Since last weekend I’ve had the week off work, spent time with my girls and my mum for her birthday and generally been quite lazy. All ok until the weekend when my mood took a nosedive after going to a friends barbecue Saturday night. I think it had started it’s descent Friday actually when I didn’t go to a party. Went to the cinema with C instead to see Once upon a Time in Hollywood but was disappointed. Didn’t grab me and transport me anywhere – I could appreciate the style and the acting etc but I was a bit bored. The feeling of missing out crept in. Saturday had a good day doing stuff with my youngest daughter. Headed over to friends with our Becks Blue about 7. I’d not done any mental preparation for dealing with it; probably because after last weekend I thought I didn’t need to. Big mistake.
I was still wearing shorts and no make up and my friend hosting had a dress on and looked gorgeous. Immediately felt under-dressed. Mistake number 2. Others arrived and it was all ok. Friend’s new man kept offering us rum punch but that didn’t bother me. Food was a long time coming as it often is at a BBQ so everyone had a few drinks. Had some good conversations but also felt really bored by others. I noticed how much people talk about drinking and alcohol – not for the first time. Long conversations about preferring less acidic wine now – ‘it all rots your stomach’ I wanted to interject but that wouldn’t have gone down well. A comment about how everyone needs to get pissed once in a while, from someone who doesn’t actually drink much – the queen of moderation. ‘It is possible to enjoy things sober’ I said but no one really heard me.
As the evening went on I was clock watching and thinking about leaving. I couldn’t help noticing how self centred and boring some of my dearest friends can actually be. The food was great and a welcome distraction. Others went to powder their noses and we left about 10.30. No one tried to persuade us to stay thank god.
Sunday morning woke up feeling really down for the first time in ages. Saw my sister who’s visiting my mum and as always talked quite a lot about family which made me feel worse. Moped about most of the day. I managed to not have a fight with C though I was making negative comments about being trapped in a place I don’t want to be, wanting to move to the countryside, feeling oppressed by the city etc. We’ve had these conversations before. C thinks it’s about looking for a geographical cure but I think it’s where the real me would be most at ease. I’m a country girl at heart. It took a lot of drugs and alcohol to make me an urban animal.
There are lots of reasons why moving isn’t an option now so no point dwelling on that. I tried to figure out what was behind my boredom last night and low mood today. Feeling left out? In part yes but I didn’t want to join in. Projecting my sense of being boring onto my friends?
(This post was interrupted by an iPad malfunction that deleted a paragraph, triggering a hissy fit from me and C finally losing his patience and pointing out that I’m magnifying negatives in my mind and that takes me to absolute statements like ‘everything is shit’ that have no basis in reality.) I got up, had coffee and cigarettes, took the dogs for a walk by myself and did some thinking.
So back to what is going on here. Maybe my friends are boring sometimes; getting wasted is boring in my mind now but if others choose to why does that bother me so much? Identification with my old self? For sure but to really be free of it I need to accept the past – I can’t change it. My negative feelings towards my friends show I’ve not come to terms with who I was. I’ve wasted a lot of my life getting wasted but there’s no point regretting it. I think I’m also berating myself for still smoking cannabis. I know that I’m still wasting time and energy I could put to better use. I’m doing a half arsed job of being sober; stuck in limbo between the denial of intoxication and full sobriety. I can’t get the denial back and maybe that’s what I envy the most?
I took a different path from usual on the walk with the dogs. I realised I’ve not been cultivating the new mental paths; gotten lazy because I don’t want to drink now. That’s the beginning of the journey, not the final destination. I’ve abandoned my toolbox, not been doing much yoga, meditation or practising gratitude. These new paths will quickly become hard to find if I don’t make a point of using them and situations that remind me of the old paths will become difficult to manage leading to negativity and unhappiness. I’m lucky that I’m good at a lot of things and I don’t tend to stick with things I’m not good at. I’m not very good at being sober yet. I need to work at this; it’s not going to just happen without effort. The difficult stuff is where the learning will be. I have to tread those new paths over and over before they’ll become my default settings. If I keep seeing the source of my dissatisfaction outside of myself and the solutions in changing them I’ll keep coming back to the black dog of depression wherever I happen to live. As I walked this morning Shanti came to mind – chanted 3 times to bring us peace from the 3 sources of suffering we experience in life. Suffering from the world beyond our control, suffering caused by others and the suffering we bring on ourselves. My black dog is fed by my mind and only by working on my mind will I ever be free of it.