Now before you get your panties in a bunch and start the tirade about how addiction is not easy, first let me say, I know. Addiction is painful. Addiction is cruel. Addiction is demoralizing and sinister. I get it.
Let me explain.
For me addiction is a disease of the mind, of imbalanced coping skills, and irrational thinking. To read more about this please click here.
A few nights ago insanity won. I had a total mental health relapse. I was overcome with a sadness that is black and cold and endless. The old stories that “I am nothing, I don’t matter, I am worthless” all starting playing in my mind like a track on repeat. And I started believing it. I felt alone in the world. Hopeless, helpless, and powerless.
Of my mental health challenges, anxiety is usually what causes me the most pain, but I have danced with depression as well. This time The Sadness came, it took my hand, and lead me down a very dark alleyway that I have not traveled in a long time.
I was consumed by sadness, despair and powerlessness. Powerlessness may as well be a four letter word in my mind. It takes things that are small, a slight offense, a passive aggressive comment, a phrase said in passing that creates a trigger and turns it into this monstrous offense against me personally. Powerlessness feeds the story in my mind. It robs me of my ability to find my part in the situation. It alienates me from reality. It spins me into blame, victim mentality, and martyrdom. It’s dehumanizing.
It’s been about ten months since I have felt this way in my life and I was scared.
At the time I didn’t think to pray, to ask God for help. I didn’t think to practice gratitude and remember how blessed I really am. I didn’t think to turn to my mantra and remember the same light that lights the most distant stars lives in me as me. I didn’t think to journal. I didn’t think to move my body. I didn’t think to ask for help. I didn’t think to change my breath.
I thought, “I could drink.” and for me this isn’t the thought that some people have in sobriety, “I could have one drink.” I know having just one drink is not something real, it’s actually a joke to me, what’s the point of one drink anyways? On this night I thought “I could drink”, get black-out wasted.Fuck sobriety, fuck the work, fuck the progress, fuck living life on life’s terms, fuck everything.
In the back of this alcoholics mind there is always a voice saying “Fuck it all Kim.” It’s the peculiar mental twist that is mentioned in the BB of AA.
This disease wants to win, wants to bring me to a new low, wants me to destroy myself and my family. This disease is in the corners of my mind just waiting for a tiny crack to ooze through and remind me how easy it would be to numb the fuck out.
And it would be so easy. Much easier than getting to know my pain, than finding my part in said pain, and changing my behavior.
Alcoholism and addiction beat the shit out of me. My mental health challenges and lack of coping skills have limited my ability to function at times in the world. For these two facets of my personality I just am, they just are. No assembly required, it’s all just there.
But accountability? Accepting powerlessness? Asking for help? SOBRIETY? Now this is the test of a woman’s character. Cleaning house from soup to nuts, apologizing, and letting things go, these require action.
Today I am a sober woman, but man, my mind can still find its way to very dark, scary places.
Most days I am 99.9999% sure that I am nowhere near a relapse in alcoholism. If I start that tape with having the first drink and play it til the end I know no one benefits. I know this disease is just waiting for an excuse to fuck my life up, to fuck me up.
It is a daily discipline of self-reflection, self-restraint, meditation, prayer, talking to someone who will call me on my bullshit, and asking for help to not allow the scared, angry, bitter and neurotic human inside of me to run my mind and in effect my life. I am also being gently and sometimes not so gently reminded to not take everything so seriously.
That night it was late, I didn’t drink. I cried myself to sleep and the next day I woke up and it was basically over. There was a bit of an emotional hangover but for the most part I was really just curious about the event that had taken place. I knew what to do, call my sponsor, talk about it, find my part in the situation, the place where I do have power, my actions, my choices.
What it always comes down to for me is unreasonable demands of others and the inability to accept people, places, and things as they are. (It would be so much easier if everyone just did what I want, when I want, and how I want them to do it.) There's a dishonesty involved in not accepting people for who they are and life for what it is.
I was amazed at how strong this disease of alcoholism is. I was terrified at how quickly my mind thought that drinking was the answer. This time God stepped in a saved me. I didn’t drink and The Sadness was temporary. In the past I could have lived in that pain and desolation for days, weeks, and even months. It would have morphed into anger and rage. (It’s much easier for me to be angry than sad and afraid) It would have affected my relationships and how I be in the world. But it didn’t.
I got curious, found my part, practiced tolerance and prayed for the willingness to be teachable and to do things differently.
The solution is always in my power. My reaction is my responsibility. My alcoholism may want me to fail, but my Goddess wants me to succeed. She is kind, loving, and courteous. Without that connection, I would be left to my own devices. I would be miserable, I would be drunk. I would be wreaking havoc everywhere I went. (I am very good at this)
Doing the work is not the easy solution to life’s problems, but it is worth it.
Last night I was able to sit in a hot bath and read some poetry and I came across this beauty from one of my favs Mary Oliver
A Voice From I Don’t Know Where
It seems you love this world very much,
“Yes,” I said. “This beautiful world.”
And you don’t mind the mind, that keeps you busy all the
time with it’s dark and bright wonderings?
“No, I’m quite used to it. Busy, busy, all the time.”
And you don’t mind living with those questions?
I mean the hard ones, that no one can answer?
“Actually, they’re the most interesting.”
And you have a person in your life whose hand you like to hold?
“Yes, I do.”
It must surely, then, be very happy down there in your heart.
“Yes,” I said. “It is.”
Sobriety has helped me taste the essence of this poem. There is a sacred grace and subtle humility in these words that I have experienced only in this new life I was gifted when I listened to the soft whispers in my heart saying “Kim, this is enough, there has to be more to life than this.” and I put the drink and drugs down. It may not be easy, but THIS, living this life, the contentment, love and humanness that Ms. Oliver speaks of wordlessly, it is worth my effort.