spiral.
    We are learning new tricks together.
    BTW I am doing this all on my own – no AA, no counselor, just lurking with you guys and oh boy I think I can do all this with just all of you.
    thank you, thank you
    santa cruz xxx

    1. Hi hendongirl (aka santa cruz) Thank you for reading and commenting. We are all learning together huh? 🙂 Congrats on your solo journey and you are most welcome xx

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