I’ll just skip the apologies this time, the ones you deserve and the ones I feel for not writing in such a long while.
Today I have 50 days. I realized this sort of by accident. I knew it was coming but the stress at work and home and within me have all conspired to shift my focus away from sobriety.
Yesterday was the beginning of a much needed 2 week holiday. I need it. Yesterday we took the electric car to Italy, a stressful venture indeed, but one that ended up okay. There’s not enough infrastructure here to really support these trips, and we made a couple of navigational errors that could have ended up disastrously. We coasted into the first available charging station in France, in Monaco…literally on our last sparks. When we got there, there was no power! Prince Albert is supposedly a big environmentalist so he’ll get a strong letter from me. It’s hard enough to plan trips around the charging stations that are available without coasting into one and finding it useless! Ha. Luckily there are 2 in Monaco and we made it to the second one as well, but because of parking we had to block a lane of traffic for half an hour. The police came to shoo us away but let us be after we explained. Maybe they’ll let old Al know about the non-functional station. 🙂
OK enough of these little details! While we were shopping yesterday I had the first really strong urge to drink I’ve had during this sober trip. I was so beaten down emotionally after my last drinking spree, I haven’t been too tempted (outside of the first week or so). But yesterday I was slammed with the thought that I could just drink through Christmas and maybe that would make it all better. So here I am, back here as fast as I can get here.
Emotionally I’ve been struggling. We finally have an appointment mid-January with a psychiatrist who will look at our whole family dynamic and at each of us individually. The first one we tried focused only on Olivia, and while that is definitely important, I feel strongly that her problems are our problems are her problems and that this business needs to be treated holistically. More and more I get the feeling that having depressed parents just might possibly be contributing to my child’s depression. Ya think?
Slowly over the last few weeks she has gotten better. Thank goodness. But it was a really rough ride, especially for her, and especially for her teacher. I’ve never really gotten better. Everything at work has just exploded (for better and for worse)…and I had a huge realization this week that the only thing I really have control over is how I react to all of it.
All this to say that when we see the psychiatrist in January I’m going to ask about some options, including medication. When I was at the school Christmas show/party this year, feeling absolutely awful, I realized that I was feeling exactly the same way last year. And when I start looking back farther, I realize that I’ve been depressed for a long time. So it’s time to ask for some help and be open to anything. I mean, just “working on myself” and “trying to stay positive” simply isn’t doing the trick. The last time I tried medication was about 12-14 years ago and I took Paxil. I didn’t like that I just felt completely separated from all of my emotions. But that would be better than completely losing my mind on a regular basis and leaving emotional carnage all over everyone I love.
During all of my attempts at sobriety this past year or so, simply not drinking has lifted my awful mood, and usually fairly quickly. This time that’s never happened for any extended period of time. So. Yeah. I think I need more help.
So. 50 Days. I should feel celebratory and happy and proud of myself. In some ways, I do. But all I am really hoping for is to get to the point where I am not merely surviving or coping…the number of days is a bit of an afterthought to be honest.
Speaking of day counting, I’ve gone through lots of iterations of thinking around this. Riding on Empty has a great post about it, and I’ve wanted to throw my thoughts in about this for my current trip. 😉
Everything he says there, about the danger of being so emotionally tied to a certain number, or looking back, or fearfully looking forward at the possibility of ruining EVERYTHING over a drink…I believe all of that is true. I chose not to count days for quite awhile and I think that really worked for me. For awhile.
When I got the message that I’d been blogging on this site for a year, I wrote a post about the number of days I had remained sober during that year. I was literally shocked to realize, after counting everything up, that I had been sober for 75% of the days of that year. I had been so busy beating myself up for all of my failure that I didn’t notice how well I’d actually done. And truthfully, I believe now that every day, week, month, year sober just adds that much more power to our ability to stay sober.
I have a tendency to get really legalistic about a lot of things, and sobriety is no different. But I think this time I can honestly say I’m not really that tied to the days. For me it’s not about that anymore, thank God. What I can say is that because it’s been SO difficult for me emotionally this time, I am a lot more scared of taking that first drink. Maybe this is the level of fear/respect I need to have around alcohol, I don’t really know. But if I needed a new day 1 tomorrow, I hope I wouldn’t throw away all the great experience I’ve had, every great sober day I’ve had, just because I was “back” at Day 1. A sober day is a sober day is a sober day, and any sober day is one in which I and everyone in my life wins.
So why do I count? It’s simple. I’m just curious about where I am in the sobriety journey. For instance, based on the past year or so, and my many attempts, I know I have a trouble spot usually around 40-50 days. Not that I want to hide under the covers during this time, but I do want to be aware. I want to be able to notice any thoughts or behaviors that might indicate I’m more likely to take a drink on my typical moment of whimsy.
Ouf I think this is a truly awful all over the map post. But I’m sending it out there anyway!
How are you doing? I want to know. And I’ll write another post in the next couple of days to talk about the hoolidays.
Much love and light to you…D