To my lovely co-workers … I’m sorry

Hi all,

Yesterday was supposed to fun. An after work get together at the pub across the street from us was a good idea.

We ordered pizzas and I had my trusty club soda with cranberry and extra lime.

But then Bobby started talking to Sydney over me, and there was no place for me to move, no place to go. Bobby and Sydney had to speak loudly in order to be heard. I felt trapped, and my brain got all fuzzy and fiery with the loud volume of voices stretching to be heard.

Then the martinis came, the lovely martinis with extra olives in them for my colleagues, Rita and Wanda. At that moment those martinis became the most beautiful things in the world to me. I could sense the ease in which I could grab both, and finish them off in a swish.

Bobby was nudged up against me talking to Sydney, who was on the other side of me. Sydney’s voice was in my ear. I could not move, and there were two beautiful martinis in front of me.

There were only two choices in my brain in that moment, and neither was discreet.

I shot up from the bench, and said, “I gotta go! Sorry guys!” That got Bobby’s attention, and he moved so that I could move, and when I was able to move I scrambled for that door like my life depended on it.

Only one of you knows that this weekend is my five year sobriety anniversary. I wish I could explain to all of you why I behaved so strangely, but I know that it would not be wise to share that bit of information with all of you.

I ran out of the pub, and cried because I wanted to be in there with the rest of you. I wanted to be like the rest of you, but I’m not. I’m a person in long term sobriety that is still figuring out how to navigate the world as a sober person.

I needed an AA meeting at the moment, and I was within easy driving distance of one.

And that’s a whole other story …

You, my fellow colleagues, are not the only ones who don’t get me.

In my infinite wisdom I decided to be straight forward with the group. I shared what had just happened, and the fact that I don’t get AA. I so badly want to get it, but it’s like my brain rebels against it. I truly wish I could love AA. It’s the negativity towards ourselves in the group that turns me off instantly. I’ve been trying to learn how NOT to beat myself up on a regular basis, and coming into these meetings seems to be a return to that way of life for me.

But here’s the frosting that frosted my ass last night. I can try to tolerate the way people beat themselves up in there. But I will never be okay with the way we attack each other. We had someone in our meeting talk about how they previously had decades of time sober, but picked up a drink a few months ago. Since then she has not been able to put together any amount of time sober. This person with so much pain and struggle was so brave in admitting this to all of us. My heart just went out to her because I do not think I would be able to admit what she admitted to all of us.

Then some judgmental gal with a fancy dress spoke up, and wondered aloud what this person learned in the rooms with 20+ years of sobriety, the implication that she must not have learned anything since she picked up a drink.¬†Well, Ms. Fancy Dress, I should hope that you don’t meet someone like you if you ever pick up a drink and come back to the rooms to admit it. I should hope that, but I don’t.

Fellow colleagues, I am not sure if I will attend our next outing to the pub. I assure you that it’s not a reflection of how I feel about you guys. I wish I could tell all of you this so that you would know that it’s really about me, and not you. Sure, Bobby and Sydney were loud, and I felt trapped, but it’s my brain that gets me keyed up in these instances. I recognize that. Please know that I love you guys, and wish I could hang out with you more often.

Beatriz

P.S. I will be ever so grateful if you don’t talk about my Friday weirdness on Monday.¬†

This day is not going to break me … I hope …

For some mysterious reason the week of the Fourth of July has historically been hard for me, and I have no idea why. I know in the past that I drank heavily on this day, but I don’t think that’s why the day is hard. I drank to get through it because it was hard. The difficulty of it is still a mystery to me.

In the wake of a stressful two weeks at work I knew that the dreaded Fourth of July was in my sights, but I had to focus on getting through the work stuff. Then it hit me yesterday that the stupid holiday was upon me. And what makes it particularly hard is that my usual supports are gone. Friends have come and gone. I do have some friends, but I don’t push the closeness. These days I am largely on my own, truly starting over. Plus, this week both Doc and my therapist are on vacation.

I’ve written here about my struggles in AA, and being a consistent presence in The Rooms, as we call them. I knew that I needed to get to some meetings today if I was going to get through this day.

Meeting 1 occurred at noon, and it was a very large meeting. I amazed myself by raising my hand to share, but I was never called on, likely due to the very large group. I actually felt okay at the meeting, even in spite of the fact that it was a bit hot in there without air conditioning.

Meeting 2 occurred at 4:30, and it was a very small group of us, no more than 8 of us. I was grateful for the meeting as this really is one of the worst days for me. I shared in the meeting, and embarrassed myself by crying. There was one woman who recognized me from a meeting I used to attend, and she talked to me afterwards. The meeting was a source of comfort, so much so that I did not want to leave. Just an hour earlier I could barely get out of my car to go inside, and now I could hardly open my car door to leave.

Then there was a third meeting. Yes, this is a record for me in most meetings in a day. This meeting occurred in a place with some weird security. It was not easy to get into this meeting. I’ll leave it at that. I walked in, and I only saw men. I immediately looked at the group listing on my phone to make sure I was not at a men’s only meeting, but no, it was a general meeting. It was not necessarily a remarkable meeting, but I didn’t mind as I’m just glad it was there.

And that was my Fourth of July, meeting after meeting after meeting in order to stay kind of sane. I just heard a newscaster say, “It’s a bummer that the holiday is over.” I beg to differ. I want real life with all it’s monotony and routine to come back posthaste.

Still nibbling …

As usual, I woke up from a night of nightmares. I did not sleep well last night, and had to take a long nap from 11:00 – 2:00 today. Then, even during that nap, I nightmared again!

I took a shower to try to shake the dissociation, and then took myself out to eat a late lunch/early dinner. I didn’t know what to call the meal, just knew I was in need of one.

By the time I finished eating I realized that I could actually make the Sunday AA women’s meeting that I attended last Sunday. Without giving it another thought I drove there, and this time I rushed right in instead of hiding out in the bathroom.

As I listened during the sharing part of the meeting, some folks started talking about topics that were triggering to me. However, I was able to remain grounded. I refused to give in to the dissociation that was coming over me. Oddly, a number of people were talking about difficult mothers, a topic which many of you know has been on my mind lately. Then, one woman talked about her daughter in a way that my mother would likely talk about me. I felt myself get floaty, but I told myself that this was her experience, not mine, and I did not have to internalize it.

Again, I did not speak at the meeting as I was often struggling just to be present, and I did fly out as soon as the meeting was over. But, I went to the meeting, attended it, stayed present, and didn’t hide in the bathroom. Perhaps next week I’ll speak in some way, either introduce myself to someone or share during the meeting.

I nibbled at the edges again!