Thursday, October 9, 2014

Washing Up

I was washing the crock pot at the sink the other day. As usual I was hurried, frustrated that it was taking so long. All of the sudden I realized what I was doing: washing a crock pot. On my day off. With nothing to do all day. Why in the heck was I all bent out of shape? Then I realized that wait....this is my default setting. I am always anxious to get on to the next thing. Always doing a mental work up of a situation or event.

It came as a total shock to me that I am so anxious all the time. I had no idea. But as soon as I recognized it my whole self was like BUSTED!!!! And I had a good laugh at myself and adjusted the water temperature, added a dab more soap to make bubbles and took my time scrubbing up that pot.

I think it comes from living a childhood where my parents fought all the time. They started fighting when I was in mid fourth grade (when we moved to a place my mom quickly grew to hate from a place we all loved)  until we moved away from that hated place the summer before my senior year of high school. I always wanted to be able to fix it, so I was always on edge- on the lookout for the solution that would make everyone happy and please not fight anymore. This is still me today- tensely watching for any sign of disruption or disturbance so I can prevent it from happening. But I didn't know that until the other day when the crock pot showed me the light.

This makes it hard for me to get absorbed in things, or even lose track of time. It makes it hard to enjoy things because what if I start having fun and someone else isn't and then they get upset and wreck it for everyone but if I was just watching I could have stopped it? It doesn't make sense but these things often don't. I can only start to make sense of them when they come out from under the bed and into the light. "Oh, here" say my brains. "Did you know that you do this?" "Oh" says me. "I didn't but damn. That kind of explains a lot."

So much of my "stuff" is from when I was a kid. It's like I have all these loose ends that never got tied up. Slowly but surely I'm catching ends and wrapping things up. One thing I could never do when I was drinking was learn a lesson and then move on.

I don't think much about sobriety anymore. It's just something that I am. But without it these revelations wouldn't happen. Because I'm sober I can now see that one of the reasons I drank was to sedate my anxiety. If I was wasted I couldn't care less about what was going on, I didn't have to worry if anyone was upset, or fighting, or not having fun. I really didn't know if I was even having fun. I like the way these things pop up- unpredictable, any time, any where- and I learn something that is really totally true about me.


  1. Isn't it amazing how you're cruising along...all FINE and everything when the Universe swoops in and send you a message...upside the head? I just love that about sobriety and recovery. I never know when something is going to pop up and help me understand myself just a little bit better.

    Bravo for recognizing it!


    1. These things make me feel even finer! I can't tell you what a relief it was. It was like that moment when you're trying to do a word problem and you just can't make sense of it then....oh!!! Of course!!! 27 bananas times 43 miles an hour!!!

  2. Awakenings.....I love to understand the "why" behind everything. Isn't great when you receive those moments of clarity? I can also relate to the constant rush to get everything done....even when we have extra time. Everything needs to be in crisis mode for me to accomplish anything. Very sick.

    1. Well wait....I have been working really hard at living in the moment (doesn't sound like its filled with serenity?? LOL ) so its better than it used to be!

    2. Annette, it's not even trying to get everything done, it's just a total no sense making pressure all the time. Like if I hold tight to all the strings I can keep all the balls on the air. Such control issues! Since I recognized me doing it I have felt less need to be the helper of the universe. Read some about your adrenals. They get burnt out when we are always in crisis mode. P.s. I love you and admire your grace so much!

  3. Sorry to dreg something out (and I realize now that I used this in one of my posts) but here it is:

    "Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional household. We had come to feel isolated and uneasy with other people, especially authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people-pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process. All the same we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat. We either became alcoholics (or practiced other addictive behavior) ourselves, or married them, or both. Failing that, we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment.

    We lived life from the standpoint of victims. Having an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. We got guilt feelings when we stood up for ourselves rather than giving in to others. Thus, we became reactors, rather than actors, letting others take the initiative. We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally. Yet we kept choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.

    These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made us ‘co-victims’, those who take on the characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink. We learned to keep our feelings down as children and kept them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue. Even more self-defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable relationships.

    This is a description, not an indictment."

    i am not saying you are all this. Your story with the pot just reminded me of this. I am many of those things. I think we all are to some extent. This isn't just about alcoholics. This is about those who grew up in homes by people who were doing the best they thought they were. Regardless of what the conditions were. I grew up in a house where anger was not allowed. Where there was no fighting allowed. No conflicts allowed. Sanitized, where I felt underwhelmed. Flip side of angry household...we find distractions, ways to fix people and things.

    I laughed too about the pot, because I have a hard time to just sit and relax. I feel that if I don't DO THINGS and FIX THINGS, the day was a WASTE. Hmmmm...distractions? lol.

    Anyway, thank you for this...and yeah, I love insights like the one you had there. We'll all get there :)



    1. Oh!!! You'll be shocked to know (lol) that I identify with alllllll of that. Thanks for sharing it- In a perverse way I like to read about my "idiosyncrasies"- sort of like a personhood map.

      I am not a "doer" though. I have learned that if I want to feel settled and serene (serene and settled being some of my top favorite ways to feel) I have to not fill my days up with musts and shoulds. I need free open ended time. After I read about being an introvert a while back I realized that a-) I am a total introvert and b-) that's ok! And that means I need my life to be pretty calm and peaceful.


  4. Wow so much to think about on here. And so many familiar things.

    I bet that crock pot is mighty clean now and has no clue how its made you think.

    The comments very interesting too. As a 'people pleaser' from a very 'shouty' household, I identified with a fair bit of what's been written.

    Thanks again.

  5. So true Amy and I can relate so much to this :) xx

  6. This really speaks to me! Great post.

  7. Excellent. I think this means you've internalized your sobriety extensively, to such a point that you are going about it in ways that are more than clockwork. It might be a good thing to keep this up. It also pays to look back and see the root reasons for our alcoholism, so we may find newer insight on how to further cast ourselves away from the drinking.

    Donnie Benson @ Midwest Institute for Addiction