I’m quite new to my relative sobriety, finding my way in a world where I’m used to being the helper not the helped. I’m thinking there might be other people out there like me, scared to come out because of their professions so if I reach you and you feel less alone then I’ve helped us both.
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After what has felt like weeks of relentless rain, storms and gales here in the UK as I walked the dogs this morning the sun was shining warming my face through the mostly still bare trees; and I could believe that Spring is just around the corner. The crocuses and daffodils are coming through and nature begins her cycle again. In spite of the weather my spirits have been good. I’m on my way back to work and have agreed that from September I’m going to do half a day a week for them of training and supervision – no direct work. The rest of the week I shall work for myself. It feels a real win win and now I have a plan everything seems manageable again. On the home front it no longer feels a Herculean task to get out of bed or go do the weekly food shop and I’m sorting out things that have been left a long time. Drinking stopped me doing stuff and then depression. I’ve cleared my study so I can have my yoga and meditation space there and a nicer space to work which feels good. I’m meditating and/or doing yoga every day and I swear some days I feel high on it! I wondered on Monday if I was getting hypomanic but I’m just joyful. I’m able to focus on every day pleasures – the taste of food; watching the dogs play; drops of rain on a leaf; cuddling up to C. I’m also being sociable and enjoying company again. In short I feel more like myself and it’s great! My brain and body were slowed up and foggy and it’s taken coming out the other side to appreciate how bad I had been.
In the 11 months of being alcohol free the onion ring of reasons why I drank have slowly revealed themselves and peeled away, and I’m now wondering if at the heart of it I was self medicating for depression alongside staying manically busy to keep the stress hormones flowing. The impact of this was living life oscillating between high octane stress and arousal, that I then shut down with booze and ramped up again in the morning with coffee to combat the sluggishness from being hungover. Every now and then it would all get too much; I’d shut down for a few days then repeat. I’ve lived like this for years – decades even. No wonder it’s taking time to adjust to living life differently. Much less oscillation; a calmer steadier state. That used to signal boredom to me; a need for stimulation; possibly a warning to my unconscious low mood was coming if I didn’t do something about it quick! Don’t let the darkness catch you!
Without drink I’ve been depressed; done some processing and finally admitted I needed help. Now I like calm and steady. I like to notice the world around me; to savour moments instead of mentally attending to whatever’s coming next. I’m learning to live in the present and it’s making me happy. Not ecstatic, not buzzing, not excited – just happy.