3/17/10

Hurts so good

This really is a whole new life and it feels both wrong and right to write that.

It started with the quitting of the drinking and it just snowballs and snowballs and sometimes I feel like I'm just rolling downhill with it, completely out of control.

I'm gone five nights a week to learn how to get a handle on this sobriety thing and that's good and that's hard. It feels
both wrong and right. It feels busy and overwhelming and yet I know it's right.

I'm reading little booklets given to me by my chemical dependency counselor with titles like,
Intimacy and Understanding Emotions. Identity. Trust. Insecurity. When I'm reading, it all seems so obvious, but I've never really let the knowledge of how to live these things get from my head to my heart. It's overwhelming too, and you guessed it, it feels both wrong and right.

In her book Drinking: A Love Story, Caroline Knapp writes,

"When you quit drinking you stop waiting. You begin to let go of the wish, age-old and profound and essentially human, that someone will swoop down and do all that hard work, growing up, for you. You start living your own life."

That's exactly what's happening here. It's so impossible to describe and so I feel this rift with my friends and family. I feel somehow alien. Like I'm me, but not me, and I don't know exactly how to be. I make the same jokes and I listen to them and something is just so different.
I'm different. Everything is different because everything looks different to me, and so I'm thinking and feeling differently. It feels so wrong and so right at the same time.

Not long after I quit drinking, maybe a week, I sat with one of my best friends at a coffee shop. She asked what this was like, how I was doing, and I just looked out the window. I said I just can't explain it, that everything is so different somehow and even though there's this new peace, it's just
so much. I said that I feel like a new person and that scares me because starting over is hard.

She started to cry with me and she reached for my hand and said,
we're going to be okay. And that was it, exactly what I needed to hear. I was scared that we wouldn't be...at all. That I had somehow irrevocably changed the we of our friendship by turning my half upside down and inside out in a way that maybe wouldn't fit the us of so many years.

I don't think I could walk around in life without knowing she's out there thinking of me and calling me friend. It's always been there, this comfort in a kindred replica of me, alive in her person, totally understanding who I am. A soul reflection, a heart monitor.

We're going to be okay.

My closest friends, the ones that will be with me and look at me and say
we're going to be okay, are back in the place we just moved away from. They are still in my life through the phone, a call or text, an email or a short visit, but they feel really far away right now.

So I am grieving. I miss my friends and I miss a way of life that's gone. I am not alone but much of the time I feel alone here with sobriety. Shoving and pushing and pulling, moving all the things I thought I knew from my head to my heart.

All of it is working together, and as Caroline Knapp said
, I'm starting to live my own life. I know this is really good, but this is really hard.

