For the curious, the title of this post is from a song by the Electric Prunes. And it turns out, I did have too much to dream last night. I won’t bore you with the details, but in the middle of the mess was drinking motif that informed the rest of the dream. I knew what I was doing when I took the shot of watermelon schnapps–something I’ve never done in waking life and shudder even now at the thought–and I figured I’d stop there and not say anything to anyone. Then I thought I’d just tell my wife. Then it didn’t matter because I was drinking more and more, and my sober time was a distant memory.
When the dog woke me up at 4:30 AM, I instantly took my confusion, tired, and general wobbliness as I walked him downstairs to go pee as being drunk or hung-over, even though I knew I hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol. I still felt like I’d been drinking, and I didn’t even try to fight the guilt. I just went back to sleep, sad but sober. When I woke up for the day at 7:30, I had a horrible taste in my mouth (not unusual), felt all creaky (I fell asleep in my chair in the living room as I pondered the drinking dream), and in general still had that hung-over feeling. My oldest son walked downstairs, and as we chatted, I started feeling more normal. After my first cup of coffee, my head stopped hurting and the dream drifted a little more into the background.
This is the end of my first week at school, and the workload is more than I expected. Well, not more, but more in-depth. I’m not teaching new classes, but I have new textbooks, so my prep time has increased. Suddenly, I’m unsure of myself, and I didn’t feel that way at my previous job. Of course, there, I had six years of teaching the same thing, and even though I tweaked my lessons now and then, I could do my classes more or less on autopilot. I’m being challenged now, and that’s good. It’s also a bit scary because I don’t have all the answers to my students’ questions, and they have a lot. On the whole, my students are better prepared for college and more engaged with their learning. I’m not accustomed to having a majority of students in a class do that. It’s really a good dilemma to face. I just need to up my game.
But I also need to practice self-care and put my sobriety first. I went to goodbye party yesterday afternoon for a woman who’s leaving our church and moving out of the area, and I talked with a friend about my situation. She’s also in recovery. After I explained everything, she said, “It sounds like you’re not putting your sobriety first. You know how the hierarchy goes: sobriety first and work last.”
I wanted to argue and say, “But you don’t get it. I’m at a new job and I have to read these textbooks and then teach them, I have to learn the online teaching system, I have bla bla and blee blee.” I kept my mouth shut, though, and pondered her words. She’s right, of course; if my sobriety’s in danger, then it doesn’t matter how prepared I am at work or how impressive I am to my new colleagues and department head. I need to go to meetings; I need to work my program; I need to write stories and music and read because those activities make me feel good.
I’m also beginning a real exercise program tomorrow. I’ve been walking the dog in the morning before work, and that helps, but I need more. So I’m going to the gym tomorrow at 7:30 before work. I’ll get to my office at 9:00, whereas I normally arrive at eight and start working. I’m going to trust that everything will work out because my first class isn’t until eleven, and then I have three hours before my next class begins. Today, I’ll work on personal projects and not worry about emails from students. Hopefully, I can catch a meeting this evening.
Last week was a good test for me, and I see I need more help with balancing priorities. I certainly need to put more time into my program and work in more self-care during the day. Being sober is great, but it’s not enough. I want to enjoy being sober, which means I need to quit pushing myself so hard. I’ll learn the ropes of my new work environment. Sobriety first, work last.
But now, it’s time for some more lovely, dark coffee. I wish everyone a restful Sunday. Be well.
Music listened to while writing this post:
1) “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night” by the Electric Prunes.
2) R Plus Seven by Oneohtrix Point Never (https://soundcloud.com/oneohtrix-point-never).