Still processing. Got a lot of food for thought today and yesterday. Some folks from my 12 step program, IRL and the IG sobriety community all reached out to me with really good feedback on what sobriety means to them / how abstinence from alcohol and weed are alike and different. I pretty much decided I'm gonna just chill on everything until I talk to my therapist, who is an addiction counselor. It's really liberating to be like "hmmm. I need to gather more data. I want to make an informed decision with my whole heart."
Otherwise, I am feeling pretty good overall. I am really interested in spirituality and have been reading A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson. She examines A Course In Miracles and dives into how we focus on fear and reject love. It's really thought-provoking reading and I've been copying down excerpts into my journal. It's a little bit cheesy to me at times, but I'm trying to accept the reading with an open heart and just take the bits and pieces that resonate with me and leave the rest.
I am about five and a half months sober and I'm just finally start to get real with myself about what exaaactly weed means to me / does to me and how it fits into my journey. I know FOR CERTAIN that I cannot fuck with alcohol (today. right now. for the foreseeable future.), but I don't know FOR CERTAIN that I have to totally abstain from weed.
So here are some factors to consider. 1) It's illegal where I live. So ya know. There's that. 2) Me after smoking weed and me after drinking are two different things. The worst thing I've done after smoking weed is... fall asleep. The worst thing I've done after drinking is... too fucking terrible to type on this blog. I firmly, deeply, truly believe that alcohol is my demon. So, why not leave it at that? I don't necessarily think it's that simple.
3) Oh, and... what about other stuff that alters your brain? Like... caffeine, sugar, sex. Is the goal to moderate all things? Or to engage in whatever feels healthy? Whatever doesn't feel like a form of escapism? To live each and every moment with full intention. To be rid of all vices. It's an overwhelming thought.
This article from 2013 Secret “Sober” Pot Smokers - from a site called The Fix - gives a little insight that I appreciate. It mainly talks about people who were totally abstinent and then slowly started to reintroduce weed into their lives. This particular anecdote talks about it in a way that's like... yeahhhhhh it's pretty bad. You don't want to alter your mind in any way. Here's the excerpt:
"After mulling [whether or not to smoke weed with a medicinal card] over for a couple months, Annie decided to try pot, too. Now she smokes every few weeks when non-AA friends have it (she avoids buying it because she fears getting addicted).
“Pot doesn’t affect me the way alcohol did,” Annie says. “It doesn’t make me act out—it mainly just makes me chill and tired.” She hasn’t told her sponsor or her program friends, and she sometimes feels guilty for harboring such a major secret. But her main concern? What other AAs would think if they knew. “I have no interest in doing anything other than smoke every now and then. But I know people would judge me for the weed thing and say my sobriety is null and void.”
In a way it is, claims Dr. Scott Bienenfeld, CEO and medical director of Rebound Brooklyn, a Williamsburg recovery center. “Changing your mental state with a chemical goes against what we talk about as sobriety,” he says. “There’s a difference between sobriety and abstinence.” Bienenfeld says he sees clients like Annie—sober alcoholics who eventually try to embrace “manageable marijuana” use—all the time. “It’s considered part of the harm reduction model,” he explains. But the doctor finds pot “the hardest addiction to treat, because when people stick needles in their arms, the cavalry comes running. When people drink, it’s loud and messy. But pot isn’t associated with precipitous dysfunction; instead it’s a very long, gradual burnout.”
So, this excerpt is pretty straightforward. Pot is addictive and changes your mental state. And ya know. That gives me a lot to think about. I don't want to "reset my sobriety clock" - I am proud as HELL of my five and a half months. This is the longest I've gone without alcohol in 9 years. I am still HUGELY proud of myself and where I am right now. The deeper I get into my 12 step program and the IG recovery community – the more I compare myself to others and look at my sobriety against others' sobriety. And I wonder... am I doing it wrong? Am I cheating? Does my abstinence from drinking count?
My buddy who is also alcohol-free told me: "If you say "sober" and it means no alcohol to you then that's what it means. Don't have to answer to anyone." Which I really appreciate. I will think more about this and talk with my therapist about it (who is a certified addiction counselor). And then I'll process more. I know for a fact that I wouldn't be able to think about a complex issue like this without LOADS of self-loathing without sobriety (from alcohol). And I'm grateful for the reprieve from alcohol.
Sorry to ramble but this has been on my mind a lot the last few days.
Woke up this morning with my mind set on loving me. Jamila Woods mantra. Repeat it, believe it, love it, feel it.
I had a pretty emotionally intense day, which is sometimes the case on Tuesdays because twice a month I have group therapy and AA on the same day. I have been realizing lately through my inner child work stuff and therapy stuff that I have a pretty deep fear of abandonment. So I'm trying to work through that and acknowledge it as a core wound on which I need to focus time and attention.
I did some random research online tonight about fear of abandonment, and this stuck out to me. The most effective way to take responsibility for your fear of abandonment is by making contact with the deep sense of love and connection within you. By relying on this inner resource, your need to cling to others will lift. Will it disappear? Probably not. But it will get much better. And this is something I'd already been practicing – before I had the language for it.
Thankful today for sobriety because without it – I don't believe I'd have the mental clarity to deeply work on this stuff. So so grateful.
I have a lot of ups and downs when it comes to practicing good self care. One thing that makes me feel better A LOT of the time is music, and feeling seen/heard/understood by the art that other people create. That feeling of like, woah. That person articulated something I've felt so many times in such a beautiful and concise and interesting way.
So here are five songs that help me in my self love thing. I hope you enjoy them.
1) Self Love Isn't Lonely | Kohinoorgasm
My friend Yoko invited me to a show that this artist played. This song in particular has stuck with me since the performance. "It feels like love, sitting in my room... It feels like love, texting my friends... It feels like love, doing what feels good. Whatever feels good. Doing what I think feels good."
