“Change is an upward spiral.”
A kind and wise fellow blogger recently relayed this quote, which someone had also shared with her. I love it, although I think I’d change it just a bit to something like:
Change is a bloody, upward jig-jagged, razor wire spiral littered with the flesh of those who have tried and failed.
Just kidding, although while I do love the image of an upward spiral, I think of the change spiral as much more uneven than a classic egg whisker. Instead it has some jigs, some jags, it expands in places, retracts in others, and has some recursive loops built in at stages along the way.
Sure, it’s nice to give myself credit for making progress, even if I’m back to “Day 3.” (again) And when I think about how much I have(n’t) drunk in the last 4 weeks, even if I wasn’t perfect, it sure is a hellova lot less than I have been drinking the last 4 years. And that’s not nothing.
That’s why some people are against counting days, I guess. If I have 30 days or 300 days and I have a drink, that’s still a shit-ton of shit I didn’t put into my body.
The trouble is, I know I can’t leave any opening for thinking I can drink every once in a while, or moderately, or at some given date in the future…or that it’s really fine to give in to a craving because on the whole I’m still way ahead.
I can’t and I know it. There is no such thing as moderation for me — I’ve spent a great deal of time, money and angst proving that out — and frankly, I would love the peace of mind that I keep reading comes (eventually) with closing the door. Completely. Shut. Not. An. Option.
Would you like a drink?
No thanks, I quit.
And anyway, that shit is poison, right? RIGHT?
Hm. I know it is. I know. And so why can I still vividly remember how much I DIDN’T enjoy drinking last Saturday, and I sure as hell didn’t enjoy the vomitous, hungover waste of the next day…so why, then, did I still hear my old beloved wine brain whispering in my ear on the way home tonight?
C’mon, you want to feel goood. Soooothe yourself… Relapse is noooormal. They are expecting it so what’s the big deeeaal? Where is the pleasure? Wine will feel so good. What else will make you feel so good, especially after a long, frustrating day at work with so little ACTUAL pleasure? C’mon… wiiiiinnne.
I really need to get a boyfriend.
Intellectually, rationally, I know why, of course, and I shut that shit down. I broke it down. I talked to myself outloud while I was walking down the street. (Who cares if people think I’m a little cray cray?) I asked myself: What am I feeling? Why do I think I want to drink? What do I think I will get from it? Why is this coming up now?
I saw myself walking into the corner store and picking out a bottle. In my mind, mind you, not with my legs.
And then, I decided to do something else, something we talked about in my mindfulness class last night. I decided to sit with these uncomfortable feelings. What the fu…? And breathe. Name the feelings. And really notice what was going on and why I was suddenly — and unexpectedly — craving a bottle.
Because seriously, what the fuck? What lowdown, ass hole brain goblin is messing with me when I think I have been perfectly clear I want nothing to do with alcohol anymore?
(I realize Ms. Potty Mouth has shown up to narrate tonight… Who am I to tell her she isn’t welcome? She’s on my side.)
Yes, I had a frustrating day and that old goblin wanted his juice. Jerk. He’s a fecking dopamine glutton and he’s messed with my peace and joy, mainlining off my limbic system for too long.
I got home, leashed up my dog, walked right back to that corner store and picked up two flavored fizzy waters and a package of rice crackers to complement the olive hummus waiting for me in the fridge. YUM. #screwthegoblin #biteme
I LOVE MY LIFE COACH. She’s awesome, and has helped me come further in the last 6 months than I ever would have been able to do on my own. Times ten.
I was telling her about how I invited an acquaintance to join me at the Glen Hansard show last Saturday who had been (somewhat annoyingly) fishing around for a ticket on Facebook. When I suddenly had an extra, I reluctantly asked her if she wanted it. Why did I bother? Because of something I read in Cheryl Strayed’s recent book:
I thought I should be magnanimous!
Hell, I’m all for doing whatever I can these days to make my life a hundred times better than it is.
So… I gave her this highly sought-after ticket and, well, I’ll just say it ended up not being a wholly positive experience. I relayed the story to my life coach because the whole thing was still nagging at me a bit.
“Fuck being magnanimous!” she said. “You need to keep your focus on all of the things you are doing to make your life better and avoid anything or anyone who causes you grief or frustration. Avoid anyone who doesn’t make you feel awesome and surround yourself with people who support you and all you are trying to do.”
Of course she’s totally right. This whole thing — the quitting drinking and all of the lessons that are inextricably linked to it — are about loving myself more and doing something about it. And leaving as little flesh on the spiral as possible.
Loving myself more. Doing something about it.
Day 3. Rachel.