Well, hello there, you unexpected little beauty of a recovery perk! Just as I was beginning to think sobriety couldn’t possibly send any more rewards into my life, another little surprising yet very welcome little twist to this tale materialises. Oh, I know I’m a shallow creature but this is so cool! I have a tan! An actual, golden tan! I have white bits and everything! And I haven’t spent any more time in the sun than any previous year either, yet I’m covered in freckles and a healthy brown glow. Thank you, sober life! Thank you once again – this totally rocks!
Alright, alright, it’s not a SUPER tan and no one’s going to rush to their nearest tanning shop and ask for “an Anna”, but for someone as pale as I am this is the Rolls Royce of skin tone!
Last summer, my first one sober since my early teens, we went to Lipari (an island off Sicily) and sure I caught the sun, but THIS? Yippie! People even commented at work today – I have never EVER had that before. Is it connected to the non-drinking? Must be! All of a sudden I do remember reading about this, I believe it was “The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober” by Catherine Gray, and she mentioned that she would get a lovely tan once she’d got sober. I probably thought ‘meh’ at the time but it turns out to be true. Last summer I was six months in, so perhaps now at 18+ months my body has further recovered and this is a lovely sign of health? I’d like to think so. What else could it possibly be? I’m absolutely convinced this is recovery delivering once again.
Superficial – yes. With or without a summer tan, what matters the most is of course what happens inside and now there’s stuff to work on. Being in Sweden was glorious and we had an amazing couple of weeks by any measure. Yet again, sobriety meant that I didn’t spent half of it black-out drunk and the other half sluggish and hungover, so we did lots of stuff and I was – as I am these days – an active participant in my own life. You can’t buy this stuff! Did I mention I’m so grateful I could fucking weep (and sometimes do) that I’m sober? Oh, I did, did I? Incessantly? Well, here we go again because this stuff is fucking magical, I tell ya. It makes my heart swell of gratitude at how wonderful my life is now that I’m in recovery. It’s a miracle. Every single day. Every goddamn minute.
BUT. Back to the land of the midnight sun for a moment…
Being in Sweden also fills me with such sadness and sorrow it almost destroys me. I was really struggling because instead of living with that hole in my heart and accepting it whilst I’m sober, grateful and content, it began hurting so much I began to worry about my state of mind. In recovery I’ve learnt that one of my most powerful tools is to ask for help. Most of the time, just voicing and putting words on what I’m feeling does the job. And so, I told Hubby one evening when we were in bed that I was struggling. It just helps me process things in the safety of knowing he knows. By verbalising shitty stuff I’m protecting myself from that old foe isolation.
On this blog I am only telling MY story, so details will have to be omitted, but there’s stuff I need to figure out in order to be able to visit my loved ones without hurting so much it threatens to break me. I need to find a way of acceptance and a way to feel the peace I do here safely with the North Sea as my buffer. 18+ months into recovery I’ve come (I think) a long way to understand why my life took the turns it did and how it is that I ended up an addict, but there’s only so far I can go and I think I’m ready for someone to hold up a mirror to help me figure some of this deeper stuff out.
Yep, I’m ready for therapy. I think now is a good time to take a deep dive into that scary void in my heart. The time is now. Also very timely as I’m beginning my studies to become a counsellor in September and in order to do this you have to have therapy yourself – two birds, one stone. Funny how life works out sometimes, it really is perfectly timed. Also, I don’t know that I would have benefitted as much early on in recovery as I believe I will at this point, now that I have a clear mind and have got used to feeling all the feels.
It makes sense, I guess. Some things have been buried so deep that it’s taken all these 18+ months for them to reach the surface, and I’m ready to deal with it all and face it. This is what we do on the Pink Cloud. All I know is that sadness consumed me at times when we were in Sweden and that it was like turning a leaf over once I was back on these shores. It was almost instant how I felt at peace and my usual positive self again. It scared me how I got overwhelmed by all these emotions, how low and lost I felt. The contrast was staggering. When the plane took off over a landscape of vast forests and lakes, I still felt full of sorrow, yet just a few hours later when I cuddled up with Hubby in our own bed in our home in west London I was back to happy Anna who knew she was HOME. Yep, plenty of stuff to dig into.
It’s fine that it hurts. It’s fine that it makes me sad. But it’s not fine that it destroys me and it’s not fine if it makes me hesitate to go back to the place where so many of my loved ones are. So I need to find a way to redress the balance as it’s currently out of whack.
So that’s where I’m at. Any thoughts on therapy, anyone? Personal experience?
Today I’m not going to drink.