Monday, March 3, 2014

The Hardest Places.

Support is one of those things: you don't know you need it, and then all of a sudden you're flailing about wondering WTF just happened. Then you remember. Oh, people. I need them. My support. I need it. My recovery. I have to honor it.

I was feeling so under-able last week. Overwhelmed. Life was just mostly sucky, plain and simple.

As soon as I wrote about it I felt better. It made me think about support- how I shore myself up- my own self and other people and then the things I read and think that help too.

As addicts I think we all just want to hide. Hide from our addictions, hide in our addictions, hide from people, hide from life. Seeing the truth is not high on the list of priorities. Join that with not doing things we're supposed to (you know, the things we know work) and you have a duo of life mucking up muck. So here I am, on the fence- hiding and being wishy washy.

Being on the fence is kind of where that mucky place puts you. Up there, straddling both sides of decision, unable to commit to either action so just waffling back and forth from here to there keeping things confusing and wobbly. I am still unable to commit to a few things that I know will make my life better. I hate it because it reminds me of the years upon years upon years I would promise myself that I would quit drinking only to drink again and again.


It's like I'm a spoiled child and I keep mush mouthing around with myself. "No, no sweetheart. Don't do that. It's not nice." But life is hard, and work is hard, and the kids are hard and blah blah blerg. I need to push that sucker out of the way and say, "NO. NOT ALLOWED. TOO EFFING BAD."

But here's the thing: that's OK. I appreciate it when everyone says "Be nice and kind to yourself" and "Don't be hard on yourself" but there comes a time when I need to kick my own ass. When other people might need to join in. There comes a point when I have to say, "OK. Enough is enough." And I can't say it in a sweet voice. I have to mean it. I have to really get out the big guns and put some fire in it. I have to be hard on myself or the things won't get done.

I'm trying to say that making myself behave is OK too. That sweetness and light have time and place, but it can't always be that way. When I first quit drinking I had to find balance between "NO, AMY. YOU MAY NEVER DRINK AGAIN" and "It's OK for you to feel sad and awful, but no drinks sweet one." I need some back up that isn't my friend but my truth from time to time. I need support in breezes and in hurricanes. Sometimes I need a hug and sometimes I need someone to hold me responsible for the things I say and do.

I mean this in the nicest way, but I get so tired of all the damn polite hand holding. Sometimes it isn't OK. Sometimes keep trying and there, there does more harm than good. Sometimes you have to be allowed to say the hard things that maybe people don't want to hear but need to hear. I'm a fucking alcoholic. I'm a master at saying what people want to hear, but I'm not so comfortable with what needs to be heard.

All these feelings I started to feel after I quit drinking deserve to be felt. ALL of them. Even the bad ones. They don't deserve to be minimized or brushed away just because they aren't happy and bright. These tough emotions warrant real attention. They certainly don't feel better just because it's more comfortable for everyone if we aren't hard on ourselves.

Who else is there to blame? Who else has to take responsibility if not me? I have to own it. I have to make it mine and accept the consequences of my actions. I have to be able to take myself to task for not holding up my end of the bargain when it comes to things that I can't compromise on. I have to be honest with myself. I owe it to myself to be so.

I am super stuck right now. I keep Sisyphus-ing along knowing I'm prolonging this part yet unable to shake and get unstuck. But I'm working at it. I know things will shift, and move, and that I'm OK. At fifteen months sober these are all things I know are true all the time. I feel like I'm ready for the tough love I know needs to come my way. I'm going to tuck in, brace myself, and open my heart to whatever comes next. Sometimes the best things come from the hardest places.


  1. Amy, I hear what you're saying on this. It's fine to tell you to 'ease up, you're lovely,' but you want to get shit done, and you'll be no less lovely for doing that. I kind of go back and forth on what you're talking about here. I need to accept me and I'm getting better at it, but that same me needs to get out of bed already and get to work. Too much being hard on myself is paralyzing, and when I hear what sounds like that in someone else, I do go all, "There there" in the most soothing way I can muster. But I don't want such a falsely inflated sense of self that I don't actually do anything, as though me, lying in bed, were enough so I needn't even bother getting up, and I don't want to sound like I think anyone would be better off doing that, either.

    I feel the tension on this. Lots of the things that are worth doing are really hard to do. More doing, less thinking, I think that's what you said in a comment on your last post, and I think that is the answer. There's not going to be a giant ball of motivation within you that suddenly makes something happen. Motivation happens in the doing, and it builds in keeping on doing, not in thinking about doing and putting it off until tomorrow.

    I'm sorry you're stuck. Stuck sucks! An old friend of mine, who has been a psychologist since before I was born, always tells people that they need to just get the hell out of their own way. He says it with a soft Virginia accent, which makes it sound kind but firm. So I'm sending that along to you, in lieu of a kick in the pants. Along with a hug, because a big hug can't hurt. xo

  2. Hi Amy, I was going through magazines recently, and found your article. It has been so eye opening. I didn't know so many women like myself have a problem with alcohol. Very eye opening. Thank you for your posts. I hope to become strong like you one day . Thank you!!!!

  3. Hi Amy,
    No words of wisdom tonight just a little joke I thought up while reading your post …
    You verb-ed Sisyphus - you totally ROCK!
    (You see what I did there? Tee hee!!!!)
    Now, if you can't chuckle at my lame-ass pun then please go ahead and laugh at what a total nerd I am.
    Hope the sun comes out for you soon (it always does, you know.)
    xx Kirst

  4. I love this post for so many reasons.


  5. I love the kid analogy (and also use of word blerg, a favorite of mine). This just makes sense. With my kids, ignoring them doesn't work. It's not good parenting and they clamor for attention, often negatively. Being firm and staying on top of what they're doing to steer as needed works well. When my little one pouts and sulks, demonstrating sympathy and caring goes a long way. Works on my older one too, but not as easily. So I think I should stay firm with myself and stick to boundaries and plans, but also not beat myself up too much when I get off course. Just redirect. Do you know how helpful this post was for me to read? Geez, you're amazing. I hope you know that.