Looking back now, I understand I spent a great deal of time from the ages 6 -14 with a sense of impending doom. I seemed like “things” might fall apart anytime. I didn’t know how or what that would appear like, but it felt like it was only a matter of time.
As I grew older, this feeling of fear minimized and was replaced by a dull sadness that was stuck down beneath the rest of my life. It felt like there were 2 parts of me. I mored than happy with my pals and my family, I liked school and I even had a sense of direction. All of the terrific things in my life lived on top of the sadness. Like one day, they were all just going to be swept away and I would be back to my foundation. My foundation was the certainty that at some point, life was going to fall apart and I would be alone in every sense of the word. It was the worry that whatever great in my life was short-term. Everyone and thing that I loved would be removed from me somehow.
Eventually I made a subconscious contract with myself that this loss was unavoidable, however I would to try to hold it off for as long as I could. I began living my life under my own microscopic lense. I wanted to do my best to make sure I wasn’t doing anything to speed up the process of everything breaking down. So, every time I seemed like I was doing something “wrong”, I stressed. Stress and anxiety isn’t a feeling I have actually ever been able to sustain extremely long. It was too stressful so I would just close down, typically. This was what I thought was my “anxiety” creeping back in over and over. I tried medications here and there throughout my early 20’s in especially challenging periods and they did aid. I actively felt the dread lessen. I keep in mind thinking, “Holy shit, is this how the majority of people feel all of the time?”
But our beliefs about ourselves are self-fulfilling prophecies. Guess what took place in my mid-twenties? I lost everything. At the age of 23 I started to slip silently into dependency. I drank for short-lived emotional relief from life and the problems at hand. This slip picked up speed quickly and all of a sudden, at age 24, I searched for one day and understood I was an alcoholic.
Once I had accepted my alcoholism, I hated myself for what I had actually become. The self-loathing was suffocating, so I consumed more to numb it. Addiction is a cyclical beast. (God, fuck that shit. Seriously.) That shame cycle tore everything apart. My career, my relationships, my body, however most importantly – my hope. Not that I had much to begin with.
It was unusually reassuring in a manner. The unavoidable had gotten here and at least now I knew what it appeared like. Luckily for me, my loved ones refused to let me give up that easily.
” We know you can get better. We enjoy you. We aren’t upset with you. We don’t think less of you, you’re sick today.”
This made me so fucking mad at the time. Why was it taking them so long to realize what I had known all along? I was not cut out for this shit. This life shit. My life prior to alcohol addiction was pure luck. This is who and what I was. A sad piece of shit who was truly full of pity. It wasn’t ALCOHOL, it was me. Depressed, weak, incapable.
Quick forward roughly 2 years and go into: rock bottom. Events transpired I certainly must have passed away from but to my exhausted discouragement, there I was. Alive. Back home. Just so damn worn out. Too tired, in truth, to feel bad about it. And that was it. That ended up being the answer to everything.
I didn’t shame myself that day. And it felt much better so I didn’t embarassment myself the next day, or the day after that. I gradually learned to stop battling the parts of myself I didn’t like. I recognized I couldn’t bully myself into altering. I stopped believing that if I was unfortunate or afraid or overwhelmed, it was since I wasn’t doing enough. I learned that if you just sit with those sensations rather of attempting to change them or deny them, they pass. They constantly pass.
These brand-new psychological tools taught me that I can manage most of life’s obstacles. That doesn’t mean fix them or alter them or invest all of your time wishing things were various. It implies navigating them. It suggests experiencing discomfort, sighing and saying “well, I’m uneasy now.” Taking a sincere look at the circumstance and comprehending what I can control about it (spoiler alert: the only thing I can manage is my reaction to it).
It sounds so simple, it’s dumb. It still blows my mind every day. All it takes is just being all right with things that draw? Doing the very best you can and acknowledging that your best isn’t going to suffice sometimes, but you’ll be all right regardless. That you’re going to mess up. A lot. And things will still be all right. You’re going to be lonesome or afraid or overloaded or disappointed at times which’s alright, just be client. Seriously, that’s it?
Yeah, that’s it in a nutshell. I still can’t get over how bothersome it is that it took me this long to figure it out. Annoying, remarkable, empowering and amusing. Life is so cool.
On July 12, I will have 2 years sober and 2 years without the weight of anxiety on my mind and on my heart. The very best part? It’s the easiest thing to keep. I do not battle life, I don’t fight myself. Whatever else forms.