I came into work this morning relatively refreshed after going to bed last night at 9:00 and waking up naturally (well, courtesy of my dog clicking into the room and snuffling around like a pig) at 5:30. I’m finding it quite useful to listen to my body. If I’m tired, I try to rest; if I’m hungry, I eat. I used to always eat more than I needed when I drank. Drinking triggered snacking in me but not necessarily the desire for a full meal.
I also didn’t crave sugar in super-early sobriety, but I certainly do now. I bought a cake mix and whipped up a yellow cake with chocolate frosting yesterday afternoon, letting the kids help me and enjoy one of life’s great pleasures: licking cake batter from the beaters and the bowl. I was allergic to eggs growing up, but my mother and grandmother made cake using egg replacer, so I wasn’t without birthday cake or anything like that (going to friends’ parties, however, was a different story. I was also allergic to milk, so I couldn’t have ice cream, either).
As I’ve mentioned before, I also denied myself things like cake and ice cream when I was drinking as some sort of weird, martyrdom-health thing, like I was somehow better by avoiding “junk food,” even though I was pouring wine down my gullet. Some of that has to do with being raised by a man who has food issues of his own; I still find myself hesitating when I eat barbecue or shrimp because I sense my father’s disapproval. I still do it, of course.
But enough about food. I came into work, and one of my mentor teachers called me into her office. My defenses went up immediately, and I wondered what I’d done wrong (yet another thing handed down from my childhood but also from my previous job where micromanaging was the law of the land). It turns out that my mentor (I’ll call her Dr. Butler) wanted to see how things were going and to compliment me on a job well done thus far. My first reaction, aside from relief, was to point out everything I was doing wrong. Well, not wrong, but not exactly the way I knew I could do it. Dr. Butler reminded me that I was still adjusting to the college, the department, and new textbooks, and she told me how many other instructors they’d had who dropped the ball by this point. Instructors who cancelled class and didn’t bother letting students know, or instructors who didn’t give out or grade assignments. I was always a highly functioning active alcoholic (at least, right toward the end when everything began collapsing), and I made sure I graded papers and tests on time, again trying to prove to myself that I couldn’t have a problem if I was employed and doing a relatively good job.
After Dr. Butler and I talked some more, I began accepting her compliments with a simple “thank you” uttered while I continued meeting her gaze. That was huge; I didn’t turn away, physically if not verbally refusing the compliment. She doesn’t know I’m in recovery. So far, only one other department member knows about that, and he’s in the program, too. I wouldn’t mind Dr. Butler knowing, but I’m also learning when to share and when to keep things to myself. If the topic ever comes up–or if she wonders about my tattoo–I’ll gladly tell her.
Speaking of my tattoo, so far only one person has noticed recognized the AA symbol on the dragon’s shield. He saw it at church yesterday and told me he liked it. He’s in recovery for something else, but of course he was familiar with the symbol. Also, the founder of the rehab I attended goes to my church, which is really neat. I’ve enjoyed talking to him, and I’d like to talk with him more.
It’s a good start to the week. I hope everyone’s doing well and had a good, sober weekend.
Music Listened To While Writing This Post:
Satellite by Last Days (http://n5md.com/discography/215/Satellite)