2) Holy | Jamila Woods
Another song that a friend gave to me. The sweetest gift. These lyrics hit me in all the good spots, too. "Though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no love. Oh my smile, my mind, reassure me. I don't need no one. Woke up this morning with my mind set on loving me." So simple yet so powerful. A reminder I need so frequently.
3) Cranes in the Sky | Solange
"I tried to drink it away... I tried to work it away, but that just made me even sadder... I slept it away, I sexed it away, I read it away. Away... I tried to let go my lover, thought if I was alone then maybe I could recover. To write it away, I'll cry it away... Away. Away. Away." A gorgeous reminder of all the things that get in the way. Solange is restorative.
4) Boss Ass Bitch | PTAF
Sometimes it's really just all about the confidence/mantras. On the days when I'm low, like, very low, I just gotta channel this confidence. I also love how this song preaches not giving an f what anyone else thinks. And it's just amazing to dance to.
5) Dancing On My Own | Robyn
Another infectious dance anthem. This song is a little bit focused on being scorned romantically but I think at its core it's truly about... dancing and being there for yourself. The pure anthemic joy of being alone but it also being okay. Robyn is my mf jaaaam.
And to cap it off, I also have this playlist SHINE BABY SHINE that I listen to when I need a boost. Keep being lovely. Things will be okay.
Five months baby! The days are coming and going. Things aren't going PERFECT ya know but things are pretty damn good. Little things have been making me insanely happy. The universe has been reciprocating my love in small ways. I got a huge compliment from my boss, a kind word from my yoga teacher, a super kind message from an Instagram friend. And it's not all about external validation. It's just apparent to me that the more good I give, the more good I receive. I want to give and grow and engage. I don't know what else to write - but I'm feeling good. I want to be an ear for folks who are worried about addiction bc owning up to it and changing my behaviors has resulted in a lot of good for me.
I am sleep-deprived because reasons. I felt like I had a hangover all day. I still wonder how many times I thought I had a killer hangover when really I just stayed up partying or doing whatever nonsense until late and then woke up super early. Cuz I maybe got 3-4 hours last night and wow I'm hurting. Like, my whole body is just like... nah dude this isn't working for me.
Most important thing moving forward for me - learning how to cope / deal with things in the context of sobriety. I keep realizing that I have to unlearn behaviors. At the core, there are choices and actions and drinking exacerbated it all. Take the drinking away, there's still the poopy stuff there. I feel optimistic though. Through therapy and AA and genuine friendships, I feel like I'm creating a solid foundation. I feel so grateful. And also tired. Because reasons.
Just a quick note. I don't know how to respond to blog comments (is this thing on) but I am reading your responses and they mean the absolute world to me. It is such a beautiful thing to feel seen and heard and understood. I really appreciate all the feedback and comments I've received.
AA last night was really great. I realized some of my AA friends have over 30 years of sobriety under their belts. Taking it one day at a time but still very humbled and feel so supported.
The last day I posted was after a particularly deep / painful therapy session. The last few days have been pretty restorative. Had a fairly lazy weekend, with some solid time spent outdoors sprinkled in. It's been gorgeous and warm in Iowa. It's so nice. It helps my mood a lot.
I am so grateful for all the wonderful and supportive folks I have in my life right now. I feel incredibly lucky and blessed. It feels like I'm on the right path, even though I'm still dealing w addiction and mental health stuff. I'm happy to be sober and I'm happy to be on this journey.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yeah. So I have a lot of work to do. My therapist and I decided I should get an inner child doll and start working hard on loving myself / protecting that inner self.
Basically something that happened this week was deeply painful for me, and my therapist said I was triggered in a way that made me abandon myself. This may all sound like therapy jargon - but the bottom line is that I have some serious stuff to work on. I wasn't gonna drink on this night I was triggered but I wanted to. Like really bad. Or at least I know that old me would have drank to black-out-excess to deal.
I've also been on the verge of tears all day, re: the health care bill. There's a lot to feel sensitive and scared about rn, on a national level. As a human. And especially as a human who cares deeply about mental health and mental health resources. But also just as a human. Period.
I'm a little emotional. I just wanna be better and help more.
Ummmmmmmm. I don't know. My heart is pretty jealous and scrambled. Trying so hard to accept the reality of right now.
Thought a lot about buying wine at the grocery store and then some dude was leaving w a bunch of my favorite beer and I was just like. God damn. I want to numb some stuff. Feelin very vulnerable lately. I know that my ego is wounded and I'm feeling down, so it makes sense that I'm looking externally for validation. It's a pattern of behavior. I texted my ex and that was not good of me to do. He was polite and then I think I creeped him out by saying I missed him. Normally I'd be like yoooo wtf is wrong with me but I feel like I tried to be genuine and kind and I just need to readjust my expectations. We aren't friends and I gotta stop trying. My therapist and I are talking about how sometimes reconciliation isn't possible but also isn't healthy or safe or necessary? I apologized to my ex for overstepping a boundary (and sincerely meant it), so all I can do now is focus on what I can control. Which is just me.
I feel very embarrassed and like this is too personal for a blog post but tbh so much of my recovery journey is tied up in my relationship w others, romantic and otherwise. Controlling the physical act of drinking has been pretty easy but it's been the emotional habits and the self esteem stuff and the boundaries stuff. That's been the real challenge. And that's where I keep kinda fucking up. I do think it's all connected.
I am am embarrassed but it will pass. I wore a very cool skirt w an egg print on it today and took a very nice long walk with my dog and had a very good AA meeting and Mercury is out of retrograde tomorrow. So there is still some shit to celebrate.