Obsessive Thinking- To think or not to think


So my AA meeting tonight dealt with the topic of obsessive thinking. Me? An obsessive thinker? I told myself I am not that obsessive anymore. After all, I rarely think about alcohol anymore. But, as the members began sharing, I realized just how obsessed my thoughts are.

Early on in my sobriety all I could think about was how I was going to fill my time between 4-9 p.m. so I wouldn’t drink. Taking a different route home from work, praying, staying late to work, going to meetings, hitting up therapy, calling my sponsor, talking to other sober people on the phone, reading, working out, cooking. My mind would race. My eyes would flutter to the clock out of pure habit. Oh, and the thoughts!!!  “This is when I would normally be drinking. This is the time I would have a good buzz going. In an hour, the kids would be going to be so I could really cut loose.” Going to bed at night posed another problem. How could I get my mind to shut down? How would I not obsess about thinking about alcohol, remorse, shame, guilt? The list goes on and on.

Fast forward nearly eight months. Imagine my surprise (and not a good one.. not like a cute puppy with a bow around its neck licking me and wagging its tail) but a revelation really about just how warped my thoughts are. Last night, I co-coached my son’s (9 y.o…this is important later) baseball team because my husband is out of town and I volunteered. Not a big deal, right? Wrong. Dead. Wrong.

I called the other coach to confirm, get directions to their field to pass on to our parents, and to find out the team colors. I need a visual so I know I am in the right place. For me, colors work. Well, I messed up the directions, had to retext the parents who were en route only to find the team was in off-white shirts not gray as the coach told me. In a panic seeing the wrong color shirts, I (calmly haha) called the coach again and confirmed they had gray shirts. “Yep. We sure do.” It was at that moment I hear an echo. It’s the other coach on his phone talking to me. I am a woman in a man’s domain. He thought it was funny to tell me the wrong color. I, however, failed to see the humor.

Well, I won’t give you the play by play, but suffice it to say our undefeated team got waxed. 16-0. Their pitcher could throw a fastball down the center faster than an old lady who has had nine kids running to the bathroom. Our boys freaked out and stood at the plate in shock and awe. A few brave souls managed to swing the bat only to be called out on strikes. We have had some competition throughout the season, but nothing could have prepared us for this team. They were on fire! Also to note and I hate to blame others, but the ump stunk. His strike zone was less than equal for both teams, he missed two interference calls, made two obviously wrong calls NOT in our favor, did not know the slaughter rule, allowed parents from the opposing team to stand directly behind the fence in the pitcher’s view (not allowed),and generally did not seem to appreciate the $20.00 he earned for his 1.5 hours of work (insert sarcasm here). To make matters worse, the man keeping their stats came up to me as I keep our book and accused us of batting out of order. I thought he was kidding so I laughed. He was not kidding. I explained to him that we hadn’t even been through our line up yet and we had three up three down to which he replied, “I KNOW that. Where is your error?” I took a huge sigh and walked him through the book and noted he kept in a name I had previously told him to delete. He walked off in a huff. No apology. Our team parents looked at me and asked if I was mad. But I wasn’t. I found my sense of humor at that moment. Nothing better than being a little ant in an elephant’s world and being able to escape.

I called the game once they were in the bottom of the fourth as they had 16 (The slaughter rule is 15 so I gave ’em an extra one). Mr. I Don’t Know  My Colors asked me what I was doing. I told him applying the league rules. He threw his hands up and told me to lighten up and to let the kids have some fun. I said, “I am and that’s why we’re leaving. At this rate, we can stop for ice cream on the way home.” Again, the kids are nine. This is a park district league. This is not a traveling, intra or interstate team. It’s a league to teach FUNdamentals, learn, game play and generally have a good time. My kids play on a traveling team, too. I know the difference.

So, the point of this post is to discuss obsessive thinking. Well, I did think. I thought about the game all the way home, when I got home and called my husband with the play-by-play (he did not get the abridged version), all into the night (midnight) and again at 5 o’clock this morning when I woke up. I thought about it when I reworked the lineup for tomorrow night’s game. Obviously, 24 hours later, I am still thinking about the game. 

Thank my HP for sending me to my therapist and to my AA meeting tonight for I learned some great things about my thinking today. My obsessive the-world-is-against-me bs way of thinking has been replaced tonight this time. I am now reflecting because there are lessons here.  First, I learned that normal people do not think like I do. Alcoholism is a disease and has little to do with drinking. The why is not important. The next point is that my son asked me why they kept stealing bases and taking walks and kept their ace pitcher in when we were down so much. I had the opportunity to explain to him that not all adults act like them. I was not rude, condescending or obnoxious although I wanted to be. I also was able to let him know that when someone is not kind and is taking advantage of a situation, we can bow out gracefully and not have to take the bullying. We had a great talk over chocolate milkshakes, a gift I was not afforded last summer when I was shoulder high in my addiction.

But I think (see what I did there?) the most valuable lesson is what I learned about myself. I may not have handled myself perfectly, but I sure as heck handled myself MUCH better than I would have last summer in the same situation because I was still actively drinking. I have decided to put that line of objectivity towards anything I do better than I used to. I know I am a work in progress, but I don’t have to beat myself up because I don’t get it “right” the first time.

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2 thoughts on “Obsessive Thinking- To think or not to think

  1. Such a great post for all the practical lessons. It is helpful to step back and look for the progress, which is always there. No, I’m not perfect yet and shouldn’t ever hope to be. Fun is always in those little moments, especially when I can let go of worrying about what other people think.

    Coaching baseball would be a nerve-wracking experience for me because I know absolutely nothing about it. You, on the other hand, sound like you have a true gift and knack for it. You handled the challenge and stress with grace and humility. Just an awesome read, thanks so much for sharing it.

    • Thanks for your thoughts. Coaching is definitely stretching me to be uncomfortable. And, I did send my husband a text today telling him I really don’t thank him enough for the work he does with this “job”. I realized this disease has me so self-consumed, I forget to slow down, breathe, and get out of myself.
      Wouldn’t it be great if we had a growth barometer? lol
      Have a great day.

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