Yesterday I walked around all day trying to tamper down my obsessive thoughts about my sobriety and this blog. I'm obsessed and yesterday I would swing from thinking "now I'm addicted to this boring and restrictive sobriety. I can't focus on my usual books and podcasts, Arabic is long forgotten, and I wasn't even that bad to begin with. Why am I making this big change, it is causing me to lose some of the pastimes I love?" Then I would swing over to the other side, "I need to keep recovery and effects of drinking in the focus so I don't become complacent, I need to learn and grow and I'm learning so much about myself and how to protect myself from addiction." That was my day yesterday: trying not to obsess and obsessing about obsessing and I only succeeded in not blogging and watching a movie not related to sobriety. Not the balanced life I strive for.
Part of my swinging has to do with the constant questioning of if I am an alcoholic, and who am I willing to admit that to. This shape shifter persona of mine alters the emphasis depending on the perceived audience, even when I'm just thinking about it. So the obsessiveness in listening and reading about other people's stories is helpful, so helpful to strip away the stereotypes and see how my stories are one variation of so many. A story full of denial, pain, sorted history, and finally self-discovery...regardless or with disregard with what others said about our drinking.
A surprise I had this week-end was over cigarettes. I had a couple of girlfriends over for a movie, one of them a smoker. Even though I felt so sick the night before, I had this internal running dialog/debated in my head about joining her for a cigarette when she went out back. I kept anticipating her getting up and me offering her an ashtray and leading her out to the back porch and her offering me one...and what would I do? I probably would have tried to smoke it, and put it out after a few puffs, wasting her cigarette, feeling sick. Feeling disappointed that I tried when I know it makes me sick. Somewhere in our conversations she told us that she was on Day Two of quitting cigarettes. When she announced that I was happy for her, relieved for me AND disappointed in not getting a chance to smoke a cigarette.
What the hell? I'm not a smoker, why the obsession about smoking? This isn't new, I used to get fixated on cigarettes when I was drinking. But why is it continuing? And it isn't just cigarettes. This has happened with whatever I tell myself I shouldn't have or with whatever product that is labeled bad for me. Is it rebellion? Is it denial then reward? What is it? It is especially obvious that something is going on with my fixation on things because I don't have the addiction to cigarettes and the negative affects are so bad-so why am I thinking about them? Good question that I don't yet have an articulated answer to besides it seems to stem from an addictive mind-set. Food, things, anything can be the target and then the vice.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. I like myself better for it and have a full life because of it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp