So I’m listening to Madonna right now (“Vogue,” if you’re curious…strike a pose, people) because that’s what I can handle. I can do either fucking intense music–Slipknot, Tool, Pantera, old Metallica, and my old stand-by, Rush, which isn’t really intense, but come on, it’s RUSH–and I can listen to music from my childhood. Good heavens, I just listened “Lost in Your Eyes” by Debbie Gibson, and I liked it. I made me smile, and right now, I’m grooving in my chair to Madonna. I can’t listen to anything depressing. I popped in Alice in Chains’ Jar of Flies the other day, and before I knew it, I wanted to drown myself in a vat of alcohol. I also can’t listen to my dark ambient favorites like Tim Hecker or Svarte Greiner. Dirty Beaches? No way. I also can’t watch The Walking Dead or American Horror Story. Our art therapist, Linda, suggested that those of us in early sobriety stick to comedies. Apparently, the same goes for music. Another counselor who grew up listening to country music said she couldn’t handle it for the first four months of sobriety.
During our group times, I’ve come to accept a few things about myself: I’m a control freak, a perfectionist, and I have OCD tendencies, especially when it comes to time (which I already knew). So two days ago, I started wearing my grandfather’s watch:
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t work. We can’t have phones or electronic devices at the treatment center (or at least not have them turned on), so I had no idea what time it was for the last two days. Why did I need to know? It’s not like I was going to spin around at 5:30 and say, “Hold on, I need to get my kid! Why didn’t you people tell me what time it was?!”
In a similar vein, today I walked out without my water bottle, my favorite pen, or my phone. When I discovered this, I didn’t panic. Two weeks ago, I would have freaked the fuck out. Instead, I said to myself, “Dude, they provide you lunch, so get a drink then. And there’s water fountain, for crying out loud. Borrow a pen. And calm the hell down about your phone. You don’t even like it, anyway.” In the famous words of Dr. Teeth from the Electric Mayhem, “Too true, too true.” And wonder of wonders, the world didn’t fall apart. I didn’t die. I’ve lived the last umpteen years believing I had a true anxiety disorder, but now I’m not so sure. I know for a solid fact that alcohol kept me stressed out beyond belief, but I couldn’t recognize it. Why? Because I’m an alcoholic. Why? Don’t quite know yet, but I plan to figure that out in time.
I’m also suffering from withdrawal symptoms similar to the ones I had last week. Driving home today with my kids, I felt like I’d been drinking. What the fuck? I thought, and then I remember Charles telling me that this could happen. My hands started shaking like hell, and I couldn’t walk straight when I got out of the car. I told my depakote, and in 45 minutes, I felt a bit more normal. And then I started freaking out again and feeling like I’d been drinking, and that shot my anxiety through the roof. Luckily, my sponsor called a few minutes later. He said he understood completely, and we made a plan to get together this weekend and get to know each other. Talking to someone with some sobriety called me down. I like him already.
This is incredibly hard to type right now because because I’m not thinking clearly at all. I need to get this out before I go to sleep, though. I can only focus on one task at a time, and maybe that’s for the best. I feel like I’m re-learning how to be a functioning human. That, my fine, feathered friends, is some heavy shit.
Also, I agree with my treatment team that I emotionally arrested around thirteen or fourteen, which may be why I’m cursing so much and laughing at infantile humor. It’s okay, though. I’ll catch up soon enough.
I feel absolutely horrible and grateful at the same time. As Linda said, “Thoughts can’t kill you. Feelings can’t kill you. Ingesting alcohol will kill you.”
Too true, too true.