Not that I thought it didn’t, but I’ve had a fairly good run lately. I remember reading somewhere (and I heard it mentioned again on The Bubble Hour podcast) that PAWS symptoms can strike around 30 day marks, some of which coincide with full moons. Obviously, last night was a big-ass full moon (not that I saw it…too many clouds) and I started feeling weird and trapped around 9:00 PM as I was putting my little one to bed. To distract myself, I continued reading Caroline Knapp’s excellent Drinking: A Love Story. I felt a little better by the time I went to bed, but this morning was an entirely different story.
Wait. I just tried to find an official website for Caroline Knapp because I was going to drop her a thank-you email for her book, and I found out she died in 2002 from lung cancer. That hit me hard in the chest. I’m about 80 pages into the book and feel like I know her, the way I feel like I know fellow alcoholics in meetings.
Damn. Damn, damn, damn. She died sober, but still…that’s not what I expected when I opened a tab and Googled her. I expected to find a blog and a website with pictures of her living the good, sober life. Instead, I learn she’s gone.
This makes the rest of my post seem rather pointless, but I’ll continue.
Like I was saying before that bombshell hit me, I woke up this morning all out of sorts and cranky. It began with the alarm on my phone blasting out the theme music from Legend of Zelda, but my phone has fallen of the nightstand onto the floor, and I was mightily confused. My wife nudged me, and I mumbled, “I can’t find the phone.” After groping around in the dark for a few seconds, I had it and hit snooze one time. It felt like I blinked and it went off again, so I got up.
I usually have a fair amount of energy in the morning, but not today. I stumbled into my son’s room and woke the dog up and got about the business of the morning. But my whole routine felt disrupted, even though I knew it really wasn’t. I stared around the living room and tried to get my thoughts moving, but they were stagnant. I made a cup of coffee and had a bit of breakfast, bit I still didn’t feel better. A shower didn’t do much for me, either. By the time I woke up the rest of my family, I’d worked myself into a decent lather.
So now I’m in my office, having just finished grading the last of my students papers, writing this and feeling sad for Caroline Knapp and her husband, and feeling a little sad for myself, too.
There’s no danger in my thoughts or moods…only danger in action. I know that. Still, I found myself looking rather longingly at a liquor I passed on the way to work this morning. It wasn’t open, but the blue and yellow neon lights grabbed my attention and held it for what felt like an abnormally long time.
I know this will pass. I’m treating myself gently this morning, drinking an extra cup of wild sweet orange tea, taking time to breathe, and slowing down. I only have one class to teach today and then I’ll be home because my oldest son’s aftercare program is closed today. That means I can get home, have lunch, and continue working while listening to music. I may even squeeze a nap in.
I still have to remind myself, especially on days like today, that post-acute withdrawal symptoms may feel scary, but they’re perfectly normal. It’s OK if my coordination goes all wonky in the middle of the day; it’s OK if my words don’t come out as quickly as I’d like for them to. It’s all OK, even when it doesn’t feel OK.
My biggest goal today is to hit the pillow tonight sober, and I know I can do it. In the meantime, I’ll do what I can to make the day better and be grateful that I’m inching closer and close to nine months sober (October 5!).
Happy Monday to all.