Kennedy’s quote could have very easily been written by people who practice and diligently work the 12 Steps. it is a gentle reminder to myself that this “sober thing” takes not only time but also patience and work. I am not going to have my issues fixed overnight. (eek, passive voice…at least I am recognizing the victim role today). I am going to have to be open, to be introspective, and to be willing to know that being sober isn’t the end all be all to good health.
Friday, I called a woman from the group I attend and complained of the anxiety I had facing the day. How do I calm down? What should I do? She so kindly expressed pause, pray, proceed. Oh yes. I can do THAT! So, I thanked her and hung up ready to tackle this anxiety in a newly applied perspective.
But, that didn’t happen. I let the old tapes play without realizing it. I forgot what she said nearly as soon as I hung up. I went about my day, got myself worked up, drug others into my crap, and rallied support. All behaviors I swear I want to change.
She called me after work and off I went on my rant, a completely different issue I created from the morning one. All she said was, “Are you going to go to a meeting tonight?”
Nope. I had an excuse for that too. My husband had to work late and I had (insert victim voice here ) NO ONE to watch my children.
So, naturally, as the night wore on, I didn’t feel better. In fact, I felt worse. So, my husband returns, we talk briefly and I start crying. I finally figure out that I am angry. Most of my anger is self-directed. I am angry at myself for getting worked up; I am angry for allowing other people to dictate my mood for the day; I am angry with myself for feeling the false security in making sure I had enough other people to agree with me so I was justified in my frustration. All very sick, very old tapes.
The feeling that disturbs me the most is the fact that I reached out, called a sober member, heard her words, and then failed to put into action the very advice I sought. The feeling is disappointment.
But rather than spend another day wasted, I am going to call the dear woman, explain what I figured out and tell her to please either hang up next time or directly call me on my bs (OR maybe allow her to deal with me how she sees fit; she does, after all, have a few more years sober than I do…)
The bottom line is, this process is long, painful, and uncomfortable.I didn’t really see that the first 30 days. Why? Because I was too busy worrying about not drinking and acting as if I were working a clean, honest program. Cunning, deceitful, and powerful. I fell right into my old behavior under the guise of sober health. HA! Will this happen again? I’m sure of it. Maybe, though, it won’t take me 24 hours to call myself out.
I also have to recognize that this behavior has 44 years on me; the erosion of the old behavior is going to take some time. So, for today, I have to do the next right thing. Yesterday is gone; tomorrow is not here. Today is my concern.
In the meantime, I have a phone call to make.