Monday, April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020 The good and the struggles

The good

I have been sober for almost two years.  I NEVER thought I could stay sober this long and I am so proud of myself.

I am thankful that I really don't crave alcohol anymore. I still miss what alcohol gave me - release, connections, a good time, something to look forward to, the high highs of the anticipation and the buzz - but I don't crave the drug itself. I do struggle with depression still, but my anxiety is way better. I don't think about it, want it, contemplate having it, struggle with urges...none of that. I don't wake up in the middle of the night sweating with heart palpitations, wondering how badly I had embarrassed myself the night before. I don't beat myself up for days about more broken promises to myself. I do not obsess about alcohol anymore which I am incredibly grateful for.

I am also so much better equipped to deal with life now. I feel like I have so much more control over my emotions. For example, I don't know if you remember but one of my sisters and I had a huge falling out with our other sister over four years ago. It was incredibly traumatic and has been so difficult for me to not have any connection with her but especially with her kids. She did some pretty mean things and I had a very hard time dealing with it. I obsessed,  typed essay length texts and then never send them, cried for many months, lost sleep, etc. My emotions were out of control. I was drinking then. Even though there were plenty of good reasons for what happened to happen, four years later it just seemed stupid. We are three sisters in our 50's ridiculous. When my daughter cried to me that she missed her niece and nephew I had had enough. I was done with it and swallowed my pride, reached out and stopped the stupid drama. I did and am so thankful to have her and her kids back in my life. In doing so, now the other sister, who I have had a relationship with for the past four years, will not only not speak to me but is being super mean saying things like, "Have a nice life" which is incredibly hurtful. Even though I am incredibly hurt by her words, I am dealing with all of this so much better than I did when I was drinking. The biggest change is that I do not get triggered as easily. I know she is saying really mean stuff and trying to make me feel guilty like I threw our friendship away by making up the other sister. She is trying to upset me, otherwise, she wouldn't bring saying such hurtful things. I seriously just don't get as mad. Of course, it bothers me a lot and I really hope we get through this, but I can see things a bit more objectively now. I am confident in the decision I made even though I know it hurt her which I have sincerely apologized for more than once. She is just going to have to decide if she wants to forgive me and have me in her life. There isn't anything else I can do. I am less sensitive and don't take things as personally as I did when I was drinking. As you know, I only drank on the weekends but that drinking wreaked havoc on my emotions every day of the week.

The struggles

I am currently struggling with insecurity. I don't know why but all of a sudden I am in need of recognition and constant validation that I am doing a good job - especially professionally. I have gotten better in my personal life around this but worse in my professional life.  I have never been like this. I am a good teacher - I know that. I go above and beyond for my students and take my job really seriously. I find myself getting super resentful of teachers who are lazy and don't do anything. This has especially gotten bad for me with this remote learning. I seriously work 7 hours a day teaching and helping kids understand the material. When I hear that other teachers aren't even giving assignments, it just irks me. And then this need for validation is driving me crazy. Like - isn't anyone noticing how hard I am working. I don't think so. Then I go to...then why even bother. Why? Why, in my 50s, do I have this need to be recognized or acknowledged for how hard I work? I used to say I am not going to drink today. Now I say I am not going to send any emails looking for validation by trying to kind of passively point out what I am doing. Why can't me knowing that I am doing a good job be enough? Why does my sense of value need to come from the outside?

My other struggle is still the same as what it was two years ago. I am lonely. I need to make some friends and do stuff. I had made this a goal and even started a "tribe" of four friends. We were going to read books, have lunch, just talk. Then all the stay at home orders came and it all kind of stopped. I miss my daughter incredibly badly. She lives far from me and we are so alike and enjoy many of the same things. My husband and I are fine we just have different interests. He still enjoys having his couple of beers on the weekends but tries to respect me by not drinking around me so we end up just watching tv in different rooms. My son is remote learning for college at home which is nice, but again...different interests. I watch these shows on tv of women who actually have other women friends who support each other and do stuff together and am jealous. Alcohol used to do this for me but now that I don't drink, I am left out of that crowd and it is hard.

PS - After posting this I searched: 50 and insecure

I found this article 5 Things to Do When you Feel Insecure and want to remember it, especially these two sections which really spoke to me. I need to get off Facebook as I compare myself to how great everyone else's life is and I need to find people in my life who really get me.

 3. Avoid people you feel insecure around.
I know this sounds like common sense, but it does require a bit of homework. Sometimes you have to rearrange your schedule, find a new route to work, take lunch at a different time, or compile a ton of excuses to have on hand. “I’m sorry I can’t go to happy hour with you guys. The truth is that your cliquish group does not make me happy. I have a better chance of getting happy by myself. Oh, and my dog needs to get groomed at 5 p.m. on a Tuesday night.”
You have to protect yourself. That should be your first priority for as long as you are feeling insecure, not convenience. Why torture yourself? If you think the popular group will notice, you’re wrong. Most likely they don’t care about you. But you won’t care that they don’t care if you are proactive about protecting yourself. Then, when you don’t feel as insecure, you can resume your old schedule or go to happy hour if you want and if your dog has been groomed.
4. Surround yourself with supportive people.
There are only a few people in my life who get me. Who really get me. When I’m insecure, I will drive 250 miles to see them, or squeeze a half hour into my hectic evening to talk to them on the phone. They remind me of what is good and unique about myself — maybe unorthodox and not at all appreciated by other folks — elements that contribute to my decent DNA. These people love that I have no filter, that I say whatever I am thinking out loud and therefore insult an average of two people every ten seconds. This character defect, they say, is refreshing!
Those trusted few are the voices of truth and we need as many voices of truth as we can get. “We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us,” writes Beth Moore in “So Long, Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend To Us.”