<– This is what drinking was for me. An escape hatch from myself and the world. And I still miss this at times of stress and crisis. Even now this last week I’ve recalled memories where I’ve thought and felt that drinking made the unbearable bearable. I KNOW that this is a salvation fantasy but it still persists.
So I’ve been struggling a bit recently to feel happiness in life generally prompting mid life musings of the ‘Is this it?’ variety. Not in a ‘f*ck it, a drink is the answer’ way but in a ‘I wish I could escape these thoughts/feelings’ type way. The ever present hangover free clear head lamented as a burden, not a gift. I yearn for an escape or miracle and feel overwhelmed with impostor syndrome. I must be a fraud right? Approaching 4 years sober and yet still wishing for an off switch to my brain – the release of being comfortably numb. And then as often happens I order the perfect book from the library to aid my discomfort.
I’ve been reading ‘Making Miracles in 40 days – turning what you have into what you want‘ by Melody Beattie. She is a recovery warrior and has written numerous books including seminal works on co-dependency and these were the words that stopped me reading and found me here writing a blog post to share her words:
“Either we refuse to talk about the loss or we can’t stop telling the story. Guilt and obsession are the sixth and seventh stages of loss.
Once I made my choice, I began to consciously grow despite the numbness, rage, and sadness I felt.
When deep change begins – whether it’s a miracle or loss – expect to feel uncomfortable for a while.”
I feel all of these things right now. Not about not drinking – although I can’t stop telling the story here still – but about living life not numbed by booze but numb, rageful and sad because of the reflections on my past life, how they have left me feeling in the present and how it then impacts on my future tripping thinking (which is not the first time either!). It feels like the deep change with recovery is two-fold: the stopping drinking part and then the emotional learning part. Getting sober is both a miracle and a loss so you feel very uncomfortable in the beginning and then get waves of uncomfortable as you continue to change emotionally. This is where I am.
She goes on to talk about happiness after loss:
Your happiness will look and feel more like peace. But now it will be real, and it will be yours. It won’t depend on others or what they do or don’t do. That long, dark tunnel of transformation – when we really become empowered to make miracles – only happens once.
Happiness means being at peace with ourselves, wherever we are, whoever we’re with, whatever we feel, whatever we’re going through, and whatever we have or lack. Happiness means working for the sake of doing the work, not for a particular outcome. Happiness means we’re with someone, because we enjoy the person’s company, not because we want to get that person to ask us to get married. To feel this kind of happiness, we need to release old unfelt emotions, and feel whatever we feel. We’re not desperately seeking someone to love us. We want everyone to be themselves – to be who they really are.
She goes on:
Most of the time we aren’t learning what we think we are. Being open and empty are the requirements for learning something new. Later, when we master the lesson, we’ll see what we learned.
By being present for each moment, we learn to live in the Mystery. We stop trying to figure things out (another form of control) and relax into not knowing. We trust that our answers will come in their own time.
Time to learn to let go of my impostor syndrome and work on that salvation fantasy of a realistic miracle, non-drinking escape hatch or just peace within myself.
Edited to add: 2nd December 2017