Day 99

Time to Dig Deep and Begin the Work

CSuite Sobriety

2/23/2022 4 min read

As I work my way through the "Quit Lit" shelf at B&N, there are a few constant themes that seem to be “must do” if you are to truly engage in a meaningful recovery from alcohol addiction.  What do I mean by meaningful recovery - its my way of describing a recovery that comes from a place of gaining and not losing, addition not subtraction, growth not giving up, and “I can do anything” not “I can’t do drinking.” 

One of these constants is that we must dive deep and do the work.  Dive deep into our trauma, our pasts, our stories in order to do the work of understanding what brought us to treat our bodies like wastelands that were not worthy of love, self care and protecting.  If we solely linger in the present moment of understanding our present desire to drink, or our accomplishment in having beaten that desire (to any degree), we stay emotionally stuck in the place where we last held our sobriety.   That place where sobriety wasn’t in our vocabulary, because it was just a normal state of being and did not include a drug that would help us escape from the sharp edges of the world and ourselves.  

I have not yet started excavating my past in order to do this work.  I’m on day 98 and I’m nervous as hell that the bodies I dig up will be too much for me to handle without my go to crutch I have relied upon for the majority of my life.  I was this day old (as I write this in fact) that I realize with sadness, shock and mortification that I have been drinking for well over a majority of my life, as I started at 14 - closer to 2/3rds of my life Goddamnit.  The other thing that is scary about exhumation of the remains of our sober selves is many of us are still intertwined with the dead…. Meaning, we are still in that toxic relationship, that led to the depression, that led us to the bottle of booze or pills.  Or perhaps, we still suffer from gross body dysmorphia where we weigh 115 pounds but we see a full size whale with cellulite when we look in the mirror, and the only way we knew how to put on a bathing suit and walk around the pool was with the help of a gin and tonic (any time of day).  Or maybe we have this nagging voice in our heads questioning our life choices, our marriages, our jobs, our direction - all of it - now that we aren’t on “drink rinse repeat” autopilot.  Maybe our marriages were bearable because of booze, or our jobs were simply fronts for an industry that allowed us to guzzle and earn. 

Unwinding the vines from a tree, where every root, the entirety of the trunk and every branch are covered in unwieldy ropes is difficult.  The plant winds its way around every inch of life of the tree it can find, slowly squeezing the life out of the tree and ultimately leading to its slow and early death - from the inside out.  We cannot simply remove the vines we can see above the surface, cutting off only those that are easily removed from the branches. No, this is but a temporary fix and won’t ultimately save it from a slow strangulation of the of the vine that begin at the trees roots.  We must dig deep to discover the roots of our pain and identify the experiences that shaped us.  This is less about addition and more about healing.  Perhaps, like me, you also turned to other vices like bingeing and purging or self-starvation.  Or maybe you cut yourself to bring your mind down to physical pain and away from the mental pain that you were enduring.  Sadly, there are many many trees that succumbed to the deadly nature of their vice or who simply believed that they didn’t have it in them to save themselves.   

I have made my first therapy appointment for this Friday, where I will recite my past in a cold and clinical manner.  I’ll probably work backwards, explaining my recent sobriety and quickly point out that “listen, I’m not here for help staying sober - I’m doing a good job there, thanks… but in the last 90 days I’ve read 10+ books that all say I have to deal with my past, so that's why I’m here… so lets get started…”  

I’ll then dive into my childhood (I’ve been to this rodeo before - get ready for the shock and awe when I start talking about my mother).  The therapist will write feverishly (inside thinking, my god this woman is fucked up - she should write a book) and then after an hour flies by she will tell me we will need to stop and pick back up next week.  This proceeds for a couple of weeks before we REALLY start talking, at which point I'll decide if this person can handle all that I’m about to unpack.  Chances are I won’t get lucky on the first shot - usually it takes a couple of bad first dates to get to one you finally click with.  I’m looking to be challenged, called on my bullshit, and work with someone that isn’t looking to solve me - but rather help me solve myself.  I’m ready to cut some shit out - whether that be people, activities, habits, etc.  

I’ve got my shovel and I’m ready to dig deep.  I’m nervous and cautious.  I’m excited and already exhausted.  Lets do this. 

orange and white plastic egg toy