Once in a while, a slightly sick feeling comes over me. It’s hard to dress it in words, but it’s heavy and sad, like a mixture of dread, disappointment, anxiety and sorrow. It’s not every day, far from it, and most of the time it’s just fleetingly there. When I look back over the drinking years, i.e. most of my adult life, it’s hard to work out when it was there and how often given how alcohol obviously played a HUGE part in any rotten emotions. Now, however, over two years into recovery, I can sit with my emotions and the beauty of this is that I can have a good ol’ look at them. Today, it dawned on me when this heavy sorrow comes over me – it’s when I say goodbye. It’s right there, at the end of most interactions I have, except for with Hubby and Bambino.
I cling on to those I love. Or try to, rather. I always feel every interaction ends too soon coupled with overstaying my welcome. I come away feeling stupid, feeling I said or did the wrong thing or was too unfiltered or too much or whatever else that might point to how I’m just less than. Today that feeling popped up again. When? The moment I said goodbye to Dad after speaking to him on the phone. It was a good conversation, nothing bad in there at all, yet when I came off the call I felt small, needy and stupid. I felt desperate for the conversation to continue – stay, stay, stay – and didn’t want to let him go, and when I’d had to was when this feeling descended on me.
As gloomy as this sounds, it’s a hugely positive thing to get closer to the origins for troublesome emotions. If we can find their source, we may be able to change the course they take eventually.
Sure, there are problematic feelings as far as my father goes, but in this instance it just highlighted this doom and gloom emotion that isn’t specific to him per se. The time before that? When Bonus Son #2 came to stay recently – when he left I was filled with this emotion too. Had I shown him enough how welcome and wanted he is? Had I done enough to make him comfortable? This thing I’d said or this joke I’d made, had I offended him in any way? And it also ends up with me wondering if I’d gone too far the other way – am I too much? Do I make him feel awkward because I love him so much? Do I make him cringe?
The time before that – meeting up for coffee with Wifey last week. Lovely conversation, lovely to see her. And then moments after she hugged me and left, there it was, the feeling of dread, embarrassment, sorrow and feeling stupid. And the time before that – a text message to the WhatsApp group with the people on the counselling course. I’d made a joke and then immediately was filled with dread thinking they all think I’m stupid and maybe even offensive.
When I start to decipher it that way, it’s crystal clear – with the exception of Hubby and Bambino, I get this feeling every time I’ve had any interaction with another person. In fact, I’m struggling to find instances where it hasn’t come over me. I feel dread both at what I’ve said or done in case it’s made the other person dislike me or think I’m just ridiculous, and for what I haven’t said or done but wish I had. Big or small.
And the absolute core of the emotion in all the situations where I feel it: does he/she want to get away from me as soon as possible? I want to cling on but they want to go. So looking closer at that part, why am I clinging on? Is it so I can make damn sure that I get to clarify all the things that may have come out wrong and cram in ALL the things I should say or do? Is it a matter of in my heart feeling misunderstood or a fear of being misunderstood? Desperate for people to know I mean so well and am so good? That I “know” I’m not likeable and desperate to prove there is good in me?
Who knows, but I feel I’m beginning to understand it. And that’s got to be a good thing.
In other news, I’m also beginning to accept that no one can get out of addiction until they are ready to and want to. It’s simultaneously the most beautiful and the ugliest thing about addiction – it’s possible to recover and anyone can do it, but you have to want it or you will never get there. The anger at this cruel fact is still ripping through me and I don’t at ALL want to accept it, but I can more and more see how I probably have to. And maybe all I can do is recover loudly in the hope that another Anna will have a seed planted from my testimony. So maybe all I can do is keep on sharing my story and offer a helping hand when someone wants it.
Well. Today is a good day. The sun is shining and I’m heading out for a run. A bunch of course work is out of the way and I feel happy and peaceful. I’m right where I want to be: somewhere in the mid-section of a gentle roller. No mad high, no shitty low. Just life. Perhaps even a little boring, but lemme tell ya – boring is fucking glorious too. Life on life’s terms – sign me up!
Actually, here’s a mad high for you and one that makes my heart burst with joy:
Today I’m not going to drink.