Monday, October 10, 2016


Do you ever feel like you're getting your shit together for like the nine hundredth time this year? That's me. I mean, do people who aren't a-holics just understand this all their lives? I'm getting used to the ebb and flow of my life, although I'm still surprised by how it does it. After almost four years sober I know what's coming mostly- about four times a year I get sad and lost, and about four times a year I pick myself up and find a way around that corner again. 

I wonder if it's stretching out my life suit, like growing but instead of in sizes in measures of prayer and hands up. But also like my ass is spreading out some, like I'm settling it down into the mud that is my life, wiggling it into the mud for a long stay. Getting comfortable. Finding a home.

I was laughing with my therapist the other day about how impossible it seems that until about eight months ago I had no idea that I struggled with anxiety. And now that I know it I recognize it everywhere- in traffic, at work, teaching yoga, when my kids argue, when my husband doesn't seem to see me, when people disagree and I'm not even involved, when I feel lost about who I even am anymore, should I have a cup of tea or water- there it is: anxiety. Is it attachment to outcome that makes me grab on so hard or just the fear of being an afterthought? 

But because I recognize it I can recognize it. And then that helps me to understand that if I recognize it then I can surrender to it because it's something I know. It's like the day I decided to quit drinking- I recognized myself as a person who is an alcoholic and so I understood that I could surrender to that, that it was safer to be an alcoholic than it was to be someone who would spend another day denying what I knew was the truth. 

Is there a difference between an alcoholic and a problem drinker? I only know that as soon as I slapped the label of "alcoholic" on myself I got sober. How fucking weird is that. It brings me a strange comfort in a way to be able to call this strong forceful part of myself something. Over the years that grew into calling myself an "a-holic" because I don't just only want to drink all the booze, in varying degrees I am driven to have more more more of anything that feels like permission. Giving this part of me a name gives it a form, it gives me something I can grab on to and hold and shake and shape. It gives me a part of myself I can identify and recognize. It makes it so when I feel anxious and I'm holding a handful of chocolate covered raisins I can think about who is holding those raisins and be able to put them back. It gives me someone to run to in the dark, someone to hand the light and pull in and tell sweet things like "it's okay" and "I think you need water".

I'm interested in your thoughts. 


  1. "It makes it so when I feel anxious and I'm holding a handful of chocolate covered raisins I can think about who is holding those raisins and be able to put them back." It's funny I texted Prim only last week that because of anxiety I had snacked my way into a sugar coma on salted caramel fudge. Atleast you can put them back! :) xx

  2. I certainly feel as if I am only just feeling my way into my life.... And interesting I think that I use that verb, 'feeling' as since pretty much since I can remember whenever a feeling surfaced in me I either gave it some food or gave it a drink.

    Interesting to hear that you notice these low patches / growth spurts at intervals each year. Is there anything in particular that triggers them, do you think? Love to you! Prim xx

  3. Yes, to your first statement!
    If I think I have the answer to my life, I know I don't!

  4. I too had a massive realisation one day that I have anxiety. It took me working in mental health to come to this realisation and it was like finding out that all my life I thought I was black only for someone to point out I was white. Really it was that much if a shock and almost unbelievable to me and I only realised it when I was drowning/suffocating in anxiety like I had done so many times before and was almost unable to breathe. Oh my god I DO have anxiety.
    Like you about 3-4 times a year I almost check out and get very low and if I don't pay attention my body will manifest something that lays me bedridden. Right now I have developed a chest infection but I know this was only because I ignored the voice telling me to slow down, relax, let some stuff go, you don't have to be everything to everyone. Just feel the feelings.
    I don't have the answer but it sounds like you are more present with it and are taking the time with it and trying the glass of water instead of the chocolate raisins. The work you have done through yoga and with your therapist is giving you avenues to explore that and get feedback. I admire your open and candid words and appreciate learning vicariously through your experience.
    Sorry this comment is quite ME-centric but I had one of those sudden excited "oh my goodness, she knows how that feels too" moments.
    I thank you for sharing this as it is like a light in the dark to know and see how other people handle, cope with things.

  5. You are anxious. You have been anxious a long time. From what you have said, probably your whole life. And with pretty good reason. Not a good childhood, but does anybody? Throw in some vulnerable genetics and tada! a recipe for alcohol abuse, or dependence, or whatever it is we are calling it these days. Honestly, it's so surprising that more people are not alcoholics. Its almost surprising that everyone isn't an alcoholic. Maybe the average person, after a couple of hangovers that ruin the next day, says "never again" and they make it stick. If anyone has read the Elizabeth Vargas memoir that came out recently, "Between Breaths", she states she was using the booze to cope with deeply- rooted anxiety that started in childhood. She fought it, you know, the stereotypes of the homeless bum with the bottle in a paper bag. It wasn't her, couldn't be her. Finally she had some bad consequences and she was forced to get her life straightened around. She lost her husband and she was on the way to losing the kids. At what point do we wake up?
    We figure out how to deal with anxiety another way.In time, there is less to be anxious about.
    It makes me think of asking patients if they have pain and many say no. Then 2 minutes later, this hurts and that hurts. Hold on, you just told me you don't have pain.
    I could say life is a continual process of waking up to more realities, but it sounds so cliché. Like a lot of clichés, there is truth in there. Not all the realities are terrible but some are. And then we take a breath and we are on to the next thing and it does pass.
    Great to see you approaching 4 years. I vividly recall sitting in my office, stumbling on the Good Housekeeping article. Thinking "wow". Anyway, I no longer work there and that passed and you are still sober. It's all good, as they say

  6. Recognizing the anxiety, the perseverating, the alcoholism is critical. It’s like knowing the enemy. You’ve picked him out of the crowd and given him a name. It’s better to know he’ll be lurking in the shadows of the alley you must traverse than to let him get the jump on you.

    So good for you – keep labeling those motherfuckers and taking names.