And it feels right.

~~~~~~

To my online friends who are on this sobriety road with me, please don't get all worried about the "alone in sobriety" thing. I'm working on that too. I'm going where I need to go to develop friendships with people in recovery. It just takes time, especially in a smallish town. So guess what? It makes me extra grateful for YOU.

38 clicked right here to comment:

Lindsey said...

Bravo.
Seriously. I call you friend, too, Heather, and it is my honor to do so.
I can't wait to meet you.
Here's to living our own lives. A worthy goal for all. And a lofty one.

K and/or K said...

I miss you too! Let's plan a sabrina/kelly/h52 girls night in the central MN soon! Love you!

My Bottle's Up! said...

while it may feel right, and i'm glad that it does for you... that doesn't mean it isn't scary as you embark on this newness.

you have a strong support system. and you are growing stronger with each passing day.

thinking of you...

Erin said...

I am so proud of you, friend.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

It's is so wrong and right and scary and uncomfortable and a relief and a terror and honest and just all too much and so much better.

You are super okay.

KellyO said...

I'm just a stranger peeking in on your amazing story! Thank you for being so candid about your struggles, your victories, and your quirks :)
I was married to an alcoholic for 12 years and he died in '07 before he could truly "kick the habit" I've struggled with picking up the pieces after he died but I have slowly forgiven him. Reading your blog has truly helped me, thank you!

Ann's Rants said...

Guess what? I barely knew the "Heather Before"

and I adore the

"Heather After"

Wishing you strength and comfort and now this sounds like the worst condolence card ever.

XO

Candy said...

My friend Sara had a great thought on her blog that I just now read, so that must mean it's for you. I don't believe in coincidences, you know :)

"Because anything worth doing is worth doing scared."

You are doing so awesome, Heather.

Mammatalk said...

What an exciting opportunity for growth, renewal and change. Lots of warm fuzzies sent your way.

Deb said...

i am really good at reading self-improvement stuff and i will just nod and nod right along, saying to myself, "yes!" "well, of course!" and then promptly put none of it into action or really integrate it into my being. i need to figure out how to do that.

i am proud of you and i am rooting for you.

nAncY said...

i like the honest espression.

Rebecca said...

I sure is different to know something logically, and an entirely different thing to feel it in our hearts.

Heather, you are an amazing woman and I admire your sharing your struggles. I doubt I speak just for myself when I say that you inspire me in facing my own obstacles. Different circumstances, but I identify with a lot of the same emotions you've been sharing lately.

Corinne said...

I picked up that book after you mentioned it in an email. I'm two or three chapters in - it's so good, but I can only take a chapter at a time.

With every post you write I always comment along the same lines, but you know what? I will do it again. All of what you wrote, I feel. The aloneness in sobriety, I think that's ok to feel. Because while we all go through it, and know what parts of it are like, there are parts that only you will feel for yourself. Does that make sense? I think making peace with that makes it better, building on that brings us together. I don't know. Rambling, as always ;) Love to you, friend.

Keyona said...

I can only begin to imagine how different everyday tasks feel. You just keep doing what you're doing! Muah!

Mommy Mo said...

We are going to be okay, friend. Keep on keeping on and hopefully, one day, it will get easier and feel more right.

Lee of MWOB said...

If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right.

HA!

Sorry. That song is in my mind after this post and well, I just had to write it.

Oh dude. Believe it or not, I totally get this. This feeling of starting over - of growing up - of facing the day in an entirely new way. Of doing something that forces you to look deep within to face who you are in a whole new way.

I haven't known you so long my friend but I've seen glimpses of your heart and soul both before and after the line you crossed over - and I can definitively say I dig you.

xoxo
Lee

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

It was really interesting to read this...especially the part about you and your friend. I suppose there are many people that don't know how to handle their relationship with you...don't know what to say, or do, or not do, or not say. They don't know.

I never really thought of how scary it would be to be on the other side...your side...where you worry about losing everyone because you are not drinking anymore. I guess it could make you feel like drinking was who you were, and now, you don't know. But drinking is not who you were...drinking only masked the you that everyone would want to know. You have so much to offer, and I'm glad we're getting to see it!!!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

I know what you mean about having friends but being alone. There are certain parts that a person must do alone, struggle through and decide on their own. To have a friend who will hold your hand, cry with you and be there on the other side is a wonderful thing. Wonderful book quotes.

Kelly said...

When I adopted my son, my roommate acknowledged that she is addicted to alcohol. It was so difficult for us to both adjust to our new lives and everything felt ill-fitting and raw, but one day we realized we had transitioned from old to new and new was really amazing. It'll come. Just hold on and keep doing what you're doing.

TheOneTrueSue said...

And maybe (maybe?) in some small way it will be good to make new friends with new routines, new habits, new places to go, new ways to have fun.

Bravo Heather.

Heather said...

Yes, Sue. It's true.(the making of the new friends). But I do want to point out that my closest friends are people who don't drink like I did. We don't have to drink to spend time together so I'm not missing them for that reason. We did do a variety of things together, many of which had nothing to do with drinking. Just sayin' :) That said, it WILL be good to become friends with people in my same shoes, which is happening, thankfully. I'll stop rambling now.

Billy Coffey said...

I'm sitting here thinking of all the other people who read your posts like this. Thinking of how strange it must feel to be turned upside down and inside out. I'm thinking of how much this is helping them and how much they needed to hear it, even if you never know. And I'm thinking that it's really easy to see the effect the world has on you, but it's hard to see the effect you have on the world.

So I just want to say there might be a lot of the former for you right now, but there's a whole lot more of the latter.

Cameron said...

I so love that--"We'll be okay." Grammatically such a small difference from "You'll be okay," but WOW, what a HUGE difference. I love this.

TKW said...

I love the honesty here. I think the people who read you often and who consider you a friend will not be alarmed by the "alone in sobriety" part of this post.

Because overcoming addiction DOES require you to not only look at yourself differently, it requires you to re-work your relationships. To figure out how those relationships are going to work now that alcohol isn't in the picture and you feel like a different person. And that's HARD.

There's no shame in saying that it's hard. Or that you feel confused. Or that you feel alone. It's the truth. But we're not worried about you, because we know you're strong enough to navigate through this. We know that you will be okay. We will be okay. (((hugs)))

Heidi Ashworth said...

I admire you so much! Hang in there!

Becky said...

WE are going to be ok! or Okay. or OK.

You are going to be wonderful because you already are.

Much love to you

Boy Crazy said...

I'm with Ann, and Lee, and Becky on this. Rooting for you from my little corner over here. (That's me with my arms raised above my head, pumping the air in my Go Heather! t-shirt.)

xo e.

Kazzy said...

You ans Sobriety are going to become BFFs before you even know it. Text her, call her, send her emails. She will love you through it all.

warmchocmilk said...

Wow. It's a huge commitment. And I honestly don't think I've ever been so commited to anything in my whole life (except maybe my marriage and my kids). I've been reading your posts but not commenting a lot. Honestly it's hard for me to relate. Even when I try to pin in to my food addiciton issues. I want to be here for you thought and I think about you often. Did you get my text I sent while walking to the park?? Miss you.

--It's Your Movie-- said...

Have I told you lately that you're awesome? I think about you a lot. I wish I could go to BlogHer this year and hug you way harder than I did last year. Your voice is so real and it is really a blessing to me that I get to read it.

Becky said...

It sound like it feels good to feel. Whether it feels wrong or right or whatever. Maybe it's the feeling itself that counts, yeah?

You are amazing.

CaJoh said...

I am so proud of you for sharing with us. Many of us are not those friends you moved away from, but you are telling us as if we are those friends.

So many of us tend to think that once a change happens that it is permanent. Change is a process and it will take time. Recognizing that there is a difference helps you see the path that is ahead of you.

The best of skill in your journey of change,

tara said...

you're awesome heather. and so honest. sometimes it is good to sit with things, by yourself, to really do the hard work. and you know your friends (here and there and cyber-where) are rooting for you.

wendy said...

I too am learning things from your sharing this journey of yours with us.

yay for friends.

C said...

me too...
xo, crock

MidnightCafe said...

You've had so much change in your life in the last few months...and, really, the last few years...that's it's no surprise you feel unbalanced and strange to yourself. We all change, though, you know? I'm a lot different from the person I used to be...and, yet, I'm still me somehow. And you're still you. Love you!

deb said...

Just listening.

The Marketing Mama said...

You are exactly where you need to be right now.

I know how you feel.

Next week I celebrate 13 years. Last night I had the opportunity to share my 1st step with a 15 year old. FIFTEEN and 60 days sober. I started drinking when I was 15. Man. Then I went to my meeting and presented on Step 11. It was amazing.

You will do this thing, Heather. And you will keep growing. And you will someday turn around and marvel at how beautiful and marvelous your life is in sobriety. :)

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